There is no better way to start the holiday season than by reading the third annual Thanksgiving-based Stat of the Week. This year marks The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 30th annual survey for the price of a Thanksgiving Day dinner for 10 people. The inaugural survey in 1986 revealed that the cost of an average Thanksgiving dinner was $28.74, and when compared to the overall average asking rent in Manhattan that same year, real estate costs only edged the dinner by $1.23 at $29.97 per square foot.
Fast forward to 2015, and the cost of both dinner and average asking rents have gone up considerably. At $50.11, the cost of a Thanksgiving Day dinner is up 74.4 percent since 1986, while overall average asking rents are up 141.6 percent to $72.42 per square foot. At 44.5 percent, the spread between the two categories this year is not the highest in recorded history—in 2008, asking rents were 61.6 percent higher. Throughout the past 30 years, the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner edged out the cost of Manhattan real estate only five times, from 1993 to 1997.
Year-over-year changes differ greatly between dinner costs and asking rents. Since I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner at my house, thankfully the cost of the meal is only up 70 cents, or 1.4 percent. In comparison, Manhattan overall average asking rents had a more significant increase, up $3.97 per square foot, or 5.8 percent. During the recent expansion cycle, asking rental increases are up from $55.65 per square foot in 2010, a 30.1 percent jump, while the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner rose from $43.47, a 15.3 percent increase. However, from 2011 through 2015, the cost for a Thanksgiving dinner remained flat and ranged from $49.04 to $50.11. Meanwhile, asking rents increased every year and ranged from $57.75 to $72.42 per square foot.
And, although it cannot be measured, I am more thankful this year than ever before for my family, health and happiness. I wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving and a great kickoff to the holiday season.