Report: R.I. slowest in nation for new housing construction

RHODE ISLAND has fewer new houses developed per capita than any other state in the country, according to a report by Oregon-based Matin Real Estate. / COURTESY MATIN REAL ESTATE

PROVIDENCE – As many Rhode Islanders struggle through a housing crisis, the Ocean State has fewer new houses built per capita than any other state in the country, according to a Matin Real Estate report.

Rhode Island was last nationally, with just 1.27 new housing developments per 1,000 residents based on figures from the U.S. Census Bureau and consumer data firm Statista, the Portland, Oregon-based company said.

That aligns with data previously reported by ONE Neighborhood Builders. The Providence-based nonprofit, also drawing from the U.S. Census, in September reported that the state was last in the nation for single-family building permits issued per capita in 2021, citing the same rate of permits issued per residents.

Rhode Island’s lack of affordable housing has been widely highlighted by state nonprofits: According to HousignWorksRI’s 2022 Housing Fact Book, released in October, Rhode Island’s single-year housing costs increased at their highest rate since a 2001-2004 surge, and nearly 70% of jobs in state-designated “high-growth sectors” do not pay enough to support average housing expenses.

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Neighboring Connecticut didn’t fare much better in the Matin Real Estate report, with 1.29 new builds per 1,000 residents, which placed it second-to-last nationally.

Meanwhile, when compared to Rhode Island, Massachusetts had more than doubled production, at 2.84 builds per 1,000 residents. But those figures still place Massachusetts the 11th-slowest state in the country.

Utah took the top spot for housing development, with 11.7 new builds per 1,000 people, followed by Idaho and Florida, at 11.43 and 9.8, respectively.

Those high rankings don’t necessarily correlate with affordability. The average Rhode Island house costs $437,672, according to the report. In Utah, meanwhile, the average house costs $554,955, while the average price tag for a house in Idaho is comparable to the Ocean State’s, at $427,410. Florida’s average home cost was $406,426.

With the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, most of the lowest ranking states were in the Eastern part of the U.S., Matin Real Estate noted.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at

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