Housing Starts Fuel Construction Burst in NYC

Spending on new residential projects reached $5.1 billion last year, nearly a third of NYC's $16.1 billion in new construction starts.

The construction industry is beginning to feel the good effects of the slow but steady recovery in the city's housing market. Spending on new residential construction jumped 54% in 2012 from the prior year and has more than doubled since 2010, according to an annual report of construction spending from the New York Building Congress. That led to an overall expansion of 5% for the design and construction industry in 2012.

Residential starts, or spending on new projects, reached $5.1 billion last year, accounting for 32% of the total of $16.1 billion in new construction starts. In 2011, new housing development accounted for only $3.3 billion. Still, housing remains well below the peak. It is also below 2008 levels, when the bottom began to fall out of the market. Even then, spending was at $5.9 billion.

"It's still well below the peak of the market, when the city was building in excess of 30,000 units a year for five years," Richard Anderson, president of the Building Congress, said. But he noted it is also considerably better than the doldrums of 2009, when there were only 6,000 new residential starts.

"The market's been climbing back, and we could be as high as 15,000 units this year, which would still be half of the peak years," Mr. Anderson said. "But it's a nice increase, if you look at it the other way, that figure would be almost 200% of the bottom year."

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Source: Crain's New York Business