Vacant New York office space reaches highest level since 1994

Vacant New York office space reaches highest level since 1994
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The office vacancy rate in Manhattan has hit its highest level since 1994 and will likely hit “unprecedented levels” in the near future, a report from a global real estate services firm has found.

CNN reported that the global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield found that the office vacancy rate in Manhattan reached 16.3 percent in the first quarter of 2021, up from 11.3 percent a year ago.

The company said it expects the rate to continue to rise to "unprecedented levels in the coming months" and drive down asking rents "substantially."


CNN noted that Manhattan's overall asking price for rent has decreased for the past two consecutive quarters. However, one expert told CNN that the drop in price may not be entirely attributable to a drop in demand.

"Landlords have adjusted their expectations and are already being much more aggressive than they were before COVID," Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenMichael Cohen on Giuliani's legal fees: He won't get 'two cents' from Trump Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels blast FEC for dropping Trump probe FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE, regional president of the real estate company Colliers International, told CNN. "But their specific reactions depend on their individual circumstances. For example, developers of newer office buildings are more likely wait to make deals if they don't want to lower their rents further." 

In December, it was reported that the amount of available office space in Manhattan had reached the highest level seen since 2003. At the time, only 790,000 square feet of office space was being leased in Manhattan, indicating an 80 percent decrease from December 2019.

"Landlords across the city, but particularly in Manhattan, have to be willing to face some really hard hits if they want to fill their units," Nancy Wu, StreetEasy economist, said at the time. "They’re being forced to cut the location premium out of their asking price in order to compete with larger and more affordable apartments in the outer boroughs."