EXPERTS DISCUSS STATE OF REAL ESTATE

The Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Real Estate Committee hosted a virtual panel on the state of Queens real estate.

BY BENJAMIN FANG

The Queens real estate market is starting to gain momentum again. That analysis was made by broker, landlord and data experts who spoke on a panel hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce last month.

Stephen Preuss, vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield, said compared to March, April and May, the Queens market is in a “much more favorable position” overall.

“I hope that will continue through September,” he said, “which will be a real time of consequence for the last two quarters of the year.”

According to Jerry Pi, chairman of Pi Capital Partners, which is a landlord for retail, office and residential units throughout Queens and Manhattan, collections have also been “pretty stellar.”

Although rent collection is down overall, in July residential rent collection was about 95 percent. On the retail end, Pi said every retail store they have, whether it’s in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst or Flushing, has opened.

The weakest performing sector for Pi’s company is the office sector, with most employees working from home.

Preuss said small to mid-cap priorities, between a few million dollars to $25 million, are starting to transact. The higher-price products, meanwhile, are stagnant and not seeing the traction as pre-COVID.

“The institutional buyers are really stuck in the mud,” he said. “They aren’t able to navigate the red tape and steps to get that capital.”

Commercial real estate was heavily impacted by the pandemic as well. There was no volume in the first few months of the pandemic, Preuss said, because lending was not available as the liquidity market shut down.

As a commercial landlord, Pi said he worked out most of his company’s renegotiations back in March and April.

As a result, their storefronts reopened.

“The most important thing for landlords to do is keep our spaces occupied,” he said. “We’re just trying to keep businesses to stay. I’m not trying to put people out of business.”

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