Construction slows down as busy year draws to a close
New Jersey builders slowed their permit applications for housing in the latest month of reporting, in what has otherwise been a busy year for housing construction.
Contractors secured almost 38 percent fewer housing construction permits in October, an oddity for a year in which housing construction permits are at the highest level since 2006. So far in 2014, building permit applications have totaled 23,738. That is 18.4 percent more than last year at this time.
Patrick O'Keefe, director of Economic Research for Cohn/Reznick in Roseland says for builders, all eyes will be on next year, "whether we will have sufficient approvals to maintain even these modestly-improved levels."
"From a builder's perspective, what they are paying closest attention to, is the demand for units and the inventory of units that they have available for sale," O'Keefe said.
The majority of the permits for new housing in New Jersey - more that 81 percent - were for apartments or condos, so-called multifamily units for attached housing. There was a one-month spike in approvals for building permits for single family homes during the month of September.
When asked whether this coming winter's weather will be something builders in New Jersey will try to anticipate, O'Keefe said only that the weather will turn out to be a more significant factor for single-family home building than for larger buildings.
"With the larger buildings, you can phase your construction," O'Keefe said. "Even if you start it in the autumn, you get most of the really weather-affected parts of the construction under control. Whereas with single-family, in the middle of a cold January, it's going to be very difficult to go out and begin digging footings."