Small and Medium Multifamily Housing Units: Affordability, Distribution, and Trends
Housing units within small and medium multi-family (SMMF) properties, defined as buildings with 2 to 49 units, comprise over 20% of the U.S. housing stock and are located primarily within the central cities or suburbs of metropolitan areas. However, this category of properties has sometimes been overlooked both in the media as well as in research, which have focused instead on the single-family and large multi-family (over 50 units) categories.
Amalgamating the American Community Survey, American Housing Survey, and DataQuick databases, this study situates this segment of the U.S. housing stock in context by looking at cross-category comparisons and change over time. We map the geographic distribution of SMMF properties, describe their characteristics, and evaluate the degree to which they contribute to affordability within their specific market areas. Our data sets allow a rich examination of the variations both within the SMMF category and in comparison to the single-family and large multi-family property categories. The resulting analyses allow us to draw policy-relevant conclusions about this large segment of the housing stock and its importance in shaping housing supply and affordability at a national and regional level.