MarketNsight Examines Missing Middle Housing, Affordability

Housing types to address unmet affordable housing demand

In the latest update from MarketNsight, Principal John Hunt examined the Missing Middle and the need for affordable housing. Many major cities, such as Atlanta, struggle to provide multi-unit affordable housing solutions due to limited zoning that restricts density in high-demand locales.

Within the housing industry, the Missing Middle is recognized as multi-unit housing types, such as duplexes, fourplexes, bungalow courts and mansion apartments, that are no bigger than a large house, that are integrated throughout most walkable pre-1940s neighborhoods, often integrated into blocks with primarily single-family homes and that provide diverse housing choices and generate enough density to support transit and locally-serving commercial amenities.

In short, the Missing Middle is a single-family home located alongside what looks like a single-family residence but is really a duplex, quad, eightplex or more. This building strategy is illegal in most cities today due to restrictive zoning.

Dan Parolek of Opticos Design explained in a recent NAHB webinar that the Missing Middle is called the “middle” for two reasons: its scale and capacity to provide affordability to middle-income households.

Restrictive zoning begs the question, why don’t we zone this way anymore? According to, the White House convened a task force in the 1920s, to push cities to adopt zoning codes that promoted segregation and kept home prices high. Now in 2019, many major cities in the midst of housing crises are considering removing bans on duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes.

Furthermore, with Millennials entering homeownership slower than originally expected, Hunt claims that the Missing Middle is the perfect bridge to the Missing Millennial, as well the solution to keeping older Millennials from leaving intown destinations. Multi-unit housing could allow more Americans to build real estate wealth while also easing rent prices.

MarketNSight is focused on helping home builders and developers make smart decisions related to purchasing land and pricing product. Its groundbreaking Feasibility Matrix® systemizes the decision-making process and creates a one-stop-shop for gauging new home community feasibility including ranking by builder and subdivision and developed lot and raw land sales. To learn more or to schedule a demonstration, visit

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