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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jan. 22, 202105:10 AM EST

Commercial Real Estate: Capitalizing on ‘the golden age of multifamily’

Newmark Knight Frank brokers Erik Bjornson and Tyler Nilsson closed on nearly $600 million in sales in 2020.
by: Katie Garwood Staff Writer

Following the best year in their career, Newmark Knight Frank brokers Erik Bjornson and Tyler Nilsson said they are lucky to be working in the Florida multifamily market. 

The two closed 25 sales in 2020 totaling almost $600 million. Their $73.5 million sale of The Menlo apartments was the eighth highest commercial real estate sale of 2020. 

“It’s kind of the golden age of multifamily right now,” Bjornson said.

“With interest rates low, yields not being provided really in other investments, including the stock market, people are chasing yield in hard assets in real estate and specifically multifamily,” he said.

Bjornson and Nilsson cover territory from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach and across the Florida Panhandle. 

About 90% of their transactions are in Jacksonville.

Bjornson focuses on investment sales, while Nilsson handles land sales for multifamily projects. Both areas of the multifamily market in Jacksonville are strong and expected to stay that way.

They said population and job growth and the affordable cost of living have been pivotal to keeping Northeast Florida’s multifamily market sound. 

Now that Jacksonville is a top 50 metropolitan statistical area, larger, institutional investors are taking notice. 

“Going into the pandemic with those tailwinds, the Jacksonville market really sustained itself on the multifamily side with good occupancy, strong rents and still experiencing a lot of population growth,” Bjornson said.

He said the fundamentals for existing multifamily properties  in Jacksonville are strong, “and some of the strongest fundamentals you’ll see anywhere in the country.”

For land sales and multifamily development, Nilsson said there has been an influx of new developers taking interest in the market in the past several years.

“We don’t have a shortage of groups that want to develop multifamily by any means in Jacksonville,” Nilsson said.

Newmark has Florida offices in Jacksonville, Boca Raton, Orlando and Tampa. Bjornson said brokers in each of those offices often work together on deals, creating cohesion and allowing for the offices to share information with each other.

Bjornson said that having a Newmark presence in each of Florida’s major cities has helped it take the highest multifamily investment sales market share in the state. 

“We have a presence in every single market in Florida and a good team set in all these markets in Florida,” Nilsson said. 

“Because of this information-sharing and cohesiveness, it’s easier for us to execute for our clients in a more timely fashion,” he said.

“And ultimately, in a way that provides the best outcome for them.”

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