Category: Los Angeles

Chinese Buyers Purchase $28.6 Billion in US Property, Find Safe Haven in New York Real Estate

Chinese Buyers Purchase $28.6 Billion in US Property, Find Safe Haven in New York Real Estate

This summer, a luxury family home in Scarsdale, NY sold for $1.75 million. On the surface, such a sale is hardly remarkable. In fact, perhaps the most unremarkable part of the sale is that the buyer’s Chinese nationality drew little attention. Even a year or two ago, the sale of a non-Manhattan luxury home to a foreign investor would have been unusual. Today, it’s increasingly commonplace. The Shanghai-based investor who purchased the Scarsdale home (and immediately rented it out to a local family) is one of hundreds of Chinese investors who are increasingly investing in real estate not just in Manhattan, but also in New York’s boroughs and suburbs.

In the last year, Chinese buyers have replaced Russian buyers as the primary real estate buyers in New York– and this trend is expected to continue throughout 2015. Given current international market fluctuations and Russia’s continued economic struggles, this news may come as little surprise to many of you.

Since last year, Ukrainian turmoil, economic sanctions against Russia and a progressively worsening economy have slowed down Russian purchases in New York real estate, said Marlen Kruzhkov, an attorney with Gusrae Kaplan Nusbaum who advises many investors from former Soviet Union countries.

Chinese buyers, on the other hand, are eagerly pulling savings from their home country and investing overseas, and New York real estate has been a prime target for these investments. The recent stock market crash, including the late August drop of 8.46% in a single day for the Chinese exchange – capping off a 32% drop between June and July, according to Bloomberg data – has only enhanced the trend.

In the year ending in March 2015, for the first time, Chinese buyers exceeded all other buyers in terms of unit purchases and dollar volume, purchasing $28.6 billion worth of U.S. property, according to National Association of Realtors. In particular, they have been finding their safe heaven in New York real estate.

“New York is an international market. They feel that the market is very transparent, very conservative and they feel very comfortable in coming to the U.S. and to buy real estate in New York,” said Emily Zhu, director of marketing for Advantage America EB-5 Group, who works with many Chinese developers and investors in the U.S.

As the Scarsdale purchase reflects, Manhattan is no longer the only target for foreign investors, who have been seeking better prices and yields in the other boroughs. “A lot of Chinese buyers are starting to accept places others than Manhattan,” Ms. Zhu said.

For instance, Chinese developer New Empire Real Estate (NERE) is currently building on Park Slope’s Fourth Avenue and “there are a float of Chinese buyers that buy even before the development is constructed; there are a lot of pre-sales,” said Ms. Zhu, who represents the developer.

After the stock market turmoil, “some Chinese investors will want even more to diversify their assets in order to own something that is tangible rather that intangible,” Ms. Zhu said.

Things have changed for Russian buyers. “The economy is contracting terribly and the situation is getting progressively worse,” said Mr. Kruzhkov. As a result, he added, “The nature of purchasers has changed. There are less people buying.”

In particular, small and medium-sized Russian investors seem to have disappeared altogether from the New York City real estate market.

Only the wealthiest are still around, but they have changed their targets.

“In the last 6 months, they have been investing in different things, they are not necessarily buying apartments. They are investing more in development projects or pre-existing income producing buildings, more commercial or mixed-use,” properties said Mr. Kruzhkov.

For example, one of his Russian clients recently sold a Manhattan apartment for almost $25 million. He immediately re-invested in a development project.

A major flow of foreign capital into New York’s development market – especially as Chinese markets continue to cool – is a trend to watch in the coming months.

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Luxury Real Estate Report: The Sargent Report – Spring 2015

Luxury Real Estate Report: The Sargent Report – Spring 2015

Tony Sargent has released an e-version of his Luxury Real Estate newsletter The Sargent Report – Spring 2015. The current issue features 2015 New York market predictions and other articles: Luxury New Development Update, International Snapshot, Digital 3.0 – Tech & Real Estate, and more.

As the world’s local agent, Tony Sargent provides his unique perspective and insight on Manhattan’s luxury market, as well as globally connected world-cities. A local expert, Tony has developed a private global network of top brokers with whom he shares clients and market knowledge to his clients’ benefit. Tony is tapped to speak at Industry events such as Inman Connect and RE/MAX’s European Annual Convention as well as many others and was recently invited to be a regular author/contributor to the highly acclaimed real estate industry news-site, Inman News recently.

To read the full four-page issue of The Sargent Report as a PDF, click here or on the Report in the right column. For a mobile-friendly Flip-book version, click here.

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New York’s Fall Real Estate Luxury Market Starts Strong

New York’s Fall Real Estate Luxury Market Starts Strong Downtown Manhattan as seen from the Empire State Building - Photo by Tony Sargent (C) 2014

The Manhattan real estate market is picking up again in the luxury sector. While there was a slight lull in the summer between mid-June and July by August properties that had been on the market for a month or two started going to contract.  While I was in in San Francisco in July at Inman Connect’s real estate conference speaking on a luxury panel, I heard that the mid-luxury levels in San Francisco and Los Angeles had also been slow for a month or more. Was the market turning?

Traditionally the Fall market in New York is our secondary market – Buyers who did not have a chance to secure a property in the robust spring market re-enter market again in the Fall after a summer off.

I believe the Fall market started early this year – in August. The intense seller’s market for the first six months of the year lead to a slower June and July because of buyer fatigue. Added to that, listing inventory while having climbed somewhat in the 2nd quarter of 2014 over the 1st quarter was still well below the 5-year averages making it more challenging for buyers to find the properties they hoped for – rather than continuing a seemingly futile effort they stopped. (Read Streeteasy’s July Condo Report here)

As a result, in my view the level of pent-up demand is still extremely high. The buyers who are willing to step up and make a quick decision and not sweat the small stuff with regards to negotiations will buy properties this fall. Those buyers who are choosy and question every aspect of the deal or contract will be a disadvantage in negotiations.

For the buyers who’ve decided to stay put in their current homes until ‘the right one’ shows up some will (like many before them) choose instead to stay put and to invest in a country or Hamptons home to provide the escape from Manhattan.

What I’m seeing in the first two weeks of September is that the mid to high-end luxury market is very strong and contracts are getting signed on new properties and those which had seen showings but no contracts. Listings that I have been following as well as new developments also reported signed contracts in the first 19 days of September. For me August was very busy with properties that went to contract including 30 Bond, Penthouse and 200 Eleventh Avenue after multiple bids.

In the luxury development market new properties have started to be announced for the fall market. The face of New York’s residential real estate is changing, as is the design and height limits. With super tall sky-scrapers coming to the city, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the world’s global elite in terms of luxury offerings in the future. It’s an exciting period in residential design.

 

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Do you have $90M to Sleep Where Walt Disney Did?

Stunning Carolwood Estate In Holmby Hills

Traveling between New York and Beverly Hills / West LA numerous times a year to meet and work with my bi-coastal clients, I spend time on each trip visiting the best luxury estates and properties available on the market. I’ve seen many luxe homes but this one certainly stands out as one of the most gracious and beautiful properties I’ve viewed in a long time. The Agency, a leading and forward-thinking real estate firm in Los Angeles luxury homes founded by Mauricio Umanksy and Billy Rose, has this beautiful listing in Holmby Hills. Watch the video and see what $90 Million buy you on the West Coast today… – Tony Sargent

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Quick Market Update – NYC Luxury Real Estate

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