Manhattan Leasing Activity Down But Not Out

It’s a safe bet that most of the 56.4 million visitors to New York City last year did some shopping. They come here for the city’s unrivaled selection of goods in a metropolitan environment like no other. From a visitor’s point of view, shopping destinations like Times Square, Fifth Avenue and SoHo are more vibrant than ever. But for those who track leasing activity in those areas, the numbers show something different. While retail rents remain exceptionally high, leasing velocity in terms of both number of deals and total square feet appears to be slowing. This report examines that trend and offers one explanation of its cause, and how it may soon change.