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Investors Swooping In To Score Bulk Condo Deals In Manhattan’s Strained Market

Manhattan's condo market has been oversupplied for several years

Investors are on the hunt for big discounts in Manhattan, hoping developers of luxury condominiums desperate to unload units will sell at bargain prices.

The buyers are looking to purchase between three and 100 units at one time, in exchange for a significant reduction in the asking price, The Wall Street Journal reports. Most recently, Elad Group agreed to sell 70 units at its Charlie West tower in Hell’s Kitchen to Tishman Realty for $87.4M, The Real Deal reported.

Bulk condo sales can be attractive to developers with scores of product to move and who have faced an oversupplied luxury residential market for years — and that was before an exodus of wealthy Manhattanites spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.

Douglas Elliman Real Estate broker AnneMarie Alexander told the WSJ she has worked with investors who have offered as much as 35% off the asking price for dozens of new development condominiums.

“They might not admit it and it’s all very sort of confidential and behind the scenes, but almost every [developer] is trying to do the same thing right now. And that’s to do bulk transactions,” she said.

Developers go to great lengths to keep the bulk sales under wraps, as it signals to buyers they are willing to sell units for far less than list price. But news of some of these deals has come out. In addition to the Tishman acquisition, Tremada Properties bought 36 units for $11.5M units at a building on East 48th Street, per the WSJ.

James Nelson, Avison Young's head of Tri-State investment sales, has formed a partnership with property investment platform Republic Real Estate to raise $50M to find bulk sales of units between $1M and $3M. Avison Young is not involved in the venture, Nelson told Bisnow Tuesday.

Still, while the option may seem attractive to sponsors with lingering apartments, these types of deals are not widespread in the city just yet because many of the developers have arrangements with banks that don't allow them to reduce unit prices below a certain level. 

The condo market in the city, particularly at the high end, has faced a major oversupply for several years now. The impact of the virus, as well as the mansion tax that was introduced last year and the looming pied-à-terre tax, are all said to be depressing pricing and activity.