may be in order, in the midst of dynamic change.
A panel I sat in last week gave me thoughts, and some pause, too.
Leslie Wilson, an executive who was a successful developer at Related for a decade or more; my old friend Tim Crowley, who crossed the Rubicon last year from developer Flank and is at CORE, overseeing New Development; Orest Tomaselli, who advises condo developers across the US from the perch of National Condo Advisors.
All moderated by the head of my firm’s New Development division, Stephen Kliegerman.
She also looked backward to claim that the pace of price increases in new development was bound to be unsustainable.
Yes, yes, that looks obvious in hindsight.
But the idea that sellers are putting nearly any “made up numbers” prices on their properties landed with a lot of nods.
Sellers haven’t been moored to reality, and we’re facing, if not a reckoning, certainly a recalibration.
Tim Crowley mentioned developers building “8-figure properties in 6-figure locations.”
While this is nothing new – trying to create new neighborhoods or push boundaries – are the current levels simply too high for buyers?
The market seems to indicate that the best locations and views will bear out.
And overpriced development is losing.
Is psychology playing such an outsized role?
Do people really buy apartments because the stock market is up for a week or two?
Pretty interesting to consider.
Since the UK imposed a higher tax on purchases at the high end of their market, those sales have dried up, to a large degree.
Tim Crowley suggested that the stamp tax is pushing buyers to NYC. At the same time,he pulled a few laughs reminding us that while perhaps 25-30% of buyers are foreign, the vast majority are not well-known, just very successful businesspeople, like the “Mattress King from Tulsa.”
distinction he made, another layer of worthy consideration, is the difference between the foreign buyer and the first time foreign buyer.
As foreign buyers become more sophisticated, they are searching out more distinctions in the marketplace beyond blue chip purchases, while first time buyers are sticking to a well-worn script.
To that end, New York City seems reasonable for parking money.
It will be interesting to see who gets better return on capital: those playing it safe, or those searching for slightly riskier investments in and around NYC.
signed Downtown north of $10mm, literally putting all of those properties on the map, indicates that location really is as crucial as ever.
Views are key, borderline neighborhoods between the Financial District and Tribeca are not working very well.
Greenwich Village properties without views and with high monthlies are seeing price chops.
It’s a shift, no question.
Will Not Come to Fruition?
To come to market or wait?
While some developers might prefer to hold off in light of market conditions, often they are compelled by their financial partners to push to the market too soon.
Stephen Kliegerman and Leslie Wilson discussed the challenges of deciding exactly when the right time is to come to market.
Should the building be out of the ground?
These choices are more important than ever, regularly deciding the fate of a project.
After a light thought experiment about how many billionaires there are in the world, how many want to buy in Manhattan, and how many want to own on 57th Street without a massive Central Park View, the argument definitely could be made that not every $50mm apartment along 57th Street will find a buyer.
indications of strength along 57th Street.
As I see it, quality projects remain obvious to buyers.
Robert Stern’s name, attached to projects like 15 CPW, and now 220 Central Park South, has drawn buyers, while other projects have not yet inspired the same loyalty.
like the Park Lane Hotel, 550 Madison, and others probably are not.
We hear about the challenges of Extell projects these days in getting financing, others struggling to gain traction in the marketplace, or having cautious or gun-shy investors.
I have big concerns that there are simply too many properties for too few buyers.
Perhaps it will result in some really lovely office space.
As 432 Park Avenue closings take place, in a few months’ time, we’ll see what happens with the residential inventory that remains.