Finally, it appears as though commercial and investment real estate sales are reflecting what the rest of us have known for a long time: that Astoria is an exceptional neighborhood with excellent amenities, transportation and infrastructures—and is ideally situated for stable investments.
Those watching the investment sales in Astoria can easily see the spike in activity as the year unfolded. Many felt that the first quarter of 2013 was disappointing —as the marketplace was slightly below-average. However, rather than a harbinger of a difficult year ahead, these numbers reflect a recovery from the artificial boom that happened in December of 2012. As such, we can surmise that those investors who were already considering selling likely did so in December, due to concerns about the capital gains increase that was scheduled to occur in 2013.
Despite this artificial December spike, sales were high throughout the year of 2013, demonstrating that the market is finally picking up after nearly five years of mediocre growth. Comparing 2013 with 2012, we see a 16 percent increase in the number of sales alone. Particularly favorable among buyers are walk-up, multi-family units. These are a proven, solid investment, as banks are more inclined to give favorable financing for this “sweet spot” of the market at historically low interest rates.
Even now, there is a tremendous buzz concerning 2013’s activity. Many owners and buyers feel very confident in the future health of the marketplace. Just to set a point, as it relates to the multi-family market, the second half of this year showed an increase of 50 percent in the amount sold versus the first half (10 vs. 15). The median price per square foot increased from $211 to $223, an increase of 6 percent.
We feel confident that the activity we had seen over the past year will continue to build and create and even stronger marketplace in 2014.
Swain Weiner is president/partner at Greiner-Maltz Investment Properties, a board member of the Astoria Kiwanis, Astoria Civic Association, and Central Astoria LDC, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the LIC Partnership.