The Domination of Mid-Rises and High-Rises in America’s Apartment Scene

November 15, 2019
Sky Scraper High Rise Mid Rise
Image by Jason Goh from Pixabay

"Build it higher, build it bigger" is the motto of the decade for developers. The share of low-rise apartment buildings dropped 44 percentage points in the past two decades as strong demand for apartments mixed with less room to build to force developers to look toward the sky. 

Tall skylines anchored by impressive skyscrapers have been the staple image of large American cities, dominated by office towers and a few residential condominium skyscrapers. However, apartment high-rises, and even skyscrapers, are starting to claim more and more spots on urban skylines, as we discovered by analyzing data on multifamily buildings from Yardi Matrix.

With demand for apartments strong across the country, combined with the scarcity and value of land sharply increasing, developers in urban areas are looking upwards in their quest to providing a healthy supply of residential units. Thirty years ago, in the ’90s, the average apartment building in the U.S. had 3 floors, the following decade the average height was around 4 stories, and this decade, with a boost in high-rise construction, the average building height rose to 6 floors.

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