As the housing market rebounds, smart companies are watching the volume of housing starts as well as the mix of home types built. The mix often can have a bigger impact on building materials purchased than does the total number of new homes.

From the housing boom high of about 2.2 million new homes built in 2005, to a low of 600,000 in 2010, to the 1.1 million new homes built in 2015, we’re clearly on a path of improvement. But what these numbers don’t tell us is that multifamily units currently represent a much higher share of total new housing starts than before (about 15% before the boom; 35% now).

Why does that matter? Single-family homes typically use more building materials than multifamily dwellings. Compared with an average-size apartment, a luxury single-family home uses about twice as many cabinets, countertop materials, and faucets, and more than six times the structural materials and exterior finishes.

Not only is volume of materials dependent upon the housing start mix, but also upon the type of materials. Keeping up with industry trends and changes is important, which is why leading building product manufacturers incorporate Home Innovation’s annual data into their daily decisions. For more information from our most recent builder and consumer surveys, visit