By Holly Dutton
Real estate executives agreed that although the international buyer is a big player in New York City real estate, it’s still the locals who make up the majority of the clientele.
“Seventy percent of the buyers at Greenwich Lane are New Yorkers,” said Bill Rudin, CEO and vice chairman of Rudin Management
Company, at the MANAR Global Conference panel “Developing for the International Clients” March 26.
Rudin’s firm is re-developing the former St. Vincent’s Hospital into condo building Greenwich Lane in the West Village. Rudin added that 9-10 percent of Greenwich Lane buyers are foreigners.
“It’s because of the location,” he said. “The West Village is a market that New Yorker’s love.” He added that 16 percent of the buyers were already living in the West Village and were looking for different features and amenities.
Kyle Kimball, president of the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) said that the agency often has foreign buyers come to them looking to understand the market.
“We encourage them to look at the other boroughs,” said Kimball, who added that he has seen a number of EB-5 program participants of late.
The EB-5 program is when a foreign investor can obtain a green cared by making a large investment into a U.S. project that helps create jobs.
The massive observation wheel project on the north shore of Staten Island and affordable housing in the same area both have EB-5 “components,” said Kimball.
Though the Hudson Yards project is still too early in the marketing phase to determine any percentage of interest by foreign or domestic buyers of the 5,000 units that will come to market at the site, Related Companies is confident that what New Yorkers love, everyone will love.
“If New Yorkers will like it, international buyers will like it,” said Michael Samuelian, vice president at Related Companies.
In Flatiron, one of the hottest new development buildings to come to market is developer Gale International’s 21W20, which seems to be attracting mostly locals.
“We’re seeing mostly New Yorker’s buying who are transitioning south from the Upper East Side or the Upper West Side,” said Stan Gale, Jr., vice president of Gale International.
In the end, panelists agreed that the health of a city will determine how attractive it is to local and foreign buyers alike, and New York City is very healthy.
“They’re all making a fundamental decision to put their capital at risk in the New York City real estate market,” said Rudin. “The momentum is so strong.”
Rudin listed infrastructure, transportation, cleanliness, and crime levels as fundamental indicators of a city’s health.
“It’s the urbanism trend that started 20 years ago that we’re benefiting from,” he said. “It’s a question of people feeling safe and secure and wanting to raise kids here. I think the answer is yes.”