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New York Construction Permits Break 50-Year Record

Not since 1963 have so many construction permits been issued. In fact, permits issued in the month of June alone exceeded the average annual total over the past two decades.
July 30, 2015, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"New York City is entering what could be the biggest building boom in a generation, census figures show, as work gets under way on hundreds of residential projects in neighborhoods across the city," reports Josh Barbanel.

"In the first six months of the year, developers received new residential building permits for 42,088 apartments and houses in the city, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, already more than in any full year since 1963, when nearly 50,000 permits were issued," adds Barbanel.

Barbanel credits the surge in construction permits to a financial incentive in the form of an expiring tax break: "The surge in permits this year followed a rush by developers to start foundation work on many residential projects by June 15, in time to qualify for a valuable property-tax abatement that was scheduled to expire."

The article goes on to provide more details about the 421-a tax abatement program that led to the surge in construction. Barbanel also notes a cautionary tale to be invoked by the mention of the program: "In June of [2008], when permits also surged, benefits of an earlier version of the 421-a tax abatement were expiring. Developers rushed to begin construction, even before obtaining financing. When the financial crisis hit that fall, many projects simply stopped."

Full Story:
Published on Wednesday, July 29, 2015 in The Wall Street Journal
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