Bloomberg View Column: Want a New House? Good Luck

April 26, 2015 | 12:04 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Want a New House? Good Luck.

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Here’s an excerpt…

Much of the analysis of the housing market focuses on sales volume and price trends. These are important metrics, of course, but they really don’t tell you much about market fundamentals because they are, to a great extent, derivative…

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Bloomberg View Column: House Rich, Land Poor

April 26, 2015 | 11:41 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column House Rich, Land Poor.

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Here’s an excerpt…

The living space in newly built U.S. homes is on a tear: Since 1982, the size of a new single-family house has increased by almost 1,000 square feet — which was the size of the average U.S. house in 1950…

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The trend continued after a brief interruption during the early days of the financial crisis…


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Bloomberg View Column: The Bidding Wars Are Back

April 26, 2015 | 11:31 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column The Bidding Wars Are Back.

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Hard to believe this is happening again…

Here’s an excerpt…

A relic from the days of the housing boom is making a comeback. The share of sales that feature bidding wars is up. According to the National Association of Realtors, 33 percent of all sales were at or above the asking price, a strong indication that more than one bidder was involved in a transaction…

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Bloomberg View Column: Income Inequality Hits the Housing Market

March 15, 2015 | 6:27 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Income Inequality Hits the Housing Market.

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This article turned out to be my most-commented on piece so far. The topic of affordability generates a hotbed of conversation.

Here’s an excerpt…

There’s been plenty of talk recently about signs of recovery in the housing market. Rather than think about housing as a single market, it might be helpful to look at housing as many markets based on everything from geography to price to new versus existing…

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Wired’s Phallic Take on the High-Rise Boom

March 2, 2015 | 9:27 am |

When first moving to New York City in the mid-1980s I remember seeing this epic quote in New York Magazine:

“You know what this business is all about? Weenie-waving. Everyone does it. I do too.” -real estate developer Bruce Eichner

Fast forward to the latest copy of Wired Magazine with the theme “Sex in the Digital Age.” The real estate angle includes a mandatory SuperTall building graphic with the theme embedded subtitle.

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Bloomberg View Column: Real-Estate Agents Ride High Again

March 1, 2015 | 8:00 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Real-Estate Agents Ride High Again.

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It was disappointing to have so many Realtors go on the attack over this piece showing they missed the entire point – I was writing about the trend, not the dollars or the splits. Are commission incomes higher in say Manhattan than in rural Texas. Doh! The very idea that incomes are rising after years of low transaction volume plus the lack of resurgence in NAR membership since the financial crisis has made for a little less competition today. This seems like good news to me for the industry. But with the barrier to entry so low, the window will close sooner than later.

I even had a PR executive at NAR send me a critical email concerning my numerical calculations and results but made the mistake of exposing her significant lack of understanding about what data NAR actually publishes. To avoid embarrassing her I opted not to share the letter in this post.

Here’s an excerpt…

This is turning out to be a pretty nice time to be a residential real-estate agent. As the housing market recovers, average income has been rising faster than sales largely because there are fewer agents planting for-sale signs…

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[Three Cents Worth #278 NY] Murray Hill Has the Most Micro Units in All of Manhattan

February 26, 2015 | 8:00 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:

Uptown may have the smallest studios, but which Manhattan neighborhood can claim the most micro units? To find out, I looked at where apartments measuring 300 square feet or less are located and determined what they have in common—besides being small. We’ve appraised many micro apartments over the years, so I was admittedly a little confused at how micro apartments were some sort of new concept…



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My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Three Cents Worth: Murray Hill Has the Most Micro Units in All of Manhattan [Curbed]

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[Three Cents Worth #277 NY] Which Manhattan Neighborhood Has The Smallest Studios?

February 24, 2015 | 8:00 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:

Although I’m often a bit macro in this column, it’s Micro Week at Curbed. So I thought I would rank Manhattan neighborhoods by the average square footage of their studio apartments based on all the closed sales of 2014. The results are in: if you want a plethora of small apartments, look uptown. On both the East and West Sides above 96th Street, from Morningside Heights and the Upper East Side to Harlem and Inwood, the average studio clocks in at under 500 square feet. By contrast, downtown, in areas like Soho, Tribeca, Battery Park City, and the Financial District, studios are larger…



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My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Three Cents Worth: Which Manhattan Neighborhood Has The Smallest Studios? [Curbed]

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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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