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NYC construction activity still up for the year, but slumps in Q2 | Dump Trucks Charlotte NC

Aerial view with Lower Manhattan skyline at sunset
New York City construction activity remained strong in the second quarter of 2022, according to the Real Estate Board of New York. Ultima_Gaina via Getty Images

Columbus Ohio Dump Truck Company Brief:

  • New building filings in New York City in the second quarter jumped 19% year-over-year, according to the Real Estate Board of New York.
  • But second quarter new buildings filings reflect a 39% drop compared to the previous quarter. 
  • Still, it’s important to note the first quarter recorded the largest number of filings since the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the report. The 422 new buildings filings in the second quarter “show the strength of the City’s construction and development sectors,” said James Whelan, REBNY president.

Dump Trucks Columbus OH Insight:

New York City construction activity remained strong in the second quarter of 2022 despite debate from economists on whether the U.S. is currently in or heading into a recession.

Brooklyn recorded the largest number of filings of any borough with 122, a 45% increase year-over-year. While Manhattan continued to account for the least number of filings with 29, the figure is a 61% increase year-over-year, according to the report.

Brooklyn leads NYC in Q2 new building filings
BoroughNew building filingsYear-over-year change
Brooklyn122+45%
Queens113-20%
Staten Island82+9%
Bronx76+100%
Manhattan29+61%

SOURCE: Real Estate Board of New York

But while New York City construction activity remained strong in the second quarter, signs are beginning to show on a national level for economic challenges ahead. Construction contractors’ backlog declined for a second consecutive month in July, while profit expectations fell further into negative territory, according to a release from Associated Builders and Contractors.

The volume of second quarter 2022 filings, though characterized as strong by Whelan, was less than historical norms. The 422 filings are 13% below the median and 16% lower than the average since 2008, according to the report.

Construction and real estate comprise 20% of New York City’s GDP while providing 10% of jobs and 5% of wages, said Lou Coletti, president and CEO of the Building Trades Employers Association. Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the New York Building Congress, urged to find ways to keep activity humming.

“Our city has made significant strides since its darkest pandemic days, and our industry continues to lead the way forward,” said Scissura. “We must find ways to keep that momentum going.”

The total proposed construction square footage in the second quarter of 2022 followed the same trend as the number of filings, with a sizable decrease compared to the previous quarter but a gain year-over-year. 

The 15 million square feet of proposed construction in the second quarter is a 36% drop from the first quarter, but reflects a 69% increase from the second quarter of 2021, according to the report.

The largest proposed projects in each borough in the second quarter of 2022 include a 986,360-square-foot warehouse in the Bronx, a 749,356-square-foot mixed-use building in Brooklyn and a 667,302-square-foot residential building in Manhattan, according to the report.

Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, called for continued investment in public works and development projects to keep momentum going.

“This latest report makes it clear that New York’s ongoing economic and social comeback is being led by new building and construction,” said LaBarbera. “It is paramount that these initiatives continue to be a priority if our city is to continue its upward trajectory following the devastation left behind by the pandemic.”

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