Seth, to answer the original posted question: Never.
At least in most markets. I just bought and remodeled a rental for $62.50 sf. Including the remodel costs.
Now it was bank owned, and is a b class, and I got a good deal.... but, you can buy C class for 40 to 60/ ft and B class for 50-80 sf all day in dozens of cities if you know how to look.
I used to build new homes and LOVE new construction. But when you put it on paper it doesnt make financial sense...
If you are willing to build, you could buy some super cheap fixer uppers and completely remodel them, use great long term upgrades, and come out at 70 percent of new construction costs.
Its not as glorious as new construction, but it is where the money is at.
I think this is due to rising land prices and material production prices. This also crosses over to many industries.
Even John Huntsman Senor, the billionare petrochemical giant said that his wealth was built by buying plants and infrastructure during market downturns that were already in production. He revamped them to increase profitability, and spent only half of what it would cost him to build new.
Now this is SFR rentals that I am in. I think there could POSSIBLY be a situation where new construction would work in multifamily, but I doubt it.