Residential Building Permits Up 33 Percent in 2011 – Report

The city Department of Buildings issued residential permits for 8,936 units in 997 buildings in 2011 – a 33 percent increase from the year before, according to a new report released today by the New York Building Congress

2836construction worker Residential Building Permits Up 33 Percent in 2011   Report

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While the increase in building permits is encouraging, it’s still a far cry from the 2008 peak – about 74 percent below from that particular point, the NYBC adds in its report.

This was also the third straight year where the DOB issued fewer than 9,000 residential building permits. There were 30,000 residential permits issued annually by the DOB  between 2005 and 2008. Up to 25,000 permits were issued annually from 2000 to 2004.

Of all the boroughs, Queens took the prize for receiving the largest share of building permits since the downturn in 2008. From 2009 to 2011, there were 7,014 Queens-based units that received permits for construction, according to the report, while Staten Island had 1,659 units in that same time frame.

The projected cost of construction per unit fell by 18 percent in the past year, to $97,000 in 2011 from $119,000 in 2010.

“[T]he drop is likely the result of a general shift away from the types of high-end, luxury units that typically drive up unit costs,” the report said.

Overall, the rise in residential building permits is an encouraging sign that the residential construction sector is “in the midst of a slow but steady rebound,” the report said.

“While it is far too early to pop the bubbly, recent data point to a very gradual yet nonetheless encouraging rebound in residential construction,” said New York Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson in a statement today.

“Our optimism must be tempered, however, by the recognition that we still have a long way to go,” he added. “The Building Congress has consistently held that New York City must produce an average of 20,000 new housing units annually simply to keep pace with population growth and to replace aging or lost housing stock.”

drosen@observer.com