2023 NYC Investment Sales Hit Decade Low

Across the city, there were $9.7B in commercial properties sold last year.

2023 NYC Investment Sales Hit Decade Low

Across the city, there were $9.7B in commercial properties sold last year.

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Market Snapshot

S&P 500
GSPC
4,780.24
Pct Chg:
-0.67%
FTSE NAREIT
FNER
746.75
Pct Chg:
-0.92%
10Y Treasury
TNX
3.975%
Pct Chg:
-0.038
SOFR
1-month
5.34%
Pct Chg:
0.0%

*Data as of 1/11/2024 market close.

SALES SLUMP

NYC Investment Sales Plunge to Lowest Level Since 2009

The investment sales market in NYC experienced its worst year in over a decade, with a sharp decline in CRE transactions. 

What happened: According to Avison Young, the dollar volume of CRE sold in the city in 2023 was $9.7B, a 55% drop from 2022 and 72% below the 10-year average. The market was characterized by a wait-and-see approach from buyers and sellers, resulting in only 464 sales for the year, 49.5% below the 10-year average.

Hotels and retail strong: Despite high borrowing costs, hotels and retail showed resilience. Transactions for these asset classes saw a 27% gain in dollar volume to $4.9B in 2023 compared to $3.9B in 2022. Comparing 2023 to 2021, there was a 63% jump in transactions, amounting to $3B in trades that year. This positive performance can be attributed to the recovery of jobs and increased consumer spending.

Multifamily sales decline: Multifamily sales suffered a 52% drop compared to 2022, with sales totaling $7.4B last year compared to $15.4B the year prior. Market-rate buildings accounted for approximately $4.3B. However, there’s still demand. If interest rates go down, more sellers should be encouraged to transact, leading to more multifamily sales.

Not so stable after all: The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, coupled with high rates, has led to lower values for rent-stabilized buildings, discouraging investment. Rent-stabilized properties only made up 17% of all multifamily sales in 2023. Additionally, industrial saw a 56% drop in sales compared to 2022, and distressed offices saw 59% fewer sales.

Hope for recovery: The Fed's rate hikes dampened buyer appetites and contributed to low sales volumes. However, Avison Young predicts that 2024 might see a turnaround. Many potential buyers are sitting on "dry powder" and are eager to take advantage of opportunities if rates are cut this year. Additionally, a surge in buyer inquiries has already been observed, indicating a potential resurgence in the market.

Maturing debt motivation: Many owners faced the challenge of maturing debt in 2023 and were forced to weigh their options. Some chose to complete cash-in refinances, covering their debts, while others considered selling. The inability or unwillingness to pay down mortgages motivated a significant number of multifamily and retail sales. Private sellers represented approximately 69% of total deals.

Impact on rentals: Ongoing challenges in the investment sales market, particularly the absence of land sales for rental housing development, could have implications for NYC's housing crisis. The lack of new rental development since the expiration of the 421-a program, combined with declining rents, might hinder the city's ability to address its housing needs in the short term.

➥ THE TAKEAWAY

Challenging year: Despite the dismal performance of NYC’s CRE investment sales in 2023, there’s optimism for a rebound in 2024. Buyers and sellers are hopeful that rate cuts will rejuvenate the market and lead to more transactions. The motivation to sell due to maturing debt and potential distress sales could also contribute to a resurgence. However, the future of the rental market remains uncertain, with limited rental development exacerbating the city's housing crisis.

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✍️ Editor’s Picks

  • Real estate reinforcements: Blackstone (BX) promotes new leadership, appointing dual investment chiefs to enhance coordination.

  • Hall of Shame: Developer Jack Fisher and his partner James Sinnott were sentenced to 25 and 23 years for a $1.3B tax fraud scheme involving land deals and conservation donations.

  • Rebuilding possibilities: 2024’s CRE outlook could improve due to inflation, rising interest rates, and the impact on housing shortages.

🏘️ MULTIFAMILY

  • Preserving affordable living: Enterprise Community Development acquires Coralain Gardens in Falls Church, VA for $21.7M, preserving 106 affordable units with plans for renovation.

  • Mega mobile cash-out: Brookfield Asset Management sold 19 manufactured housing communities in the U.S. for $325M, with a 24% return, totaling 3,166 home sites across seven states.

  • You get what you pay for: Rent growth in 3-star properties outperformed other property categories, rising by 1.4% in 2023.

📦 INDUSTRIAL

  • Warehouse sector cools: US warehouse vacancy rates climbed to 5.2% in 4Q23, with 156MSF of new space available, signaling a cooling in the sector.

  • Warehouses wanted: ReadySpaces, a flex warehouse provider, plans a new 115.9 KSF outpost in Jamaica, Queens, with a 10-year lease and a rent of $25 PSF.

  • Bigger in Texas: Constellation Real Estate Partners acquired a 26-acre property in Houston to develop a 537.4 KSF warehouse. Construction starts this quarter.

  • Breaking ground: PCCP and Midwest Industrial Funds break ground on a 337 KSF industrial facility in Jacksonville, FL.

🏪 RETAIL

  • Expanding empire: Avison Young acquired Madison Marquette's specialty leasing, retail property management, marketing, and leasing businesses, adding 6.1MSF of assets and 37 personnel.

  • FCPT expands portfolio: Four Corners Property Trust (FCPT) recently acquired two Oak Street Health properties for $4.2M, adding to its portfolio and generating stable rental revenue.

  • 'Sporty' deal: A Tyler retail building leased by Academy Sports + Outdoors hits market for $13.5M, with a 7% cap rate and 5.5 years left on lease.

  • Consumer confidence stalls: Despite positive economic indicators like income and wealth growth, economists expect consumer confidence to remain low due to recession concerns.

  • Shaping up: Walmart (WMT) debuts a 360 KSF fitness center at their new HQ, signaling a focus on employee amenities.

🏢 OFFICE

  • Home is where the heart is: The Watergate Office Building in DC has resolved delinquency concerns and is 90% leased, according to its landlord.

  • Reviving the workplace: Dallas-based Novel Office plans to revitalize a 225.9 KSF office building near Greenway Plaza in Houston amidst a declining market.

  • Officially an office crunch: Charlotte's CRE market will be driven by a lack of new office space in 2024, with less than 1MSF expected to be delivered in the next 12 months.

CHART OF THE DAY

Using 2019 as the pre-pandemic baseline (the dotted 100 line on this chart), last year ended on a pretty good note, all things considered. JLL’s Global Bid Intensity Index is at 99 again, suggesting a return to the pre-pandemic transaction norms—at least in terms of bids.

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