Notwithstanding a slowdown in job growth and negative absorption, Manhattan’s office rents crept upward to all-time highs during Q1 2008, according to CB Richard Ellis’ April Manhattan MarketView Snapshot. However, leasing activity in the quarter was actually up by nearly one million sf compared to Q1 2007.

Midtown asking rents reached an average of $85.61 per sf, up from $84.27 in February and $72.25 a year earlier. Midtown South asking rents rose slightly to $53.15 per sf, up from $52.94 in February and $41.43 a year ago, while growth in Downtown asking rents was essentially flat, rising to $49 per sf in March versus $48.91 in February and $42.76 per sf in March ’07. Overall Manhattan asking rents stand at $70.72 per sf, up slightly from $69.56 per sf in February and $58.88 per sf in March ’07.

“I think you’re seeing that prices are not going up at the same rate as in the past 18 months,” Robert P. Stella, EVP and principal at CresaPartners, tells Real Estate New York. “The increases were very slight if at all from quarter to quarter. So that’s probably a sign that we’re seeing rates flatten and they will probably pull back sometime this year

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