Greystar Turns to Modular for Budget-Friendly Apartments

By Holly Dutton

Greystar, one of the largest multifamily owners and developers in the world, is ramping up its use of modular construction in its newest projects. The company broke ground last month on its first modular apartment complex in the U.S. in a suburban area of Pittsburgh. The 312-unit development, Ltd. Spring Run, is the third property in Greystar’s new brand Ltd. by Greystar, which are built to be more affordable than market-rate units, or what the company deems “attainable housing.” Aimed at middle-income earners, annual rent increases at the properties are capped at 3 percent or the trailing 12-month increase in the CPI, whichever is greater. Greystar is partnering with the modular construction firm MLS for its Ltd. line. More Ltd. projects are in the pipeline, including three developments in Maryland. Over the next 18 months, Greystar is planning to build a total of 1,600 new units to the Ltd. portfolio.

Multifamily developers are increasingly looking to modular to get their projects built faster. According to the 2022 Modular Building Institute report, the multifamily market is the fastest-growing segment in the modular construction industry, accounting for 23 percent of the commercial modular output in 2021. Building housing faster has taken on even greater importance recently, given the ongoing affordability crisis and the deep need for more housing supply. Supply chain issues and high construction costs have made the issue even worse, and that’s what’s led a lot of multifamily operators to consider building modular, which typically delivers projects faster than conventional construction methods. Modular is also becoming increasingly popular with life sciences developers as they race to keep up with the demand for more lab space. Given that construction delays are now an expected part of the development environment, interest in using modular methods is primed for even more growth going forward.

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