LIVINGSTON, NJ–Multi-family property owners realize the marketmay be reaching a peak time for selling, a window of opportunityexpected to continue into the second half of the year,Gebroe-Hammer Associates tellsGlobeSt.com.

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The firm arranged 67 transactions during the last six months,and says the multi-family sector should see more aggressive pricingat a growth rate surpassing pre-recession levels.

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GH closed out June arranging 14 sales of 473units throughout New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, selling formore than $53 million.

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“Buyers have set new benchmarks for what they are willing to payin an environment characterized by continued historically lowinterest rates, abundant availability of capital and soaring demandin an undersupplied industry,” says Ken Uranowitz,GH president, a 39-year industry veteran. “Thereis a voracious appetite among investors for all building classes,with value-add opportunities ranking highest in terms ofacquisition strategy. These conditions are expected to gaintraction through year end and well into next year.”

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While properties that come to market in high-barrier-to-entrylocations, like Bergen County, NJ, remain rare, Uranowitz saysinvestors are looking for well-located, underperforming urban,suburban and rural properties with mass transit access andlifestyle services like dry cleaners, grocery stores and shoppingcenters, restaurants and leisure/recreational venues.

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Common business plans include the implementation of renovationprograms to reposition these properties, rendering them morecompetitive while allowing investors to realize a greater return ontheir initial investment, says Uranowitz.

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“With homeownership still so far out of reach or undesirable fora majority of the population, renting has been and will continue tobe the new normal,” says Uranowitz. “Millennials – who experiencedthe housing crisis of their parents' generation – also are joiningthe renter pool and setting down roots, strengthening an alreadyfortified tenant base of hard-working families and emptynesters.”

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The most active markets are New Jersey's northern municipalitiesand its Gold Coast, and Eastern Pennsylvania/South Jersey. Theseare among the most stable apartment-rental markets in the nationand offer a high concentration of multi-family properties built 30to 40 years ago. Despite a rising number of planned constructionprojects in both regions that have yet to be built, the tenant baseis diverse enough to solidify high occupancy rates across theboard.

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“New product enhances the overall posture of neighborhoods andcities for all residents of varying socioeconomic backgrounds,especially those who are priced out of Philadelphia or Manhattan,”says Uranowitz.

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Even in the wake of the Superstorm Sandy disaster,Gebroe-Hammer reports multi-family tradingactivity in shore communities like Asbury Park and Lakewood isheating up. “The re-emerging economy and revitalization in theseareas are drawing investors, particularly those who are experiencedin repositioning properties,” saysUranowitz.

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CORRECTION, 8/11/2014: An earlier version of this story included aheadline describing the 67 multifamily sales with an incorrectdollar value of $53 million. That amount refers to the dollar valueof GF sales in the month of June.

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Steve Lubetkin

Steve Lubetkin is the New Jersey and Philadelphia editor for GlobeSt.com. He is currently filling in covering Chicago and Midwest markets until a new permanent editor is named. He previously filled in covering Atlanta. Steve’s journalism background includes print and broadcast reporting for NJ news organizations. His audio and video work for GlobeSt.com has been honored by the Garden State Journalists Association, and he has also been recognized for video by the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He has produced audio podcasts on CRE topics for the NAR Commercial Division and the CCIM Institute. Steve has also served (from August 2017 to March 2018) as national broadcast news correspondent for CEOReport.com, a news website focused on practical advice for senior executives in small- and medium-sized companies. Steve also reports on-camera and covers conferences for NJSpotlight.com, a public policy news coverage website focused on New Jersey government and industry; and for clients of StateBroadcastNews.com, a division of The Lubetkin Media Companies LLC. Steve has been the computer columnist for the Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey, since 1996. Steve is co-author, with Toronto-based podcasting pioneer Donna Papacosta, of the book, The Business of Podcasting: How to Take Your Podcasting Passion from the Personal to the Professional. You can email Steve at [email protected].