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Are multi-family units a 'bright spot' in New Jersey real estate? It looks like it

The Record, Bergen County 11/1/2022 Mary Chao, NorthJersey.com

Happy First of November.

A new month brings new news to North Jersey. While the real estate market is in a freefall nationally and locally due to higher interest rates on mortgages, multi-family units continue to fuel demand.

Gebroe-Hammer Associates, a nationally-ranked, multifamily-focused investment brokerage firm based in North Jersey, continues to expand its primary markets across northern and central New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia areas. Year-to-date in 2022, the firm reported more than $1.35 billion in sales spanning 79 deals and 6,539 units.

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The firm’s third-quarter deals included the sale of a 119-unit three-property portfolio for $16.55 million in Essex County. The firm represented the seller of the portfolio and obtained the undisclosed buyers for two of the properties at 66 Olympic Terrace/32 Elmwood Terrace in Irvington and 810 Broadway in Newark.

“While there may be a shift in the economy on certain fronts, there is one thing that is certain: the multifamily sector continues to see more stability than other real estate sectors,” president Ken Uranowitz, said in a statement. “The stars remain aligned for multifamily. The hybrid work schedule now seems to be a more permanent form of employment, interest rates and inflation are contributing to a more precarious environment for would-be first-time homebuyers and the trend is stronger than ever where people want to live in more population-dense areas that provide immediate-neighborhood indoor and outdoor conveniences.”

According to Moody’s Q3 2022 Trend Announcement, the national vacancy rate for multifamily properties hit a new five-year low at 4.4% at the end of the quarter.

“This is proof-positive that the sector is a bright spot in the overall commercial real estate landscape, with vacancy rates in many New Jersey and Philadelphia submarkets being even lower,” Uranowitz noted.

Other New Jersey markets in which Gebroe-Hammer’s multifamily sales have been concentrated include Bergen, Ocean and Mercer counties, where transit-oriented development in downtowns drives desirability. Among these were three separate classic garden-apartment communities. In addition to its activity in New Jersey, the greater Philadelphia area's well-connected neighborhoods and its high concentration of mass transit options across the metro’s out-commuter suburban submarkets helped with deals. That includes Montgomery County, where the firm arranged two garden-apartment trades in the third quarter.

“More and more, we are seeing that people are interested in a very particular lifestyle,” said Joseph Brecher, Gebroe-Hammer's executive managing director, said in a statement. “Before the pandemic, where people lived depended on the location of their jobs. Now, thanks to more people working remotely on a regular basis, they’re able to select the location that makes the most sense for affordability and the lifestyle they want to lead.”

Englewood development

The developers who proposed a four-story, 75-unit apartment building in a neighborhood of single-family homes say they plan to downsize the project after feedback from the city zoning board.

According to a story by reporter Stephanie Noda, The Englewood Board of Adjustment was scheduled to hear a proposal from Ivy Lane West Associates LLC, which was seeking approval for the project at 19 and 21 W. Ivy Lane, along the Tenafly border. The plan would have consolidated two lots and demolished existing structures to make way for a 25,000-square-foot project.

Based on input from zoning board professionals, however, the company plans to reduce the project since it was deemed "excessive in scope and size," said Gregg Paster, an attorney for Ivy Lane West Associates. Paster said the developers are going "back to the drawing board" for their architectural renderings and will return with a townhouse project during a December meeting.

Marketplace, an urban eatery

In Teaneck, Marketplace opened at 400 Frank W. Burr Boulevard at Glenpointe. The market offers fresh and locally sourced, made-to-order or grab-and-go meals. The menu includes breakfast items, salads, cold bowls such as acai with Greek yogurt, granola, banana and strawberry for $10, cold and hot "handhelds" such as burritos and other bowls. The Mediterranean, for $8, includes chickpeas, feta cheese, red onion, roasted tomato, cucumber, olives and couscous.

Are you happy?

With happiness being an important factor influencing your health and lifestyle, a new study has revealed thehappiest states in the US - and New Jersey features in 4th place. The team at NiceRx have looked at each state's mental health statistics, life expectancy, household income, homicide rates, state safety and poverty levels to determine a happiness score, revealing the happiest states in the country.

Phillies fandom expands?

Suddenly, everyone wants to be a Phillies fan. But if you didn't root for a team in the bad times, can you hop on board as a fair-weather fan? That's what a Wall Street Journal editorial ponders. But with only two teams left, baseball fans are left to choose between one or the other. And Philadelphia is a lot closer to New Jersey than Houston. Who doesn't love an underdog?

The fall classic — now almost a winter classic — victor will be decided by Nov. 5.

Have a tip? Email mchao@northjersey.com.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Are multi-family units a 'bright spot' in New Jersey real estate? It looks like it

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