Building Permits Rise by 156% in Just One Year

New York City is in the midst of a building boom as evidenced by permit filings at the Department of Buildings. Over the last fiscal year, the DOB agreed to the construction of 52,618 residential units. This represents a massive 156 percent increase from the previous fiscal year and a 749 percent increase from the post-recession low of 2010, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by the New York Building Congress.

Developers were particularly active in Brooklyn, where the DOB issued permits for 23,326 residential units over this past year, accounting for almost half of all approved permits, compared to just 7,181 last fiscal year.

Some of the urgency seen in the permit filings could be attributed to the June 15 expiration of the 421-a tax abatement program, which waived property tax on newly constructed apartment buildings for periods of 10 to 25 years in exchange for providing some low-income housing. Developers realized that, even if the program were to be reauthorized, it would probably be in a form that was considerably less developer-friendly. By rushing to get their permits approved, they made sure their projects could still get the abatement.