Manhattan office leasing up 35% on the year in Q3

Financial services jobs finally surpass pre-recession levels

(from left) 50 Hudson Yards, 5 Manhattan West and 1 Manhattan West
(from left) 50 Hudson Yards, 5 Manhattan West and 1 Manhattan West

Manhattan office leasing in the third quarter climbed 35 percent year-over-year to 9.85 million square feet as financial services jobs climbed back above their pre-recession levels in August.

Average asking rents were virtually flat, growing just .7 percent to $71.12 per square foot, according to JLL data cited by the Wall Street Journal. The leveling off is a result of landlords competing with new construction in Midtown and Downtown.

“Asking rents are pretty stable, and landlords are trying to hold to those numbers, but concession dollars—free rent, [tenant space improvement] allowances—have really increased substantially,” JLL executive managing director Cynthia Wasserberger told the Journal.

Financial sector jobs reached 477,800 in August. And while those numbers surpassed the 472,900 figure from December 2007, they remain below the record high of 525,000 jobs from 1990.

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Finance, insurance and real-estate related leases make up a third of all leasing activity so far this year, according to JLL.

BlackRock, and the professional services firm Accenture inked some of the largest leases in the quarter on the Far West Side. Those deals half helped push rents in the area up into the range of $100 per square foot.

“Those collective deals are game-changers,” Wasserberger said. [WSJ]Rich Bockmann