Strong Leasing Activity Spurred by 20 Leases Exceeding 50,000 SF
January 13, 2022
NEW YORK – The Manhattan office market posted a second consecutive strong quarter in Q4 2021, with leasing activity totaling 7.7 million square feet, absorption figures in positive territory and availability rates on the decline, according to a new research report from Transwestern Real Estate Services (TRS).
Strong leasing activity was provided by 20 leases exceeding 50,000 square feet, though the Q4 leasing total was slightly below the Q3 result of 7.9 million square feet. Both quarters contributed to 2021’s annual leasing of 25.5 million square feet, representing a gain of 15% over the 2020 total. Notably, signed lease terms for many large deals were for 10-15 years, a change from shorter term deals signed during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the ratio of available sublet space to overall availability, which had been a significant concern, has receded to pre-pandemic levels.
“We are certainly seeing a pause in return-to-office plans for many companies due to Omicron, leading to transactional delays,” said Tom Hines, Senior Vice President at Transwestern. “But tenant confidence has turned a corner as it relates to the long-term outlook, in a significant shift from last winter. Key indicators such as leasing activity and sublease availability rate continue to move in the right direction.”
Additional highlights from the report include:
- Net absorption for Q4 was 96,000 square feet, in positive territory for the second straight quarter.
- Annual net absorption was negative 15.8 million square, better than 2020’s negative 16.2 million square feet.
- Quarterly sales volume approached $4.4 billion, the highest total since 2019, while annual volume hit $8.8 billion, 27% higher than the 2020 figure.
- Sublet availability, which had surged during 2020 and early 2021, decreased to 4.2%, which is 23.3% of total availability, the lowest level since 2019.
- Availability dropped for the second consecutive quarter, down 0.1 percentage points to 17.9%.
- Average rents continued on a gradual decline, dipping 2.0% to $69.03/SF, though some submarkets saw increases.
“The quarterly results show not only a strengthening of the market but also a stabilization, which is just as, if not more, important,” said Corrie Slewett, Research Manager at Transwestern. “The leasing activity is still not quite at pre-pandemic levels but there are notable indications that it is getting there. The increasing lease terms, with many larger leases in the quarter being signed for at least 10 years, is another good sign of returning confidence in the market.”
Download the Q4 2021 Manhattan office report at https://transwestern.com/market-reports.
About Transwestern Real Estate Services
Transwestern Real Estate Services (TRS) adds value for investors, owners and occupiers of all commercial property types through a comprehensive perspective and by providing solutions grounded in sound market intelligence. Part of the Transwestern companies, the firm applies a consultative approach to Agency Leasing, Asset Services, Tenant Advisory + Workplace Solutions, Capital Markets, and Research & Investment Analytics.
The privately held Transwestern companies have been delivering a higher level of personalized service and innovative real estate solutions since 1978. Through an integrated, customized approach that begins with good ideas, the firm drives value for clients across commercial real estate services, development, and investment management. Operating from 33 U.S. offices, Transwestern extends its platform capabilities globally through strategic alliance partners whose unique geographic, cultural, and business expertise fuels creative solutions. Learn more at transwestern.com and @Transwestern.