3 Ways to Invest in New York City Real Estate

New York real estate is renowned for investment opportunities. As one of the most famous cities in America and the world, New York and its property presents unique investment opportunities. There is one problem however. Real estate in New York is expensive. In fact, a recent survey shows New York City as the third most expensive city in the world for residential real estate, by square foot.

One might look at this and believe the high rates leave little opportunity for investment. That is not the case. There are ways to invest in New York City’s real estate even if you don’t live there. Here are a few of the best ways to do so.

Invest Through a Turnkey Property

A turnkey property allows investors to buy a property, turn around, and rent it immediately. This may sound impossible to find, but there are companies that specialize selling these properties. This presents unique opportunity for those who want to invest in real estate in New York City but don’t live there.

So how do you manage your investment if you don’t live locally? According to Nicholas Kensington, a realtor with Scottsdale Real Estate, “One of the most key things I’d say about this is that you need to have people you know you can trust with your property. An amazing property management group, the best employee ever living there — something so that you’re not constantly having to fly back and forth all the time.”

A property management company or a local employee may eat into profit, though it can go a long way to help manage your investments.

3 Ways to Invest in New York City Real Estate Share on X

Try a REIT

Much like investing through a turnkey property, a real estate investment trust (REIT) allows local and global investors to invest in New York City real estate. As of late 2014, there were three REITs that focused specifically on New York real estate. A REIT, in many cases, allows investors to invest in commercial or residential property as well as mortgage loans. What’s unique about New York City REITs is their singular focus on commercial or retail buildings in prestigious properties like Grand Central Terminal or Union Square.

A REIT, generally speaking, allows investors access to a grouping of such properties that trade like a stock. By their nature, this provides dividend income (as they’re required to distribute 90% of their taxable income annually through dividends) as well as diversificationopportunities. They’re also prone to risk in rising interest rate climates.

Buy Property Directly

A final, though likely cost prohibitive, opportunity to invest in New York City real estate is through purchasing properties directly. This is easier said than done due to the inherent demand within the city. That being said, there are often stricter requirements investors face if they choose to invest in real estate in New York City.

What to Look For

Due to the extreme popularity in real estate investments, there are some things to keep in mind if you plan to invest. The first key is to realize you’re competing with many other investors. “A sweet deal is much, much harder to find than in other areas in the country. Once you find something solid, you really have to hustle or get left behind since, odds are, everyone else is going to be jumping on that as well,” said Kensington.

Other things Kensington points out as important:

  • Rent is determined by number of bedrooms, not their size.
  • Lower income areas tend to have more maintenance issues as well as higher turnover.
  • Compare sales price against what you can earn in rent so you don’t over leverage yourself.

Ultimately, there is opportunity to be had investing in New York City real estate if you’re able to act fast and have a good plan in place.

The Bottom Line

New York is known world over for its real estate. There are numerous ways to take advantage of it and grow your wealth. Just make sure to do so with your eyes open to the risks.



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