In New York City, permits for 17,995 new housing units were issued in 2013, just over half the nearly 34,000 units authorized in 2008 and below the number approved for 2002.
By comparison, builders are busier than they've been in years in many other major cities where rents and housing prices have been growing. San Francisco, one of the hottest markets in the country in the past few years, issued permits for about 4,500 units in 2013, nearly double those authorized in 2005. Washington, D.C., Seattle and Boston, among others, are also above precrash levels.
Should it continue, New York's sluggish pace of housing construction could percolate through the city economy.