Good and Bad Super-Luxury Condo Buyers Love the LLC

February 9, 2015 | 9:46 am | nytlogo | Favorites |

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One of the great ironies of modern residential real estate has been the expansion in transparency of information, along with greater secrecy of ownership. I think the latter coincides with the much greater wealth that is being put into hard assets like real estate. Privacy and security are indeed very important to many, including the wealthy and especially those near the top of the financial pyramid. There is nothing sinister or unseemly about the desire for privacy. The use of limited liability corporations (LLCs) has been a legal vehicle (and a gift) from lawmakers who created it that allows people to keep certain transactions hidden from view. However the LLC also provides an opportunity for bad actors to shelter their often ill-gotten assets too.

Louise Story and Stephanie Saul of The New York Times have explored this in “Towers of Secrecy: Stream of Foreign Wealth Flows to Elite New York Real Estate,” an epic data visualization along the lines of “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” This article is a must read covering the hypersensitive subject of high end real estate and privacy.

The ongoing debate about the dying middle class versus the booming fortunes of the wealthy, the lack of affordable housing versus the super-luxury residential tower boom and municipal governments grappling to keep construction and development moving forward to keep tax revenue flows coming in, have made this effort long overdue.

Towers of Secrecy” is careful not to stereotype users of LLCs in high end real estate transactions as exclusively foreign buyers. Within the Manhattan market, foreign buyers are not the majority of overall high-end real estate purchasers. However they tend to be concentrated around the Midtown central business district (aka ‘Billionaires’ Row’) whereas domestic purchasers tend to favor markets found to the north and south of Midtown.

UPDATE There’s a great recap over on Curbed NY too:
Scandal-Plagued Foreigners Park Millions in Midtown Condos

Here are a few screenshots of the embedded videos within the “Towers of Secrecy” piece.

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Brick Underground: Timeline For Selling A NYC Apartment

February 9, 2015 | 8:44 am | bulogo |

Leigh Kamping-Carder over at Brick Underground put together a pretty cool infographic that covers the sales process of a NYC apartment.

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Bloomberg View Column: Housing Market Blows Hot and Cold

February 8, 2015 | 5:32 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Housing Market Blows Hot and Cold.

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Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

The northern third of the U.S. is locked in a straitjacket of snow, ice and bleak weather better suited to staying at home than going out and hunting for a new one. I can almost hear it now: Remember how awful last year’s polar vortex was for the fledgling housing-market recovery?…

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NYC Economy is Expanding Rapidly

January 30, 2015 | 11:05 am | fedny |

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According the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the NYC economy is crushing it, growing far faster than the states of New York and New Jersey.

They are using an Index of Coincident Economic Indicators:

A coincident index is a single summary statistic that tracks the current state of the economy. The index is computed from a number of data series that move systematically with overall economic conditions.

Getting excited about the “Top Appraiser” making $25K last year!

January 28, 2015 | 10:25 pm |

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I’ve received a couple of these appraisal spam messages recently and I was struck by the audacity of the messaging.   Of course this firm could be inferring through the use of poor grammar that this is a good way to get additional work for your appraisal practice.

Still, the “top appraiser” made $25K last year!

In the email marketing piece and the web site  there is no mention of competence, experience or quality.  The messaging is all about how this firm automates the sign-up process with all the AMC’s that the lucky appraiser gets to work with as well as providing plenty of inspirational discussion about fees, turn times and how quickly the appraiser gets the check.

Still, the “top appraiser” made $25K last year!  Yay!

Good grief.

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Flipping Out About East Brooklyn’s Gentrification

January 28, 2015 | 9:59 pm | nymaglogo | Charts |

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This infographic was part of an epic must-read Andrew Rice piece for New York Magazine called: The Red Hot Rubble of East New York which explores the gentrification frontier where investors and New York City’s efforts to create affordable housing are running headlong into each other.

As much as 10% of the property sales are flips and prices are up 150% over the past 2 years.

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Tallest Chart in the History of Manhattan Real Estate, Continued

January 22, 2015 | 1:32 pm | curbed | Charts |

With the closing and recording of the record $100.47 million penthouse sale at One57, I thought it was time to dust-off the tall chart I created in 2012 when the prior record price of $88M at 15 Central Park West was set.

This week I ended up writing a piece about tall towers in my Bloomberg View column called Living the High Life, another one on Curbed NY for my Three Cents Worth called Proving New York’s Blockbuster $100M Sale Is An Outlier which provided some needed context for the new record sale in the following scattergraph. Note the $100.47M record sale in the upper right hand corner and then scroll down…a lot.

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[Three Cents Worth #276 NY] Proving New York’s Blockbuster $100M Sale Is An Outlier

January 22, 2015 | 1:08 pm | curbed | Charts |

It’s time to share my Three Cents Worth (3CW) on Curbed NY, at the intersection of neighborhood and real estate in the capital of the world…and I’m here to take measurements.

Check out my 3CW column on @CurbedNY:

Finally, after nearly two years of referring to the $88 million sale at 15 Central Park West as the “highest Manhattan residential sale on record,” we get a change of scenery. A new record was set with the $100.47 million sale of the penthouse at One57 recorded late last week. Timing is everything, although, in this case timing really wasn’t. I believe this sale went to contract in 2012, which would be shortly after the $88 million sale went to contract in December 2011 and closed in early 2012. While these super luxury sales are more of a circus sideshow and have little, if anything, to do with the vast majority of the Manhattan housing market, I find them surreal to consider…



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My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Three Cents Worth: Proving New York’s Blockbuster $100M Sale Is An Outlier [Curbed]

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Top 100 Cities Worldwide: Most New Residential Buildings

January 22, 2015 | 12:00 pm |

Here’s a companion table to my Bloomberg View column published today: Living the High Life. The volume of tall buildings recently completed or under development is staggering. Within the list are generally mixed use but have some element of residential included (i.e. rentals or condos) The data was tabulated in stunning detail at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat’s. Skyscraper Center.

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Bloomberg View Column: Living the High Life

January 22, 2015 | 11:24 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Living the High Life.

Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

Never have so many residential buildings had such lofty aspirations. Based on the number of stories in buildings worldwide that are more than 650 feet (200 meters) high, we’re in the midst of an edifice eruption. An even bigger surge is forecast for next year. The interest in what might be called pinnaclenomics has been driven by capital seeking higher returns in hard assets like luxury real estate in the world’s financial centers — especially in developing nations….

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Some other related content on the tall building phenomenon:


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