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Industry & Trends

New York City New Building Filings Hit Record High

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February 14, 2024 | Warren Shoulberg

New York City is sometimes an outlier to the rest of the nation but a record number of new building filings is good news for the whole country.

New construction permits for New York City for the fourth quarter of 2023 represented the highest quarterly tally for the 2020s decade so far, according to just-released figures. Permits filed for 1,521 new buildings are a 54 percent increase from the third quarter tally, the pro-housing organization YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) reported.

“The total filed for floor area also increased significantly, rising from 18.3 million square feet in Q3 to 23.1 million square feet in Q4 (a 26-percent increase),” the organization said, “as did the number of filings for residential and hotel units, which grew from 14,010 in Q3 to 16,396 in Q4 (a 17-percent increase).”

Since YIMBY began tracking permit filing counts in 2020, monthly figures have seen a gradual upward trend. This year’s monthly figures continue to display a long-sustained upward trend, which remains highly promising for the city’s construction industry—whether or not the record-setting December figure will be sustained in the coming months, it reported.

Four of five New York City boroughs showed increases quarter over quarter: Staten Island up 234%, Manhattan up 74%, Brooklyn up 11% and Queens up 2%. The Bronx was the only one to show a decline, down 6%.

By building size, all but one configuration showed increases for the period: single family up 139%, two-family up 66%, three to nine units up 22%, ten to 49 units up 5%, 50 to 99 units up 6% and 100 to 499 units up 13%. Only buldings with 500 to 999 units showed a decline, down 50%.

When broken down by building height the top six of the ten tallest permit filings by floor count in the fourth quarter of 2023 are outside of Manhattan’s primary skyscraper districts downtown and in midtown. The top three are situated in the emerging high-rise neighborhoods of downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City in Queens.

New York City may be the most atypical building market in the country but it’s a bellwether for something else: the leading edge of the next trend.

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