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Manhattan office leasing activity declined in August after improving in July. Research from Newmark Knight Frank shows that the office leasing activity during the coronavirus pandemic is down nearly 70% with 8.9 million square feet in transactions, a total of 621 deals. In July, activity began to rebound—showing potential promise for the market—with 2.9 million square feet of deals. However, activity fell again in August with only 1.4 million square feet of leasing deals during the month.

As office leasing activity declines, new trends have also emerged during the pandemic. Relocations have slowed compared to a year ago. Of the lease transactions greater than 10,000 square feet, 63.9% were relocation deals, down from 72.2% the same time last year. Most tenants are putting leasing activity on hold, and at least 36 major tenants in the market have announced plans to hold off on office leases until there is more certainty in the market. In addition, tenants are beginning to favor short-term leases. Nearly half—48.5%—of leases were signed for five years of less. By comparison, 28.1% of deals in the first quarter of the year were for five years or less.

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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