Manhattan retail asking rents fall to nine-year low

Year-over-year drop of almost 13% to $659 psf: CBRE


Manhattan retail asking rents fell to their lowest point in nearly a decade this summer as the pandemic compounded a downward trend in demand.

Asking rents across Manhattan’s 16 main shopping corridors fell to $659 per square foot during the third quarter, according to CBRE. That’s down 12.8 percent from the same time last year, and the lowest level since the back half of 2011.

Prince Street in Soho saw the largest drop in asking rents, with pricing falling to $405 per square foot in the third quarter from $705 at the same time last year.

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CBRE noted some landlords on Prince Street put new spaces on the market with asking rents roughly half of what they were a year earlier, and spaces already on the market dropped their asks. Several storefronts that had been on the market for more than a year changed brokers.

Leasing volume for the 12 months ending in September totaled 2.67 million square feet, down by nearly a third from the 3.9 million square feet from the same time period a year ago.

Some activists, believing rents have not fallen enough to fill vacancies, have proposed measures to force landlords to reduce asking prices. But CBRE’s report noted that retail asking rents have dropped for 12 consecutive quarters.