Commercial leasing activity in Manhattan is gaining steam—particularly in midtown—as many firms demonstrate a willingness to lease more space, according to separate reports released by Studley and CB Richard Ellis.

Although the reports cover slightly different time frames—Studley's office market report covers leasing activity in the second quarter, while CBRE's covers the months of June and July—their conclusions coincide: Due to rising confidence with the market and low asking rents, available office space in the city is dropping.

According to Studley, leasing activity has come in above the historical average for four consecutive quarters—after the previous four quarters' worth of underperformance. For the second quarter of 2010, the city saw 9.6 million square feet of space leased, well above the historical average of 7.6 million square feet per quarter. Midtown saw the most of that activity—8.3 million square feet.

"It makes sense that midtown mirrors Manhattan as a whole, since midtown has the bulk of the space," said Steve Coutts, head of research at Studley. "Downtown is languishing a bit. It's up, but not above the historical average." ...