Stats Show Layoffs Not Flooding Manhattan With Open Office Space

The souring real estate market hasn’t caused brokerages to skimp on the food with which they lure reporters to quarterly

The souring real estate market hasn’t caused brokerages to skimp on the food with which they lure reporters to quarterly breakfasts and luncheons.

At the Cushman & Wakefield breakfast at Michael’s last week, the eggs were scrambled to the perfect fluffiness level; the crepes were nearly transparent; and the fruit salad didn’t just include the cheap fruit — there were blackberries and blueberries, too.

Meanwhile, at this afternoon’s CB Richard Ellis second-quarter luncheon at the firm’s MetLife building offices, the red meat, roasted asparagus and bowtie pasta were bountiful.

The good news was less so.

Howard Fiddle and David Maurer-Hollaender, both vice chairmen at CBRE, said that Manhattan leasing activity is down, but not by much. Year to date, 10.5 million square feet of commercial space have been leased in Manhattan (not including lease renewals). By this time last year, the number was 10.9 million.

On the other hand, space is not flooding the market in proportion to the number of layoffs the city has seen. While CBRE estimated 20,000 pink slips thus far this year, only 1.4 million square feet of new space has come on the market, or about 70 square feet per person. Typically, a firm leases about 200 square feet per employee.

"That’s a lot of jobs," said Mr. Maurer-Hollaender. "This is a very small amount of space."

In short, the two vice chairmen argued that the market is reaching a state of equilibrium, rather than the landlord-favored market of years past.

"We don’t think we’re in anything like a freefall, or that we’re going off a cliff," said Mr. Fiddle. Stats Show Layoffs Not Flooding Manhattan With Open Office Space