From the Record:
Home construction continues to heat up in New Jersey, especially in the multifamily sector, as builders obtained the largest number of monthly permits in April since the housing-boom days of 2005.
More than 3,700 building permits were issued last month. So far this year, 9,118 permits have been issued, up 12.3 percent from the first four months of 2014, according to the U.S. census.
This year’s increase in activity has been powered by the multifamily sector, as New Jersey’s long-term patterns of suburban, single-family development shift to a denser, more urban style. So far this year, multifamily permits have accounted for almost two-thirds of building permits issued in the state, as builders respond to a higher demand for rentals.
Patrick O’Keefe, an economist with the accounting firm CohnReznick, which has offices in New York and Roseland, expects single-family starts to remain flat, in part because young adults — the so-called millennial generation — often can’t qualify for mortgages because of tight lending standards and high levels of student-loan debt. In addition, he said, millennials “have experienced a housing market where prices went down, and have a more realistic assessment of housing as an asset.”
Hudson County has led the way in home-building starts through March, followed by Ocean County, where many homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy are being replaced, according to an analysis by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Bergen County ranked third in the state. Taken together, Hudson, Bergen and Union counties accounted for 37 percent of the home-building permits issued through March.
“The concentration in the northeast quadrant of the state is striking,” O’Keefe said.
Jersey City continues to lead the state’s municipalities in homebuilding activity, as it did last year when it had 2,180 permits — more than the totals in most New Jersey counties. The city, along with the rest of Hudson County, is benefiting from spillover from New York City’s hot housing market.