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Flowers Among Manhattan Home Buyers in Year-End Deal Rush

J. Christopher Flowers, founder of private-equity firm JC Flowers & Co., on Dec. 27 bought a $20 million co-op apartment in New York in a cash deal. The same day, Dwayne Andreas, former head of Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. (ADM), sold his Manhattan home for $23.9 million, also in cash.

The deals, reported yesterday by the New York City Department of Finance, are among the surge in year-end luxury- home transactions made before an expected jump in capital-gains taxes on Jan. 1. There were more sales of Manhattan luxury property in the last three months of 2012 than in any other fourth quarter since at least 1989, when New York appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. began tracking the data.

Luxury sales, which Miller Samuel defines as the top 10 percent by price, increased 29 percent from a year earlier to 260, based on data the company collected from public records through Dec. 31. The numbers capture 85 percent of all such deals in the quarter and will climb higher as transactions completed in the final days of last month are reported with the city finance department, said Jonathan Miller, the appraiser’s president. In the fourth quarter, the median price of a luxury property was $4.4 million.

“Because of the impending tax changes, there was tremendous pressure on deals, especially high-end deals, to get them closed before Dec. 31,” Hall Willkie, president of brokerage Brown Harris Stevens, said in a Jan. 2 interview.

“There’s a handful of very important deals” that have yet to be reflected in public records, Willkie said at the time.

Tax Increase

While budget talks weren’t completed before the end of the year, tax increases were expected. The fiscal bill passed by Congress on Jan. 1 raises tax rates on dividends and capital gains for households earning more than $450,000 to 20 percent from 15 percent. A provision of the 2010 health-care law that took effect at the beginning of the year adds another 3.8 percent to the rate for married couples whose income is more than $250,000.

“It’s going to be more expensive to sell” in 2013, Sofia Song, vice president of research for property-listings website StreetEasy.com, said in a Jan. 2 interview.

The six-bedroom property that Flowers bought at the end of the year had been on the market since April 2011, when it was listed for $23.5 million. The full-floor apartment on Park Avenue and 66th Street has “New York’s finest floor plan,” that includes two staff rooms, a gym and a library, according to the Brown Harris Stevens listing on StreetEasy.com.

Flowers is traveling and unavailable to comment on the deal, according to an assistant who answered the phone in his New York office.

Andreas Sells

Andreas, former chief executive officer of Decatur, Illinois-based Archer-Daniels, the world’s largest corn processor, has been trying to sell his 12th-floor apartment at 810 Fifth Ave. since February 2008, according to StreetEasy. He listed the two-bedroom unit — a former home of Nelson Rockefeller — for sale at $27.5 million. After 1,767 days, he closed a deal for 13 percent less. The buyers were listed as Sima and Morad Ghadamian, according to public records.

Andreas, who lives in Miami Beach, Florida, according to public records, has an unlisted phone number. His broker, Kirk Henckels, director of the private brokerage at New York’s Stribling & Associates, didn’t return a voice mail and e-mail seeking comment.

Apollo Buyers

Other fourth-quarter deals recorded after the new year include the sale of a co-op apartment to James Zelter, chief investment officer of Apollo Global Management LLC (APO)’s credit business. He paid $19.5 million in cash on Dec. 20, records released yesterday show.

The four-bedroom duplex spans the 10th and 11th floors of 990 Fifth Ave., across the street from Central Park., with 11- foot (3.4-meter) ceilings and nine Juliet balconies, according to the listing on StreetEasy. The deal includes a separate maids quarters in the building, based on the public records.

Marc Rowan, a co-founder of Apollo, bought a co-op at 927 Fifth Avenue for $26 million. The deal was completed Dec. 12 and included in public records on Jan. 2. Rowan and Zelter declined to comment through Charles Zehren, an Apollo spokesman.

David Nathan Roberts, senior managing director at the $25 billion investment firm Angelo Gordon & Co., bought a five- bedroom unit at 998 Fifth Ave. for $18.5 million, a 16 percent discount from what its owners initially sought, according to StreetEasy. The transaction was completed on Dec. 21, according to public records filed Jan. 4.

The sellers purchased the apartment in 2006 for $9.4 million, suggesting a gain of about $9 million.

Roberts wasn’t available to comment on the deal, according to an assistant who answered the phone at his New York office. He didn’t return an e-mail.

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