Why Many Real Estate Investors are Suffering // Assessing the health of the present real estate market with Greg Corbin

Greg Corbin, a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, is the president and founder of Northgate Real Estate Group. Prior to starting Northgate, Mr. Corbin spent four years at Rosewood Realty Group as the president of Bankruptcy and Restructuring. While there, he and his team arranged the sale, workout or recapitalization of over 100 buildings, development sites, membership interests and loans totaling $1.1 billion in underlying collateral.
Before Rosewood, Mr. Corbin spent a decade at Besen & Associates. Prior to that, he was a director of sales at Massey Knakal, now Cushman and Wakefield. Mr. Corbin was a co-chairman of the YJP Real Estate Division for over a decade, co-founder of the NYIC Real Estate Group, and is on the real estate board of the American Bankruptcy Institute. He was the founder and is a current board member of the not-for-profit Give to Give Foundation, was a co-founder of The Legion, and a co-founder of Fuel For Truth.
In addition to his focus on the sale and workout of properties in Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Mr. Corbin also specializes in judicial and UCC foreclosures, loan and REO sales, restructuring, and the disposition of stalled construction sites. He has extensive expertise in these arenas and is widely recognized as one of the most active and sought-after industry leaders.

How healthy is the real estate market as we speak today?
It is the least healthy market I have seen in 20 years. I think what’s happening now is going to make 2009 look like a non-event. It’s not just office space, it’s across the board. Typically, multifamily has been the darling sweetheart asset class of real estate. It has been the most blue chip, secure asset class, and that has changed, as well.

People have talked about converting offices to residential.
I think that’s more of a talking point or headline than a realistic moneymaker. Structurally, these office floor plates are not really conducive to residential living. If it is even set up in a way that you’re able to do something, by the time you convert the building and give light and air—the cost is 80% of building from the ground up anyway, and you still haven’t solved for X. Because as you are creating apartments, they’re not ideal, and you’re not going to get top dollar as you would if they were configured properly at the outset.

Are all office buildings equally depressed?
It’s been written about a lot how Class A+ is going to be fine, but the side street stuff and everything that’s in that Class B or C is pretty doomed. But I see massive cracks across the board.

Are residential and commercial equally bad, or is one worse than the other?
I think the two worse asset classes right now are offices, and, in certain areas, multifamily. A rent-stabilized building in New York is currently viewed as a cancer that a lot of people won’t even touch, no matter what the cap rate is. [A cap rate is the assessed yearly yield of a commercial property.] Other asset classes have rebounded in a somewhat healthy fashion. In hospitality, people were counting out hotels, but they’ve made a big comeback. As far as industrial goes, that was a darling sweetheart for a number of years, and people still look to buy it, but it isn’t as heavily coveted as it was in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. But again, the problems really lie in office and multifamily.

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