Which of America’s Most Expensive Cities Are Doing the Best Job of Building New Homes?

The nation’s housing crisis is something on everyone’s mind. Both policymakers and the real estate industry have announced initiatives recently to tackle the housing shortage. To get a better idea of which of the country’s most expensive housing markets were doing the best job of building housing we looked at three important metrics: the number of new apartments needed annually, total stock of apartment units, and apartment unit completions over the past 12 months as a percentage of total stock.

While the numbers are daunting, there has been some good news recently. In late June, new Census Bureau data showed that total housing starts unexpectedly surged nearly 22 percent in May, the fastest pace in more than a year. For multifamily properties with five or more units, construction starts increased by 28 percent. This comes after a record year in 2022 for multifamily development, when an estimated 420,000 new apartments were built in the U.S., the highest amount in 50 years. These latest figures are welcome news for the multifamily industry, especially amid a tough landscape for developers, where construction and materials costs have remained high. 

Highest Cost Cities refers to the overall cost of living relative to national average (Apartment List, March 2023); New Apartments Units Needed Annually (NMHC, NAA, 2021); Total Stock of Apartment Homes (NMHC, NAA, 2023); Unit Completions in Past 12 Months as a Percentage of Total Stock (Yardi Matrix, as of May 2023)

The data also shows that the single-family housing market is incredibly tight, with the number of

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