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Study: Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue is most expensive retail street in the world

fifth avenue
The most expensive retail street rent-wise in the world is in Manhattan.

A new report ranks the top retail districts across 92 cities around the world and ranks the most expensive by prime rental value.

With an average rent of $2,000 per square foot, Upper Fifth Avenue (49th St. to 60th Streets) in Manhattan took the top spot as the most expensive retail corridor in the world, according to real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield’s annual “Main Streets Across the World” report.

Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong came in second, at $1,436.00 per sq. ft., followed by the Via Montenapoleone in Milan, at $1,380. Rounding out the top five most expensive retail streets were London’s New Bond Street, at $1,361, and Avenues des Champs Elysees in Paris, at $1,050. (Via Montenapoleone and New Bond Street also ranked as the most expensive shopping streets in Europe, respectively.)

Americas Ranking

Looking at the rankings by region, the U.S. took nine of the top spots in the Americas.

1. New York City, Upper 5th Ave.: $2,000 per square foot

2. Los Angeles, Rodeo Drive: $900

3. San Francisco, Union Square: $495

4. Las Vegas, Las Vegas Blvd.: $423

5. Chicago, North Michigan Avenue: $425

6. Boston, Newbury Street: $400

7. Toronto, Bloor Street: $250

8. Miami, Lincoln Road: $225

9. Palm Beach, Fla., Worth Avenue: $200

10. Austin, Texas, South Congress (SoCo): $200

This is the first publication of the Cushman & Wakefield report, which was launched in 1988, in three years.

“The pause seemed appropriate considering the global pandemic and its fallout—the economic uncertainty, community lockdowns, restricted travel, supply chain constraints and a host of other issues impacting retail real estate,” the report stated.  

Despite the challenges the industry has faced, Cushman & Wakefield was upbeat about the future of brick-and-mortar retail.

“We can confidently say the industry has just been through one of the biggest stress tests imaginable and retail real estate has come out of the other side not only having survived but emerged as strong as ever in certain segments,” the report stated.

Additional findings from the report are below.

• Rents across global prime retail destinations declined by 13% on average during the depth of the pandemic but have rebounded to just 6% below pre-pandemic levels.  The Americas, thanks largely to the U.S., was the most resilient region — on average rents now sit at a 15% premium to pre-pandemic levels.

• Global rental growth during the past year averaged 2%, but varied tremendously.  Houston’s River Oaks district sits at one of the spectrum, up 90%. At the other end of the spectrum is the Luohu district of Shenzhen in China, down 30%.

• Asia Pacific was the most impacted region during the pandemic period with rents falling on average by 17%, impacted by international border closures, which curbed tourism in prime locations.

In the Americas, the U.S. has seen total retail sales up 33% from pre-COVID-19 levels as of mid-2022, thanks in part to an infusion of cash stimulus support to households, the largest of any country in the region. Canadian retail sales are up a more modest 7% from pre-pandemic levels. By contrast, Mexico is still experiencing sales levels below 2019.

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