The Insiders' Guide to The Bronx Real Estate Market
Timely Market Info on the BuyTheBronx.com Blog
Bronx Benchmarks Hang Tough
The number of Bronx real estate transactions thus far in 2023 is only a third of last year’s. The dramatic slowdown has not been fully reflected in valuations that cling to recent records. The darkest clouds looming over apartment valuations are clearing favorably as demand for other asset classes has been enough to satisfy lower supply. Troubled regional banks and moderating inflation could signal the top of the interest rate cycle which would remove another cloud from The Bronx real estate market. 13 metrics remain unchanged after our benchmark review which resulted in 4 increases and 9 reductions.
Top 10 First Quarter 2023 Bronx Real Estate Deals
The combined value of the top 10 first quarter Bronx real estate deals fell by 8.4% from 2022, which understates the 55% decline in total transaction values. Deal volume dropped by around half across all asset classes compared to last year's first quarter, except for the Office category which was skewed by the second place portfolio below. Our small apartment metrics are running around a third of last year’s pace and the hot Industrial sector has cooled similarly. As regulatory and monetary conditions tighten, the sellers of the following ten deals must feel relieved to lighten their risk load.
Warning Signs in Walk-Up Apartments
Albany missed its budget deadline again as counties across the state anxiously await results of the back-room horse trading. Reforming bail reform is getting the headlines while suburbs fight to preserve their bucolic boulevards and Bronx apartment owners sweat out rent control expansion. Gov. Hochul is weighing local interests against a tidal wave of contributions from real estate developers aligned with affordable housing advocates. Independent owners of Walk-Up Apartment buildings are worried about another bull’s eye on their properties.
Ascending to Elevator Apartments
Almost half of The Bronx’s 567,446 residential units are in elevator apartment buildings which account for about 21% of the borough’s total assessed property value. The disparity is because housing carries considerable regulatory hassles that don’t come with renting warehouses. 2,679 of those units changed ownership last year, and more than 200 have traded in 2023. We recently trimmed our benchmark values because of sector headwinds and several low valued transactions, but some recent trades have come in better than the benchmarks.
Local Law 97 Looming Over The Bronx
Owners of commercial buildings larger than 25,000 sf are learning how much the 2019 NYC Green New Deal will impact their investments. The legislation’s hallmark Local Law 97 has become a pressing issue for property owners to tackle this year. Registered Design Professionals will need to draw up plans to comply with the greenhouse gas reductions mandated to take effect in 2024 and beyond. Energy efficiencies will have to be deployed in successive stages to meet increasingly strict emissions reductions. Most legacy building utilities will ultimately need to be replaced.
Making Money in Wakefield
Working people like to live in Wakefield for many reasons. At the northern border with Yonkers and Mount Vernon, a variety of mass transit reaches anywhere in New York City and Westchester. Money, meals, medical care and most miscellaneous needs can be met in the busy shopping districts along White Plains Road and E 233rd Street. You might even have a backyard, driveway and garage. So like George and Weezy, move on up to the east side where the living is nice and easy.
Updated Bronx Benchmark Values
Tighter monetary policy and the stagnant economy have dealt severe headwinds to national real estate but The Bronx has fared better than most markets in recent months. The BuyTheBronx.com valuation benchmarks have been updated to reflect the current market of sale and lease transactions in the context of longer trends. The strong have held onto record values, as weaker sectors bear the brunt of macro pressures. The improving benchmarks outnumber those we cut, but even more remain unchanged at this time.
Top 10 Fourth Quarter Bronx Real Estate Deals
The good times kept rolling in The Bronx real estate market during the fourth quarter of 2022. Industrial and multifamily assets were most common among the quarter's top deals at valuations in line with recent records. The development window has yet to close with some deals registering surprising prices for Bronx dirt. The top ten deals also reflect unique attributes of The Bronx real estate market where social welfare and affordable housing projects have yet to feel the pressures affecting other economic sectors.
Favorite Bronx Holiday Traditions
‘Tis the season to close your deals or push them into next year. Between that and supporting our local retailers, try to leave time to celebrate the season with some classic Bronx holiday traditions. Most of the local BIDs have already lit their displays so take a stroll to see your favorite neighborhood aglow in holiday splendor. Santa is making regular visits to the major shopping areas with other special family activities. Menorah lightings and Kwanza celebrations will close out the month. Among so much local merriment, The Bronx also enjoys these enduring holiday traditions.
Happy Holidays, Let’s Shop The Bronx
No place is more resilient than The Bronx. After years of online shopping threatened the existence of bricks and mortar retailing, the pandemic was a knockout blow for several national chains with a local presence. However, a recent rebirth has seen large spaces vacated by bankrupt companies get acquired by thriving national retailers building their presence in America’s third most densely populated county. Beyond the malls and power centers, local shopping corridors throughout the borough are enjoying low vacancies and record rents.
Election Impact on Bronx Real Estate
Most New York Democrats breathed a sigh of relief last week despite Republican gains in Congress and Albany. While the power structure remains status quo, the ideological center moved slightly to the right. Real estate developers support Democrats over Republicans by a wide margin and they will need to leverage that influence to address several issues looming over The Bronx real estate market.
Run For Your Lives!
This is not a post about Mayor Adams’ anti-crime initiatives. On Sunday 50,000 athletes of all backgrounds and abilities from around the world will compete in the 51st annual New York City Marathon. It will run at full capacity again after last year’s half sized roster and 2020’s cancelation. Mile 20 of the 26.2 mile course will bring them through the South Bronx, which is more mileage than Staten Island gets. Long time contestants have surely noticed the changes in the local landscape.
Investing in Small Multifamily Properties
If you’re looking to invest in Bronx real estate, there’s a good chance you’re targeting the small multifamily sector. Multifamily properties with 2 to 4 units comprised around half of third quarter Bronx real estate sales and more than a quarter of principal value. The sector is a favorite for budding real estate investors following the age old advice to invest in middle class housing.
Bronx Industrial Real Estate Focus
At the geographic and logistical center of the New York metropolitan area, The Bronx is a natural location for a thriving industrial asset base. Train lines and a working waterfront brought the industrial revolution to the south Bronx in the early 20th century and defined those neighborhoods. Until recently, the industrial real estate sector has been transitioning into residential development to meet New York City’s persistent housing shortage.
Top Ten Third Quarter Bronx Real Estate Deals
All but one of the third quarter’s top ten Bronx real estate transactions traded above $10 million. Retail, Industrial and specialty assets continued to support record values while commercial apartment metrics were under pressure. Five of the top ten are near the 2 and 5 subway line serving both the east and west sides of Manhattan. This spine of The Bronx enjoys widespread demand from developers, retailers, and apartment hunters.