Residential, commercial construction taking a nosedive, NY Building Congress report shows

Both residential and commercial construction has declined dramatically this year, according to a report released today by the New York Building Congress. The coalition projects that just 6,300 new residential units will be constructed in the city this year, after five consecutive years in which 30,000 or more residential units were constructed. Total residential construction spending this year is expected to amount to $3.5 billion, down 44 percent from 2008, which reached $6.3 billion, the report, “New York City Construction Outlook 2009-2011,” says.

The report projects a similar outcome for non-residential construction this year. Non-residential construction spending will hit $6.9 billion this year, the report says, marking a 38 percent decline from the 2008 spending, which was $11.1 billion.

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Even so, the report claims that spending and employment in the construction industry are likely to stabilize in the next two years. While construction spending in 2009 is expected to reach just $25.8 billion, marking a 20 percent decline from 2008, employment is expected to decline only 8.3 percent this year, according to the report. Spending is expected to remain steady through 2010 and 2011, reaching $25 billion and $25.6 billion, respectively, the report claims.

Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, said that he feels optimistic about data projections from this year and the last.

“While there is no ignoring the 20 percent decline in annual spending over the past year, there is reason to be encouraged given that 2008 was one of the most productive in New York City history,” Anderson said. “Even with the decline, 2009 construction spending remains 45 percent greater than was achieved five years ago, in 2004.” TRD

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