Why a surge in Boston-area condo and apartment buildings is on the way

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Millennium Tower, Boston with floors going up on the 50 story level and below with windows and rooms below all under construction by Suffolk Construction.
Only New York, Dallas and Miami issued more construction permits in 2015. David L. Ryan / Globe Staff

Maybe all the cheerleading for more new apartment and condo construction is paying off after all.

The Boston area saw a 42 percent increase in the number of building permits issued in 2015 for new apartments and condos, according to CMD Construction Data.

More multifamily units were cleared for takeoff last year than in any year since at least 2000, beating out the last peak year of 2005.

The surge in new construction comes with the Boston area in the throes of a major housing shortage that has driven rents and prices to ever higher levels.

The survey looked at all apartment and condo construction in the Boston metro market, or basically everything inside I-495.

“What’s coming into play is what analysts call ‘pent up demand,’” said Alex Carrick, chief economist for CMD Construction Data. “The Boston area has done very well.”

In fact, Greater Boston saw one of the biggest increases in new development of any metro area in the country.

Builders putting up new condo and apartment projects took out permits for 10,400 new units last year, CMD reports.

That blows past the previous peak of 9,100 new building permits set in 2005.

The Boston area came in fourth last year in the number of building permits issued for multifamily units, with only New York, Miami and Dallas posting higher numbers.

New York more than doubled the number of apartment and building permits it issues last year, to 75,000. Miami’s numbers rose to 16,000, up from 10,000 in 2015, while Dallas notched a 54 percent increase, awarding 28,000 building permits last year for new apartments and condos, according to CMD.

Empty nesters trading suburban homes for downtown digs and urban loving millennials are two key forces driving the Boston area’s apartment and condo building boom, CMD’s Carrick said.

“There are only a certain number of cities that are looking as good,” Carrick said of the Boston area and the big increase in condo and apartment construction.