The real estate experts also discussed how different sectors of the market are currently performing. The top performer is the industrial sector, which Preuss said is the only asset class where pricing and availability have not changed.
According to the Cushman & Wakefield executive, vacancy rates for industrial properties are just 3 to 4 percent. Although mixed-use and smaller multifamily homes, which are the “prototypical Queens assets,” were initially hard hit by the pandemic, buyers are coming back around because they’re usually safe havens for investors, Preuss said.
The hardest hit sector of all is hotels, which has been so affected that some owners are starting to convert them into other uses like homeless shelters.
“As of last month, we have more hotels in construction than hotels that exist in Queens,” Preuss said. “We were at saturation already.”
Real estate broker Michael Wang, founder of Project Queens and co-chair of the Queens Chamber’s Real Estate Committee, noted that the borough’s retail sector does well due to an abundance of mom-and-pop businesses.
“There’s so much density because franchises also want to be here,” said Wang, who moderated the panel. “Post-pandemic, it seems like the quality companies, whether a Fortune 500 or mom-and-pop, are looking for space.”
As for office buildings, despite the downturn Preuss said he believes companies will look for more boutique types of spaces that are closer to home.
“You’ll see more new construction in Queens catering to what we think the new office environment will be,” he said. “I’m bullish on what could happen as the new market for offices grows in Queens.”
Preuss added that he thinks the borough will come out of the economic downturn a lot stronger.
“I get the feeling it’s Queens’ turn to shine,” Wang said. “I’m optimistic about Queens.”