November 22nd 2011
In Real Deal real estate magazine’s annual forum, speakers offer investment tips and caution against investment in commercial property on city’s outskirts
“Our market is good, probably the best in the world. There’s New York and then there’s the rest of the State,” said William Macklowe, president and chairman of New York’s major real estate corporation Macklowe Properties, at the Seventh annual forum held by Real Deal – one of the leading real estate magazines in the United States.
The conference was held over the weekend at Lincoln Center with a crowd of 1,600 realtors, who all appeared to agree that the luxury real estate market in New York is coming to life.
Figures presented at the conference show that the sale of building blocks in New York doubled in 2010 as compared to the previous year especially in light of Google’s $1.8 billion mega deal.
Office occupancy is climbing for the first time in three years and apartments in the city are going for just 14% below their peak prices. The rental market, for the time being, is showing signs of stability with slight increases as people are apprehensive when it comes to buying property and prefer to rent.
‘You see a lot of Israeli investors’
“The uncertainty in other markets and mainly the euro crisis are driving people to invest in New York,” said Frederick Peters, president of Warburg Realty Partnership, one of New York’s oldest real estate agencies. “We see many of our buyers coming from outside of the US.”
Jonathan Adelsberg from the Herrick Feinstein law firm, which specializes in real estate and was one of the event’s sponsors, said: “The mayor encourages foreign investments and today we see many foreign investors from Israel, South America, India and especially Canada, because the Canadian dollar is getting stronger.”
Architect Daniel Goldner said, “We see Israeli entrepreneurs arriving in New York en mass. I don’t know what the reason for this is.”
“It’s true that prices dropped, but development and building are almost at a standstill,” revealed Nir Amzal of HAP. “The banks have closed the credit tap and Americans, who are accustomed to working with banks, just can’t conceive digging into their own pockets. Israelis are used to working with their own money.”
Rich Schulhoff from Brooklyn real estate agency BNYMLS recommends Red Hook – a port neighborhood on the bank of the east river, not far from Manhattan’s financial district.
“This year, we’ve seen a 6% rise in sales and a 4% rise in prices in Brooklyn,” he said. “Everything is happening at breakneck speed – once a neighborhood becomes hot, the prices rise and it’s on the next neighborhood.
“People love Brooklyn because it’s very neighborly. Kids can play in the streets and you know who your neighbors are.”
‘Investing in large buildings in prime locations’
Jean Luc Butbul, a local Jewish real estate entrepreneur, said he looked for good deals in lower Manhattan, but that they were hard to come by. “It’s like looking for a diamond in a haystack.”
Butbul explained that he was seeking projects in the range of $30-$300 million and that in the current atmosphere “you have to find projects that no one has heard about yet.”
Investment consultant and commentator on local TV, Dr. Roger Hanwehr, who is interested in mega-projects, said the best places in New York to invest in were the large buildings in good locations along the river with a view.
“Like they say – location, location, location. Investing in a dump in the notion that some developer will come along and turn the area into Beverly Hills is just wrong.”