Ken Uranowitz, David Oropeza and Joseph Brecher of Gebroe-Hammer Associates
By Joshua Burd
Gebroe-Hammer Associates completed nearly $2 billion in multifamily sales in 2019, citing unrelenting demand from investors and continued momentum at the start of 2020.
The Livingston-based investment brokerage announced Tuesday that it closed 127 apartment property transactions last year for an overall value of $1.9 billion. Encompassing 12,155 units, the volume represents a 72 percent increase from 2018 and paves the way for what the firm believes will be an even stronger year for the market.
“2019 proved to be a record-shattering year in our firm’s 44-year history as well as for the most in-favor commercial real estate asset — apartment-rental properties — across every investor category — from high-net-worth individuals and family offices to private equity firms and institutional entities,” said Ken Uranowitz, Gebroe-Hammer’s president. “As new-product deliveries top off this coming year and apartment-fundamental pressure eases, multifamily investments are expected to continue their successive gains, quarter to quarter and year-over-year.”
In a news release, the firm cited the ongoing revival of cities as a key driver in the continued popularity of apartments. Its brokers in 2019 completed more than $600 million in sales, involving 3,683 units, in locales such as east Essex County, western and southeastern Union County and Passaic County, along with every municipality in Hudson County.
“The progressive repositioning of cities in this region is directly linked to far-reaching downtown revitalization plans crafted to spur new construction and value-add repositioning of existing properties,” said David Oropeza, executive managing director and the firm’s urban-core market specialist. “Collectively, these efforts are benefitting from private investment and, in turn, gentrification.”
Gebroe-Hammer saw similar demand for suburbs with walkable, urban downtowns that are also attracting former urban-dwelling millennials who now have school-aged children and affluent, downsizing empty nesters. That trend dovetailed with transactions such as a $300 million portfolio sale — the largest in the state — in which Gebroe-Hammer brokered the sale of more than 1,800 units in Bloomfield, Nutley, Maywood and Ridgefield.
Gebroe-Hammer exclusively represented the seller, a private investor, and procured the buyer, a New York City-based real estate investment company.
The firm on Tuesday also highlighted strong 2019 activity in Bergen, Middlesex, Somerset, Central Union, Morris, Sussex and Monmouth counties. The largest volumes among those areas came in Bergen, where Gebroe-Hammer brokered the sale of 1,131 units for $179 million, and Middlesex, where it inked the sale of 644 units for $152 million.
Meantime, the brokerage saw growth in and around Philadelphia, including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
“Demand continues to ramp up throughout the Greater Philadelphia region — a metro on a meteoric rise in terms of the entry of new investors and capital,” Executive Managing Director Joseph Brecher said. “Value-add enhancements and redevelopment initiatives are transforming the metro’s apartment stock to create a lifestyle experience linking to nearby Center City, Philadelphia as the vibrant focal point.”