NYC construction starts post decline, but growth seen in residential, municipal sectors

September 18, 2012 12:00PM

Some $6.6 billion of construction projects began in New York City during the first half of 2012, which shows a decline, according to the New York Building Congress. Citing McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge data, this marks a 16 percent decline from the first half of 2011, when construction starts ticked in at $7.9 billion. Construction starts in New York City totaled $10.6 billion in the first six months of 2010, $7 billion in the same period in 2009 and $10.7 for the same months in 2008.

Construction starts count new construction projects, as well as alterations and renovations to existing properties.

The news comes with two silver linings. Though overall value is down, both residential and government project starts are up.

In terms of housing, the value of residential construction starts in New York City spiked to $1.9 billion in the first half of this year from $929 million in the first half of last year. The 2012 figure is also greater than that of the first six months of 2010, which was $1.3 billion and the first half 2009, which came in at $1.5 billion. Still, this is below that of the first six months of 2008: $3.5 billion. Among the most valuable residential starts are the Avalon West Chelsea and 388 Bridge Street.

“If you go back to July of 2011,” said New York Building Congress President Richard Anderson in the release, “this sector has generated nearly $4 billion in new projects. While that level of activity remains well below the peak, it nonetheless represents the sector’s best performance since 2008.”

In terms of government starts, which encompass infrastructure, the value increased to $1.5 billion in the first half of 2012 from $906 million in the same period last year. Notable starts include the connection of train and track signal projects at the Second Avenue Subway project.

However, the non-residential sector, comprising office, retail, schooling and cultural spaces, fell. The value dedclined to $3.2 billion in the first half of 2012 from $6.1 billion in the same time period last year. As The Real Deal reported earlier this summer, office construction starts for all of 2011 saw a 30 percent year-over-year decline in value. The report attributed this fall to a shortage of ground-up construction.

“While there’s no shortage of planned projects, especially in the office sector, we are lacking the type of job growth and confidence in the overall economy that is necessary to get these projects off the ground quickly,” Anderson said. — Zachary Kussin