The missing middle construction sector includes development of medium-density housing, such as townhouses, duplexes and other small multifamily properties.
While townhouse construction has trended higher in recent quarters, the multifamily segment of the missing middle (apartments in two- to four-unit properties) has disappointed. For 2021, there were only 12,000 starts of such residences. This is flat from 2020, during a period of time when most construction segments expanded. For 2022, the total increased but to only 16,000. Nonetheless, this marks the best year for this type of multifamily construction since the Great Recession.
For the fourth quarter of 2022, there were just 3,000 two- to four-unit housing construction starts. This is flat from a year prior.
NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz provides additional details in this Eye on Housing post.
Learn more about missing middle housing.