In the Spotlight: Matt Cawley, president of National Multifamily Corp. (Westchester & Fairfield County Business Journals)

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In the Spotlight: Matt Cawley, president of National Multifamily Corp. (Westchester & Fairfield County Business Journals)

April 10, 2023

National Multifamily Corp. is one of the newer players in the regional commercial real estate market. The Rye Brook-headquartered company recently celebrated its first anniversary in business and promotes itself as “your go-to source for buying and selling multifamily and mixed-use properties in New York and Connecticut.”

The Business Journals recently spoke with Matt Cawley, the National Multifamily’s founder and president, on his company’s niche within the regional real estate market.

Congratulations on your first year in business. What inspired you to create the company?

I had been commercial broker for multifamily and mixed-use properties for about eight years or so. I was working for a company that was Boston-based and I was the whole New York and Connecticut operations for them. Geographically, we were very different – and it made sense to go off on my own at that time. It’s worked out very well ever since.

What was it like starting your own company, particularly in this crowded market?

It certainly had ups and downs to it. I had a great client base and a great following to begin with, which made the transition as easy as possible. It’s certainly a very interesting market overall for commercial real estate with last year’s rising interest rates.

What do you look for in a property that you want to have under the National Multifamily banner?

Typically, it’s really about advising owners – it doesn’t really matter what the property is like. What we do is we broker any five-plus multifamily are mixed-use in Connecticut, or New York City and Westchester County and above. Those are the properties that we work on and the owners that we advise.

Is this a seller’s market for the multifamily properties?

A little bit, yes. I’d say it is a seller’s market because of an extreme lack of inventory that’s on the market. So, anything that is well priced goes immediately, often in all-cash deals – which was not the case in the preceding five years. On the other hand, we have seen values come down due to the rise of interest rates. So, on the flip side, it’s also a buyers’ market because they’re able to get buildings at a discount of what their peak was last year.

And who are the buyers for these properties? Are they real estate investment trusts or individual investors?

Typically, they’re all individuals. We have a lot of great relationships with the people coming up from New York, and we can explain the differences between the two states. So, it’s a lot of individual investors, and I’d say mainly from New York City.

Across Connecticut, you are in urban markets including Bridgeport, New Britain and New Haven. At the risk of being rude, these aren’t the luxury markets that many people associate with Connecticut real estate, such as Greenwich or Westport. Are buyers interested in these urban markets?

Absolutely. Number one is they see the growth potential. For example, Bridgeport is an area where I’ve been working for a very long time and I’ve seen those investments in the city itself just continue to grow, both in value and how the city is evolving and developing and building out the downtown.

Are you focusing on doing business in other states?

We’re primarily just in New York and Connecticut – those are the two that I’ve worked for the past decade and they’re the ones that we’re planning on only working for the foreseeable future. Down the line, we may help a client, let’s say, in a 1031. We are licensed in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida and Colorado. So, if someone is looking for a property to trade into down in Florida, we can really be a one stop shop for them.

What is the state of the 1031 market today?

There have been a lot of questions on what’s going to happen to the 1031 exchange on a national level – it comes up almost every election cycle. I don’t see it going anywhere – it really is something that helps commercial real estate overall, where a mom-and-pop owner can grow from a small building into a medium sized building for the first 1031 and then to a larger size building for the next 1031. It really helps clients and sellers that are on the mom-and-pop level create a portfolio and attain wealth for their families.

What’s on your agenda for the remainder of this year?

Advising sellers as much as we possibly can. Because of how turbulent this market really has been, we’re getting the word out by providing as much information as we can.

There’s going to be a big focus on Connecticut. New York has a lot of legislative risk at the moment with the potential Good Cause Eviction bill that is currently in the state assembly. And so, Connecticut is sort of a safe haven for a lot of New Yorkers to come to and seek out investments in property.

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