How have cities developed by asset class over the past 120 years?

Here at Reonomy, we have a robust set of commercial real estate data that enables us to paint a picture of historical economic and development trends across the U.S.

A few weeks ago, we examined how and where commercial development has occurred at the macro level and then broke it down by region. This week, we based our analytical framework around asset class rather than geography to see if these developments paralleled or diverged from our geographical analysis.

Multifamily Development Across the U.S.

Below is a visualization of 120 years of multifamily construction in the U.S. The North East’s multifamily market was conceived earlier and its stock grew at a faster pace than any other region. In the postwar era, we start to see expansion and growth heating up on the West Coast around cities like Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Francisco.

Multifamily Development in the Top 5 Largest MSAs

To break this holistic view down into more bite-size pieces, the graph below shows the number of properties built in the top 5 largest MSAs in the U.S. over the course of a century.

New York City has unsurprisingly led the pack in multifamily development volume since the turn of the century to accommodate its densely concentrated urban population. Los Angeles and Chicago have seen similar levels of mid-range development, followed by Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth.

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