Construction Tumbles in NYC

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Hey, they had a good run, and it was fun while it lasted.

Not unlike the foundering New York Giants, New York City construction has ground to a halt, with fewer than 6,300 units being constructed this year, just 21 percent of the 30,000+ apartments and homes built each of the past five years.

According to the New York Building Congress, things could have been worse, but there are 460 residential projects that are currently delayed, a third of which are in Brooklyn.

The only bright spot in the industry is government. The city's capital spending program has remained above $10 billion, with much of the money going to schools, the extension of the No. 7 subway line and a water filtration plant in the Bronx. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is also spending billions of dollars rebuilding the World Trade Center (pictured).

If revenues don't pick up, those government funds will have to be cut back or delayed, so there is some debate about whether this is the bottom or if the market will decline further.The banking industry has made up such a large portion of the residential and commercial real estate market, it may largely determine when the construction market starts to recover.

Even with the slowdown, construction spending in 2009 will be 45 percent greater than it was in 2004, so there is potentially further for this market to fall.

In the short term, this means there are going to be some aggressive landlords offering scandalously low rents to anyone who can cover their monthly check.
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