Foreign investors hold back

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Foreign investors are buying fewer Manhattan office buildings and are spending less. Last year, foreign investors bought at least 10 office buildings for $500 million and five for well over $1 billion, according to Real Capital Analytics, a real estate research and consulting firm. But in the first quarter, the most a foreign buyer paid was the $525 million that Eyal Ofer, a London-based Israeli investor, paid for the Altria Building, a 650,000-square-foot building at 120 Park Avenue and East 42nd Street. Foreigners bought only two other buildings for about $150 million. But Douglas Harmon, a senior managing director at Eastdil Secured, said that while tight credit markets and the weakening financial industry are concerns, many foreign buyers are in good shape because most have not incurred as much debt as U.S. buyers did during the recent boom times, and because foreign investors tend to have a longer time horizon. 

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