Hotel construction continues to flourish in major cities

But concerns about overbuilding persist.

August 17, 2016 |

The Saratoga (N.Y.) Casino hotel, which opened in early July, is one of several new hospitality facilities that have opened in Saratoga County in the past two years. Image: John Carl D’Annibale/Albany Times-Union

The hotel sector is booming. But for how long?

Last April, the Real Deal, which tracks real estate news and trends, reported that new hotel construction in New York, which peaked in 2014, “is finally crashing” because so many new properties were coming online and developers were shying away from planning new projects.

In the first three months of this year, hoteliers had submitted permit applications for only six new hospitality properties, a total of 512 units, citywide. The Real Deal estimates that barely 10,000 new hotel rooms would be added to New York’s inventory this year, compared to more than 9,000 in 2014.

On Tuesday, Lodging Econometrics, the Portsmouth, N.H.-based market research firm, reported that New York City has the country’s largest hotel construction pipeline by project count: 196 projects and 32,121. New York has had the largest project count since the fourth quarter of 2011.

New York is followed by Houston (170 projects, 20,083 rooms), which has been the second-largest hotel market for the past 10 quarters, according to Lodging Econometrics. The rest of the top five hotel construction metros are Dallas (128 projects/15,662 rooms), Nashville (109/13,789), and Los Angeles (104/17,912).

A day before Lodging Econometrics released this data, STR, a global data benchmarking and analytics firm, released its July 2016 Pipeline Report, which showed 171,276 rooms in 1,305 projects under construction, a 32.6% increase over the same month a year ago.

STR estimates that New York, with an existing supply of 112,468 rooms, had 15,770 rooms under construction, 11.9% more than in July 2015. Three other markets—L.A./Long Beach, Dallas, and Houston—had more than 5,000 rooms under construction.

Conversely, Bobby Bowers, STR’s Senior Vice President of Operations, notes that the San Francisco/San Mateo, Calif., market may be reaching a saturation point, with room construction among the five-lowest in the country. 


New York City continues to lead the nation in new hotel construction and rooms under contract. The nation's 26 largest cities are, for the most part, seeing strong growth in their hospitality sectors, even as some developers worry that too much inventory may be coming online. Chart: STR


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