Improving economy will help replenish housing supply

Steven Spinola

President, Real Estate Board of New York

In the first quarter of 2013, residential housing permits in New York City started out strong, with 2,556 permits recorded, keeping pace with 2,223 permits issued in the first quarter of 2012.

So far, Brooklyn has been the major source of residential activity in 2013, while Manhattan recorded the most permits in 2012. Based on the first quarter 2013 data, however, it appears that permits and new housing development are leveling off, with Brooklyn and Manhattan recording significantly lower levels of permits in March than in January.

From 2004-2008, the peak years of economic activity, permits steadily climbed and reached a peak of 33,170 in 2008. The financial crisis of 2009 caused a significant drop to 5,953 permits in that year.

Since then, permits have slowly picked up as the economy progresses and returns back to normal. By the end of 2012, permits reached 10,599, a level almost twice that of 2009 and the highest seen since 2008.

Brooklyn and Manhattan have been the sources of the largest increases in permit activity since 2009. During that time, permits in Manhattan increased 82.8 percent while permits in Brooklyn more than doubled.

Even with the rise in residential housing activity, the permit numbers are well below what the city needs to meet the housing demand for our steadily rising population, which is expected to reach 9 million people by 2030.

According to the 2007 PlaNYC report, NYC needed to construct between 300,000 and 500,000 new residential units by 2030 in order to accommodate its projected population. This goal was thwarted by the financial crisis of 2009 and in order to catch up to the original rate of production, the city must begin to produce between 12,500 and 19,500 units annually between 2013 and 2030.

We hope that with the improving and strengthening economy, the city will see an increase in permit activity that will further facilitate the growth of the residential market and meet the steadily rising housing demand.

In other REBNY News:

Although we have completely booked our tee times for REBNY’s Annual Golf & Tennis Outing, tennis players are still needed for the event on Monday, June 10 at the North Shore Country Club. Come and enjoy a great day of fun, food, drinks and prizes. Register online at For more information, contact Kathleen Gibbs at or 212-616-5246.

Come help celebrate the Retail Deal of the Year Awards presented by REBNY’s Retail Committee at the 15th Annual Cocktail Party from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Tuesday, June 11 at the 101 Club, 101 Park Avenue. It is the real estate industry’s highest honors for commercial retail brokers. Tickets are $50. Register online at For more information contact Desiree Jones at

Ethical behavior, competitive bidding, new taxes and negotiating mortgage contingencies are some of the hot topics for the Residential Downtown Breakfast Roundtable Discussion from 8:30 to 11 am on Friday, June 14, 2013 at the Brotherhood Synagogue, 28 Gramercy Park South. REBNY’s Residential Division’s Downtown Committee hosts this event where participants spend approximately 20 minutes at a table before moving on to the next subject table. Seating is limited. REBNY members are $25 and non-members are $35. Register at For more information, contact Jay Perez at