Depending on where an investor is looking, New York commercial real estate can be at a premium or at an amazing bargain. Commercial real estate in the banking, financial and communication districts of New York City and its surrounding counties is some of the most expensive in the country. Upstate New York offers plentiful, cheap, raw land, but not a lot else. Industries that make use of the commercial real estate successfully in other areas of the state are printing and publishing, machinery, chemical production, and tourism.


Like other major cities across the country, New York experienced a condo-conversion boom the last two or three years, with many developers converting old office buildings to condominiums. These days, owners of old office space are doing just the opposite. The commercial development market has become so strong that it makes more sense to update the buildings and lease them or to sell them outright. Even developments slated for mixed use are going to pure office space. Large blocks of office space in the City are so rare that developers can't pass up this opportunity, with rents, at the low end, of $50 to $70 per square foot. Indeed, office rents are at a record high in Manhattan, with some locations commanding over $150 per square foot. Old office buildings are also being converted into boutique hotels. That having been said, the market for retail condos, which work exactly the same way as residential condos, has busted wide open.

Another hot area in the City is gallery space. The art market is red hot right now and many gallery owners are scrambling for more gallery space, particularly in Chelsea where gallery rents have skyrocketed in the last decade. Space that went for $8 per square foot ten years ago now goes for $80 per square foot.

Outside New York City, White Plains is experiencing a huge real estate boom in its downtown area. Major luxury players like the Ritz-Carlton and Donald Trump have already moved into the heart of White Plains' business district, but there are still large swaths of the downtown area that were missed by the first stage of development. The "unrevitalized" areas are mostly home to public housing and mom-and-pop shops - and even a few vacant lots. Developers are eyeing it for revitalization, with strong encouragement from the city, which is putting together a formal development plan and has already made known its desire for large-scale retail and medical office development.

Housing is at a standstill in the state because, overall, New York's population is growing very slowly. There is no room to build in New York City, and those who want to live close to the city for less money choose neighboring states rather than neighboring towns. There is some small-scale residential development around Albany, but, in general, both Albany and Buffalo are facing declining populations.