Bronx Benchmarks Hang Tough

1869 White Plains Rd

The number of Bronx real estate transactions thus far in 2023 is only a third of last year. 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.

Our valuation benchmarks result from a qualitative analysis of public and proprietary sale and lease data that excludes non-market transactions. We filter out anomalous data to give you a true sense of the market. Amid this challenging economic environment, following are the latest updates to the valuation benchmarks.

Residential Sectors

The Long Island Sound and Hudson River coasts maintained their strength with Gold level Single Family sales recorded on either side of our $600/sf benchmark. Some finer properties almost got a comma, although nothing traded above $1,000/sf since last fall.

Deterioration has emerged in the previously immune Silver category where we trimmed our benchmark to $375/sf. That keeps it above the 2023 average and under watch. The Bronze category fell further with that benchmark now at $275, a little below this year’s average which is skewed by a small property with a high price per square foot.

1252 Stratford Ave
Four units at 1252 Stratford Ave sold for $1.4 million on March 1. $422/sf and $350k/unit

The Bronx’s favorite investment class, Multifamily properties with 2 to 4 units, provided plenty of data points to analyze. We had already discounted weakness in the low end and the $250/sf and $240k/unit Bronze benchmarks are below the averages of the 77 deals so far this year. Significant dispersion around those levels leads us to maintain them for now.

Averages among the Silver class have not held up as well. Our new $300/sf and $320k/unit levels better reflect the current market. The example pictured nearby in a Bronze neighborhood, gets a Silver rating based on high assessed and market values in our three pronged residential rating methodology.

We trimmed the Gold benchmark to $375/sf and left the unit number unchanged as some of the froth comes off the market.

Single Family

Asset ClassPrice / SF
SF Bronze$275
SF Silver$375
SF Gold$600

2-4 Unit Multifamily

Asset ClassPrice / SFPrice / Unit
MF Bronze$250$240,000
MF Silver$300$320,000

Commercial Apartments

Albany finally agreed on a budget and landlords are breathing relief that it didn’t contain more encumbrances on their assets. The NYC Rent Guidelines Board also recommended its largest stabilized rent hike since the heightened inflation of the seventies. Could the Multifamily storm be passing?

We reduced our valuations in the commercial apartment categories this winter. A handful of deals since then traded at mixed valuations more reflective of asset quality than market dynamics. We always keep a close watch on the complex Elevator and Walk-Up Apartment categories and are maintaining the benchmarks for now.

Commercial Apartments

Asset ClassPrice / SFPrice / Unit
Elevator Apartments$200$175,000
Walk Up Apartments$200$175,000

Other Commercial Sales

The Bronx Industrial sector continues to thrive. Although development is cooling with the 421a expiration, users continue to demand warehouse and distribution spaces to serve the world’s most valuable consumer market.

Church and community users are vying for the same spaces such as the nearby example at the foot of the Third Avenue Bridge. Good News Manhattan Church is ramping up their ministry after paying $390/sf for their new Mott Haven home. Although they haven’t changed their name yet.

Vibrant demand and several 2023 transactions lead us to raise our Industrial benchmark to $350/sf.

2472 Third Ave
17,907sf of Industrial space sold at 2472 Third Ave for $6.975 million in January. $390/sf.
1838 Westchester Ave
Four apartments above a store at 1838 Westchester Ave sold for $1.674 million in January.

We see continued investor demand for Mixed Use properties to straddle the commercial and residential risk profiles. If only their bankers would be as enthusiastic.

Recent averages are skewed by some high and low anomalies, but the nearby example represents the heart of this active Bronx asset class. 1838 Westchester Ave has three stories and 5,025 sf spread over four apartments above a retail unit along the busy 6 train corridor serving Parkchester and Soundview. It sold at bankruptcy in January for $333/sf. Similar examples have driven our Mixed Use benchmark up to $300/sf.

Retail valuations struggled as the number of deals was only a third of last year’s corresponding period. This could reflect the development window pulling its shades down. A handful among the varied asset class traded above our benchmark, but the critical mass has been around a lower level of $425/sf. That puts it slightly below recent averages.

1163 Manor Ave
8,048sf of Office space sold at 1163 Manor Ave for $3.35 million in February.

We wish more employers would set up shop in The Bronx. The number of office properties trading this year is actually higher than last year’s period. The average price per square foot is also higher so we raised that benchmark to $350/sf. That leaves it below the recent and long run averages so we may need to chase this one higher.

The numbers are not skewed by last quarter’s Number 2 deal. The nearby example where Assemblyman Kenny Burgos represents his Soundview district sold in February for $416/sf. It has three parking spaces in back and over 8,000sf on 2 floors CO’d for use group 6A at street level and 6B upstairs.

3578 Boston Post Rd
3578 Boston Post Rd sold for $592,500, $437/sf, in February.

The Specialty category is a bit of a catch-all with varied assets like churches, hotels and garages. The single-story garage pictured at 3578 Boston Road sold for $437/sf which is above our $400 benchmark. The 9 specialty deals in the first four months of 2023 compare to 41 that traded in 2022 and vary from $120/sf for a church to $1,800/sf for a garage. The others were more evenly dispersed around the benchmark.

We see a similar drop off in the number of land transactions with none at the upper benchmark and some below the bottom. The current market is too thin to adjust our benchmark at this time. The upper bound may represent a development frenzy that no longer applies, but we prefer further data before making a change.

other Commercial Sales

Asset ClassPrice / SF
Mixed Use$300
Asset ClassLow P/SFHigh P/SF
Vacant Land$75$1,500

Leasing Benchmarks

Our industry associations and subscriptions provide timely market data to support our lease benchmarks. Although not vetted through municipal sources, it’s deep enough to construct benchmarks for Industrial, Retail and Office properties, with the last two categorized at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.

We see higher retail lease activity compared to last year across all three grades. Maybe operators unable to finance purchases are leasing instead.

Gold properties enjoyed higher average rents which are still running slightly below our unchanged $60/sf benchmark. The Silver benchmark also remains unchanged at $50/sf even though average rents are running behind that. The Bronze benchmark was too low with averages still above the higher $45 target.

We also see more activity in the Office lease category compared to last year, although nothing new in the gold category. We trimmed that benchmark to $45/sf reflecting current availability. Bronze and Silver are unchanged at $35/sf and $40/sf respectively.

This year’s Industrial leases have skewed towards smaller spaces so averages are running ahead of the benchmark. We see one large lease above our $20/sf benchmark but are leaving it unchanged until we see more space leased above it.

Gross lease Benchmarks

Asset ClassPrice / SF
Retail Bronze$45
Retail Silver$50
Retail Gold$60
Office Bronze$35
Office Silver$40
Office Gold$45

We Shall Overcome

Investors seeking shelter from increasingly volatile financial assets are finding refuge in the steady stream of rental income. The decelerating economy is generating enough demand for real estate to meet the lower supply reflected in reduced activity. In the toughest stage of the interest rate cycle, The Bronx real estate market has displayed the resiliency that defines New York City’s toughest borough.

No other source besides provides such timely and valuable market intelligence to guide brokers, operators and investors in The Bronx real estate market. Please use our comments section below to share your thoughts, or use our Contact function if you would like deeper information on the benchmarks.

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