NYC's Fifth Avenue Stays World's Priciest Place for Retail Space

Pedestrians walk past a Louis Vuitton store on Fifth Avenue in New York, on Sept. 21, 2015.

Pedestrians walk past a Louis Vuitton store on Fifth Avenue in New York, on Sept. 21, 2015.

Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg
  • Manhattan street is almost 50% costlier than Causeway Bay
  • Rents climb in gateway cities across the U.S., Cushman says

Manhattan’s upper Fifth Avenue was the most expensive place to lease retail space for the second year in a row, with rents almost 50 percent higher than in the No. 2 shopping district, Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay. 

Rents on Fifth Avenue between 49th and 60th streets rose 3.6 percent from a year earlier to $3,500 a square foot as of midyear, brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc. said in its “Main Streets Across the World” report, released Wednesday. That compares with $2,399 a square foot in China’s most exclusive shopping district.

Manhattan is keeping its crown as the most expensive shopping district as strong tourism helps retail tenants attract customers, according to the report. Rents in other gateway U.S. cities are also climbing. In San Francisco, the vacancy rate at Union Square fell to a record 1.1 percent as rents surged 13 percent, following a 21 percent gain last year, Cushman said.

Among shopping districts tracked by Cushman, “rents have risen in 35 percent of streets around the world, despite the increased global uncertainty experienced over the last 12 months,” the brokerage said in its report. “Going forward, improving employment prospects, rising real wages and healthier consumer confidence in advanced economies are set to offer positive momentum for the retail sector.”

This year’s top five districts for retail rents include Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, at No. 3, followed by London’s New Bond Street and Milan’s Via Montenapoleone, according to the Cushman report.

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