Luxury sellers who rushed to avoid fiscal cliff may have been too hasty, experts say

Manhattan home owners who scrambled to unload high-end properties just before the nation went over the fiscal cliff a few months ago probably lost money because the madcap rush pushed prices down, the Wall Street journal reported.

December set a record for luxury sales, more than 60 percent above the highs during the real estate boom, new data reviewed by the Journal shows. In Manhattan, 156 properties each priced at $4 million and up changed hands – many just days before the federal government increased the capital-gains tax rates.  

Lisa Simonsen, a broker at Douglas Elliman, sold her apartment at East 72nd Street for $1.25 million, though she had paid nearly $1.6 million for it.

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“I am not sure I gave myself the right advice,” she told the Journal, and added that the market was now “on fire.” Other experts agreed that prices are rising.

New York real estate players — along with their accountants — are watching closely to see how the deal that Congress and President Obama struck on fiscal cliff will affect the residential and commercial markets in the city, The Real Deal has previously reported.

“The impulse to minimize taxes is as strong as it’s ever been,” Robert Willens, a tax policy expert told the Journal.

With the Manhattan market now “strong and getting stronger,” economist Gregory Heym of Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead predicted last year’s big sell-off will have only a short-term effect on sales volume in 2013. [WSJ] —Hiten Samtani