Filings for Large Multifamily Projects In NYC Remain at Historic Lows: REBNY

NEW YORK—The Real Estate Board of New York’s recently released New Building Construction Pipeline Report for the fourth quarter of 2023 states that New York City is facing a worsening shortage of rental housing.

The report, which examined new building job application filings submitted to the New York City Department of Buildings, found that there were 728 new building filings in the fourth quarter of 2023, which was 48% higher than the historical average dating back to 2008.

That increase was driven by a massive spike in activity for small buildings. There were 568 filings for buildings with one- to three-proposed units—primarily on Staten Island—the most in any quarter dating back to 2008.

Meanwhile, plans for large multifamily buildings remained at historic lows. There were just nine filings for buildings with 100 or more proposed units. This marked the fourth straight quarter in which there were 10 or fewer such filings.

Due to this stark divide, the large number of total filings in the fourth quarter did not translate to an increase in the city’s housing pipeline. In fact, the opposite was true, the report noted.

There were 4,046 proposed dwelling units in the fourth quarter of 2024, which was 16% lower than the historical average dating back to 2008.

“This data makes clear that New York City is not building the kind of multifamily rental housing needed to address our worsening supply crisis,” said Zachary Steinberg, REBNY senior vice president of Policy. “Without policies in place to spur greater rental housing construction, one cannot expect this problem to fix itself. Elected officials in Albany must take action to create new housing that will support our housing market and broader economy.”

Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, noted, “While spikes in new building filings are certainly encouraging, this report makes it abundantly clear that we are still well behind pre-COVID levels of construction as we continue to lag in our ability to meaningfully address the housing crisis and improve the lives of all New Yorkers, particularly those in underserved communities. We need to generate more rental housing projects that will create family sustaining union careers and provide more hardworking New Yorkers a path to the middle class.”

“The findings affirm what we’ve known for a long time—there’s an ongoing shortfall in the construction of multifamily rental housing, and the need for our leaders to work with the industry on a solution grows more and more urgent,” said Carlo A. Scissura, Esq., president & CEO of the N.Y. Building Congress. “We cannot waste the opportunity in front of us to address the escalating housing crisis in New York. That means we have to come together behind a comprehensive agenda that spurs construction that can increase our housing supply and help address the need for affordable housing.” 

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