Building permit activity increased significantly in the fourth quarter of 2021 for boroughs outside of Manhattan, The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) says in a Jan. 31 report.
The significance of this recovery could be indicated by the fact that the fourth quarter filings represented the highest number of new permits since the second quarter of 2016. The 665 permits recorded by the NYC Department of Buildings compares to the COVID-19 pandemic low point of 356 filings between April and June, 2021.
The numbers don’t just reflect quantity. REBNY counted 31 million sq. ft. of construction in the permit records. This represents a whopping 289 per cent increase from the third quarter of 2021 and a 179 percent increase year-over-year.
Overall, New York City recorded an increase of 37 percent in filings compared to the previous quarter, and a 22 percent increase year over year. Most were in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn.
“This significant quarterly increase in large-scale construction is creating good jobs and much-needed housing at a critical moment in the city’s path to full economic recovery,” REBNY president James Whelan said in a statement. “But we can’t take our eye off the ball — and we still have a long way to go toward meeting our city’s long-term needs.”
REBNY says the fourth quarter saw the highest volume of square footage planned since 2014.
“New York’s construction and real estate industries have been nothing but resilient since the beginning of the pandemic, and this report is just the latest sign of that extraordinary resiliency – from its leadership to the hardworking men and women who make construction possible,” Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said in a statement reported by Commercial Observer (CO).
“While this is certainly good news for New York, it’s critical that we keep focused on ensuring this positive progress continues and that the creation of middle-class careers with benefits through the construction industry remains central to the city’s economic recovery.”
A significant percentage of the permits are for 280 proposed multiple dwelling units. RENBY says the number of units increased 300 per cent from previous quarter, to 24,834. This represents a 240 per cent year-over-year increase.
Manhattan proved to be the laggard, with only 34 new building permit filings. In comparison, Brooklyn had 206 permit filings, Queens had 203, Staten Island had 140 and the Bronx had 82. Offsetting the low number of permits, Manhattan’s filings reflected its density, with some 5,709 residential units in the filings. However, Brooklyn recorded 11,152 units.
RENBY says, even with the new apartments, the city still lags behind other places in the country. NYC approved less new housing units per resident than any other city in the Northeast in 2020 with 2.4 units permitted per 1,000 residents, the New York Post reported.