How Long Does It Take for a Contractor to Build a Multifamily Property?

How Long Does It Take for a Contractor to Build a Multifamily Property?

Have you ever looked out on a plot of land and wondered what is going to be built there? And then, sure enough, a couple of days or weeks later a developer posts a sign by the side of the road advertising a new multifamily living community. They’re popping up all over the country, with new developments being started and completed every single day.

But how long does it take to build a multifamily housing property, anyway? Months? Years? If a new property is coming up in your community or you’re looking to buy a new property, the answer to this question can be invaluable. Let’s discuss everything you need to know about multifamily construction.

What Does the U.S Census Bureau Have to Say?

According to the most recently available U.S Census data, the average time it takes to build and develop multifamily developments and properties from start to finish is twelve and a half months—or just a little bit over one year. Multifamily developments are often commercial construction projects and include apartment buildings, duplexes and split townhouses, and other multi-family buildings. Sometimes single-family homes or multifamily apartments can be created, though these are less common. Depending on the zoning laws in specific areas, you might not be able to convert single-family homes into rental housing or student housing options.

The data is measured from the time of authorization to the time of completion. That means that all the time getting permission to build beforehand is excluded, which can be significant. However, from the time that you notice the beginning of construction, you can expect about a year for that highrise to be completed.

Does Time Vary Based On Size?

The short answer is yes. The time it takes to build a multifamily housing property varies based on the number of units, but not in the pattern that you might think. Logically, you might think that the more units involved, the longer construction would take. Strangely enough, that’s not necessarily true. Let’s take a closer look:

  • 2-4 units: About 11.2 months
  • 5-9 units: About 14.5 months
  • 10-19 units: About 11.9 months
  • 20+ units: About 13.4 months

This is a little bit surprising, isn’t it? Multifamily housing that contains 5-9 rental units actually takes the longest to complete, on average, with 2-4 unit properties and 10-19 unit properties relatively similar between 11-12 months.

This odd phenomenon could have several explanations. Most notably, the region plays a vital impact. In the Northeast, for example, it takes nearly 25 months on average to build a 5-9 multifamily housing unit, as compared to about 11 months in the midwest. This is likely because construction sites are much more crowded in cities like New York City and Denver, where these properties are being built, while projects are likely to move along much faster in college towns in the Big 10, for example.

Occupancy per unit and renters’ preferences can also impact the apartment construction time. High-end commercial real estate projects, for example, take longer and have higher construction costs. More affordable housing or low-income housing projects could take less time. if an apartment is mixed-use or has many multifamily units, it could also take longer to be made.

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads, Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project.

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.