From the Record:
After a dramatic, four-year rebound from the worst housing downturn in generations, home construction in New Jersey has fallen back this year, running about 17 percent behind 2015’s pace.
Through June, according to the U.S. census, builders got the approval to start 13,681 housing units in the Garden State, down from 16,617 in the same period in 2015. Multifamily construction continued to dominate the market, as it has for most of the housing recovery, accounting for 64 percent of the building permits in the state.
The drop in construction activity may reflect the difficulty of finding new land to develop, after several years of accelerating construction activity.
“There aren’t as many opportunities as there were three or four years ago,” said George Capodagli, owner of Capodagli Construction Co./Meridia in Linden, which is constructing a 115-unit apartment building in downtown Hackensack’s redevelopment zone. Capodagli has been involved in redevelopment projects in Linden, Bound Brook and Rahway, generally seeking walkable, urban sites with transit access to New York City.
“You have to get creative to find sites where you can build multifamily, and towns that are willing to hear you out and be open-minded about multifamily buildings,” said Adam Pasternack, a senior vice president at Russo Development of Carlstadt. Russo is getting ready to start construction on a 110-unit apartment building on the site of a former lumber yard next to the Waldwick commuter train station. Since North Jersey is already largely developed, builders must usually seek out redevelopment sites.
So far this year, northeastern New Jersey has led the way in home construction, especially in multifamily rentals along the Hudson River in Bergen and Hudson counties. Developers are betting on high demand as households are priced out of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Jersey City has approved the largest number of housing units of any municipality in the state, as developers transform older neighborhoods with sleek new high-rises. Fort Lee is ranked second in the state, as the redevelopment of a 16-acre parcel next to the George Washington Bridge is bringing hundreds of new apartments to town in two developments — the Modern, which consists of two apartment high-rises, and a mixed-use project called Hudson Lights.
Ocean County is also experiencing a building boom, according to the New Jersey Department of Labor, which studies home construction patterns. Unlike in the northern part of the state, single-family homes dominate in Ocean.