Commercial Real Estate Value Waning in NYC, Survey

“Gotham Commercial Real Estate Monitor,” a survey commissioned by Marks Paneth’s Gotham Commercial Real Estate Group, indicated that commercial real estate value may be waning in New York City.

The survey, which was published in late May, revealed that in just three months time, the number of executives expecting values to increase has fallen from 43 percent to 31 percent, with nearly 20 percent predicting a downturn in prices. New laws, the economy, and digital shopping collaboratively play a rousing role when it comes to New York City commercial real estate decline.

The survey indicated that NYC-based commercial real estate professionals expect that they’ll begin to see values recede or at least hit a ceiling. When slumping asset prices are combined with the perceived deterioration of paper wealth, rent tends to follow suit and decreases. The effect? Lower rent will help business tenants’ bottom line, but wealth backsliding may encourage customers to spend less money. Decreased rent paired with a smaller revenue stream could ignite a stagnation period.

While businesses that have already reached the luxury status are able to attract the one percent, the ‘aspirationally wealthy’ customers may be less inclined to purchase luxury items, effectively leading to many luxury shops to shutter.

The survey gathered data from nearly 150 bankers/lenders, developers, legal counsel, bankers/lenders, commercial real estate professionals, owners, and property managers. The common belief was that values have peaked, but will hold. Overwhelmingly respondents believe the market is overvalued when compared to other cities. Nonetheless, 64 percent remain optimistic, expecting a runaround next year.

To properly address the peaking value of commercial real estates, it’s necessary to discuss interest rates, which The Federal Reserve increases at the economy improves. Nearly half of survey respondents (46 percent) believe the impact would be negligible, even if they increased between 1 and 2 percent from today’s 0.5 percent. Just 11 percent predicted that there would be a significant negative effect, particularly when addressing the residential side. Foreign buyers continue to purchase properties in the name of asset management, viewing it as a lower-risk alternative to the stock market, which carries security concerns rather than maximum yields.

As commercial rents/values make an impact, residential markets will also feel the pressure of that, which could be a good thing. Even as rates lower and many struggle through higher vacancy rates, property owners will proceed to earn through rent collection. Those who managed to refrain from over-leveraging equity during the good times are better positioned to survive the economic downturn. Also, tenants experiencing lower rent cost are left with additional cash to spend on household needs and other items.

The spending cycle, whereby income shifts hinder some and help others, isn’t a new phenomenon, and it’s expected that a rainbow will appear after each of these storms. However, it must be stated that consumers’ shift in buying behavior was mentioned in the report.

More than half of respondents (55 percent) indicated they expected an increase in foreign investment. With that said, the foreign investors are far more likely to have an attachment to residential assets, rather than commercial real estate. Nonetheless, at least 30 percent of respondents expect that foreign investors will have a ‘big influence’ on hotel, office, and retail real estate markets.

The report also showed that respondents had opinions on the stock market. Approximately 55 percent believe that volatility will negatively impact New York commercial real estate. Conversely, 29 percent indicated the effect would be positive, due to investments offered by buyers hailing from oil producing countries, benefitting residential and office/retail markets.

Brick-and-mortar sales have begun to stagnant as consumers make the move toward online and mobile purchasing and away from prime physical locations, which is likely the reason that 31 percent of respondents indicated that real estate is ‘highly overvalued,’ while 53 percent indicated that it is moderately overvalued. Shopping remotely speaks to convenience and immediate gratification, and the changes have spurred retail focused tech startups. However, tech startups may opt to purchase a brick and mortar component if rent for commercial real declines, because the need for a physical location is understood by even those who deal chiefly in digital e-commerce.

A Cushman & Wakefield study published in late 2015 confirmed that New York has the most expensive real estate in the world. Luxury brands outlets line the streets, occupying physical locations, at the cost of $3,500 per square foot per year. It 50 percent more costly to be stationed in New York City than Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, which comes in as the second most expensive. Nonetheless, rates have increased amid economic uncertainty.

Additionally, the report indicated that the North American real estate market continues to see the highest concentration of private investment through 2015, which approximately a third of commercial real estate investments coming from the private sector. The market like likely see an enormous capital flow increase from Asia due to policy changes that will ease investments from China and Japan.


Large-Scale Real Estate Projects Underway in New York City

city-road-street-buildingsNew York City has a number of large-scale real estate projects in the works, headed by numerous Manhattan developers, including Joseph Chetrit’s Chetrit Group, L+M Development, Sumaida + Khurana, and Kenneth Horn’s Alchemy Properties.

Half of permits filed during the month of April were for projects greater than 100,000 square feet, according to PropertyShark. The other half consisted of filings for residential projects, as well as a Brooklyn office, school expansions, and hotels. These projects,whether launched by larger or smaller firms, are important constructional developments, offering New Yorkers housing and schooling options, as well as a closer proximity to retail outlets.

One of New York City’s more prolific affordable developers L+M Development Partners filed a permit application for a 59-story, 266,000-square-foot residential tower, which will be located in the Financial District (23 Park Row). Joe and Rachelle Friedman, the founders of J&R Music and Computer World, partnered with L+M Development Partners to construct the apartment complex, which will hold 108 apartments. Also, COOKFOX Architects have been slated to design the property.

A 19-story,174,000-square-foot Downtown Brooklyn office building may be erected at 540 Fulton Street if the Dushey family’s Jenel Management has anything to say about it. The future office building will have three levels of retail space, and it will be replacing the  two-story, 26,000-square-foot retail establishment that stood there one year ago prior to demolition.

The Tel Aviv, Israel-based property management firm Sumaida + Khurana and the Chelsea-based firm LENY are planning an 80-unit, 34-story, 123,000-square-foot condo tower in Hell’s Kitchen (609 West 56th Street). Also, on the base floor, there will be retail outlets available. In addition to the Hell’s Kitchen property, they 823 11th Avenue.

In partnership with Shifra Hager’s Cornell Realty Management, Joseph Chetrit’s Chetrit Group acquired a number of retail properties near Penn Station in a deal with investor Charles D. Cohen. After parting ways, the Chetrit Group filed a permit for a 122,000-square-foot hotel, which will have approximately 33 floors and 300 rooms. The proposed hotel is expected to be located at 249-263 West 34th Street.

Another hotel is planned for Long Island City, where investment firm Brooklyn North Capital filed a permit for a 198-key Red Lion Hotel. Expected to open in 2019, the building will stand 14 floors and will have 61,000 square feet of space. The investment firm purchased the site, located at 38-15 9th Street, for $4.7 million in March.

iStar, which is a real estate finance firm and developer, is planning to construct a 135-unit, 107,000-square-foot supportive housing project just minutes from Coney Island’s boardwalk. They leased the promising space from the city’s Economic Development Corporation last year. In months and years to come, iStar plans to build 1 million square feet of housing in the area.

The New York City School Construction Authority is planning a five-story, 96,000-square-foot expansion of P.S. 19 in North Corona, Queens (40-10 99th Street) and they’re planning to add a  five-story, 67,000-square-foot building at P.S. 46 Edgar Allen Poe branch in Fordham, Bronx (2760 Briggs Avenue). These changes will bring forth more space for cafeterias, classrooms, auditoriums, offices, and an outdoor playground.


The Manhattan Luxury Real Estate Market Outperforms Other Markets Even as it Fluctuates

17178926219_ccbab87595_oAccording to reports, the NYC real estate market, particularly the luxury condo developments in Manhattan, are stalling. In fact, properties are apparently sitting on the market longer, while banks reevaluate their approach to construction lending and industry experts question the health of the high-end market, as well as its impact on the greater real estate market of New York City. However, no matter how many challenges there are, the Manhattan real estate market outperforms other markets.

Ari Harkov, a writer for NY Daily News, recently sat down with David Amirian, CEO of the Amirian Group and a prolific young developer, to inquire about the state of New York City real estate. Amirian communicated that there are more people looking to sell development sites today than any other point in recent history. Nonetheless, developers and sponsors are experiencing difficulty when it comes to raising debt and equity financing. This ultimately impacts the market.

I believe there will be a slow growth in new ground-up development and conversions because of the financing market and the velocity in which new development apartments are being sold,” said Amirian. “Lending for new, luxury condominium projects has either slowed tremendously or stopped completely in some areas of the city. It does not exist. Period. End of story.”

Development costs have increased by nearly 20 percent annually, which has put a strain on the market. This has impacted contracts and operations, which means that lenders and investors are more able to dismiss a developer if budgets and deadlines aren’t met. Brisk real estate growth has begun to taper off and is the lowest that it’s been in three years, according to a StreetEasy Market Report. With that said, New York’s investment prospects, particularly long-term investments, continue to outshine other markets.

“The Manhattan market is highly influenced by what happens in global markets,” said Alan Lightfeldt, a data scientist at StreetEasy. “Manhattan is seen as a safe real estate investment, so when there is heightened volatility in other markets, we typically see demand for New York luxury properties increase. Recent turmoil in China’s stock market, for example, caused an increase in Chinese demand for US-properties.”

Manhattan has seen 3.8 percent growth over the past 12 months, which is the lowest on record since September 2012. Because of a slowing market, offers tended to be closer to asking prices, and price cuts were smaller and far less common than in the past. In Q1 2015, 31.2 percent of Manhattan listings had a price cut, compared to just 27.6 percent of Manhattan in 2016.

We’re reminded by data that the overall Manhattan market may be faltering, but subsets of the market continue to boom. Upper Manhattan surged 9.7 percent, with much of that success occurring on the Upper West Side (5.7 percent). East Brooklyn, South Brooklyn and Prospect Park in Brooklyn also experience success. While Downtown Manhattan, the Upper East Side, and Midtown had rates below the average. Also, real estate throughout the nation has been experiencing fluctuations, it isn’t just Manhattan. Regardless, wealth projections show that a long-term interest in real estate is a safe one.


4 Up-&-Coming, Hot NYC Neighborhoods

New York City is a paradise for those in search of trendy, hot neighborhoods. It’s up to the real estate industry to predict which neighborhood will be hot before it has even begun to warm.

The next “it” neighborhood can be determined by gauging local access to public transportation and attractive architecture, and clues that developers have identified a particular neighborhood as the next hot neighborhood is when rezoning, new supermarkets, restaurants and cold-brew coffee shops begin to sprout up, which invites new arrivals who are in search of low-cost housing, often to the dismay of longtime residents. There are four neighborhoods that have been identified as the next ‘hot’ neighborhood, based on indicators, such as commercial developments.

Sunset Park West, Brooklyn: Considered to be one of Brooklyn’s “most heterogeneous neighborhoods,” Sunset Park is a rising star, attracting countless individuals to its brownstone blocks and pre-war co-ops. From Bush Terminal Park to the soon-to-be-updated Industry City (a 16-building waterfront industrial complex) to the Design Within Reach warehouse, there is definite growth in Sunset Park. Additionally, Brooklyn Flea & Smorgasburg is located here, the startup MakerBot, the new Brooklyn Nets center, and warehouses, which beckon the partygoer crowd.

The Rockaways, Queens: The Rockaways have long been a go-to for surfers and beachgoers. However, the area is becoming more attractive to families and professionals year-round. Co-ops and starter apartments are available are available at a fraction of the cost of other NYC apartments. Also, there are developments on the horizon. This includes the development of a series of 18 duplexes across nine detached houses. As well as other vast oceanfront constructions, restaurants and more.

Flatbush, Brooklyn: Flatbush, with its stunning Victorians and retail corridors, s attractive to those who enjoy Caribbean restaurants and historic churches. The restored 1929 Kings Theater stands in the heart of the area and the neighborhood offers stand-alone homes and attached house, convenient public transportation and it’s extremely diverse.

East Harlem: East Harlem is a culturally-rich district, which runs from 96th street to the mid-140s. It remains one of the only neighborhoods in Manhattan, proper, that can offer valuable housing. The neighborhood is a lovely one, also known as Spanish Harlem or El Barrio, and it has beautiful cultural centers, many local small businesses, and robust commercial developments in progress.

5 Exciting Real Estate Projects in NYC

NYC is an incredible bustling city, and it always has some amazing projects in the works. With that said, some are far more exciting than others. Below, you’ll read about five exciting real estate projects taking place in NYC.

Hudson Yards is NYC’s largest project since Rockefeller Center and it’s the biggest private real estate development in the nation. It’s an incredible 17 million square feet with multiple office towers and 5,000 apartments, and it will house NYC’s first Neiman Marcus.

New York Wheel: NYC has endeavored to create the world’s largest Ferris wheel in Staten Island. The must-see tourist attraction will likely cost $35 a ride, and construction is slated to cost more than $500 million.

Central Park Tower: The residential project previously known as Nordstrom Tower is a 1,500-foot-high luxury condo, and it’s projected to sell out at $4.4 billion.

Essex Crossing: Formerly known as Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, the lower east side-located tenement housing development will hold 1,000 apartments and 850,000 feet of commercial space. The project will also introduce a park, a movie theater, and a bowling alley to the community. They’re also expanding the Essex Street Market.

Brooklyn Navy Yard: The industrial park is located near Clinton Hill, South Williamsburg, and Downtown Brooklyn, and it will be home to a number of tech-driven manufacturing projects. Traditional and new manufacturing companies will be housed in the massive complex.


5 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Reach as a Real Estate Agent in 2016

Social media has won, and it’s about time the blissfully ignorant fall in line, follow suit and learn how to get ‘followed’.

While some make the mistake of believing social media is simply a playground for selfies and other forms of self-indulgence, others recognize social media platforms as an arena for industries to communicate with those they service. Social media has become a vital marketing tool for steering business on and offscreen. This particularly true for real estate agents or brokers, who deal in interpersonal relations in addition to acting as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of homes. Learn a few pointers that will help you to improve your social media reach in the new year.

Tweet @ Specific Groups

It isn’t enough to simply tweet, you have to tweet effectively. One of the best ways to do this is to tweet at others. By inserting the ‘@’ and the beginning of your messages, you can your message at the intended audience. If you’re planning to educate an intended client about a beautiful new property, direct that message toward them and anyone else who might be interested.


Another helpful tip is to use hashtags. This is so very important because the use of hashtags encourages information to be accessed by individuals looking to learn about whatever you’re posting about. If you’re planning to tweet about New York Time’s article “The Appraisal: Where the Sidewalk Ends, Abruptly: Delivery Ramp Vexes Condo’s Residents in Lower Manhattan,” it should read “@nytimes The #Appraisal: Where the Sidewalk Ends, Abruptly: Delivery Ramp Vexes #Condo’s Residents in #Lower #Manhattan” when it reaches the world. That way the message is optimized and has the greatest reach.

Consider Your Social Media Choices

Choose the right social media platforms when sharing particular media. While some platform are for socializing and sharing information, others are simply designated for networking. Instagram is ideal for sharing the exteriors of beautiful homes and Facebook is a great place to showcase new properties. Also, Twitter is an incredible place to communicate and share industry news, which speaks to the housing market. However, if you venture sites such as Quora and Crunchbase and crowd it with with your own listings, others will view it as tacky.

Hyperlocal News

Cater to your local market and speak to those you service. Those in your area are more likely to follow and show interest than individuals who live several states away. Be sure to share information that relates to the your city and neighboring areas. Doing this shows your audience that you know about more than selling houses, you know about the area and the establishments within that area. Communicate your thoughts on nearby restaurants, places to purchase affordable antiques or changes in the community. Also, share localized data about low-cost rent, prime real estate and new developments.


Follow the Leads

Social media can be a great place for finding incredible leads. For real estates agent, living in New York City, watch for tweets from New Yorkers requesting recommendations for housing options. Turning your eye to this long list of potential clients is a bad decision. When possible, direct them to your website and communicate a relevant property.

For the real estate industry, social media is an incredible place. Today, real estate agents who are “plugged in” and know how to use these platforms as a vital tool outperform those who fail to.  I named five ways to improve your social media reach as a real estate agent in 2016, but there are other ways. also.


Is the Upper East Side moving to Brooklyn?

kevin brunnockThe luxury real estate market in Brooklyn, NY has been booming. Old properties that are on sale, in addition to newly constructed rental buildings, are all hitting the market priced at millions of dollars. This might sound strange to some. When most people think of million dollar homes in NYC they typically imagine decadent Manhattan Penthouses owned by the few, not modest family homes in Brooklyn. However, the trend of multi-million dollar Brooklyn homes has been on the rise as of late.

Industrial-style homes on Pacific Street, between Fourth Avenue and Henry Street, in Brooklyn are the new cash cows for investors in the city’s hippest borough. Douglas Elliman recently sold a $15.5 million mansion on that street. There has also been a string of mega-million deals on residential homes that have put a spotlight on a stretch of Pacific Street, which runs through Cobble HIll and Boerum Hill, areas near the Barclays Center. Noted celebrities have been buying homes in this area – another factor that has caused the boom. Singer Norah Jones even owns two houses in the area that are around the corner from each other.

Recently, investors have not only been re-selling homes but building new, cool, amenity-laden homes in vacant patches on the strip that are impossible to build in nearby neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights or even in the West Village. One of these new houses is about to hit the market for $12.5 million, which equates to over $2,000 a foot. New carriage-style homes are also making an appearance in the area. Located at 323 Pacific Street, the first home is a massive 6,000-square-foot, 25-foot-wide mansion. It features five bedrooms, an elevator, on-site parking, and custom Americana finishes. It is supposed to hit the market in late October 2015 for $12.5 million. While this is of course a sizable price tag, this house would list for around $40 million in Manhattan. Another home on Pacific Street, for example, was built with a 20-seat movie theater, a gym, a children’s playroom, a bar and wine cellar, a roof deck and parking facility.

Not only are houses being priced extremely high, but condos are as well. A new 30-unit condo development at 465 Pacific Street, designed by architect Morris Adjmi, is about to be listed at about 40% more than the neighborhood average, which is more than $1,4000 a foot. The diversity of the houses, from condos to brownstones to carriage houses to three-bedroom homes, is what is really luring wealthy individuals and celebrities to the area. Moreover, Pacific offers these high-profile individuals a low-key vibe, one which doesn’t attract the high tourist traffic of areas such as Brooklyn Heights. There are many factors that play into the boom of the luxury real estate market in Brooklyn, a trend that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

To learn more about Brooklyn, see the message from Brooklyn Borough President, Eric Adams below.

To learn more visit



Forget Fashion Week, the luxury apartments hitting the market in NYC this Fall are the real showstoppers. Characterized by their sleek design, amenities, exclusivity, quality, and views, nothing has been left out or done mediocrely. The premium level of real estate has just topped itself.

1. Sleek Design

Architecturally appealing and innovative, apartments and living luxuriously somehow has gotten more stylish in New York City. The floorplans are streamlined and set up for effortless fluidity, providing you the space to utilize your space however you please.  Think: modern with elegance.

2. Amenities

The amenities are an endless sea, and if you think life couldn’t get any more convenient in the city, you were wrong. A skylit swimming pool, private spa suites featuring waterfall showers, saunas, thermal baths, steam rooms, gyms, landscaped gardens, and even an IMAX theater room are only a few of the amenities you can enjoy in these chic buildings. Private garages for your vehicles and bikes are also available.

3. Exclusivity

As you can imagine, exclusivity is a major component to the newest places to be revealed in the city. SHoP Architects tower will be joining “Billionaires Row” with views of Central Park. There will only be 60 units available, while British architect, Lord Norman Foster’s building in the same area will have a total of 94 units. Some contain as little as 14 units, making the apartments rare commodities.

4. Quality

And with design and exclusivity, comes quality. From the finishes on floors to the state-of-the-art kitchens, everything is up to the highest standard. Light fixtures are sleek and modern, supporting open-style floor plans.

5. The View

What is the overlying theme for some of the finest buildings hitting NYC? The view. It’s no secret that in Manhattan, the only way is up, and these buildings are doing it in style with floor-to-ceiling windows, and some are even doing it in 360 degrees. The abundance of windows creates openness and allows air to breath in the space. Architecture Prize winner, Zaha Hadid’s newest project along the high line demonstrates this trend with a glass curtain of windows.

There is a total of 5,300 units available this Fall. This is more than twice what there was last year.  It appears as though the market for luxury apartments and condominiums is ever growing. Leaving us to think, what will be next?


Info courtesy of nydailynews

Concerns over China’s econ Echo in NY Real Estate

yuan kevin brunnockRecent headlines from the financial sector have been directly tied to the real estate market in New York. Early last week, the Chinese government made a shocking move of devaluing their currency by 1.9 percent against the US dollar. This move marks the most significant single-day reduction in value in over twenty years. 1994 was the last time that China underwent a comparable markdown. The intention behind this devaluation of the renminbi appears to be to reduce capital outflows from China and essentially encourage Chinese investors to keep their resources exclusively in the Chinese markets.

Over the past year or so, China’s economy has slowed somewhat and the central Chinese bank responded by cutting interest rates to help lending and in turn ignite some positive movement in a floundering economic atmosphere.  However, this move decreased ROI on domestic bonds so investors focused their energy and allocated more resources in other countries.

The New York real estate market proved to be one of the sectors abroad that benefitted tremendously from the influx of attention from Chinese investors. Although the devaluation of the Chinese currency does nothing to change the ROI for Chinese investors investing within China, it does mean that New York real estate just got more expensive for these Chinese investors.

It is important to keep in mind however, that while this devaluation of the Chinese currency will impact individual investors, major Chinese companies will likely be shielded from the repercussions of this action. For example, Greenland Holdings and Xinyuan Real Estate  (both listed on Hong Kong and New York stock exchanges) earn a sizable portion of their monetary resources through selling stocks and bonds that are dollar denominated outside of China, meaning there is no conversion from Yuan to USD necessary. This is a major boon for larger Chinese corporations and for the New York real estate market dependent on resources from these foreign investors.

However, it remains to be seen how independent investors from China will proceed in the New York market if they don’t have any assets to leverage that don’t require currency conversions. On face-value, the outlook may not be great, but there are some who believe otherwise. According to economist at the Brookings Institution, David Dollar, this devaluation won’t have a huge effect on Chinese investment in the U.S. He instead believes that, “The question is where the currency goes from here.”  While he acknowledges that,  “There could start to be a devaluation trend,” Dollar does, “… not think that is likely.” Only time will tell!

$62M Surge in NYC Real Estate Tech Platforms

Kevin Brunnock New YorkIt’s no surprise really that tech startups and the real estate sector have started to combine forces through a variety of emerging management platforms. The current market-place and expansive set of data regarding buildings is finally becoming available through digital platforms, and software developers and young CEOs are looking to streamline in demand processes using the tools currently at their disposal and those in development.

Over the past few years, the real estate and tech sectors have continued to generate even more synergy, and real estate is becoming increasingly dependent on technology throughout all aspects of operation in the industry. Recent estimates reveal that investors in New York’s real estate industry pledged $62 million to digital platforms concerned with residential or commercial real estate in the first half of 2015 alone.

By the Numbers: First Quarter 2015 Funding

According to a recent report published by tech advisory company RE:Tech, New York City based tech companies commanded $28 million in the first quarter of 2015. This capital went to seven companies, and by the conclusion of the second quarter, these NYC-based real estate tech companies had inked deals worth $34 million.

Howard Milstein, chairman and chief executive officer of Milstein Properties and Emigrant Bank explained the overwhelming investor support in these types of technology services and new platforms in a press release in June that announced his company’s funding of management platform, “Honest Buildings”. Milstein claimed;

 “ With trillions of dollars spent on construction and building improvements annually, we see an untapped opportunity to realize significant savings and efficiencies by harnessing the power of data and information to enable better decision-making…”

Although many of the investments described in this report highlight large sums from individuals or companies, crowdfunding platforms that rely on smaller investments from a larger collective of investors have become a popular form of funding in recent years. Since January of 2015 the crowdfunding marketplace “Sharestates” raised a whopping $30 million in funding. In that same period of time, online investment platform Cadre raised an impressive 18.3 million.

Real Estate Tech: Global Growth

On a global scale, real estate-based tech companies are responsible for approximately $322.5 million in investments this year alone and most of those resources go to supporting commercial real estate enterprises. However, there is still approximately $100.7 million dollars that accounts for investments made towards residential real estate.

In addition to gathering estimates of how much money was invested in these real-estate tech companies, this report polled 500 real estate professionals- from both the residential and commercial areas of the industry and elicited their opinions regarding the role of technology in the industry.

Although the report didn’t necessarily speculate about how this market is poised to grow in coming years using exact numbers, one can imagine that the continued development of programs and platforms that cull and analyze data gathered by different companies is only going to become more and more popular. Finding ways to use and understand such a vast amount of data that can ultimately save these larger companies significant amounts of capital expenditure is more than enough reason to look at this as a true growth industry.