Leasing Activity and Capital Markets Conditions Likely to Linger

Near- and Long-Term Outlook for New York Office Sector Is Bearish, Poll Finds

A poll conducted during a recent CoStar New York office webinar found widespread bearishness for the city’s office sector in both the near and long term.

The poll, which topped 700 CoStar users, asked registrants about their predictions regarding the capital markets space in the near term and their long-term outlook for leasing activity.

Users were asked whether they believed leasing activity would return to levels witnessed prior to the onset of the pandemic, considering the decline in leasing activity already witnessed during 2023.

While 26% of respondents said they believed the return of leasing activity levels would take place within the next five years, only 7% said they believed this would occur within the next year or two. Two out of every three respondents, however, said they felt leasing activity will never again return to pre-pandemic levels.

Users were then asked to put themselves into the shoes of an existing office owner. Considering the sharp decline in office investment activity this year due to the increase in borrowing costs, continued underperformance of the office sector overall and growing amount of distress, users were asked about their investment strategy over the next 12 months.

Fifty-four percent of users said they would choose to reduce their office exposure, while just 7% said they would choose to increase their office exposure. Nearly 40% said they would continue to wait out conditions in what is likely hope that price discovery will occur sometime over the next year.

A separate poll conducted during the same webinar found that CoStar users have a good read of the office sector. About 76% of respondents stated they did not expect their level of office attendance to change after Labor Day. A recent observation made by Kastle Systems found that the 10-city average occupancy in office buildings in the week after Labor Day, at 47%, experienced no change compared with the prior week.


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