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From Roman tenements to modern-day living complexes, the multifamily housing industry has always been a way to balance supply and demand in the housing market. Instead of tenements, we now see multi-family housing as a myriad of dwelling solutions: duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, townhomes, multi-story apartment buildings, high-rise apartments and condominiums. 

With the present economic and population changes, multifamily housing can be an excellent investment, but it does differ from coast to coast. Let’s take a look at some of the differences across the nation as well as key trends to track.

East Coast to West Coast And Everything In Between

Even though west coast and east coast housing markets differ, it‘s worth mentioning that big markets across the nation continue their growth trends. Before the pandemic, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Denver and Phoenix were strong. As we move into post-pandemic life, the strength of these markets sees an exaggerated positive trend. They have consistently good weather, a mixture of affordable homes, desirable communities, better job diversity than many cities, lower crime per capita and positive migration patterns. 

Midwestern markets including Cincinnati, Columbus and Minneapolis-St. Paul experienced some pandemic-related setbacks, but experts expect these areas to make a comeback toward the last quarter of 2021. They experienced a similar downturn to the Miami-Dade and West Palm Beach markets, even though, overall, Florida has been a strong housing market. 

While they are trying to strengthen their foothold, Cleveland, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and St.Louis are seeing slow growth. They’re making efforts and concessions to attract the more mobile renters who are no longer geographically tied to their workplace.  

The South or Sunbelt region, along with the Mountain West region, are seeing the most robust growth patterns in the multi-family housing industry. Regionally, these areas are experiencing low job loss, fast-growing populations and strong demand for high-quality builds and rental products. 

The West Coast has been relatively unstable, with San Francisco seeing the largest egress at 7% of residents in 2020. While this can seem alarming, the shift was quick and is now leveling out. In general, the gold coast will stabilize, with demand increasing in the third and fourth quarters. 

Key Trends In The Multifamily Housing Industry

There are several trends to watch in 2021 and into 2022, but here are a few worth paying attention to as the multifamily housing market continues to see significant shifts throughout the coming months and years. 


There is an initial concern about supply in some regions because deals launched at the beginning of 2021 were fewer than in previous years. Still, the pipeline of expected launches is strong, showing that supply will escalate. Asset pricing is also expected to rise consistently because of the abundance of equity to debt in the market, the increasing cost of building materials and the high-quality demands of renters. 

Reason for Optimism 

There is a great deal of market capital and investment activity in the multifamily housing markets, with the bulk of investors looking for acquisitions across the nation. This means there is a great deal of opportunity and an infusion of money to support the increasing demand for multi-family housing. 

Smart Tech 

One of the largest, most consistent nationwide trends in the multifamily housing industry is the demand for innovative home technology. Across the board, this remains a key trend with a strong foothold. This trend goes beyond fast internet access and digital rental agreements. Residents are looking for built-in, layered, intelligent accommodations that will help reduce living costs, lower their environmental impact and increase convenience. Work-from-home support, touchless tech, and even smart elevators, appliances and communications are all on the table. Entering the multi-family housing market means anticipating the demand for smart home technology and staying ahead of the curve — not only meeting present-day expectations but those of future digital generations. 

Amenities and lifestyle accommodations

Open spaces and public places that allow for social distancing are certainly on renters’ minds. Spaces for various purposes are also in demand. People want private-public spaces that allow for dogs and cats, health and fitness lifestyles, and working from home. They’re also interested in maker spaces such as studios and hobby areas, increased storage and hyperlocal dining and drinking options. These are just a few examples of the demand for the best of both city and rural life in a suburban setting.

Growth Will Continue

There is certainly plenty to be optimistic about when it comes to the multifamily housing industry. Growth is expected to continue with plenty of capital in the pipeline to drive positive trends well into 2022. Multifamily renters do have higher demands than in previous years, but it’s nothing builders and investors can’t manage as long as they keep the long view in sight. Smart homes are one of the key trends to pay attention to in the coming years and decades. 

While the cost of builds is increasing, so is job security as remote work solidifies a commitment from employers and workers that these jobs are long-term and warrant a move away from physical-space employers. This shift certainly adds to the positive outlook, giving renters greater job security to seek long-term tenancy.  


Builder – 2021’s Key Markets: Work From Home Meets Migration and infrastructure

GlobeSt – Here Are The Multifamily Markets With The Strongest Tailwinds

CBRE – 2021 U.S. Real Estate Market


Michelle is a veteran writer specializing in technology, finance, business leadership, and a broad range of other topics. When she isn't tapping at her keyboard, Michelle can be found hiking the Colorado Rockies with her dog, SCUBA diving anywhere there's salt and sand, or curled up with a good book and cat at her side.