Although increasing rents never seem like a good thing to New Yorkers, the recent Cushman & Wakefield analysis showing the hikes in retail space rents, coupled with stable or decreasing vacancy rates indicates that things are getting better.
Four of the seven neighborhoods examined experienced a decrease in vacancy rates as they fill up with businesses getting back on their feet, including Soho, Upper East (Third between 58th & 79th), Upper West and Madison Avenue.
Related to the rate of empty space is the rental rate per square foot -- when space starts to open up, rent typically decreases. However, the Upper West Side and Madison Avenue bucked this norm, still getting numbers back on track after a number of closings. Although retailers are now moving into the open space, the rent numbers are taking longer to catch up, as both neighborhoods saw decreases in rent last year.
On the other hand, Soho, Upper East and Times Square -- whose vacancy rate remained constant, in a no-news-is-good-news kind of way -- saw rents jump with the increase in demand. Essentially, it seems the retail market is climbing back, slowly but surely.