NYC residential building construction up

Queens fares best of the five boroughs
February 28, 2012 10:30AM

Residential building construction rose in 2011 by 33 percent across the five boroughs, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of U.S. Census data released today.

The city’s Department of Buildings issued permits for 8,936 new residential units in 997 buildings in 2011, up from 6,727 units in 1,074 buildings in 2010. This is still appreciably below the 2008 peak, when permits for 33,911 units in 2,434 buildings were issued, the report says.

“While it is far too early to pop the bubbly, recent data point to a very gradual yet nonetheless encouraging rebound in residential construction,” said Building Congress President Richard Anderson. “The Building Congress has consistently held that New York City must produce an average of 20,000 new housing units annually simply to keep pace with population growth and to replace aging or lost housing stock.”

Queens fared the best of the five boroughs in terms of residential building, the numbers show. Between 2009 through 2011, 7,014 residential units were authorized for construction in Queens — 32 percent of new construction in New York City as a whole.

Also, the cost per unit for construction dropped in 2011, according to the report. The estimated cost per unit fell to $97,000 in 2011, down from $119,000 year-over-year, a decline of 18 percent.

The report concludes with Anderson’s advice for the city on how to further stimulate building in New York: “It is important that the city aggressively pursue a program of tax incentives, zoning adjustments and other steps, such as adaptive re-use of vacant sites and the elimination of inefficient public regulations, in order to further stimulate new residential construction,” he said. — Guelda Voien