According to new research from Colliers International, Manhattan’s office leasing volume in 2020 hit its lowest levels in two decades.
The analysis found full-year activity was down by 55.9% over the year and 13.4% quarter-over-quarter.
Around 4.16 million square feet was leased in the fourth quarter of 2020, which is two-thirds lower than the same time in 2019.
Additionally, the fourth quarter was 52.5% lower than Manhattan’s five-year average of 8.71 million square.
Asking rents have also fallen by 3.5% during this year at $74.39 per square foot, marking the biggest drop since 2009.
The technology, advertising, media and information services, insurance and real estate industries led Manhattan’s office leasing in the fourth quarter.
Around 3% of 2020’s leasing volume was taken up by flexible and coworking firms, a decrease from 9% in 2019 and 12% in 2018.
“With the lowest level of leasing volume so far this century along with the highest availability on record, the COVID-19 pandemic has left a measurable impact on the Manhattan office market,” said Franklin Wallach, Senior Managing Director, Colliers International New York Research. “However, there were opportunities for value-seeking tenants in 2020 as rents began to adjust in pockets of the market. With the start of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution and the end of the pandemic in sight, there is the prospect of increased activity in 2021.”