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Rush to Close Million Dollar Deals as 'Fiscal Cliff' Approaches

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While laypeople are scrambling to finish their holiday shopping, New York City property owners and sellers are scrambling to close big deals before the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve. On January 1, as part of the dreaded "fiscal cliff," the wealthy will see real estate taxes increase and exemptions on estate and gift taxes decrease. The Journal reports that buyers are negotiating steep discounts and big bonuses on grounds that they get the deal done before the year ends. Even picky co-op and condo boards are finding the generous holiday spirit and working around the clock to close sales. "To my very happy surprise not one board said no," said a broker at Elliman. "They have holiday plans they had rearranged."

While there's no official count as to how many deals are in the works, records show that in 2010, 142 properties costing $1 million or more sold in the week before Christmas, and brokers say that this year there are even more. In addition to sales, owners are also rushing to transfer valuable properties to children or grandchildren as gifts to avoid future taxes. Suddenly, our holiday presents are looking quite cheap.
· Rush to Close On Properties By Year-End [WSJ]