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Middle Housing: The Missing Link?

an image of a duplex in Burlington Vermont

As the state of Vermont continues to look for solutions to address its longstanding housing crisis, the recent elimination of single-family zoning (S.100 Housing Bill – learn more) is seen by many as a step in the right direction.  Similar legislation has recently been passed in states such as Maine, Oregon, and California with others likely soon to follow along.

Although Vermont’s housing issues are unique and very different than other areas throughout the country, one place where both our local and national problems overlap is with regards to new construction building trends and more specifically, the lack of “middle housing” starts as compared to those of single family and large multi family complexes with 20+ units. 

In a recent article posted on, author Ilena Peng exposes the decline of small multi-family “middle housing” options and how those types of buildings can, and should, be part of the overall housing solution.  Single family zoning, as per this article, experienced a proliferation following World War II; during a time in our nation’s history when racial segregation and exclusion sometimes leaked into public policy and municipal regulation.

However, while zoning reform has recently gained a lot of positive momentum on the national level, another part of the middle housing decline can be attributed to economic factors that are not as easy to correct.  Lack of builders/developers, increased material costs, supply chain disruption and record-high interest rates have all contributed to low supply and high demand; so most home builders continue to produce inventory that yields the highest profit margins, such as single family homes and large apartment buildings with 20+ units.

For more information and statistics check out the full article “Small Multifamily Homes Were Disappearing. Now States are Scrambling to Revive Them” on  Since 1985, our Team has helped thousands of clients buy, sell, and invest in Northwest Vermont real estate. As the top selling Team in Vermont, our goal is to provide you with deep local insight, up-to-the-minute information, and relevant resources necessary to make your purchase or sale an informed, profitable and rewarding experience.