Multifamily Faces a Packed Development Pipeline

The sector is expected to add 330,000 new units in 2020, up from 304,000 a year ago.

Apartment developers have not been shy about bringing new product to market in recent years. And early indications are that 2020 will be another boffo year. The question is after several big years of hefty additions whether the market can digest the units that are in the works.

“The volume of apartments on the way in 2020 certainly could test the market’s ability to absorb a big block of additional units in a short time frame,” says Greg Willett, chief economist at real estate technology and analytics firm RealPage, Inc.

This late in the real estate cycle—after more than a decade of economic growth—many investors are making conservative choices, wary of a potential downtown. But apartment developers plan to make 2020 one the busiest years in the last decade for new construction. They continue to focus on the largest metro areas—especially “gateway” cities—where strong local economies can help fill new apartments. The amount of construction is being facilitated by the fact that lenders remain willing to provide construction financing even with so many projects on the books.

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