Astoria's 38th Street. Says Isak:
“It's a very hot market. Occupancy is
close to 100%, and there’s never vacancy.

NEW YORK CITY-High demand for multifamily rental units is evident in Astoria, Queens, where investment sales firm Falco Isak Realty Services sold a bulk package of 138 sponsor units. Rubin S. Isak, CEO and founder of the firm, says the multifamily market is the hottest market in commercial real estate with lots of demand and little inventory. Queens, and the Astoria area in particular, are hot.

“Anything that comes up gets taken right away,” Isak says. “Astoria is a very hot market. Occupancy is close to 100%, and there’s never a vacancy in western Queens. When you have demand like that, things get snapped up quickly.”

Several reasons account for Astoria’s popularity, Isak says. Rents are “relatively decent.” It has good proximity to Manhattan and good access to highways and the subway and buses

“It’s a great neighborhood with great retail strips and great restaurants,” Isak says. “In my opinion, it’s one of the best in Queens.”

The properties are located on the south side of 38th Street between Astoria Boulevard South and 28th Avenue. The entire portfolio contains 168 units with 50,009 cooperative shares. The unsold sponsor unit package consisted of 138 units with 41,142 unsold shares: 99 units are free market, 27 are rent-stabilized, 10 are rent controlled with two sponsor-owned basement units. More than 100 of the units are one-bedrooms, 27 are two-bedrooms, two are studios and two basement units. The gross sales price for the buildings was $17.8 million, comprised of more than $10.8 million in cash and assumption of a mortgage of nearly $7 million.

Isak describes the buildings as being in immaculate condition. He says they were owned an operated by one family and had roof and electrical upgrades a few years ago.

“This product type of unsold sponsor units is very rare,” Isak says. “Buyers of this type of product need to have an understanding of it. When we marketed it, we went out only to 50 investors that we knew would understand this type of transaction.”

A buyer was found in about a month and there was good demand for the buildings. The deal took about two and a half years to close because the buyers included many partners, one of whom passed away during the process.

“We had a patient purchaser who understood the deal, and we had patient and highly skilled attorneys on both sides,” he says. “We had a motivated seller. We track every multifamily sale and so far in walk-ups, this is the highest priced sale this year.”

Isak says there have been eight multifamily sales in Astoria, comprised of seven walk-ups and one elevator building. The average hold time in Queens is 35 years and Isak says the real issue is inventory.

“If a broker has inventory and it’s an apartment building that’s correctly priced, there’s not problem to sell. It’s the cr