New York, NY – Although the commercial property sales market cooled in the third quarter compared to the brisk second, and sales volume fell to $7.5 billion from more than $9+ billion, a few distinguishing things happened in the last three months: 1) office property sales remain strong as evidenced by the sale of three buildings compared to only one in the past 12 months; and  2) hotel sales were lackluster—only one hotel sold in the quarter compared to the more typical five or six transactions in a quarter.

“The statistics for the third quarter do not accurately reflect the demand we are seeing,” said Eastern Consolidated Chairman and CEO Peter Hauspurg commenting on the Manhattan Commercial Property Sales Report.   “Investors have been very eager for listings and prices have reflected this intense demand.  Recent uncertainty from the government shutdown may subdue volume in the fourth quarter, but any impact should be temporary, and prices should hold firm.”

            Among highlights for 3Q 2013:

  • Multifamily sales declined; total sales declined for the third straight quarter – largest sale was a portfolio of 33 Upper Manhattan properties;
  • Retail sales increased and more than doubled after two quarters of lackluster activity – largest sale was Nordstrom’s retail condo at 225 W. 57th Street;
  • Development site sales increased, doubling in 3Q from $640 to $1.3 billion – largest sale was 101 Murray Street in Tribeca acquired by Fisher Brothers and The Witkoff Group from St. John’s University;
  • Office property sales declined in 3Q after doubling in 2Q, butthree sales occurred in Lower Manhattan – 100 Broadway, 180 Water Street and 5 Hanover Square;
  • Uncertainty from the government shutdown could slow momentum in the 4Q, but impact should be temporary.

Conclusion

As compared to a buoyant 2Q 2013, 3Q was disappointing but could be the result of the bump in interest rates that the Federal Reserve announced to boost the economy.  However, even though the Fed reversed that threat, and did not raise rates, the psychological damage was done.  No doubt the current government shutdown will have a more damaging impact on the commercial activity the longer it lasts, but as of this writing, it seems that a deal has been struck in Washington, literally at the eleventh hour. 

According to Chief Economist Barbara Byrne Denham, author of the report, “Our observation is that investors continue to be bullish about owning NYC real estate, as it’s one of the safest investments for their capital.  Acquiring and holding assets looks likely to keep prices steady and push them higher, as owners retain their investments until they appreciate to the point at which selling becomes a viable option.”

Eastern Consolidated

Founded in 1981, Manhattan-based Eastern Consolidated is one of the country’s preeminent full-service real estate investment services firms, offering unrivaled expertise in the greater New York marketplace to an impressive worldwide roster of institutional and private investor clients. The 40-person team of brokers, who, combined, offer fluency in 11 languages, come from a wide diversity of entrepreneurial and professional backgrounds.  With annual sales up to $4 billion, Eastern Consolidated focuses on the acquisition, disposition and finance of all types of properties.