May brings leasing velocity uptick

By Adam Pincus | June 05, 2009 05:39PM

The amount of office space leased in Midtown crept up in May, but remained less than half what it was in the same month last year, according to a report released today from full-service commercial brokerage CB Richard Ellis.

There was 620,000 square feet leased in Midtown last month, up from 490,000 square feet a month earlier, but far below the 1.16 million square feet leased in May 2008, the monthly CBRE report says.

Meanwhile, the average asking rent in the submarket fell to $62.16 per square foot in May from $63.57 the month earlier, a 28 percent drop from last May’s average of $86.52, CBRE said. The availability rate, measuring the amount of space that will be available for a tenant build-out within 12 months, rose to 15.2 percent, from 14.8 percent in April.

In Manhattan overall, leasing activity rose to 980,000 from 790,000 in April, while the average price per square foot fell to $54.63 from $55.95, the CBRE report shows. The availability rate rose to 14.1 percent in May from 13.8 percent in April.

At a panel discussion held at the Real Estate Board of New York Wednesday, Peter Turchin, senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis, was optimistic, saying, “we are going to see some volume pick up in the marketplace.”