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Developers Scrambled To Build Housing Before 421-a Expired

A looming expiration of New York City's most lucrative property-tax abatement program in history sent hundreds of developers and architects scrambling to obtain building permits and begin construction in December before the Jan. 15 cutoff date.

Permits for 7,781 residential housing units in 299 projects were granted by the New York City Department of Buildings in December—more than four times the number issued in November, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The figure marks the third-highest monthly total in at least seven years and comes on the heels of even bigger numbers in May and June, when the same 421-a program that provides $1.26B in exemptions for developers in the current city fiscal year was also set to expire.

But of the nearly 8,000 permits issued—many for the development of rental housing—few Manhattan projects were part of the latest surge. Fifty-nine percent of permits were in Brooklyn and 26% were issued in Queens, including a 27-story tower with 168 apartments in Long Island City.

In all, the 56,000 permits issued in 2015 mark the highest number issued since 1962, according to US Census figures. It also far exceeded a record peak of 33,911 permits issued in 2008. [WSJ]