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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Press Release # 6-08
Monday, March 3, 2008

Seth McM. Donlin, HPD (212) 863-5176
Kate Lindquist, DOB (212) 566-3473


US Census Data Shows Three Straight Years of Over 30,000 Units Permitted

The year 2007 saw the highest number of building permits for privately-owned residential units in New York City since 1972, according to newly released data from the US Census Bureau records. With 31,918 units permitted in 2007, it was the second highest amount of permits issued since accurate records first began being kept in 1965. In two of the boroughs, the numbers were even more impressive, with Brooklyn and Queens seeing their highest ever totals.

The data shows that the pace of housing construction remains strong in New York City with thousands of new housing units being added every year. The year 2007 was the third year in a row with over 30,000 units permitted—the first time that this has happened since records began being kept—while the six years that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been in office represent the highest six year total ever, with 159,370 units permitted.

Shaun Donovan, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development said, “These numbers are great news, both for subsidized and non-subsidized housing alike. This historic rate of development is helping to close a housing gap that has placed significant upward pressure on the city’s housing prices. In conjunction with the Mayor’s 165,000 unit New Housing Marketplace Plan, these new homes will help to increase the affordability of the city’s housing market while, at the same time, preparing the city for the arrival of almost one million additional New Yorkers over the next two decades.”

Patricia Lancaster, FAIA, Commissioner of the NYC Buildings Department said, “Construction of new housing in New York City continues at a pace not seen in decades. With new enforcement tools and proactive inspections, we will ensure the safe construction of new housing units in the years to come as this trend continues.”

The crisis of abandonment that plagued many New York neighborhoods in the 1970s and 1980s was solved by rebuilding neighborhoods, driving down crime and improving schools. Since then New York City’s population has grown by nearly one million people. Unfortunately, new housing construction failed to keep pace during the 1990s. The resulting gap between housing supply and housing demand has helped to create an affordability crunch, which has thrown the housing market out of balance. Housing has become increasingly more expensive for everyone, making it harder for much of the working and middle classes—people like police officers, firefighters and teachers—to continue to live within the city. If population growth continues as projected, the city will need hundreds of thousands of more housing units over the long term to accommodate further projected increases in population.

Mayor Bloomberg has fostered a climate that encourages housing construction, including changes to the building and tax codes and an ambitious series of rezonings. Since the Mayor came to office, the City has moved to right the imbalance between population growth and housing construction. Since 2002 permits have been issued for 159,370 housing units, while the population has increased by only around 58,000 households. Continuing these kinds of surpluses is important to our efforts to close the current housing gap and prepare for the city to add another one million people over the next 25 years.

Seventy percent of the permits issued in 2007 were for units in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Thirty percent were for units in Manhattan. Since Mayor Bloomberg came to office seventy-four percent of new housing permits have been in the outer boroughs, compared to only sixty-two percent in the previous three decades. In addition, much of the new construction in the outer boroughs includes market-rate homes affordable to middle-income families.

The 2007 figures show that the number of permits issued for housing units in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens increased from 2006. Manhattan saw 9,520 permits in 2007 versus 8,790 in 2006; Brooklyn saw 10,930 permits in 2007—its highest total ever—compared to 9,191 in 2006; and Queens saw 7,625 permits in 2007—also its highest total ever—up from 7,252 in 2006. While the Bronx and Staten Island saw permit numbers decline, the Bronx still posted the fourth highest total in more than three decades. 

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development's (HPD) mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The department is the nation’s largest municipal housing development agency and is implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation’s history. HPD also encourages the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards.


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