Over the Past Decade
The country’s largest metros experienced impressive levels of real estate development over the past 10 years, in both the residential and the commercial sectors. A StorageCafe research assessed single family and multifamily housing permits, plus the volume of office, industrial, retail and self storage construction in square footage in the country’s top 50 biggest metro areas, to determine which were the most active in terms of real estate development from 2012 to 2021.
Across the 50 metros, residential construction thrived following the Great Recession, with building permits issued for more than 4M single family homes and 3.3 multifamily units. 2021 was the best year of the decade in terms of residential construction, seeing almost 560K permits for single family homes and 440K for apartments, despite pandemic-related difficulties.
Commercial real estate registered impressive numbers as well. The industrial sector delivered a whopping 2.2 billion square feet of new space, while 740M of office space and 300M square feet of self storage space were added to the inventory of the country’s top 50 biggest cities over the past decade.
The Dallas, Houston and NYC metros saw the most real estate development
Texan metros were at the forefront of real estate development over the past decade, with Dallas and Houston ranking first and second respectively. Supported by robust population and economic growth, the residential real estate sector in the Dallas metro area saw 323K single family and 233K multifamily building permits being issued. The Dallas self storage sector, which generally goes hand-in-hand with residential construction, expanded by no less than 23M square feet. Also, an impressive 230M square feet of new industrial space was added to the metro area’s inventory, while office space increased by almost 55M square feet.
Even if surpassed by Dallas in the overall ranking, the Houston metro area had the largest number of single family building permits issued during the past 10 years – over 392K, to which 170K building permits for multifamily units were added. New industrial construction surpassed 153M square feet, and office space construction also boomed, with 44M square feet added.
The New York metro area, ranking third overall for real estate development, truly shines when it comes to apartment construction. Over 410K new apartments were issued here over the past decade, the highest number among the country’s 50 biggest metros. Over 78M square feet of office space, 80M square feet of industrial space, and 22M square feet of self storage space were also built in the metro area between 2012 and 2021.
Phoenix and Atlanta score remarkably well for new construction
The Phoenix and Atlanta metro areas both enjoyed a hugely successful decade in terms of real estate development, ranking 4th and 5th respectively in terms of new construction. The fact that these metros surpassed the likes of Chicago and Los Angeles, which are far more populous, speaks volumes about their attractiveness for new residents and new businesses alike.
The Phoenix metro area registered almost 210K single family and over 95K multifamily building permits, plus 97M square feet of delivered industrial space, 21M square feet of new office space and almost 12M square feet of self storage space.
The Atlanta metro area boasts over 220K single family and 87K apartment building permits issued – in line with an almost 12% population growth over the past 10 years. Industrial construction was impressive also, with over 98M square feet of new space, while the self storage sector delivered 12M square feet.
The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim metro area ranks 6th for real estate development, performing well in the multifamily sector. The metro area had over 195K multifamily building permits issued over the past decade, the third highest number nationally. Additionally, almost 90K single family homes were permitted in the LA area. Office construction over the past decade amounted to 30M square feet of new space, and the industrial sector also saw around 54M square feet of new space.
The Washington metro area, which ranks 7th overall for real estate development, exceled in office construction, with around 39M square feet of new space added over the past 10 years, making it the fourth most active in this sector. Looking at residential construction, the metro area registered 130K single family and 121K multifamily building permits.
The Chicago metro area boasts high levels of industrial construction
The Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro ranks 8th nationally in terms of new construction overall, but it’s the industrial sector that registered the most impressive evolution. The metro area built over 162M square feet of industrial space, with last year being the most active of the decade. Also, 14M square feet of new storage space and almost 24M square feet of office space were added to the local inventory. In terms of residential construction, on the other hand, Chicago doesn’t fare as well, with only 79K single family and 85K apartment building permits issued over the decade.
The Miami metro area lands on the 9th spot, propped up by multifamily construction. Miami saw almost 130K new apartments permitted during the last 10 years – double the number of single family home building permits issued during the same timeframe. The metro area also added 59M square feet of new industrial space and 12M square feet of new self storage space.
The top 10 of the country’s most active metros for real estate development closes with the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro. The 3M-people-strong metro area, which is also projected to see constant population growth in the future, issued over 98K single family homes and 100K multifamily unit building permits over the past decade. The industrial sector managed to build 56M square feet of new space, and 19M square feet of office space were also added to the local inventory.
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