By Michael DeMasi
Home construction permits increased 26 percent last year in the Albany, NY metro area, reaching the highest level since 2007, according to final figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
There were 2,226 permits issued in the region in 2012, compared to 1,764 in 2011, according to the Census Bureau.
The new figures confirm preliminary statistics showing new-home construction has rebounded to its best showing since the recession hit.
An improving job market, historically low mortgage interest rates, a shrinking inventory of resale homes, and stronger consumer confidence are stoking demand for new homes.
Most of the permits last year—1,149—were for single-family homes, a 29 percent increase. Permits for apartment buildings with five or more units also increased 29 percent, to 993.
The last time the total number of permits crossed the 2,000 threshold was in 2007, when 2,703 permits were issued.
Graig F. Zappia, a real estate attorney at Tully Rinckney PLLC in Colonie, said his clients are more optimistic about development opportunities after several years of holding back. They are pursuing construction permits at local planning and zoning boards, and closing deals to buy land.
“They’re much more positive,” Zappia said.
Despite the rebound, demand is still considerably weaker than it was during the peak of the real estate boom in 2005, when 3,639 permits were issued, including 2,284 for single-family homes.
The Albany metro includes five counties: Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Schoharie.
Nationally, 829.7 million construction permits were issued last year, a 32 percent increase over 2011. Single-family permits totaled 518.7 million, a 23 percent increase.