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Archive for May, 2010

[Eye on Real Estate] WOR NewsTalk Radio 710 May 29, 2010

May 31, 2010 | 9:21 pm | nytlogo | Public |

For each week’s Eye on Real Estate Show on WOR NewsTalk Radio 710, we include a segment called “The BlogCast” where I discuss several housing related (sometimes a stretch) posts from some of my favorite blogs. They cover topics that are current, funny or simply a “must read”.

Last Saturday’s BlogCast covered the following blog posts:

[Gothamist] Where’s The City’s Worst Cell Service? The best cell phone service can be found in the Lincoln Tunnel, which sees the fewest dropped calls. The worst spots include the Cross Bronx Expressway, along the river on the West Side Highway, Long Island City and Sunnyside in Queens, as well as part of the Upper East Side between 87th and 94th streets…

[Brick Underground] Hold that hotdog! 4 ways to rat-proof your patio before the other guests arrive A friend of ours lucky enough to live in a Chelsea apartment with a rear patio noticed she had company this spring: A gypsy contingent of rats was using her rear wall as a superhighway to the restaurant next door, occasionally detouring to her place for a refueling stop… This topic was timely given the weekend’s NYT/Real estate article on outdoor space.

[Credit Slips] How to Find the Owner of Your Mortgage Concerns continue about parties filing foreclosures when they do not own the note. Florida recently enacted a rules requiring plaintiffs in foreclosure to verify ownership of the note…


If you missed this past Saturday’s show or any prior show, you can listen to the podcast at any time or subscribe to it for free via iTunes to always get the latest show delivered automatically to your computer or handheld device. My Blogcast is usually in the first hour of the show.

Listen to the most recent Eye on Real Estate podcast.

Subscribe to the free weekly Eye on Real Estate podcast.

Become a fan on Facebook.

Or visit the Eye on Real Estate Website.


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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Dottie Herman, President and CEO, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

May 31, 2010 | 8:49 pm | delogo | Podcasts |

I sat down with Dottie Herman, President and CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate to talk about her journey from certified financial planner to one of the most successful real estate brokers in the United States.  Dottie leads an organization of 3,800 real estate professionals and 675 employees in more than 60 offices.  Its a candid and insightful conversation, and of course, fun and energetic.

We spoke right after our live weekly radio show “Eye on Real Estate” on WOR710 that Dottie hosts on Saturdays from 10am to noon along with her team of experts (including moi).

Check out the podcast.

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.


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[Interview] Dottie Herman, President and CEO, Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate

May 31, 2010 | 8:40 pm | delogo | Podcasts |

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[NYT] Developers Need Blind Optimism

May 26, 2010 | 10:28 am | nytlogo |

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I don’t think I am cut out to be a developer.

While I get the hard work and analysis part, I’m missing the blind optimism part.

And no, I’m not blindly pessimistic either – during the boom years blog commenters periodically accused me of being a shill for the real estate industrial complex (I liked the phrase so much I bought the domain).

Blind optimism is what makes developers successful because everyone tells them they can’t do it. But it is also their downfall because builders build until they can’t build anymore.

Today’s New York Times article by Charles Bagli “Building a Tower of Luxury Apartments in Midtown as Brokers Cross Their Fingers” which announces Barnett’s 1,005 foot condo with a hotel at the base. The site is due south of the Essex House between West 57th Street, a retail corridor and West 58th Street, a service road for Central Park South (West 59th). I’ve got a “let’s consider reality” quote and graphic in the piece.

The project is the first major construction start in New York since the fall of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, and it is an ambitious, even risky undertaking. Unemployment still hovers at 10 percent in the city, which has only just begun to gain back some of the 150,000 jobs lost during the recession. Not so long ago, the real estate industry was right behind Wall Street and the nation’s automakers in crying for a federal bailout.

Access to financing determines when and how something gets built – in this case it was Abu Dhabi since US banks are not interested new luxury condo development given the excess inventory that needs to be absorbed first.

Barnett said “We think it’ll be the nicest project ever built in New York.” Given the proximity and the success of nearby 15 Central Park West – my vote for the best Manhattan condo ever built, I’m guessing that’s the comparison being made. Although recent sales there have topped $6,000 per square foot, the building fronts Central Park and straddles Midtown and the Upper West Side, I’m not so sure its a reasonable comparison to make but I do wish them well.

Remember I’m not cut out to be a developer.

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[NAR] Existing Home Sales Jump Artificially

May 25, 2010 | 11:23 pm |


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Last month NAR told us that this month would see another period of robust sales activity as buyers sought to beat the expiration of the first time buyers and existing hoimewoners tax credit on April 30th.

NAR was right about the jump in existing home sales this month.

Still, no real trend is apparent here.

The federal government provided a stimulus to buy homes to help jump start housing and the economy. Pure market forces didn’t deliver the buyers to the closing table this month on their own. What I love about sales stats over housing price stats is sales trends tend to lead price trends. So its a bit weird to say that prices are stabilizing when a key driver of demand was the tax credit – that fueled surge in sales which helped stabilize prices. Remove the stimulus and prices fall.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the gain was widely anticipated. “The upswing in April existing-home sales was expected because of the tax credit inducement, and no doubt there will be some temporary fallback in the months immediately after it expires, but other factors also are supporting the market,” he said. “For people who were on the sidelines, there’s been a return of buyer confidence with stabilizing home prices, an improving economy and mortgage interest rates that remain historically low.”

When sales drop over the next few months, it would be reasonable to expect sales prices to fall too as the artificial stimulus leaves the economy.

Here are this month’s metrics:

  • existing-home sales increased 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million units in April from an upwardly revised 5.36 million in March
  • existing-home sales are 22.8 percent higher than the 4.70 million-unit pace in April 2009.
  • housing inventory rose 11.5 percent to 4.04 million existing homes available for sale, an 8.4-month supply up from an 8.1-month supply in March.
  • inventory is 2.7 percent above a year ago, but remains 11.6 percent below the record of 4.58 million in July 2008.
  • national median existing-home price was $173,100 in April, up 4.0 percent from April 2009.
  • distressed homes accounted for 33 percent of sales last month, compared with 35 percent in March.


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[Eye on Real Estate] WOR NewsTalk Radio 710 May 22, 2010

May 24, 2010 | 10:03 pm | trulialogo | Public |

For each week’s Eye on Real Estate Show on WOR NewsTalk Radio 710, we include a segment called “Jonathan Miller’s BlogCast” where I discuss several housing related posts from some of my favorite blogs. They cover topics that are current, funny or simply a “must read”.

Last Saturday’s BlogCast covered the following blog posts:

[The Curious Capitalist] The hidden changes in financial reform The Senate passed its financial reform bill. Huzzah! What did the Senate wind up with after three weeks of such intense lobbying and debate?…

[Trulia Blog] Trulia RealtyTrac Survey: American Attitudes Towards Foreclosure Today, Trulia.com and RealtyTrac released the latest results of an ongoing survey tracking home buyers’ attitudes towards foreclosures. The new online survey conducted on their behalf from May 10-12, 2010 by Harris Interactive® showed a notable decrease in consumers’ willingness to buy foreclosed properties compared to one year ago…

[WSJ/Developments Blog] U.S. Mortgage Delinquencies Appear to Level Off The number of American households behind on mortgage payments appears to be leveling off at a high level, a survey showed Wednesday… I also discussed the MBA confusion over the results in a great New York Times article.


If you missed this past Saturday’s show or any prior show, you can listen to the podcast at any time or subscribe to it for free via iTunes to always get the latest show delivered automatically to your computer or handheld device. My Blogcast is usually in the first hour of the show.

Listen to the most recent Eye on Real Estate podcast.

Subscribe to the free weekly Eye on Real Estate podcast.

Become a fan on Facebook.

Or visit the Eye on Real Estate Website.


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[Three Cents Worth #149] Co-ops and Condos Can Share

May 21, 2010 | 2:31 pm | curbed | Charts |

It’s time to share my Three Cents Worth on Curbed, at the intersection of neighborhood and real estate.

Three Cents Worth: Co-ops and Condos Can Share

It’s Friday and admittedly this chart is long on color and short on numbers, but it’s sunny and 77 degrees outside so whatever. This week I matched up number of sales and listings by market share post 9/11. (I’m not including new development condo shadow inventory in the analysis because its a recent phenomenon, although it will be a significant factor going forward).

It’s no secret that co-op market share held sway over condo sales for as far back as anyone can remember, and the recent mid-decade housing boom brought parity to co-op/condo sales and listings, allowing condos to cross the 50% threshold versus co-ops circa 2005-2006.


[Click to expand and read full post on Curbed]

Check out previous Three Cents Worth posts.


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[Trulia/RealtyTrac Survey] Attitudes Get Hammered

May 20, 2010 | 11:02 pm | trulialogo |

Today I Iistened in to an informative conference call hosted by Trulia’s co-founder and CEO Pete Flint and RealtyTrac‘s Rick Sharga. As always great stuff, and I got to act like a reporter and ask a question – lots of reporters were on the line. More on my question in a later post.

Pete commented that as we go into a housing market of declining government support, foreclosures will continue to become an integral part of the housing market – loan mod programs were not making an impact on foreclosure volume. Rick suggested the “short sale” phenomenon was over hyped because it will not solve the significant foreclosure problem. Foreclosures will peak in 2011 and then return to normal levels by 2013. 5.5M properties in serious delinquncy, 100k new foreclosures per month with a 55 month supply.

Interesting survey results (press release or on Trulia Blog)

  • 59 Percent of homewoners with a mortgage would not consider walking away from their home no matter how much their home is “underwater”.
  • 1 Percent of Homeowners With A Mortgage Say Walking Away Is Their First Choice If Unable To Pay; 69 Percent Say Modifying Their Loan is Their First Choice
  • While the stigma around owning a foreclosure has subsided, interest in purchasing a foreclosure is significantly down year-over-year
  • For every borrower who avoided foreclosure through HAMP last year, another 10 families lost their homes. It now seems clear that government programs will not reach the overwhelming majority of homeowners in trouble
  • 18 percent of U.S. adults expect bank-owned homes to offer a realistic price discount of less than 25 percent off the value of a similar home that was not in foreclosure
  • 36 percent saying that they expect to receive a discount of 50 percent or more when purchasing a bank-owned property
  • 78 percent of U.S. adults believing there are downsides to buying foreclosed properties compared to 85 percent in May 2009
  • The majority of U.S. adults (92 percent) said they would be willing to invest in improvements such as renovations and remodeling if they purchased a foreclosed home
  • Renters are showing strong interest in buying foreclosed properties, with 57 percent at least somewhat likely to purchase a foreclosed home in the future



[The Housing Helix Podcast] Chris Meyers, COO, Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate

May 20, 2010 | 10:52 pm | Podcasts |

I have a candid conversation with Chris Meyers, COO of Houlihan Lawrence, the largest real estate brokerage firm in Westchester County, New York. A family business, Houlihan Lawrence has 1,200 agents and 24 offices to service Westchester, Putnam and Duchess Counties.

We talk about many things including the housing market of the past 18 months, finding good agents and the introduction of social media to the real estate brokerage business.

Check out the podcast.

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.



[Interview] Chris Meyers, COO, Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate

May 20, 2010 | 10:16 pm | Podcasts |

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