NYC New Building Permits Recovered to 2014 Levels in Third Quarter, Despite 421-a Suspension

Data Updates | October 31st 2016

In the third quarter of 2016, New York City authorized 5,256 housing units for new construction—a growth of 49% over the previous quarter, and just over 150% from the previous year.

This rebound to 2014 levels follows the tumult of 2015, in which the uncertainty of the future of 421-a led to a rollercoaster year for new building permits in New York City. A 2015 report by the NYU Furman Center considered how the future of 421-a might affect the feasibility of high-rise and mid-rise housing construction in certain neighborhoods of New York City.

Since 2012, Brooklyn regularly ranked first among the five boroughs in the number of new building permits per quarter. But in the third quarter of 2016, new building permits were nearly equally distributed in both Brooklyn and Manhattan, at just over 32% and 31% of the city’s total respectively, while Queens received 20%, the Bronx 15%, and Staten Island 3%.

Not noted on the figure above is the average number of units per permit, which has also trended upward for the 2016 fiscal year. In Manhattan the average number of units per permit grew from 28 in the first quarter to just over 67 in the third quarter. The Bronx also saw growth—from nearly 26 units per permit in the first quarter to just shy of 39 in the third quarter. In contrast to these numbers, both Brooklyn and Queens ended the quarter at about 8 and 7 units per permit on average respectively. 

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