Building Permits: Capital District Data for May/June

In this issue:  Building permits issued in 2015, by County

The May/June issue of Capital District Data is now available from the Capital District Regional Planning Commission. This issue examines residential building permit issuance for the Region, as well as the four individual counties.  We look at short and long term trends in building activity.  This issue focuses on the units issued per permit as a way of accounting for individual building permits that are composed of multiple units.

The long term trends for the Region show that the total units permitted have rebounded from the Great Recession. In 2009, units bottomed out at 1,395, and generated just $286.8 million in value. Since then, the total number of units and values have rebounded to pre-recession levels. These levels remain far below those of the late 1980s when the Region saw all-time records set both in units permitted and value generated. However, they are in line with the more stable growth from 1990 through 2000.

Regional Building Permits Increasing

At both the Regional and County levels, building permits issuance is increasing. The year-to-year short term trend shows an incredible 63.6% increase in residential units receiving permits, jumping from 2,201 units in 2014, to 3,601 units in 2015. This increase in units permitted resulted in a 47.3% increase in the total value generated. After adjusting for inflation, the value generated increased year-to-year, from $398.7 million to $587.5 million.

Building more multi-family units

Perhaps the most interesting trend over the short and long term has to do not with permits but with the types of units. For the first time in the 32-years of available data, the total number of multi-family units permitted exceeded the total number of single family units permitted.  (A single multi-family builder permit may cover two or more units.)  Since the Great Recession, the Region has seen that the share of multi-family units permitted composes a increasing, higher proportion of all the permits issued. However, in 2015 we saw this trend surge from approaching 50% to an 68%.

Of the four counties, Saratoga County continues to lead the way in units permitted . In 2015, nearly half (49.5%) of all units permitted originated from Saratoga County. 30.5% of the Region’s units permitted originated in Albany County, while Schenectady and Rensselaer counties accounted for 12.9% and 7.1% respectively. While the year-to-year shares fluctuate, the long term trend favors a strong concentration of units originating from Saratoga County.  Albany County comes in second.  Finally, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties typically conbine for less than 20% of the Region’s total units permitted.

Capital District Data, v39 n3