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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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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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[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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Bloomberg View Column: Hedge-Fund Guys Have Foreclosure Fatigue

November 7, 2014 | 4:28 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Hedge-Fund Guys Have Foreclosure Fatigue. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

One of the most important ways to strengthen the U.S. housing recovery is to get distressed properties into financially stronger hands. Shortly after the financial crisis began, institutional investors started snapping up foreclosed homes. These buyers, according to RealtyTrac, are entities that buy more than 10 properties in a calendar year. Blackstone Group has been among the most active, acquiring more than $20 billion of foreclosed properties, then making necessary repairs and renting them out…

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Bloomberg View Column: Buying Condos Based on a Drawing

October 30, 2014 | 4:22 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Buying Condos Based on a Drawing. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

Almost half of all contracts for Manhattan properties costing $4 million or more are being signed based on floor plans — an architectural drawing of an apartment that hasn’t been built yet…

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Bloomberg View Column: Credit Crunch Lives on in Housing

October 22, 2014 | 5:05 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Credit Crunch Lives on in Housing. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

Don’t be fooled by low mortgages rates, which once again are below 4 percent: Credit for buying a home or refinancing an existing mortgage has almost never been tougher to get.

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Bloomberg View Column: Rent Control’s Winners and Losers

October 21, 2014 | 3:31 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Rent Control’s Winners and Losers. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

Any renter in New York City has probably has felt the pain of coming up with the monthly payment. There are plenty of reasons for the city’s steep rents…

..So what would happen if rent control and its cousin, rent stabilization, disappeared overnight?

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Bloomberg View Column: Only Brooklyn Is Over the City’s Housing Bust

October 13, 2014 | 2:32 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Only Brooklyn Is Over the City’s Housing Bust. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

Housing prices in four of New York’s five boroughs still haven’t reached their pre-crash highs. The outlier? Brooklyn.

Housing prices in Brooklyn now are more than 8 percent above the peak reached in 2007. The other four boroughs, meanwhile, are all more than 10 percent below their highs, with the Bronx still down by almost a quarter….

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Bloomberg View Column: When $7 Million Is Average for Manhattan

October 3, 2014 | 12:05 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column When $7 Million Is Average for Manhattan. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

It’s pretty much universal knowledge that Manhattan real estate is expensive. What isn’t so well known is what’s happening at the top of the market: Price increases have been crazy.

Ever since the financial crisis, housing prices for the most-expensive 10 percent of the Manhattan market have increased more than 15 percent. Compare that with the modest 2.5 percent gain for the remaining 90 percent of the market….

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Bloomberg View Column: Giant Condo Tower Needs More Billionaires

September 29, 2014 | 2:26 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Giant Condo Tower Needs More Billionaires. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

In post-crash Manhattan’s high-end real estate, few projects loom larger or more visibly than the 1,004-foot-high One57, the tallest residential-hotel building in New York. This is a rarefied market, with two penthouse units selling for more than $90 million each, including one to hedge-fund baron Bill Ackman.

Amid all the hyperventilating about the tower, including complaints that it’s out of scale with the neighborhood, it’s poorly reviewed design and that it casts an afternoon shadow on Central Park in the winter, the little known fact is that the 92-unit building seems to be less of a hit with buyers than one might glean from the PR machine….

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Bloomberg View Column: Housing’s New Wealth Effect

September 27, 2014 | 1:00 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Housing’s New Wealth Effect. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

It was a busy week for housing market reports. The U.S. Census published its new home-sales results for August, showing an 18 percent gain from the prior month and a 33 percent increase from August 2013. News headlines relied on words such as “surged” and “soared” to describe the results.

Only a few days earlier, the National Association of Realtors released its existing home-sales report for August, which showed month-over-month sales falling for the first time in four months. The inventory of unsold properties was 4.5 percent higher than a year earlier. I recently addressed the market slowdown in “Understanding Housing’s Dog Days.”

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Bloomberg View Column: Guess What’s Holding Back Housing

September 27, 2014 | 12:54 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Guess What’s Holding Back Housing. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

During the U.S. housing boom, real-estate appraisers acted like deal-enablers rather than valuation experts. Indeed, inflated appraisals were a key ingredient in the erosion of mortgage-lending standards that led to the housing bust. Now we are seeing the opposite — low appraisals — with unwelcome consequences for the housing market.

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