GTG Alert –NJRER GTG now scheduled for Thu 8/29 from 6:30 PM ’til whenever; venue — Montecristo Lounge at J&R Cigars, 301 Route 10 East • Whippany, NJ 07981 (973) 887-0800 (http://www.jrwhippany.com/index.cfm?page=lounge).
From the Record:
Home-building activity in New Jersey has risen 32 percent so far this year, propelled by construction of rental apartments — another sign that the housing market is healing.
Through July, the state had issued building permits for 13,234 housing units in New Jersey, compared with just over 10,000 for the same period last year, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Monday.
“There’s an acceleration in activity,” said Patrick O’Keefe, an economist with CohnReznick, an accounting firm with an office in Roseland. “While we’re not back to the go-go days of 2005, we have gotten back to a more sustainable pace.”
The state is on track to start more than 22,000 housing units this year — above the nearly 18,000 begun last year, but below the housing-boom peak of 38,588 in 2005, and under the historical average above 30,000.
Multifamily construction accounts for more than 57 percent of the state’s permits so far this year. That has been the trend in recent years, as demand has climbed for rentals in the face of foreclosures and tighter mortgage lending standards.
Bergen and Hudson counties are the busiest construction markets in the state, with projects that include the Modern, a 47-story high-rise in Fort Lee that’s part of that town’s long-delayed downtown redevelopment; an AvalonBay building in Hackensack, next to the Shops at Riverside; and new buildings in Edgewater and Fair Lawn, as well as along the Hudson River in West New York.
Russo Development of Carlstadt is building a 296-unit apartment complex a half-mile from the Kingsland commuter train station in Lyndhurst.
“Multifamily is where the demand is now,” said Russo spokeswoman Lisa Sikora. “We’re seeing a lot of twenty-somethings who, before, only wanted to live in New York City or along the [Hudson River] Gold Coast. We’re seeing that demographic become more comfortable near a train station but with a more suburban lifestyle.”
ince the housing bust, “we’re just seeing that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable buying; they’d rather rent than own and take the risk of losing their equity,” said Joseph Langan, president of River Drive Construction. In addition, he said, mortgage underwriting standards are so tight that many people who’d like to buy can’t qualify for a loan.
Banks are generally much more willing to lend builders money to put up rentals, rather than for-sale homes, Langan said.
Last year, about 18,000 housing permits were issued in the state, an increase over the 13,000-a-year average that prevailed from 2009 to 2011. About 12,400 units were built in 2009, the fewest since World War II.
Nationally, home permits are running about 25 percent ahead of last year’s pace. About one-third have been for multifamily units.
The rebound in home building is not the only sign that the housing market is recovering from the worst bust in decades. Home prices are also rising in the state, although not as quickly as in the nation as a whole, O’Keefe pointed out.
“We’re recovering more slowly, but the momentum is at least in a positive direction,” he said.