New REBNY Report Shows Construction and Development Makes Measured Progress Toward Recovery

While More Construction Plans are Being Filed, Few are Large-Scale Development and Total Square Footage Remains Depressed

 

NEW YORK, NY – The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the City’s leading real estate trade association, today reported that while the number of new building filings in Q3 2021 were near pre-pandemic levels, the total proposed construction square feet for the quarter remains below average. These findings highlight that although measured progress is being made since the depths of the pandemic induced downturn, the construction and development sector is yet to make a full recovery.

According to the latest installment of REBNY’s Quarterly Construction Pipeline Report, which includes data for both Q2 and Q3 2021, the total number of new building filings in Q3 2021 was 486, a 37% increase from the previous quarter and a 10% increase year-over-year. This number is near the historical average of 502 quarterly filings since Q1 2008.

Proposed construction square feet in Q3, however, totaled 8.12 million – a far cry from the historical average of 11.22 million square feet since Q1 2008. A key reason for that is that out of this quarter’s filings, only two are large-scale developments over 300,000 square feet.

Notably, the report also highlights an upward trend in the filings of multiple dwelling residential units this year. In Q3 2021, the number of filings totaled 6,187, a 20% increase year-over-year. While these gains are promising, housing production in New York City remains well below levels needed to support the city’s growing population. According to the most recent Census, the City’s population increased by approximately 630,000 from 2010 to 2020. However, there were only 206,000 housing units produced during that same time, according to the NYC Department of City Planning.

“As we can see from this report, the new federal infrastructure legislation will provide a critical boost to New York’s recovery. Investment in infrastructure is key to our long-term economic success,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “We are committed to working alongside City and State leaders to ensure the new federal funding is distributed quickly and equitably in order to advance major projects, create good jobs for New Yorkers and propel the City to a strong economic recovery.”

“Time and again, it’s been the city’s building and construction industry that has stimulated the economic activity needed to recover from times of crisis,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “While a full economic recovery will require time and substantial investment, it’s clear that, as a city, we’re headed in the right direction. We look forward to working with the real estate community and our City, State, and Federal partners to ensure the infusion of investment generated by the federal infrastructure legislation generates a direct, immediate, and positive impact on our city’s recovery.”

“Getting more large-scale construction off the ground will be vital for New York City’s economic recovery, and we are looking forward to seeing new federal infrastructure funding distributed to support major projects as quickly as possible,” said Lou Coletti, President and CEO of the Building Trades Employers Association (BTEA). “Our team will continue working with our partners in the real estate industry, organized labor and City and State government to build back even stronger and create good jobs and opportunities for New Yorkers.”

“Despite the challenges of the past year and a half, the New York building industry has continued to help lead the city and state’s recovery,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO of the New York Building Congress. “While it’s clear there’s still a long road to recovery, the historic federal infrastructure bill signed by President Biden last week will be a much-needed boost for our region. With the Gateway Program advancing, a full rebuild of Penn Station and many other ambitious projects on the horizon, there is nowhere to go from here but up. We are ready to put shovels in the ground to create jobs, grow the economy and build a better and more equitable New York.”

Download the complete Quarterly Construction Pipeline Report here.

For more information about REBNY research reports, visit go.rebny.com/Reports.

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