Manhattan Q1 office deals hit lowest levels since ’09

Joseph Chetrit and 550 Madison Avenue
Joseph Chetrit And 550 Madison Avenue (credit: PropertyShark)

First-quarter Manhattan office deals were at their lowest levels since 2009, but the low numbers were caused by a rush of fourth-quarter deals last year to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, according to Cushman & Wakefield data reported by Crain’s.

Roughly $2.55 billion worth of deals got done during the quarter, as compared to about $14 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the data. The rush to close deals last quarter was driven by a desire to avoid tax increases that kicked in at the start of this year, Nat Rockett, a Cushman broker, told Crain’s. 

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“A lot of deals that would have gotten done in the first quarter were pushed into the fourth quarter of last year,” Rockett said. A huge chunk of the quarter’s numbers came from the $1.1 billion acquisition of the Sony Building in late March by investors Joseph Chetrit and David Bistricer.

Robert Knakal, chairman of the brokerage Massey Knakal Realty Services, disagreed with Cushman’s estimates. “About $5 billion to $6 billion of deals got done in Manhattan in the first quarter, probably over $7 billion citywide,” Knakal told Crain’s. He added that he expected $40 billion of deals to get done in 2013, which would eclipse all years except 2007. [Crain’s]  –Hiten Samtani