From the Federal Reserve:
Construction and Real Estate
Commercial real estate markets in the District were steady to somewhat softer since the last report. Manhattan’s office vacancy rate rose moderately in July and August, while asking rents continued to decline–rents on Class A properties are down roughly 20 percent from a year earlier, and that does not include increased concessions by landlords. Elsewhere in the District, however, office markets have generally been stable: vacancy rates rose modestly in Long Island, northern New Jersey and metropolitan Syracuse but edged down in Westchester and Fairfield Counties and in the Rochester area; vacancy rates held steady in the Albany and Buffalo areas. Asking rents on Class A properties are down modestly over the past year across most of the District. Industrial markets have been mixed but mostly steady.
The housing market has shown scattered signs of a pickup in parts of the District, though conditions have continued to weaken in New York City. A New Jersey contact notes signs of a mild pickup at the lower end of the resale market–helped by the homebuyer tax credit–but maintains that sales and starts of new homes remain flat at low levels. Prices are said to have firmed slightly in New Jersey’s resale market, though they remain substantially lower than a year ago. Similarly, Realtors across New York State report that prices rose in July but are running well below comparable 2008 levels.
In contrast, New York City’s multi-family market has continued to weaken. Manhattan co-op and condo prices have reportedly continued to fall in the current quarter. However, transactions activity, which had been exceptionally sluggish in the second quarter, has reportedly picked up in the current quarter, except at the high end of the market, where activity has evidently been constrained by tight credit. Prices of newly-constructed condominiums, which are mostly at the high end of the market, have been discounted steeply, reflecting a large inventory. The apartment rental market has also continued to deteriorate, especially at the high end: overall, asking rents are reported to be down 6 to 10 percent from a year earlier in August; moreover, landlords are typically waiving commissions and offering concessions, such as 1-2 months free rent.