The U.S. Could Build a Lot More Apartments

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By contrast, building permits for single-family homes, while they too have been on the rise, are still only at about 40 percent of the peak they hit in September 2005.
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It’s almost certainly a good thing that apartment construction has recovered more strongly than house construction. Many younger Americans prefer city living. If they can afford it, that is. High housing prices have become a major problem in resurgent big cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. These places need more apartment buildings, probably lots more.

Here’s something you may not know. U.S. developers used to put up apartment buildings at a much faster pace than they’re doing now. Not a decade ago, when single-family house construction hit its all-time peak, but decades ago.

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This is true even in states that have grown a lot since the 1970s and 1980s. Here’s the chart for Texas, for example:

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