By Ian Slater | April 9th, 2020
I awoke this morning to five What’s App messages from different friends/clients asking me about buy-side opportunities in Manhattan in the coming months and years, and my thoughts on the market. And these are not confined geographically: one was from Brazil, one Singapore, one China, one London, one the Caribbean. It is not atypical to communicate with clients from overseas frequently, but speak to any active New York broker and they will tell you that over the past several years, the market has been largely dominated by American buyers as the foreign buyer has stepped back. Even in the luxury, high rise towers across Central Park South and 57th Street, many are misled into believing they’re filled with “international safe deposit boxes;” while there is some degree of truth to this statement, the many buyers in those towers are actually New Yorkers. I thought about this briefly and realized several things.
One, and potentially the most glaring, is how while New York is experiencing the worst of the crisis, and most focus is on health care workers, supplies, testing, and politics-- there is and always will be those with an eye on the market and how it will be affected, and I think right now that is moreso the international community looking “in.” I write this first not to say there is anything inherently wrong with it-- I have been obviously putting out consistent data, updates, and thoughts on the New York market, and spending the majority of my day discussing how COVID-19 will be affecting it. I only say this as it is interesting to see how the world reacts and it is likely a testament to international press and its coverage. Let’s just take a quick look at a couple international publications:
The financial press and international press love to keep a close eye on potential dislocation in NYC, and in my world, this has caused a raised attention to our market than I’ve seen in recent years.
Second, I thought about what this showed on a much greater level. Immense international interest and demand has been, is, and always will be a central feature of the New York (and for that matter, other prime cities) real estate market. There is an inherent understanding that in the long term, the New York market is resilient, protected, and a wise investment. International press and purchasers suddenly interested in “buying the dip” only proves this further-- that it is still viewed unwaveringly as a smart move to own.
Add the international, “deal-seeking” buyer back into the mix and we have awoken a segment that has been borderline dormant for a couple of years.