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Why NYC Will Ride Out A Downturn


For those losing sleep over an imminent downturn, RXR Realty EVP Seth Pinsky has some words for you: New York City’s not done.

“Statistics indicate that there’s still, by historical standards, room for the market to run,” he noted at a forum hosted by The Real Estate Principals Group at Mintz Levin’s Third Avenue offices Tuesday.

The run-up in rents that has occurred since the trough is barely a fraction of what it usually is in a recovery, he says. Overall, NYC’s long-term fundamentals are positive, even if there’s a short- or medium-term dip. Given strong job growth, there’s demand for office space.

Even with a fair amount of new supply coming on line—he estimates 15M to 20M SF over the next five years—we’re losing obsolete space to conversions, and not much product has delivered over the past two decades.


The previous collapse was a very short window, Meridian Capital Group chairman and CEO Ralph Herzka points out. After valuations dropped, debt holders who were insolvent for other reasons had to trade out of their assets, he says. But why so many sales today?

NYC has been dominated by long-term owners and families, and we’ve seen a recent shift to more institutional-type owners. Add those who held on to real estate without being overleveraged, he notes. “A building a grandfather bought for $100k can now be sold for $42M. Those numbers are staggering.”

The event was co-moderated by EisnerAmper real estate services co-chair Aaron Kaiser and Mintz Levin head of real estate and communications Jeff Moerdler, whose firms co-sponsored the event with Riverside Abstract. EisnerAmper also recently partnered with Bisnow to launch BisnowTV; click here to watch our exclusive interview with RXR chairman and CEO Scott Rechler.