NEW YORK, April 3 The average rent being asked
by landlords for office leases hit a record high in Manhattan in
the first quarter as historically low unemployment fueled the
jobs market and leasing activity was above average, brokerage
Colliers International said on Monday.
Asking rents rose to $73.92 a square foot in the first
quarter from $72.24 a square foot in the last quarter of 2016,
the brokerage said.
The asking rents for a revitalized downtown set new highs,
as did the technology-rich sector of Midtown South. While asking
rents also rose during the quarter in Midtown, the largest U.S.
office sector by far, they were still 10.4 percent lower than a
record $92.04 a square foot set in the third quarter of 2008.
Leasing activity declined 4.6 percent from the first quarter
of 2016, but was 27 percent above the 10-year average.
"The New York market continues to show signs of strength and
optimism," said Joseph Harbert, president of Colliers' eastern
region, adding that 2017 would be a strong year for office
leasing, the largest of five commercial real estate segments.
The others are hotels, industrial or warehousing, apartment
buildings and retail.
Demand by foreign investors for purchasing office buildings
remained strong. Of 14 deals totaling $2.6 billion during the
quarter, 73 percent were foreign buyers, Colliers said.
The expected return on investment is low as both U.S. and
foreign investors place a premium on New York real estate, the
The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for New York
City fell to 4.8 percent in February from 5.6 percent a year
ago, the New York state Labor Department said last week, citing
(Reporting by Herbert Lash; Editing by Peter Cooney)