Data shows Manhattan real estate trending upward in fourth quarter – New York Post

There’s a remarkable and rare disconnect between the city’s residential and office markets.

Everyone knows the apartment condo-sale picture is bleak. Prices are tumbling. So much inventory has built up that Halstead Development Marketing estimated it could take six years for developers to completely sell them.

The office-leasing and residential sales scenes don’t always march in lockstep, but there’s usually a general correlation. Remember the early 1990s when both markets were in the tank?

But not today. Just look at the fourth-quarter data just out from Newmark Knight Frank.

Newmark’s data tend to sound the least optimistic of reports issued by the major real estate brokerages and service companies. That’s because it cites “availability” — which includes space listed as such by a landlord even if a current tenant will still pay rent on it up to a year or more in the future — whereas other companies cite “vacancies.”

Thus, Cushman & Wakefield recently listed Downtown vacancies at 11.5 percent, versus 12.2 percent according to Newmark. There’s nothing wrong with either method — they’re just different ways of counting.

But, taking Newmark’s methodology into account, its most recent numbers reflect a Manhattan market that’s bullish from the Battery to Central Park and from river to river.

Most interestingly, the ongoing addition of oodles of new space through new construction — nearly three million square feet completed in Midtown in the fourth quarter alone— made a relatively small dent in occupancy rates island-wide.

Leasing activity broke records for the second year in a row, with 48.9 million square feet compared with 42.3 million sf in 2018.

Due to the addition of 9.2 million square feet in 2019, annual “absorption” — space leased versus space added to the market — was a negative 4.79 million square feet, or barely 1 percent of a market total of 460.2 million square feet.

Among the report’s other findings:

  • Midtown South rents set a new price record, ending 2019 at $83.53 per square foot — a 9.8 percent jump in just six months.
  • With more than 11.1 million square feet leased in the fourth quarter, Downtown “reached a new historical record in 2019 overall” and boasted a dozen deals of greater than 100,000 square feet each.
  •  Central Midtown leasing increased for the sixth consecutive year, with a “cyclical high” of 28.4 million square feet in 2019.

Not surprisingly, four of the largest five deals for the fourth quarter involved moves to the Far West Side — among them, Facebook to 30 and 50 Hudson Yards and Cravath Swaine & Moore to Two Manhattan West.

  • Midtown availability of 12.7 percent in the fourth quarter — the same as in the previous quarter — was notable given that several huge blocks of space came onto the market to swell the inventory, including at Manhattan West and Hudson Yards.

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