Office leasing volume falls in August, report says

By Adam Pincus | September 09, 2009 03:56PM

Following a two-month rally in office leasing volume, the number of square feet leased in August fell by half, according to new data in a monthly report (see report below) from real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Office leasing volume fell by more than 50 percent in August compared with July, when 2.1 million square feet was leased. Just 1 million square feet was leased in August, the firm’s managing director and head of research, Kenneth McCarthy, said.

“We are a bit concerned about that. I do think there is a sense in the marketplace that there is activity out there. Maybe this was an unusually slow August. But overall it was a bit of a setback after two fairly healthy months,” he said.

Between 2001 and 2007, an average of 2.1 million square feet was leased in the month of August, McCarthy said.

Leasing in June was an improvement from May, and July was the best month of the year.

Average asking rents were down in August by 1.3 percent to $57.73 from a month earlier, and down 21 percent from August 2008, the report shows.

The weak market provided a benefit to tenants, McCarthy said.

“Prices are very attractive,” but many companies are not taking as much space as they were in prior years, he said.

In a positive sign for landlords, the vacancy rate in Manhattan held steady at 10.9 percent in August, the Cushman & Wakefield data indicates.

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Manhattan Stats August 2009