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New apartment construction ramps up in CT, as single-family home stock dwindles

A construction worker carries a sawhorse in front of a building being renovated in the Colonial Village public housing complex in Norwalk.
Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public
FILE: A construction worker carries a sawhorse in front of a building being renovated in the Colonial Village public housing complex in Norwalk.

There could be promising news amid Connecticut’s housing crisis as the state deals with dwindling housing inventory.

Despite the fact that the number of active listings have dropped off in the last four years, new data shows an increase in the number of housing permits issued in New Haven and Fairfield counties.

The total number of housing permits issued in Connecticut increased by 31% in the first half of 2023 according to a study of U.S. Census Bureau data conducted by real estate analysis group Point2Home.

Connecticut is one of only six states to see an increase in housing permits this year.

The increase is largely attributable to new apartment complexes going up along the state’s shoreline.

The Bridgeport and New Haven metro-areas both saw significant increases in permitting for multi-family homes and apartments, but experienced decreases in permits for single-family residences.

The Bridgeport metro area, which includes Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford, had a 61% year-over-year increase in housing permits.

The report classified the New Haven metro area as the cities of New Haven and Milford. The New Haven metro area had a roughly 34% increase in permits this year compared to 2022.

About 75% of the permits issued in the New Haven area this year were for apartment buildings.

A boost in housing stock does not always mean the homes will be affordable. New Haven city leaders say they are working to ensure there will still be a strong supply of affordable homes according to Economic Development Administrator Mike Piscitelli.

“Increasing supply does not always unlock a lower price point that is a concern both across the nation here in New Haven. We're recognizing that either through inclusionary zoning, regular run of subsidies and additional support, that we need to provide some sort of supplement in order to maintain affordability,” Piscitelli said.

In New Haven there are currently about 900 market rate and an additional 900 affordable apartments under construction.

Milford regularly ranks in the top five for single-family home permits in the state but the homes don’t always go up in newly developed areas according to Milford City Planner, David Sulkis.

“It's not necessarily brand new single family homes where there hasn't been one before. It's, you know, lots of times the homes that are in existence that are being torn down and rebuilt,” Sulkis said.

New apartments in Milford are often filled.

“In Milford, it seems like there's such a pent up demand for housing, that most of these apartment buildings, both here in Milford and in New Haven, are basically leased before they're finished, there's such a demand,” Sulkis said.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.

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