Survey shows significant delays in apartment construction

Survey asked construction firms how the spread of COVID-19 is affecting construction permitting, starts, completions, materials and labor

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The percent of apartment developers reporting construction delays remained essentially the same in the second iteration of the National Multifamily Housing Council’s (NMHC) Construction Survey—56 percent compared to 55 percent in the April 3 survey.

There was, however, a meaningful change in the percent of respondents reporting delays in construction starts, which portends potential for the COVID-19 pandemic to further exacerbate the nation’s affordable housing shortage. Of those reporting construction delays, fully 70 percent reported experiencing delays in starts, up 11 percentage points from the end of last month.

The NMHC Construction Survey is intended to gauge the magnitude of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak on multifamily construction. In addition to finding a majority are experiencing delays, it most notably determined that:

  • 77 percent of respondents experiencing construction delays reported issues with permitting (compared to a similar 76 percent from the last survey);
  • 28 percent noted a lack of materials is impacting their construction operations, up slightly from 24 percent at the end of March;
  • 44 percent indicated that COVID-19 outbreak-related labor constraints are affecting construction operations, a marginal increase from 41 percent of respondents last round.

As the outbreak continues, firms are becoming more adaptive in their strategies. Three-quarters of the respondents (75 percent) indicated that they have implemented new policies to deal with the hurdles forming in the virus’s wake—compared to 73 percent last round—with many of those firms indicating they have implemented more than one approach.

NMHC will conduct this Survey on an ongoing basis for the foreseeable future to continue to provide an estimation of the impact of COVID-19 on multifamily construction.

View the full survey results here.

This Survey is one of a number of NMHC-produced resources focused on the COVID-19 outbreak. Additional resources, data and materials can be found here.