Investment sales volume could rise by 50%

April 12, 2011 12:30PM By Adam Pincus

The first quarter of 2011 saw a steep decline in investment sales in New York City compared to the last three months of 2010, but the dollar volume for the whole year is expected to surge over last year, Robert Knakal, chairman of commercial brokerage Massey Knakal Realty Service, said.

He predicted the total volume of investment sales would jump to as much as $22 billion this year from $14.5 billion in 2010.

“We believe the dollar volume will increase by 40 to 50 percent over 2010 levels,” Knakal said at the firm’s quarterly press briefing at its Midtown headquarters this morning. “We are expecting that the total dollar volume is going to be in the $20 [billion] to $22 billion range.”

But that would remain far below the record $62 billion sold in 2007, he said.

In the first quarter of 2010, there were $3.9 billion in sales citywide, down 30 percent from the $5.6 billion sold in the fourth quarter last year.

Knakal blamed some of the decline this year to a surge in sales in the prior quarter by sellers fearing a change in taxes. But even as the first quarter lagged the previous three months, it was far more than the first quarter one year ago, when just $2.03 billion in properties traded hands.

The increase in property sales was led by office buildings purchases, such as William Macklowe Company and ING Clarion Partners together buying 636 Sixth Avenue for $45.23 million.

The development market picked up as well in terms of volume of deals, but fell in the average price per square foot.

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