The year 2014 in the New York City real estate market looks like it will continue on the booming trajectory set in 2013, with Manhattan leading the charge, the outer boroughs still feeling the effect somewhat of Hurricane Sandy. 2013 was a busy, competitive and ultimately rewarding year for top brokers like Melanie Lazenby of Douglas Elliman, John Burger of Brown Harris Stevens, Andrew Farkas of C-III Capital Partners, and Deborah Grubman and Carrie Chiang of the Corcoran Group. It was the year for luxury real estate, with records set well into the eight-figure and up category, and a return to the seller’s market.
A low inventory has been keeping buyers agents working doubly hard, in spite of the uptick in prices. The continually rising cost of rents in Manhattan and especially in Brooklyn has driven the decision to purchase for many, as has the influx of foreign buyers who want to make New York their playground and will pay anything to achieve it. Newly growing economies in places like China, as well as potentially unstable ones, such as Brazil’s, are bringing investors’ money to the US. Agent and Rio de Janeiro native Marcos Cohen with Douglas Elliman has been able to call on connections in South America to bring more business north. Clayton Orrigo brings his Wall Street Savvy and client rapport developed over the years to his practice at Town in Manhattan. Tight lending standards in the states have favored cash buyers, as well as private lending and alternative funding, also known as “shadow banking.”
Tal and Oren Alexander, elite brokers with Douglas Elliman, the venerable NYC firm established in 1911, have taken a new approach to finding buyers, jet setting around the globe to meet the world’s wealthiest in their own milieu and match them up with properties that meet their personal wish lists in Manhattan and Miami. Catering to the uber rich in the manner of a Hollywood agent has become a must-do, and this market is not for the shy or faint of heart. Just imagine vying for clients with the likes of Fredrick Eklund, the Swedish star of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” whose unflinching determination has made him and his assistants the new team to beat. Eklund credits much of his success to focusing on new development, with the end goal of selling out a building. Indeed, if all the apartments in megadevelopment One57 that are currently under contract close as planned in 2014, the year will already be made for many brokers.
Competition in the big rental market has followed suit with agencies Newark Grubb Knight Frank, Jones Lang LaSalle, and CBRE Group, Inc. duking it out for the top spot against Cushman & Wakefield, which saw the defection of several top leasing agents last year. Lower Manhattan and midtown south have witnessed the most demand, and it stands to reason 2014 will be, if anything, even more on the go.