Building Trades

Private Investment Propels NYC Construction

November 2, 2015
By Stephanie West

New York, NY – Thanks to a white-hot residential market and the strongest level of office construction in a quarter century, New York City construction activity has returned to the heights achieved at the peak of the previous building boom in 2007 and 2008, according to New York City Construction Outlook 2015-2017, an annual forecast and analysis prepared by the New York Building Congress with support from the New York Building Foundation.

The Building Congress expects construction spending to increase even further — to $41.0 billion in 2016 and $40.8 billion in 2017. If the forecast holds, overall New York City construction spending would break the $40 billion barrier next year for the first time in New York City history. Construction employment in the five boroughs is expected to reach 130,900 jobs in 2015 — an increase of 3,300 jobs from 2014. If realized, employment would surpass 130,000 jobs for just the second time since at least 1995. The high-water mark for construction employment over the period was 132,600 jobs in 2008.

Its predicted that New York City construction employment to reach 130,400 jobs in 2016 and 131,800 in 2017.The Building Congress forecasts $14.9 billion in residential spending in 2015, an increase of 23 percent from 2014, when spending reached a then-record $12.1 billion. This would be a 468 percent increase from five years ago, when housing construction dropped to a post-recession low of $2.6 billion.Non-residential construction, which includes office space, institutional development, government buildings, sports/entertainment venues, and hotels, is forecast to reach $11.6 billion in 2015, up from $9.9 billion a year ago. It would be the second time in New York City history that non-residential spending topped the $10 billion mark. (Non-residential spending reached $13.7 billion in 2010.)  Non-residential spending is expected to take another substantial leap forward — to $15.0 billion in 2016 — and then settle in at $14.0 billion in 2017.

The Building Congress forecasts $12.6 billion in 2015 public works spending, which includes investments in mass transit, roads, bridges, and other essential infrastructure. This is down from $13.4 billion in both 2013 and 2014, and, if realized, would mark the lowest level of infrastructure spending in actual dollars since 2006, when spending reached $11.8 billion. The Building Congress anticipates government spending will rise to $14.5 billion in 2016 and $16.3 billion in 2017.“The current building boom is being driven to a remarkable extent by private sector investment,” said New York Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson.  “The residential sector, in particular, is on a run that is nothing short of epic.

Building Foundation Chairman John M. Dionisio added, “New York City is at or near all-time highs in terms of residents, jobs, tourists, commuters, and students, which is helping to fuel the building boom.  At the same time, all of these people and activity are putting extraordinary pressure on an aging infrastructure system that sustains the City’s economy and quality of life.  Unfortunately, after years of straining to keep pace with new development, New York City is now in danger of falling farther behind. The recently completed 7 line extension and the ongoing work on the Second Avenue Subway are great examples of the types of forward-looking investments that are necessary to support New York’s continued long-term growth.”

October 31, 2015

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