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JERSEY CITY-Gebroe-Hammer Associates recently orchestrated the $12.5-million sale of 150 units at 317-343 Fairmount and 62 Kensington avenues here. The five mid-rise buildings were approximately 80% occupied at the time of sale and the buyer is planning comprehensive renovations, including a state-of-the-art security system, which will add short- and long-term value to the buildings.

According to Gebroe-Hammer managing director Ken Uranowitz, area occupancy rates are approximately 95%, with rental rates averaging approximately $825 for one-bedroom and $975 for two-bedroom units. “Our firm is extremely active in Jersey City, where investments in apartment rental buildings, especially older, small-to-mid-sized properties, continue to outpace the office and industrial submarkets, due in large part to its controllability through rent appreciation,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

For older properties in the area, new ownership typically implements value-add strategies such as renovation and refurbishment projects to reposition the property and leverage higher market rents. “Jersey City also continues to experience high levels of multifamily trading activity because you have more livable space for less money, which really does contribute to a solid occupancy rate in the city,” he adds.

Despite the downturn, we’re witnessing the highest level of market activity and interest in stabilized apartment buildings, agrees Massey Knakal managing director Landon McGaw. “Forecasting out, you’ll see more people coming into the Jersey City market looking for alternative living options.”

There’s plenty of available capital for financing purposes, so in this way multifamily sets itself apart from the other product types, adds Michael Fasano, head of Marcus & Millichap’s Elmwood Park office. He tells GlobeSt.com that “multifamily closed 2008 at 3.5% to 4% vacancy, and while you might see more of an impact on the high-end of the market, the class B and C multifamily market hasn’t been impacted much in terms of occupancy rates.”

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