What the Market Looks Like in NYC – And How to Win a Bidding War

June 28, 2022

It’s no secret that New York City has undergone extreme changes throughout the last few years—especially when it comes to real estate. But for seasoned agent Cynthia Peacock, she finds that building relationships—in both good and bad times—is the best way to navigate through uncertain times.

Having been in New York for 19 years, she’s seen it all—from the blackout in ‘03 to the Coronavirus pandemic. But that certainly didn’t stop her from creating Virtuoso Realty Group—a commercial real estate group that prepares clients for diverse markets and complex transactions. She sat down with Real’s CEO Tamir Poleg to talk about the current real estate market in New York, a hot new listing she’s representing, as well as a secret tip she has for winning bidding wars without having to offer the highest number.

Tamir: So, you're the CEO of Virtuoso Realty Group. You've been in real estate for about 19 years in total. You're a commercial real estate specialist, which is very unusual—and we just briefly discussed that there are not a lot of female agents in commercial real estate.You're an agent with Real and you're active in one of the most competitive real estate markets in the world—New York City. With that said, please introduce yourself.

Cynthia: I first got into real estate in 2003, and that was honestly by chance. I was looking for a job while I was in undergrad and I walked into a real estate office thinking I was interviewing to become an assistant. And the broker was like, "You're smart. Why not just do this?" And I'm like, "How do I do this?" So that's how I got into the business. I feel like I've had other lifetimes in real estate, but the last four years now at Real have been to me the most exciting, because I'm really doing something I'm passionate about in commercial real estate.

Tamir: Going back to the pandemic, everybody wanted to leave Manhattan. Everybody wanted to relocate to the suburbs. The city was completely empty for a while. What are you seeing right now in the market? Because I was looking for a condo like three months ago and the market was so hot.

Cynthia: So, that's the biggest thing. It's about being prepared, but also about knowing how you're going to bid, what your bidding strategy is. When it comes to the residential side, which I don't do a ton of, you have to have a strategy. A lot of people go into the situation thinking, "Oh, I'm going to look everywhere." Honestly, when I've worked with clients, you have to have a niche area or market, because then you get to know the buildings. Then you get to know the brokers who have listings in the buildings. You build relationships. I've won bidding wars before just because I communicated with the broker in a different way and I built a relationship with the broker who wanted to work with me because she knew I would take that deal from start-to-finish, as opposed to someone who was just sending her an email or a piece of paper with a higher number.

Tamir: There’s a super tight inventory on the residential side, where do you see opportunities today for investors?

Cynthia: If an investor can find land, a conversion project. I would say be as creative as possible. Finding equity, whether you're raising capital through different sources so that you can build, because there's an inventory shortage. There's only going to be a trickle down of more opportunities for investors. The conversations I've had with the builders and the developers that I've worked with, none of them, not a single one is stopping building or halting. They're like, “We want more, we want more opportunity. Our investors want us to build more.”

Tamir: Your new listing, which I spent some time on yesterday, has an amazing location. A lot of potential. I mean, yesterday it threw me back to my investor days. So when I see an opportunity like this, immediately I'm asking myself, “Okay, can I do something about it?” What can be done there? So just tell us about the opportunity.

Cynthia: Well, this was an amazing opportunity that came to me. I've always wanted to do ground-up development and work on some deals. This one to me is special because it's in such a small community, like NoHo is not as vast as the Upper East Side or Upper West Side. It's a very, very short block. You know your 4th Avenue specifically, there's so much history there. It's a very, very entrenched community that has seen transition over the last 100 years. However, the opportunity that is presented is a lot that has a single story retail operator that will be vacating at closing, so the owners or the buyers are able to do whatever they want.

I personally think a unique luxury project that provides some affordable housing opportunities [would be great]. And maybe have some creative ways of providing outdoor space to multiple units, as opposed to just the penthouses. I think that project could be really, really great. You have frontage both on 9th Street, as well as on 4th Avenue. You have the Astor Place subway a block away, which is very rare. There hasn't been a site available in that neighborhood since 2015. And the last thing that was built there was a substantial size. So for the right buyer, for the right developer, they can build a really unique project that will help them seize a good ROI on their investment.

For more information on Cynthia’s Fourth Avenue commercial listing, head to 57 Fourth Avenue.