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New York Brokers' Confidence Doubles With Vaccine Rollout, Recovery

REBNY's 120th annual banquet in Manhattan in 2016.

New York City brokers are feeling far more optimistic about the real estate market after a year that shook their confidence to its lowest point on record

Last quarter, the Real Estate Board of New York’s commercial broker’s overall confidence index saw an uptick for the second quarter in a row to 5.65 out of 10, a 96% increase from Q4 of last year, according to the lobbying group

“This surge in broker confidence is happening alongside encouraging signs in our City, the overall economy, and particularly the real estate market where commercial and residential market activity are exhibiting clear signs of momentum,” REBNY President James Whelan said in a statement. “It is critical to seize this moment so that New York comes back stronger than ever.”

Commercial brokers’ six-month outlook on the market is even more optimistic —  with the future confidence index hitting 7.27 out of 10, per the report. This figure is higher than it was at the end of 2019, when it reached 7 out of 10.

Last year, commercial brokers’ confidence was below 3 for the last three quarters of the year, hitting its lowest point ever in Q2 at 1.94 out of 10. 

Brokers said tenants are more keen on signing leases than they have been, restaurants are seeing more activity and people are returning to the office. 

“The combination of increased vaccination rates causing higher consumer confidence, better weather and increased employment are boosting the commercial real estate market,” one broker responded, according to the report. 

Last quarter, availability increased 50% year-over-year even as leasing volume increased. Investment sales volume fell in the first quarter, too, after making a bit of a recovery at the end of last year. 

This trend continued last month — leasing activity increased 8% year-over-year to 1.53M SF while availability reached a new record-high of 17%, according to Colliers.