Matrix Blog

Celebrity, Pop Culture

Cluttering Luxury Housing Markets with Listings Made for TV – Manhattan Edition

June 28, 2014 | 4:55 pm | wsjlogo |

wsjbpcphlistingterrace
[Source: WSJ]

A little over a week ago the WSJ’s Candace Taylor broke the story about 3 contiguous listings to be marketed together at the top of a 15-year old ground lease condo in Battery Park City for $118,500,000.  At 15,434 square feet, that works out to $7,678 per square foot.  CNBC’s Robert Frank provides more details in a video tour that was broadcast shortly after the story broke.

Normally I don’t bother to do the math on this sort of thing but after the Cityspire listing a while back, I thought I’d tweak my thinking a bit as the luxury market gets more than its fair share of confusing “milestones.”

Doing the Math
Here’s my listing price logic using content in the near viral news coverage of the record Battery Park City listing – I break down the 3 units:

$56,500,000 ($7,406/sqft) listing - 7,628 sqft 5-bed listed last year for 5 days and removed.

$11,700,000 ($3,330/sqft) purchase - 3,513 3-bed in April 2014.

$19,000,000 ($4,425/sqft) listing – 4,293 sqft 4-bed $23M January listing dropped to $19M, then removed.

$87,200,000 is the aggregate total for the 3 units that total 15,434 square feet ($5,640/sqft). The current list price of $118,500,000 represents a $31,300,000 premium for the combination of all 3 units before we might assume the millions in renovations to combine if you believe that the $87,200,000 total is what aggregate of the individual properties are worth.

Given the $3,330 ppsf recent sales price of the 3-bed and the unable to be sold for $4,293 ppsf after 6 months on market 4-bed and the not-market tested 5 day listing period 5-bed at $7,406, I can’t figure out how the listing agent gets to $7,678 ppsf as an asking price for all 3 together before the cost of renovation to combine? Perhaps the seller set the price.

The listing broker tells us that the pricing “is justified by the square footage“, as well as the views and building’s amenities.”

Got it.

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How Real Estate is Presented on TV (Thank Goodness for Canada)

May 29, 2014 | 5:21 pm |

hometvchart
[Source: Time, click to expand]

This is an amazing graphic on the progression of real estate TV shows.

I retrace my housing on TV experiences back to “This Old House” with Bob Vila. He was interviewing Donald Trump during a years ago inspection of a Trump Tower apartment and commented, “this kitchen is pretty small” to which Trump replied, “If you can afford to live in one of my buildings, you make ‘reservations’ for dinner.” Perfect.

Smash cut to “Trading Spaces” on TLC which was more closely aligned to the modern day real estate TV format. Then “Flip This House” which became the catch phrase of the new TV genre.

When the US housing bubble burst in 2006 and flipping no longer worked here, many of the shows were produced (like many movies), in Canada, where the market continued to rise (until now) and the production elements removed city names and locations so it felt generic.

Smash cut now to reality programs like “Selling New York” and “Million Dollar Listing” with all their spin-offs which get more into the nuts and bolts of a transaction and puffed up melodrama to keep our attention.

To date I’ve been approached, or my name has been thrown in a hat to host 4 reality tv shows – as someone who has the potential to bring bad news to nice people and possibly ruining their lives as a result. I’d never agree to do one of these but the fact they are approaching an appraiser means they are any topic in the real estate spectrum is fair game.

We can’t get enough of it.

My white noise maker TV show continues to be House Hunters International which lets me test my valuation skills while I am usually doing something else.

Some in the real estate industry embrace the phenomenon and some harshly criticize it, but as this interesting Time Magazine piece which included the above graphic “The House Shows Boom: How the Real Estate Market Is Reflected on TV” provided a quote from one of show stars:

“No matter who we are, no matter how much money we have or don’t have, no matter where we are in the world, everybody wants to live better,” he said. “When we watch shows that inspire us to make changes in our own homes, when we see how other people live, I think that’s a really powerful message.”

Of course this doesn’t explain why I watched “Ice Road Truckers” or still watch “Cops.”

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Housing Data as Pop Culture

February 14, 2013 | 7:00 am | delogo | Charts |


[click to open article]

A recent post in CNN/Money featured Andy Warhol’s 1984 “U.S. Unemployment Rate. No Campbell Soup Cans but it feels strange to associate his art with economic data from the 1980s. It somehow works for me. One of the coolest property inspections I made was through “The Factory” years ago.

In 2007 the “Stand-up Economist” Yorman Bauman led the way with this much watched video on the difference between macro and micro economists. “Microeconomists are wrong about specific things while macroeconomists are wrong about things in general.” HI-larious.

And recently the TV game show “Teen Jeopardy” had 5 questions about the “Federal Reserve.”

Christie’s sales rep said:

“Economic data has become popular culture. While we used to think of it as being some kind of verified information only for people who are really knowledgeable about the economy, it’s popular culture now. You can talk to a taxi driver about it.”

I completely agree. Gangnam Style and GDP now go hand in hand.

We devour housing data ie the recently released Real Deal Data Book (I’ve got a lot of charts and tables in there!)

Throw in the heavy downloads of our report series for Douglas Elliman, NAR Research, CoreLogic, Case Shiller, RealtyTrac, etc. it’s clear to me that housing data is an obsession and embedded in popular culture (thank goodness).

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[Book] APE: Guy Kawasaki Gives Us The Tools (and Confidence) To Publish

December 12, 2012 | 10:28 pm |

I’ve long been a fan of Guy’s insights and how he cuts through the $^%^&&%##**&% to get to what’s important. I first observed this when he was at Apple Computer eons ago and then when he was President of ACIUS, the database software company behind 4th Dimension we used to build Miller Samuel, and with his series of books beginning with the “Macintosh Way.” A couple of years ago I interviewed him on my podcast.

Guy, along with Shawn Welch, have written a terrific new book:

APE: How to Publish a Book (Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur). And when he dropped me a note about it I got very excited since I’ve been in “I need to write a book” mode for several years, getting nagged and nudged by friends and family. This book answers my questions and more importantly, puts me at ease with the process. I highly recommend it.

He calls it “Artisanal” Publishing, currently a wildy popular and soon to be overused word in our culture, but it’s Guy’s word and I’m a believer.

As digitization creates a revolutionary opportunity for writers to become their own publishers a new self-publishing infrastructure has emerged. This book will become the standard guide to this new publishing universe.
– Jason Epstein, former editorial director of Random House and co-founder of On Demand Books.



APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book [Kindle Edition]

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Serious Jibber-Jabber: Lessons from Nate Silver to Filter Out Housing Noise

December 10, 2012 | 7:00 am | Videos |

I really enjoyed this “Charlie Rose”-like interview by late night TV host Conan O’Brien and statistician Nate Silver on his “Serious Jibber-Jabber” series. I recently bought Nate’s book “The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don’t” and it’s next on my reading list (actually I bought 2 copies because I forgot I had pre-ordered on Amazon for Kindle and ordered again from Apple iBooks, Doh!).

What I found intriguing about the discussion is how much effort it takes to filter out the noise and get the to meat of the issue as well as getting outside of your self-made insulated bubble to be able to make an informed decision – aka neutrality.

Real estate, like politics, is a spin laden industry whose health is very difficult to gauge if you rely on people and institutions who have a vested interest in the outcome. i.e. Wall Street, rating agencies, government, banks, real estate agents etc.

Some interesting points made:

  • During the bubble, for every $1 in mortgages, Wall Street was making $50 in side bets.
  • Many people during the housing boom saw it was a bubble but didn’t want to miss out. They would see the green arrows pointing up on CNBC screen and it became very hard to be contrarian and be left behind.

The current “happy housing news” that is all the rage seems to draw a parallel with the pundits who got the election outcome all wrong yet all were experienced in politics. The housing herd is disconnecting from what the data is showing.

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[666 Park Avenue] Appraising Fictitious TV Celebrity Apartments

September 28, 2012 | 9:46 pm | Articles |


[click to expand]

In lieu of the new TV show 666 Park Avenue (the devil passed the board interview apparently), the Commercial Observer asked me for some thoughts on the value of some fictitious apartments and properties in some notable TV shows using what limited information was available back in the day and some strained logic (with a slew of hypotheticals and disclaimers) all in the name of fun.

Although the graphic incorrectly uses the building square footage total for no. 3, the graphics people at CO did an absolutely brilliant job with this – love it.

Here’s a cool web site I came across with theoretical floor plans for popular tv shows.



Lifestyles of the Rich and Fictitious [Commercial Observer]
Celebrity Floorplans [Deviant Art]
666 Park Avenue [Wikipedia]

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Treasures of New York: “Building Stories” Profile of Architect Costas Kondylis

June 14, 2012 | 3:36 pm | trdlogo | Videos |

Watch Treasures of New York: Building Stories on PBS. See more from THIRTEEN Specials.

If you missed this show on TV, it is now available in its entirety online. It’s an excellent collaboration between WNET/THIRTEEN and The Real Deal on the noted architect. I loved the way the assemblage of development air rights – basically a high stakes secret chess match – was presented.

Note to self: ask Amir Korangy, TRD’s publisher to do a doc on me someday – it would be brief, boring and attract little interest, but hey, who wouldn’t want their own doc?



  • Treasures of New York: Building Stories reveals the private life and the creative process of Costas Kondylis [WNET/THIRTEEN]

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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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[Bobbleheads] Known For Their Ubiquitous Media Verbosity

November 3, 2009 | 10:23 am | trdlogo | Public |

In the current issue of The Real Deal magazine, the article Real estate’s most verbose talking heads: A look at the busy schedules of NYC’s go-to market pundits

…goes haywire with Adobe Illustrator and selects four go to media resources:

Barbara Corcoran, the founder of the Corcoran Group and now a regular on the “Today Show”; Jonathan Miller, the ubiquitous president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel; Dan Fasulo, managing director at Real Capital Analytics; and Bob Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal Realty are just a few among a growing bunch of go-to contacts.

I think the bobblehead designation is a compliment? Verbosity? I always used that word in the “long-winded” connotation. Well, my phone simply rings – plus – I’ve been known to hang out on car dashboards on the weekends.

Aside: Bob Knakal is a long time colleague who has generously agreed to sit down with me on my podcast, The Housing Helix, in a few weeks.


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[Fierce Finance] Of Wall Street Bonuses And Crooked Estates

September 29, 2009 | 4:18 pm |

Discovered a new financial services web site today called Fierce Finance that has some compelling content and a cool name. Here are a couple of the items…

Wall Street bonuses if handled correctly, may not be that controversial.

If banks are not accepting even more in taxpayer funds and are making profits legitimately, I doubt anyone will have a problem with big bonuses.

It will be challenging however after what is anticipated to be fairly large profit reports from a few of the larger financial institutions. That has ramifications for stirring up the Main/Wall Street debate, compensation restrictions by Congress (and fanning the flames of housing demand in the NYC metro area).

And a slide show of the more “infamous” properties that were tainted in controversy in the past year.

Between the SEC’s post-Madoff hyper vigilance and the intense media coverage of the financial services industry, a great deal of scandal has surfaced over the last year.

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