ATLANTIC CITY, NJ—(SBN)—Last year was the best year for homebuilding in New Jersey since 2006 and 2015 is likely to see a return to historic levels, according to George Vallone, the incoming president of the New Jersey Builders Association. Vallone sat for an exclusive interview with State Broadcast News for GlobeSt.com during the group’s Atlantic Builders Convention in Atlantic City.
“We had roughly 28,000 building permits pulled, which is the key indicator of new volume in housing starts,” says Vallone. “The average number of permits from 1960 to 2006 was 36,000 a year, so you can see we haven’t reached our historical level of building volume yet, but we’re well on our way, and I think that in 2015 we probably will hit that 36,000 starts number, so that bodes well that we are coming out of the recession now and we’re starting to get back to normal building levels.”
Among public policy issues weighing on the building community, says Vallone, is the recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision that essentially returns disputes over affordable housing to the court system, stripping the Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) of its oversight responsibilities.
“We think that the logjam has been broken now on the affordable housing issue (read about Dennis Family Homes), which has been tied up in the courts for at least 20 years now,” he says. “The builders are gearing up, the builders that have had land that have been waiting for the doors to open are getting revved up. They’re going to either be submitting plans under a town’s affordable housing element that’s been deemed compliant. Or, if the town doesn’t do what they’re supposed to do, they’re going to sue the town.”
Revisions to the International Building Code, which New Jersey has adopted, were just made for 2015, which is “moving in the direction of sustainability and energy efficiency,” says Vallone.
“Instead of telling you how you have to build a house, they’re telling you how that house has to perform from an energy standpoint,” he says. “The industry is going to have to figure out how to meet those standards, but I think it bodes well for vendors of products and services that produce more energy efficient housing.”
The New Jersey Builders Association also recognizes the significant role of multifamily development in the housing mix, Vallone says. The group started a partner organization about five years ago, called the Mixed Use Developers Association. Of the 28,000 housing starts reported in 2014, Vallone says 64 percent were for multifamily, and of those, about two-thirds were in the riverside “urban core” communities in Bergen and Hudson Counties.
You can hear our complete conversation with Vallone in an audio news report in the player below.
Steve Lubetkin is the news director for StateBroadcastNews.com. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. He refocused on multimedia journalism and podcast production after a long career in corporate branded journalism and public relations.
He has won numerous awards for his audio and video news reporting from the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced a wide range of audio and video podcasts in his other role as managing partner of State Broadcast News’s parent, The Lubetkin Media Companies.
Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional.
In March 2021, he was elected to the board of directors of the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and in July 2021 he was named secretary of the chapter. In August 2021, he was honored by SPJ with one of the organization’s 2021 Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Awards, given to regular members of an SPJ chapter who go above and beyond in serving their chapter.
Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996.
Steve also has reported on-camera and produces virtual conferences for NJSpotlightNews.org, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC.
From May-November 2019, he produced and reported a weekly podcast, The CRE News Hour, a news and features program focusing on the commercial real estate industry.
From 2014 to 2019 he was New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com and filled in covering Chicago/Midwest and Atlanta.
Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies.
Earlier in his career, Steve reported on rock music at the Jersey Shore for the Asbury Park Press, and was a broadcast news anchor and production engineer for WJLK-AM & FM, then owned by the Press. He also worked as a general assignment reporter for the Red Bank Register, Shrewsbury, NJ.
You can email Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.