The following is an extract from

Credit crunch aside, commercial real estate sales in Manhattan have already surpassed last year's record total, according to a report released Wednesday by Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

The real estate company estimates that in the first eight months of the year, sales transactions that either closed or are under contract totaled more than $40 billion. In all of 2006, transactions amounted to $34.7 billion.

The first half of the year was the strongest six-month period ever reported for commercial sales, with transactions reaching $34.1 billion, up from $18.58 billion in the corresponding period in 2006.

Cushman notes that the credit crunch has led to more stringent underwriting, more expensive lending terms and an increase in the amount of equity required for purchase. It says that eventually the market turmoil could lead to fewer property sales, fewer bidders and ultimately lower prices for buildings. However, for now, the company says property values have remained strong.

At mid-year, Cushman pegged the class-A vacancy rate at 5.4%, the lowest since 2001. The average asking rent was $69.58 per square foot, a record high and up 38% from the corresponding period in 2006. [Read more]





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