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Multifamily Developers Experiencing Pandemic-Related Delays Construction Resuming - Slowly - as States Open Up

According to a recent press release, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) reports that more than half (53%) of multifamily developers polled for the third edition of the organization’s COVID-19 Construction Survey reported construction delays in the jurisdictions where they operate. Of this group, 85% reported delays in permitting due to COVID-19, up from 77% in the second edition of the survey, which was conducted in mid-April and 76% in the initial survey, conducted at the tail-end of March and very beginning of April.

According to the report, “Survey respondents reporting construction delays also indicated a significant pause in starts, with 78% reporting delays, up 8 percentage points from the end of last month, and 19 percentage points from the first round [of the survey].”

NMHC launched the Survey to gauge the magnitude of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak on multifamily construction. According to this latest iteration, additional findings include:

  • 53 percent of developers reported a delay in construction--of those developers, the number experiencing a delay in construction because of construction moratorium dropped from 62% in round one to 37% in round three, indicating that construction activity is resuming as states relax pandemic-related restrictions.
  • While only 29% of respondents reported being impacted by a lack of materials, the number of respondents experiencing price increases in materials jumped to 17% from 5% and 4%, respectively. Despite this jump, 78% still report no price impact, and 24% of those implementing new strategies report they are sourcing alternative building materials, up 8 percentage points from the first survey.
  • Labor availability has also improved over the course of the three surveys. Seventy percent of respondents said they were not impacted by labor shortages, up from 54% and 57% in the earlier surveys. This may be due in part to the fact that 24 percent of those implementing new strategies said they were offering workforce incentives or other benefits, up from 16% in round two.

The report went on to say that 59% of respondents indicated “they have implemented new strategies (sometimes several at once) to deal with the hurdles formed by the virus’s continued presence, though this is down from 75%” in the previous round, and 73% in the survey’s first round.

NMHC says it will continue to conduct and release the results of this survey series “for the foreseeable future” in an ongoing effort to parse the impact of COVID-19 on multifamily construction. You can view the full survey results here and a comprehensive overview of the results here. Additional resources, data and materials can be found here.

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