Report: Subtle Upswing in NY Retail Market

The retail market in New York City is starting to show signs of stability again, after a difficult 2009, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s first-quarter statistics.

The report on the Manhattan commercial real estate market said two retail submarkets remained stable, four saw a quarterly decrease and just one saw an increase. Fifth Avenue from 49th to 60th Street saw an increase in availability, while Times Square and Madison Avenue remained stable. Soho, Third Avenue from 58th to 79th Street, the Upper West Side and Fifth Avenue from 42nd to 49th Street saw a decrease in availability.

“Only one of the seven [areas] we tracked saw increase,” Joseph Harbert, Cushman & Wakefield COO, said during a presentation Tuesday. “Improvement has been subtle; Times Square seems to be a hot market and Madison Avenue is very steady.”

For the Times Square area, which covers 8th Avenue to Broadway and 42nd to 49th streets, the average asking rent increased to $647 per square foot, from $610 per square foot at the end of 2009. The availability remained the same at 9.3 percent.

By comparison, on Madison Avenue, asking rents decreased slightly to $827 per square foot, from $834 at year-end 2009. Availability remained steady at 12.8 percent, compared with 13 percent in 2009.

“We see some change. Last year, we had people on the [sidelines], and today [we’re] starting to see some [activity] on the market,” said Harbert. “There is still way more capital than product and that will probably continue for the next six months.”

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