Office condominiums exist in nearly every market in the US and are particularly prevalent in Europe and Asia. However, they have been a small niche in New York City. Office condominiums represent only 2% of the 500 million-square-foot office market.
There are 106 office condominium buildings in Manhattan, totaling 12.3 million square feet.
Benefits of Ownership
The annual cost of office condominium ownership is historically less than the cost of leasing. Current market lease rates far exceed the annual office condominium carrying costs, which include common charges, real estate taxes and if applicable, mortgage payments.
Attractive Financing Costs
There are a variety of financing options that make owning an office condominium more affordable for businesses and non-profit organizations. Interest rates remain very low, and borrowers can often find loans as high as 90% loan-to-value, including construction costs.
Real Estate Tax Exemption
Many non-profit and government organizations are exempt from paying real estate taxes when they own and occupy an office condominium. Tenants leasing office space are required to pay real estate taxes regardless of their status.
From office furniture to glass conference rooms, designing and building an office space involves significant capital. When a business cannot renew their lease, they lose their investment and have to expend further capital to move and improve elsewhere. By owning office space, a business can justify a higher-end build-out that increases their competitive edge and improves the value of their real estate.
Stabilized Occupancy Costs
Office condominium owners are insulated from the escalating and unpredictable costs of leasing office space. An office condominium owner’s occupancy costs remain stable and predictable, allowing for precise operating expense projections and easy budgeting, whereas tenants leasing office space are subject to the fluctuations of the leasing market and whims of landlords who may have conflicting objectives.
With the wild fluctuations in the financial market, many investors are looking for a safe place to put their money. Stable, predictable investment vehicles are increasingly hard to find. One of the best investment vehicles is an income-producing office condominium unit.
The conversion to office condominium is a unique and highly profitable strategy. The demand from buyers far outweighs the supply of available office condominiums. Typical buyers include non-profits, doctors, jewelers, small businesses, foreign companies and investors. Buyers will pay a significantly higher price to purchase an office condominium than what the building would sell for as a whole. The office condominium conversion strategy is the highest rate of return in the shortest period of time.