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Apartments trump single-family housing
The Flats 170 apartment complex on Rte. 170 in Odenton is next to the proposed Academy Yard mixed-use project. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Apartments trump single-family housing

Data news website FiveThirtyEight did a little digging and found numbers supporting what some developers have been saying about the future of housing.

The white picket fence home is out of vogue, and apartment buildings are booming all over the country and here in Maryland.

According to data from the Census Bureau collected by FiveThirtyEight, from 2001-2006 apartments represented 20.1 percent of construction permits issued. But from 2010-2013, apartments represented 37.9 percent of construction permits issued.

If you look at the number of single-family homes sold today compared to 2005, before the housing collapse, you might understand why developers are skittish about breaking ground on single-family homes. New home sales, excluding apartments, are down more than 70 percent from their 2005 peak; and existing single-family sales are down about 40 percent. The number of single-family homes changing hands has grown in recent years but remains at historically low levels. — FiveThirtyEight

Less certain is what is driving the change. Although the numbers prove that apartment building is on the upswing, there is debate about why this is happening. Some developers, such as Seawall Development’s Donald Manekin, believe there has been a cultural shift, and that younger generations now prefer a more urban lifestyle.

Other experts argue the apartment building boom is cyclical and that single-family home construction will return once the economy fully recovers.

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