NYC Sees Jump in Construction Projects, Especially in Boroughs: REBNY


The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) says the city saw an increase in filings for construction projects at the end of last year, but not in Manhattan, according to a report released by REBNY on Monday.

The number of filings for new buildings in the fourth quarter of 2021 was up 37 percent compared to the previous quarter and marked a 22 percent increase year over year, with a total of 665 permits submitted to the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) in the fourth quarter, according to the report. The majority of those were in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

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Last quarter’s figures also marked the highest number of new building filings in a single quarter since the second quarter of 2016 and it was 32 percent greater than the average of 503 quarterly filings the city has seen since the first quarter of 2008, REBNY said. The figure is in contrast from the pandemic-era low point of 356 filings in the second quarter of 2021.

“This significant quarterly increase in large-scale construction is creating good jobs and much-needed housing at a critical moment in the city’s path to full economic recovery,” REBNY President James Whelan said in a statement. “But we can’t take our eye off the ball — and we still have a long way to go toward meeting our city’s long-term needs.” 

Possibly more significant than the number of permits is the scale of the projects planned. For the fourth quarter of 2021, REBNY counted 31 million square feet of construction that could come online in the future, marking a 289 percent increase from the third quarter of 2021 and a 179 percent increase year-over-year. 

The fourth quarter saw the highest volume of square footage planned since 2014, according to REBNY.

“New York’s construction and real estate industries have been nothing but resilient since the beginning of the pandemic, and this report is just the latest sign of that extraordinary resiliency – from its leadership to the hardworking men and women who make construction possible,” Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said in a statement. “While this is certainly good news for New York, it’s critical that we keep focused on ensuring this positive progress continues and that the creation of middle-class careers with benefits through the construction industry remains central to the city’s economic recovery.”

So what kind of developments will we see from this?

REBNY’s report shows there were 24,834 filings for proposed multiple dwelling units in the fourth quarter, a 300 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 240 percent year-over-year jump. This was across 280 proposed buildings in the fourth quarter there were 42,207 multiple dwelling units proposed altogether in 2021.

Brooklyn beat other boroughs with 206 project filings in the fourth quarter, a 27 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 20 percent gain year over year, according to REBNY. Queens came in second with 203, followed by Staten Island with 140, the Bronx with 82 and Manhattan with only 34 new building filings.

Manhattan represented only about 5 percent of filings in fourth-quarter 2021, but made up for it with about 5,709 residential units being included in those filings, the second-most filings in the city. Still, Manhattan trailed the 11,152 units proposed in Brooklyn. Staten Island had the fewest with 283 units.

But even with all these proposed new apartments, the city still lags behind other places in the country. The Big Apple approved less new housing units per resident than any other city in the Northeast in 2020 with 2.4 units permitted per 1,000 residents, the New York Post reported.

REBNY plans to tell Albany legislators on Monday afternoon during a hearing on housing stating that more is needed to end the crisis. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $216 billion budget proposal also set aside $25 billion for housing and property tax rebates.

Mark Hallum can be reached at