NYC construction activity levels off with decline in new building permits: NYCDOB

nyc building permit data
NYC building permits (source NYCDOB)

New York City’s Department of Buildings (NYCDOB) says construction activity levelled off in 2018 following the city’s “historic real estate and development boom.”

DOB issued a total of 165,988 construction permits in 2018, down from 168,243 in 2017, the first decline in total permits issued year-over-year since 2009. However, there is still an extraordinarily high level of construction activity in neighborhoods around the city – indeed, 2018’s permit totals are the second-highest on record.

“While construction activity remains strong, the building boom may have finally hit its peak,” said outgoing buildings commissioner Rick Chandler.

The results are included in the agency’s NYC Construction Dashboard, described as a data-rich interactive website with information on construction and real estate development in every neighborhood in the city.

Click here to see DOB’s dashboard.

Other report highlights:

  • Despite the slight downturn, construction projects approved in 2018 will still add a staggering 46 million sq. ft. — over 1.5 square miles — of brand-new floor space to our city.
  • 2018 saw decreases in new building and demolition permits compared to the previous year, but those 2018 permits still represent a 44% increase in activity since 2013.
  • Unsurprisingly, Manhattan still reigns as king of construction activity in New York, accounting for 72,004 total permits, around 43% of all the permits issued citywide.
  • Brooklyn’s boom continues with the most new building permits issued in 2018 (2,756 total, 34% citywide). Brooklyn Community Board 1 leads the borough with 414 permits issued for new building construction, much of it along the L-train corridor.
  • “Made on Staten Island”: The borough’s continuing housing boom. New building permits or renewals this year increased to 1,321 in 2018, up from 1299 last year.
  • Community Board 7 in Queens, which includes Flushing, leads all community boards citywide in both demolition projects (148 total, 7% citywide) and major alteration projects (446 total, 5% citywide), which will lead to big changes in that corner of the city.
  • Residents in the South Bronx may have noticed fewer construction workers around the neighborhood, with decreases in DOB permits issued in 2018 across Bronx Community Boards 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the employed construction workforce in NYC has decreased from an all-time high of 46,000 last year to 45,500, mirroring the downturn in permits issued, but still representing the second-highest employment numbers recorded. This is the first estimated decrease in construction employment in New York City since the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Other previous trends continue unabated, including the desirability of waterfront development, with high concentrations of 2018 new-building permits issued on the North Brooklyn waterfront, Long Island City, and Far Rockaway.

The 2018 dashboard was built by DOB’s data analytics team, that has created a number of interactive real time reports, including the NYC Active Major Construction Map.


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