The Big Apple's Real Estate Industry Looking to Rebound
Based on new data from the Real Estate Board of New York, total square footage and new multiple dwelling filings for proposed construction in New York City are both at lows not seen in a decade, indicating significant obstacles to a full economic rebound in New York City.
The proposed 5.4 million construction square feet in Q1 2021 is the lowest such figure since Q4 2010, while first quarter filings for new multiple dwelling buildings have reached their lowest point since Q3 2011.
The REBNY's Report shows that the total number of new building filings for Q1 2021 was 407, marking a 25% decline from Q4 2020. While there is traditionally less activity in the first quarter (and first-quarter new building filings actually increased compared to Q1 2020), the underperformance of proposed square footage and multiple dwelling construction highlights the need for local and federal action to meet New York's post-COVID economic and housing needs.
The REBNY also called on Congress to pass President Biden's historic infrastructure plan, which would put $2 trillion into the nation's construction industry and has the overwhelming support of Americans.
"Congress must act swiftly to pass President Biden's infrastructure plan, which will play a critical role in advancing a strong economic recovery for New York and creating thousands of good jobs. We applaud Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for embracing this much-needed plan and leading the fight for its passage," said REBNY President James Whelan. "It is also more important than ever for City and State elected officials to step up and play their part in advancing policies and legislation that will kickstart the economic engine of the construction and development industries and address the City's increasingly urgent housing needs."
Leaders at REBNY, along with the Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), Building Trades Employers Association (BTEA), and New York Building Congress, also continued to press public officials to support a package of reforms to address the industry's serious challenges and kickstart the economy. All four groups agree that implementing these measures will play a significant role in encouraging construction activity, creating good jobs, producing much-needed housing and supporting a strong economic recovery for New York City.
"It's clear that investment in large-scale infrastructure and public works projects is needed now more than ever to jumpstart the city's economic recovery. Fortunately, there is a thoughtful, timely, and robust plan introduced by the Biden administration that invests in New York and in our working people that Congress must pass immediately," said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. "From day one of the pandemic, our members went above and beyond to ensure that essential construction work never stopped, and these hardworking tradesmen and tradeswomen are now poised to not only rebuild our economy but build the infrastructure that will lead New York City into the future."
"The best and fastest way for New York City to improve its economy is to build its way back to prosperity." said Building Trades Employers Association President Lou Coletti. "Rebuilding public infrastructure, while creating incentives to rebuild the private real estate market, will increase tax revenue and improve New York's social infrastructure."
"The only way out of this crisis is to build, which is why it is so important we pass the American Jobs Plan as soon as possible," said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO of the New York Building Congress. "Building Congress members are ready to design and build the projects of the future, both here in New York City and across the nation. Building new schools, subway stations, affordable housing, offices and other infrastructure is key to our recovery and our long-term prosperity."
As we work to build our way out of the pandemic to a more equitable New York, we need to protect and grow jobs that provide opportunities for New Yorkers and address the growing need for more housing throughout the City. All four organizations will continue to work on areas of common interest and advocate for smart policies to help the industry and City's recovery.
These policy focuses include: