There Are 73 Million More Working-Age Residents Today Than in the 70s

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More than 1 million market-rate apartment units are in various phases of construction. And yes, today’s construction total marks a four-decade high which has led some to sound the horn for broad-based overbuilding a la the 1970s. Here’s the catch though: in the 1970s, the volume of completions at its peak represented 6.5% of all existing inventory. Today, the peak volume of completions should account for a comparatively small 3.4% (nearly half as large as the 1970s boom). Additionally, the U.S. working age population in 1977 (the start of the data series) was 135 million, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Today’s estimate shows 209 million. From that perspective then, it’s fair to say that local pockets of oversupply will occur, though demand will eventually catch up. But it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to say that today’s construction volumes are going to result in drastic oversupply of multifamily housing units across the nation.