From the Record:
Despite last winter’s weather delays, New Jersey builders are on track to start the largest number of homes since 2006, led by a boom in rental construction.
Through July, home builders have obtained more than 17,200 building permits this year, up 30 percent over the same period last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Multifamily construction has continued to lead the way, accounting for 63 percent of the activity this year.
Builders are focusing on rentals because many households have been unable to buy homes in a time of tight mortgage lending standards and flat incomes. In addition, many younger residents are wary of owning a home because the housing bust showed them that property values could drop.
North Jersey has dominated the state’s home construction market, with about 30 percent of building permits this year in Bergen and Hudson counties.
“The northeastern part of the state has been getting spillover demand from the New York City market,” said Patrick O’Keefe, an economist with CohnReznick, an accounting firm with offices in Roseland.
O’Keefe is expecting a total of about 28,500 housing units to be approved this year, which would be about 17.5 percent ahead of last year’s total and the highest number since before the recession.
Multifamily projects have recently been completed or are under construction in Fort Lee, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Fair Lawn, Wood-Ridge and Bloomingdale, among other North Jersey towns.
Single-family permits have also risen this year, but at a much slower pace than multifamily. O’Keefe said that single-family builders are being careful not to produce houses more quickly than sellers can buy them.