Friday, December 21, 2012

Fiscal cliff weighing on Charlotte commercial real estate

Two experts from commercial real estate firm Cassidy Turley say the ongoing negotiations to avoid the "fiscal cliff" are weighing on Charlotte's commercial real estate market.

U.S. lawmakers are trying to work out a compromise to avoid to so-called fiscal cliff, a term used to describe the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to take effect unless lawmakers reach a budget deal.

Sarah Godwin, a senior analyst in the firm's uptown office, said sales of commercial properties could be delayed until 2013 as buyers and sellers wait to see how their taxes could be impacted.

Uptown has seen a record year in terms of dollars for sales of uptown office buildings.  Some more closings of major properties in or near uptown are pending, say brokers involved in the deals.

But "in the rush to the finish line by the end of 2012, deals that are held up for whatever reasons will likely have buyers and sellers that hold tight until Congress brings clarity to its fiscal cliff decisions," Godwin says. "This could delay some closings indefinitely and hamper local and national investment sales activity in the first half of 2013."

Also likely delayed - industrial relocations and expansions, she says. That's because manufacturing firms, particularly those that do business internationally, are especially sensitive to tax rates.

In general, companies and investors have been postponing decisions recently as they watch various events unfold -- such as the U.S. Presidential election or the European economic crisis. The fiscal cliff is just one more issue that will postpone decisions, says Steve Gassaway, Cassidy Turley's regional managing principal.