Why Aren’t More Small Apartment Projects Built?


Large, luxury apartment and condo developments have been dominating headlines and casting a big shadow over the “little guys” in rental housing. A new report released by Enterprise Community Partners and the University of Southern California’s Bedrosian Center on Governance aims to call attention to this overlooked segment of the market.

The Understanding the Small and Medium Multifamily (SMMF) Housing Stock report emphasizes the formidable size of this segment of the market and its importance as a source of naturally occurring affordable rental housing. SMMF properties with two to 49 units account for more than half (54 percent) of all rental housing in the United States, according to the report. Many of these properties were originally built in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. That aging inventory, along with limited amenities in many cases, contributes to lower average rental rates compared with those obtained by its larger, newer competitors.

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