It’s hard to believe that more than two years have passed since we launched Real Estate NJ with what I felt was a compelling cover story: Foreign investors were making a splash in New Jersey and paying impressive prices for properties across the state.
That trend has seemingly slowed since then, at least when it comes to high-profile deals involving trophy properties. But the good news is that New Jersey is still drawing investors from beyond the state — whether it’s New York, Chicago or the West Coast — who are entering the market for the first time.
As you’ll read in this month’s cover story, they are part of a population that is continuing to drive investment sales in the Garden State. Competition among investors has seemingly intensified heading into 2019, thanks in part to buyers who are new to New Jersey and those who are new to real estate altogether. For the latter group, commercial property has emerged as viable alternative for their investment dollars, especially with the recent volatility on Wall Street.
It has all led to robust activity at all levels of the market, although brokers have included one important caveat: The demand is most intense around properties that offer a greater safety and certainty — understandably so in these later stages of the economic expansion. That’s a healthy sign to take with you as we move forward in the new year.
Our February issue also features a look at One Wall Partners, a real estate investment firm that has built a niche in transit-oriented, workforce housing in northern New Jersey. The Newark-based firm has amassed more than 2,000 apartments across 40 properties locally, about half of which are in East Orange, thanks in part to its long-term outlook and its ability to self-manage.
For our Personalities section, we sat down with Michael J. Kokes, the third-generation leader of one of New Jersey’s best-known homebuilding families. Now operating as Homestake Capital LLC, the family has exited the for-sale, age-restricted housing business after more than 50 years, but the younger Kokes has it positioned for the future. Homestake now has a pipeline that includes a mix of multifamily, self-storage and other projects across New Jersey and other major markets.
After what seemed like an extended holiday season, many of you have said that 2019 is off to a busy start. There is certainly cause for optimism, even at this stage of the cycle, but we’re also keeping an eye on the public policy issues that continue to loom over the industry. We will have it all covered every month in print and every day online in The Briefing, our must-read roundup of New Jersey commercial real estate news. As always, we look forward to your questions, feedback and story ideas. Thanks for reading and enjoy the issue!