Regional Housing Market Shows Continued Declines

Utilizing 2019 Census Building Permits data, CDRPC notes the continuation of declining trend in building permit issuance for the Capital Region. Utilizing data from both the 2017 and 2018 Building Permit Analyses as well as current 2019 data, we can see the that building permit issuance in the region has been consistently declining since 2015.

Of special note is that trend is documentation through 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. What effect the pandemic has on short to longer term residential development trends is as yet undetermined, and will continue to be an even more important economic indicator that will be tracked in the time to come.

Total Building Permits

In 2018, there were 2,137 total building permits issued throughout the four-county region. In 2019 this decreased to 1896 total permits, a decrease of 11.3%. This is a larger rate of decline than last year’s rate of 7.8%. Of the four counties, Saratoga issued the most permits overall with 1,014 permits issued in 2019. This was followed by 517 in Albany County, 183 in Rensselaer County, and 182 in Schenectady County.

Shares of Building Permits

Multi-family permits were the majority of permits issued in both 2015 and 2016. However, the rate of multi-family permits being issued has declined since 2016. 2019 continued this trend with another decrease to 42.3% of permits being multi-family compared to last year’s 43.3%. Albany County and Schenectady County both slightly bucked this trend with more than half their permits issued for multi-family units. Schenectady saw the highest share of multi-family permits with 57.1%, followed by Albany County with 53.8%, Rensselaer County with 44.3%, and Saratoga County with just 33.4% of permits issued being multi-family.


Permits by Municipality

In 2019, the Village of Green Island issued the most permits with 167 total building permits. Many of these permits can be attributed to the Starbuck Island housing project, which looks to add 68 market rate units and 40 senior living units to the small island across from Troy. Of the issued Green Island permits, 163 were for multi-family units. Saratoga Springs and the Town of Halfmoon followed with the second and third most permits issued respectively. Saratoga Springs saw 164 permits issued with 61 permits being issued for single-family units and 103 units for multi-family permits. The Town of Halfmoon followed with 154 total permits issued, all of them being for single family units.

In terms of single-family permit issuance, the Town of Halfmoon, the Town of Colonie, and the Town of Ballston issued the most permits with 154, 91, and 77 permits respectively. For multi-family permits, the Village of Green Island, Saratoga Springs, and the Town of Ballston issued the most with 163, 103, and 75 respectively.



Projecting Future Development Trends

Building permit issuance is one of the core economic indicators for a local municipality and a region overall. More houses being built signals that more people want to move into an area, meaning more spending power and typically, more jobs. It is still unclear how the current pandemic will affect 2020 permit issuance and the region’s economy overall in 2020 and beyond. As the country continues to face the COVID-19 epidemic, CDRPC will continue to monitor and provide updates on housing starts and other important economic indicators for the region.