2022: A Year of Changing Dynamics and Expectations
John Jordan | December 19, 2022
Entering 2022, Realtors interviewed by Real Estate In-Depth were hopeful that the housing market would remain strong as a follow-up to the feverish sales pace of the previous year, fueled by strong housing demand and the continued influences of the coronavirus pandemic. However, they were fearful that rising interest rates would take their toll on the market. Those fears, in retrospect, were not unfounded.
A passage in the page one story in the January 2021 edition of Real Estate In-Depth on the housing market seems prophetic:
“After residential sales volume in the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ market area reached historically high levels in 2021, brokers expect continued strong sales activity this year, although not at the feverish pace the industry enjoyed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To say there are headwinds facing Realtors and consumers in 2022 would be an understatement, with the prospects for high inflation, rising mortgage interest rates, supply chain problems, the Omicron variant and very low for-sale inventories high on the list.”
The following are some of the major stories in the real estate industry in 2022 as reported in Real Estate In-Depth:
HGAR and OneKey MLS recently released the 2021 Fourth Quarter and Annual Residential Real Estate Sales Report Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and Bronx Counties, New York. The report noted that residential sales in all markets, with the exception of the Bronx, fell sharply in the fourth quarter as compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. While sales in the Bronx shot up 39.8%, activity in Rockland County fell 10.8%, followed by a 15% drop in sales volume in Westchester County. Orange, Sullivan and Putnam counties saw home sales declines of 15.2%, 18.4% and 25.2% respectively.
Great Point Studios officially opened the doors to its long-awaited Lionsgate Studios Yonkers on Jan. 11 at 45 Wells Ave. and announced that it will move forward with a more than $500-million expansion plan nearby.
The expansion project announced by Great Point Studios Founder and CEO Robert Halmi calls for a 1-million-square-foot facility that will feature more than 20,000 square foot stages on one campus, which is larger than any other facility in the Northeast. The campus will include a total of 11 soundstages.
A panel of commercial real estate brokers from the New York City/Hudson Valley market that were part of a virtual panel hosted by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors were upbeat about many sectors in 2022, particularly the industrial, flex, health care and medical office segments.
The region’s office market remains troubled as many businesses and building owners continue to contend with work at home programs and preferences by many employees to engage in hybrid office models that only require working at the office a few days a week. One broker, in particular, predicted some radical changes for the Westchester County office market are on the horizon, while another related that the region’s commercial markets are “facing a new paradigm.”
Argent Ventures, a privately held New York City-based investment firm, acquired the twin-tower White Plains Plaza office building here from Ivy Realty of Greenwich, CT and DW Capital of New York City for $105 million. The deal represents the largest single asset office sale in Westchester County since 2010.
The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors returned to an in-person installation of its officers and directors on March 1 at a gala event held at the landmark 583 Park Ave. building at 63rd Street in Manhattan.
More than 200 Realtor colleagues, friends and family were on hand for the 2022 Installation Gala that was highlighted by the swearing into office of 2022 President Anthony Domathoti, Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty Premium in the Bronx by the 2022 President of the New York State Association of Realtors Jennifer Vucetic. Domathoti is the first Indian in the history of the Realtor Association to serve as President.
BRP Companies, the Urban Investment Group within Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs), New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Westchester County, Interfaith Dwellings Corporation, Merchants Bank of Indiana, Wells Fargo, and Fannie Mae announced the closing of $294 million in construction financing for the 477-unit, mixed-use development located at 500 Main St. in Downtown New Rochelle. The project ownership said construction was expected to begin on the 26-story project in late February.
According to the first quarter 2022 market report for counties served by OneKey MLS, LLC, residential sales were down from the historic peaks of 2021, but still posted strong results when compared with 2019 and 2020. The one county served by OneKey MLS that posted stronger numbers in 2022 compared to 2021 was Bronx County, which saw sales increase 6.1% in the first quarter of 2022.
Residential sales, which include single-family homes, condominiums, co-operatives and 2-4 family multi-family homes, decreased 6.3% in Westchester County, fell 28.1% in Putnam County, declined 11.6% in Rockland County, decreased 14.7% in Orange County, and were 19.8% lower in Sullivan County. A bright spot when comparing 2022 sales to 2021 sales was the condominium market in Westchester County which saw a 27.8% increase in the number of transactions and an 18.7%. increase in its median sale price to $445,000.
Momentive Performance Materials Inc. is relocating its operations in Tarrytown to nearly 67,000 square feet of space at the 207-acre Hudson Valley iCampus property here in 2023. Momentive Performance, which is headquartered in Waterford, (Saratoga County) NY will relocate from its current space at 769 Old Saw Mill River Road in Tarrytown in early 2023 across the Hudson River to its new Global Innovation Center totaling 66,430 square feet. The Hudson Valley iCampus is owned by Industrial Realty Group, LLC.
A contingent of more than 70 members of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and staff traveled to Albany on May 10 to lobby state lawmakers on the organization’s 2022 legislative agenda that included staunch opposition to “Good Cause” eviction and the association’s support for statewide co-op transparency legislation, similar to laws passed in Rockland and Westchester counties recently.
The HGAR delegation was led by Legislative Co-Chair Leah Caro and HGAR President Anthony Domathoti. HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty noted that the program, part of the New York State Association of Realtors Annual Lobby Day, had the most association participants in memory. In addition, HGAR’s session with lawmakers at the State Capital lasted close to two hours and was attended by the most state Assembly members and State Senators in the history of the association’s annual Lobby Day programs.
The Ridge Hill Shopping Center in Yonkers, which first opened more than a decade ago, has been sold to a partnership of Nuveen Real Estate, Taconic Partners and North American Properties for $220 million. The new ownership intends to rebrand the 74-acre property into an outdoor lifestyle center as well as “unlock the full development potential of the site.”
The property was sold by QIC Real Estate, which acquired interest in the 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use complex off the New York State Thruway in 2016 and 2017 from Forests City Realty Trust
The sold-out inaugural Diversity, Equity Inclusion (DEI) Summit attracted hundreds of Realtors from across the New York metro region and provided valuable insight into the need for Realtor associations and their members to implement programs and policies that embrace DEI and promote Fair Housing.
The two-day DEI Summit was held at the Sheraton Mahwah on June 13 and 14 and was co-sponsored by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. Other co-sponsors included the National Association of Realtors, the New York State Association of Realtors, New Jersey Realtors, the Greater Bergen Association of Realtors, the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors and the North Central New Jersey Association of Realtors.
The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and the staff of Real Estate In-Depth regretted to inform the membership and newspaper readership of the passing of John Vrooman, who died suddenly on June 5, 2022 at the age of 57 in upstate Lewiston, NY. John authored “Tech Talk” in HGAR’s monthly newspaper Real Estate In-Depth since August 2000. From day one he provided insightful and useful computer and technology advice to the more than 13,000 readers of the newspaper each month.
The largest business expansion project in the history of Westchester County became official on June 22. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul joined other state, county and local officials to celebrate the ceremonial groundbreaking of Regeneron Pharmaceutical Inc.’s $1.8-billion expansion project at its corporate headquarters campus in Tarrytown/Greenburgh.
The biotechnology company has committed to create at least 1,000 new full-time, high-skill jobs in the Mid-Hudson Region over the next five years. The project will encompass the design, construction and fit out of up to eight buildings, three parking garages and a central utility plant totaling approximately 900,000 square feet.
The residential market in the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ market area, with the exception of the Bronx, saw sharp declines in sales transactions in the second quarter, most posting overall double-digit declines in volume, according to the second quarter home sales report released earlier this month by OneKey MLS.
While sales volume was down in the Hudson Valley counties, median sale prices continued to climb, fueled in large part by the low inventory of homes on the market. In Westchester County, the second quarter single-family home sales of 1,583 declined 14.2% compared to the second quarter of 2021.
Global pharmaceutical firm Pfizer Inc. will spend $470 million to expand its vaccine research and development operations in Pearl River across the Hudson in Rockland County.
Pfizer confirmed to Real Estate In-Depth on July 22 that it plans over the next three years to secure necessary approvals and expand and modernize its Pearl River campus with a new 260,000-square-foot lab building. The project will feature a total of 55,000 square feet of lab space. The new space is expected to be operational in 2026.
A joint venture of affiliates of Norfolk, VA-based Harbor Group International, LLC and Azure Partners of New York City has acquired the Avalon Green multifamily community in Elmsford—for $306 million. The joint venture announced on July 25 that it would further implement a $9.2-million capital improvement program across the 617-unit community to refresh amenities and common areas and modernize select interior units. Built in three phases in 1995, 2012 and 2016 by AvalonBay Communities, the property features a mix of townhouses, apartment homes and stacked flats.
New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James announced the state had reached settlements with three Long Island real estate brokerage firms found to have engaged in discriminatory practices and Fair Housing Law violations first uncovered in an investigation by Newsday in late 2019.
Following the Newsday report, the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of State opened parallel investigations into Keller Williams Greater Nassau, Keller Williams Realty Elite and Laffey Real Estate. The probe by the OAG concluded that LRE, KWRE, and KWGN engaged in discriminatory practices that violated state and federal fair housing laws.
The condominium project called “The Daymark” to be built at the Edge on Hudson property—the site of a former General Motors assembly plant—has secured $142 million in financing.
Lionheart Strategic Management LLC, an affiliate of Fisher Brothers that manages capital on behalf of third-party investors, announced on Sept. 7 that it will provide a $37.2-million mezzanine loan behind a $105-million senior loan from Centennial Bank of New York City to a project team comprised of New York City-based Biddle Real Estate Ventures and PCD Development of New Providence, NJ. The financing will be used to develop a 100-unit luxury waterfront condominium building at Edge-on-Hudson.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed on Oct. 5 what was first reported in Real Estate In-Depth, that the study of the $1-billion Route 17 expansion will take another three years to complete and that construction on the expansion project could not begin at least until then.
In an announcement marking what the governor called a “Major Milestone on Transformative Conversion of State Route 17 into Interstate 86,” she stated that the environmental review process on the project had begun. Much later in the announcement, she did state that the New York State Department of Transportation expects to publish a final Environmental Impact Statement for the project in 2025.
In an interview with Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus in the September edition of Real Estate In-Depth, the county executive complained that state officials had told him the environmental review would take three years to complete. Neuhaus told Real Estate In-Depth, “I want to see asphalt being put down. I don’t want to see studies. That road has been studied for 60 years.” He later added, “This thing is like ‘Sasquatch,’ it’s like urban folklore that there is going to be a third lane on Route 17,” he said.
Home sales continued to decline in the third quarter of this year as the New York City, Hudson Valley markets grapple with stubborn low inventory levels, high inflation, rising interest rates and home prices.
Overall home sales in the region fell in the fourth quarter of 2021 and now in the first three quarters of 2022. According to the 2022 Third Quarter Real Estate Sales Report for Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and Bronx counties released by OneKey MLS earlier this month, all counties in the HGAR market suffered lower sales in the third quarter of 2022 as compared to a year earlier, with the exception of Sullivan County, which enjoyed a 2.9% increase in overall residential sales.
The long-promised redevelopment plan for The Galleria at White Plains, which was the focal point of the urban renewal of the downtown district in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is taking shape.
While details are still sketchy at best, the owner of the 870,000-square-foot, four-level retail property—Pacific Retail Capital Partners and Aareal Bank—announced on Nov. 3 it was bringing on new joint venture partners—SL Green Realty Corp. of New York City and the Cappelli Organization of White Plains to “explore mixed uses” and “rebalance the mix of uses” for the property that has fallen on hard times as its two chief anchors—Macy’s and Sears have both shuttered their stores there. Pacific Retail Capital Partners is headquartered in El Segundo, CA and Aareal Bank is based in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Executives with Atlanta-based Electric Owl Studios made a presentation before the village’s Board of Trustees on Nov. 15 on its $100-million television/movie studio project to be developed at the Graham Windham School property at 1 South Broadway.
The plan calls for Electric Owl Studios to purchase approximately 20 acres of the 24-acre Graham Windham School property. The school, which began operations in Manhattan in 1806 and opened its Hastings campus in 1902, will retain approximately four acres to continue to operate day programs on the Hastings property. Graham Windham closed its dormitory facilities due to COVID and put the property on the market for sale. Graham Windham, which also has multiple locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx, is an intensive elementary, middle, and high school (K-12) serving approximately 300 day-students referred by local school districts across the New York Metropolitan area and operated by the Greenburgh-Graham Union Free School District.
Realtor associations, including the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, held the 16th Annual Global Real Estate Summit at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. The day-long event was filled with cutting-edge programming that included presentations on: “Emerging Trends in Architecture & Design: Passive House Design & Smart Buildings,” “Global Tax Issues,” “Industry Insights in the Global Commercial Market,” “Tri-State Economic Development Initiatives Update,” “Foreign Visas, Opportunity Zones, EB-5,” “Building Global Strategic Partnerships,” “Digital Technologies, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & the Metaverse,” as well as an informative and stirring keynote speech by Greg Lindsay, chief communications officer of Climate Alpha on “Utopia, Dystopia and Everything in Between.”
Chief officials of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors were keenly involved in the programming, with HGAR President-elect and co-chair of the Global Council Committee Tony D’Anzica offering opening remarks as well as serving as moderator for the Emerging Trends in Architecture panel discussion. 2022 HGAR President Anthony Domathoti moderated the Industry Insights in the Global Commercial Market, while HGAR CEO Richard Haggerty moderated the Tri-State Economic Development Initiatives Update program.