NEW YORK CITY-Don’t expect the office leasing market to get back to normal in the immediate future. At a Real Estate Board of New York panel discussion Thursday evening, predictions on how long the downturn will last ranged from 2010 to 2015.

The forecast of a five-to-seven-year drought came from Cushman & Wakefield EVP Augustus B. Field IV, who based his prediction on both a historic precedent and the global nature of the current economic downturn. That precedent was the slump in leasing that set in after the October 1987 stock market crash, from which the New York market didn’t fully recover until 1995, Field said.

At the other end of the time spectrum, Glen J. Weiss, SVP at Vornado Realty Trust, predicted that “we’ll start getting back to life sometime in 2010,” while Studley EVP David Goldstein and Durst Organization SVP Thomas Bow both foresaw a downturn lasting two to three years. Goldstein observed that the price of oil is dropping and consumer credit has loosened somewhat, but added, “this will take time to work through.” Meanwhile, he said, the current economic picture is continuing to deterioriate.

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