M-F Sales Decreasing in NYC, LA; Investors Holding

While multi-family property sales in New York City and Los Angeles have decreased over the last two years, one analyst attributes the drop to investors holding on to their assets until the market rises. In its investment properties first quarter report, PropertyShark.com tracked recorded sales of investment properties defined as two-family dwellings, three-family dwellings, four -family dwellings, five- or more family dwellings, and mixed use properties in Los Angeles County, San Francisco County, and the five boroughs of New York City through the end of the first quarter of this year. New York City’s investment property market over the last two years has seen significant downward adjustments. The most striking change for these property types was in the number of closings, which was down 41.4 percent since the first quarter of 2007, according to the report. The median price per square foot dropped 5.7 percent from the first quarter of 2007, setting a two-year low at $242. The median sale price remained flat when compared to the last quarter of 2007, which was the lowest quarterly value of 2007. Two-family and three-family properties represented more than two-thirds of all multi-family closings in New York City, with the great majority located in Queens and Brooklyn. All boroughs experienced heavy declines in the number of sales compared to first quarter 2007. Manhattan, down 49 percent, led the group, followed by the Bronx, down 47 percent; Queens, down 44 percent; Staten Island, down 39 percent; and Brooklyn, down 37 percent. “What it says to me is that investors are feeling that they may have to take a lower price than they want, so they may decide to just hold on to it,” Bill Staniford, CEO at Property Shark, told CPN. “The market is a little slower than is being showed, so investors are not going to trade this property because they would have to drop the price, so they would rather hold on to it.” Staniford said the report is more of a real reflection of the industry and what is actually happening as opposed to the potentially media driven problems. “Probably the most significant finding in the report is the number of sales that are occurring and the decrease in the number of sales occurring in New York and Los Angeles markets,” Staniford said. “The number of sales in San Francisco really hasn’t changed as much, although there are significant decreases in prices there.” “There has been a lot of coverage on the residential market, but not as much on the investment grade multi-family market,” said PropertyShark spokesman Brian Scully. “We wanted to give people more information on these particular markets and this segment of the real estate market.” Founded in January 2003, Brooklyn-based PropertyShark.com is a real estate research site. The site currently lists more than 20 million properties in 15 major markets.