Multi-Family Housing in the U.S.and Canada


To provide an overview of the multi-family housing in the U.S.and Canada, including: number of residential multi-family buildings; number/proportion of residential multi-family buildings have lobbies with security/sitting area; number/proportion of residential multi-family buildings with elevators; number of unique people living in these residential multi-family buildings in a year; number of companies that own these residential multi-family buildings. This information will be used to evaluate the business potential in new markets.

Early Findings

Definition of Multifamily Housing in the U.S.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, multifamily housing includes "residential buildings containing units built one on top of another and those built side-by-side which do not have a ground-to-roof wall and/or have common facilities i.e., attic, basement, heating plant, and plumbing." The design type of multifamily housing can be: townhouse (side by side housing units that do not meet the definition of single-family houses), duplex (two dwellings within a single building), and conventional apartments (structures with units above and below each other).

Statistics on Multifamily Housing in the U.S.

Estimation of Multifamily Housing Units Served by Elevators

  • From the 2011 American Housing Survey for the U.S., of 28,685 multi units with 2 or more floors, 5,253 had at least one working elevator; 32 had a non-working elevator; and 23,99 had no elevator.
  • Therefore, of the 28,685 multi units with 2 or more floors, 5,285 (5,253+32) had elevators; making up about 18.4% (5,285/28685 x100) of the multi units with 2 or more floors.
  • In 2011, there were 15, 000 conventional apartments (multifamily housing structures with units above and below each other) making up 94% of new multifamily housing units completed, with townhouses making up 6%.
  • Therefore, we can make an indicative assumption that 18.4% of the multifamily conventional apartments in that year had an elevator.

Summary of Findings

During this hour of preliminary research, we determined that information on multifamily housing in Canada and the U.S. is relatively available in the public domain. However, some of the requested data points/statistics may not be easy to obtain as they may not exist in a pre-compiled format.

Proposed next steps:

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