New York’s Upper 5th Avenue Remains World’s Most Expensive Retail Street

Upper 5th Avenue in New York remains the world’s most expensive retail street–followed by Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay–reported Cushman & Wakefield, New York.

Annual rents average $3,000 per square foot per year for Upper 5th Avenue retail space; rents in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay average U.S. $2,725 per square foot per year, Cushman & Wakefield’s Main Streets Across the World report said. The report examined the top 450 retail streets around the globe.

Despite numerous negative headlines about the retail sector, high-end retail remains vibrant, Cushman & Wakefield Head of Europe-Middle East-Africa Retail Research Darren Yates said. “Premium retail destinations including New York’s Upper Fifth Avenue, Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay and London’s New Bond Street are highly sought after by international brands seeking to create engaging retail experiences that offer something new and exciting.”

Yates noted the most innovative retailers combine their online and physical platforms to create a “seamless” experience for the customer, “but profile and location play such a crucial role in the premium retail experience,” he said.

No other U.S. retail rows made it into the top 50 list, but Toronto’s Bloor Street ranked 25th worldwide with rents exceeding U.S. $2,100, Cushman said.

“In some markets, the decoupling between macroeconomic trends and the retail property market has become increasingly apparent, with the latter being driven mainly by structural change on the back of the growth in online retailing,” the report said. “Indeed, how can the U.S. economy be growing at circa 3 percent per annum while retailers are closing stores at the fastest rate on record?”

Cushman said rents for prime retail locations have “held up well.” It noted global retail rents grew 0.5 percent over the year to June and said nearly one-third of the world’s top 450 retail streets recorded growth while only 90 experienced falling rents.

London’s New Bond Street jumped into third place globally this year because rents increased by more than a third (in local currency) over the previous year to U.S. $1,720 per square foot per year. “The increase relative to other global destinations underlines the strength of London’s premium retail offer and strong demand for prime retail space in [London’s] West End,” the report said.

Retail rents rose 12.5 percent year-over-year to $1,433 per square foot per year on Milan, Italy’s Via Montenapoleone, which ranked fourth, the report said. The Avenue des Champs Élysées in Paris fell to fifth place with rents exceeding $1,400 per square foot per year.