At the time of year when Fairfield residents flock to the shores of the Long Island Sound and Westchester denizens launch their kayaks into the Hudson, we at The Real Deal found an apt metaphor within the underwater ecosystem for one of the biggest brokerage acquisitions either county has ever seen. At the start of the year, when kingfish Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices USA swallowed up residential brokerage Houlihan Lawrence — which is itself a large fish in a small pond — other brokerages and the firm’s brokers worried that a shake-up of Sharknado proportions would be on the way.
Elsewhere in the residential realm, William Raveis is on the hook for $5 million due to the way it baited Douglas Elliman brokers to jump ship. But don’t assume that Raveis’s punishment for poaching will change recruitment practices for other brokerages.
And surprisingly, things are going relatively swimmingly for Westchester’s luxury market, according to TRD’s analysis of the priciest single-family home deals of the last 12 months. After months of sluggish sales on the highest end of the market, deals are increasing, although major markdowns are still required to close a sale.
Meanwhile, the top luxury residential brokerages in Fairfield County, saddled with an abundance of overpriced properties, had long felt they were swimming upstream, but more reasonable asks and high-tech tools are helping them move properties today.
The commercial market is an entirely different kettle of fish. Office space absorption rates are low in both counties, as our check-ins on the health of those markets in Fairfield and Westchester show. Hotels in Fairfield are showing low occupancy rates, and landlords of retail spaces are struggling to reinvigorate their properties with in-store experiences.
But the net results for multifamily building continue to be promising. With construction and renting of such properties going strong in both Westchester and Fairfield, the top commercial deals of the last 12 months also show that big money is changing hands for multifamily communities.
And if there’s one man who’s intimately tied to multifamily development in Westchester, its county executive Rob Astorino, who shared insights with us on his affordable housing policies —and a few salty words for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
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