It’s a modern-day maxim that anyone in New York City’s real estate game would be foolish not to heed: Data drives deals. Without an abundance of research, the industry’s movers and shakers are vulnerable in an ever more cutthroat marketplace. Why else would proptech and fintech firms — that’s property and finance technology, for the uninitiated — proliferate at the clip we’ve seen in the past few years? Investors are forking over billions in exchange for the promise of data-driven technology that will offer a competitive edge.
At The Real Deal, we’ve scraped websites and dug deep into city records, court documents, market reports and more in order to provide a data-driven perspective on the real estate industry, ranking everything from the top residential agents and the leading commercial brokerages to the most active investors, the most prolific contractors and everything in between.
The culmination of all of that work is TRD’s 14th edition of The Data Book, a compendium of the rankings that have appeared in our monthly editions as well as custom rankings pulled for this publication.
In the residential sector, the data shows that in 2018, heavy discounts were the rule more than the exception, with brokerages slashing prices in their fight to retain a valuable market share. TRD analyzed the top firms, determining that the top 10 residential brokerages closed $23 billion in sales in just Manhattan, only slightly ahead of last year’s $20 billion in sales.
We also ranked the most active developers across New York City and found that the top 10 firms were constructing nearly 19 million square feet of commercial and residential projects throughout the five boroughs. Of course, those developers couldn’t construct any projects without the architects designing them, and TRD’s data shows that the 10 most active architecture shops in NYC are designing over 92 million square feet of new development projects.
In looking back at the last year on the commercial side, it was Google’s whopping $2.4 billion acquisition of the Chelsea Market building in March that set the sunny tone in many segments of the market in 2018. The deal entered the exclusive $2 billion club of investment sales, becoming the second-largest singlebuilding transaction in the city’s history. (Boston Properties’ $2.9 billion buy of the GM Building from Harry Macklowe in 2008 still holds the record.)
To assess just how much hay was made in i-sales, particularly in the context of this landmark buy, TRD set out to determine the top investment sales brokerages in 2018. We found that the top 10 firms represented $39.4 billion in property sales citywide, and that’s up almost 80 percent from the year prior. We also looked at the city’s top owners, ranking them for the first time ever.
TRD’s research team determined that — perhaps unsurprisingly — the city itself owns the most property in NYC in terms of square feet, with nearly 400 million square feet of property throughout the five boroughs. And finally, as we do each year, we concluded with a look at the biggest real estate news to emerge over the past 12 months, and there was certainly no shortage of that.
Please enjoy this year’s Data Book!