Manhattan office vacancy rate rises by almost half

During 2008, office vacancy rates in the prime New York City location increased by 43% - with sublease space accounting for a third of all Class A availability in midtown Manhattan.

Manhattan’s office market has seen vacancy rates rise by 43 percent during the past year, rising to 10.2 percent in the final quarter of 2008. That compares to 7.12 percent at the end of 2007.

A report from Jones Lang LaSalle said demand for all types of office space in the key New York City market had topped 10 percent overall – the first time in five years.

Manhattan’s Class A office sector, however, had seen a dramatic rise in vacancy levels, soaring 54 percent in the past year, climbing to 10.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to 6.56 for the same period in 2007.

Class B properties saw a 32 percent increase in vacancy rates over the same period, rising to 10.3 percent from 7.8 percent.

Midtown witnessed the greatest availability in space during the last three months of 2008, with a vacancy rate of 10.8 percent in 2008 against 9.1 percent the previous year.

Asking rents for all classes of office building slipped during the same period, with Class A office rents in the Midtown region falling by 3.8 percent to $81.61 per square foot in the final quarter of 2008 compared to $84.86 in 2007. Class B rents in Midtown fell almost 6 percent.