Real Estate According to New York Times Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Real Estate

According to New York Times reporter Leslie Eaton, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks "inflicted deep and lasting wounds on New York City's already-teetering economy; devastated both big companies and small businesses in and around twin towers; brought business across city to halt for days, weeks and in some cases months, slashing workers' earnings and tax revenues alike; made many employers determined to spread their workers over wider swath of geography, which has ominous implications for Manhattan."

As a result of Sept. 11, an enormous amount of space was added to the market and there was a short-term damaging effect on the U.S. economy. U.S. businesses suddenly became resistant to change or expansion and surviving World Trade Center businesses had no place to go.

The terrorist attacks took 13.5 million square feet of office space from the market indefinitely and temporarily removed an additional 12.1 million square feet. New York City's commercial real estate market was in a state of chaos for months as reality sunk in and displaced tenants scrambled to find new space. Still, despite the plethora of lost space, the market did not tighten. Instead, New York bounced back.

An estimated 10.1 million square feet was offered on the sublease market within three months of the attack, as companies who had too much space realized that they could easily attract tenants who had lost their space. By the fourth quarter of 2001, despite the huge hole in the market, vacancy rates in New York's downtown area shot up to nearly 14%, with net absorption rates in the red and rental rates showing significant decreases.

The Aftermath

Over a year after the attacks, according to NY Times reporter John Holusha, "the underlying fundamentals of the commercial real estate market in Manhattan are behaving in the mirror image of expected patterns."

The overall pace of activity still looks soft," the New York bank reported in the "beige book," which is the Federal Reserve's periodic assessment of economic conditions around the country. "Real estate markets continue to cool off, and there is downward pressure on goods and service prices." (Eaton)

One of the main reasons for the continued downturn in New York's commercial real estate market is the enormous cutbacks by leading financial companies. In addition to the shrinkage of the dot-com and telecommunications companies in size, financial companies are rapidly downsizing, as well.

As the workforces grow smaller and smaller, so does the need for office space. As a result, companies are placing massive amounts of sublease space on the market at discounted rates, contributing to the depression of rental rates in New York.

According to Holusha's article, brokerage Julien J. Studley reports that the average asking rent for prime buildings in Midtown has fallen to an average of $67.55 per square foot opposed to $75.48 per square foot before Sept. 11. In addition, landlords are competing for tenants; often lowering rents to as much as $60 per square foot.

Traditionally, high occupancy levels and low rental rates create a chain effect with property values in the area. These factors are the backbone of cash flows that underwrite the value of properties. Therefore, if occupancy is high and rents are low, sale prices will decline, as well.

However, Sept. 11's effect on the overall economy has made the commercial real estate market an unpredictable phenomenon. Investors pulled their money out of stocks and looked to new investment vehicles. Real estate offers a comparatively safe and stable option for investment, so investors have been buying New York buildings. This means that Manhattan real estate is selling at record prices.

Boston Properties, a real estate investment trust, recently paid $1.06 billion, or $630 a square foot, for an office building at 399 Park Avenue -- a decision that real estate experts say is example of the exceptional demand…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Eaton, Leslie. Attack Gave a Devastating Shove To the City's Teetering Economy. New York Times, September 8, 2002.

Eaton, Leslie. New York Economy Shows Slight Gains but Is Still Weak, Reports Say. New York Times, November 11, 2002.

Holusha, John, Office Vacancies Rise, As Do Building Prices. New York Times, September 15, 2002.

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