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Development, Construction, Architecture

Bloomberg View Column: What Does It Mean When a House Sells for $50 Million?

September 17, 2014 | 2:58 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Articles |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column What Does It Mean When a House Sells for $50 Million?. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

One of the byproducts of the global financial crisis has been the creation of a new class of housing and buyers. Some of the strongest evidence is the rise in the number of residences sold for more than $50 million.

A buyer recently paid a record $71.3 million for a Manhattan co-op, breaking the $70 million record set only a few months earlier. These sales seem modest compared with a $147 million sale in East Hampton, New York, and a $120 million sale in Greenwich, Connecticut, the two highest U.S. residential transactions in 2014. There have been six sales of more than $100 million in the past four years, with more likely to come…[read more]

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[Three Cents Worth #268 NY] Units In New Developments Grow Larger

August 31, 2014 | 3:57 pm | curbed | Columns |

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 that I posted a few weeks ago on @CurbedNY:

For this chart, I looked at a little more than a decade of Manhattan closed sales by square footage, breaking out the market by new development sales and re-sales. During this period, the average square footage of a new development sale was 1,382—15.6 percent larger than the 1,195 average square footage of a re-sale. However, new development sales size showed significant volatility as developers adapted to the changing market. The underlying driver of volatility is the quest to achieve the highest price per square foot premium a developer realizes by creating larger contiguous space. As a result, the much chronicled “micro-unit” phenomenon falls short and can’t become mainstream under current market conditions without external incentives (i.e. government). The math doesn’t work…



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My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Units In New Developments Grow Larger [Curbed]

Three Cents Worth Archive Curbed NY
Three Cents Worth Archive Curbed DC
Three Cents Worth Archive Curbed Miami
Three Cents Worth Archive Curbed Hamptons

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Rocket Ship: Manhattan New versus Existing Average Sales Price

July 1, 2014 | 8:49 am | Charts |

2q14Manhattan-newexisting
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I’ll let this soak in.

New development sales are significantly detached from the balance of the market. I selected average sales price to exaggerate the trend to make my point.

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Manhattan New Development: Small Share, But Rising Sharply

June 20, 2014 | 11:58 am | delogo | Charts |

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I took a look at the change in new development inventory versus re-sale inventory both by year-over-year change (quite dramatic) and number of units.  Both categories bottomed out at the end of 2013.

These trends are based on Manhattan co-ops and condos which represent more than 98% of the “non-rental” market.  Much of the new inventory coming online is located within the “luxury” market which is the top 10% based on price.

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Tall and Thin Skyscraper Renderings: the New Bricks and Mortar

June 10, 2014 | 10:05 am |

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The New York Post ran an article on Sunday “Chinese buyers snapping up NYC skyscrapers” that was chock full of Manhattan skyscraper renderings – I found myself clicking through all of them. While I already am familiar with each of these residential and commercial towers, I never get tired of looking at them.

While I’m no architectural critic and some of these designs are controversial, even cited as dangerous, I must admit I really like the genre. I was fatigued from enduring the boring, utilitarian and ultimately generic designs throughout the 1980s and 1990s.  We got a sampling of this new genre in the last new development boom a decade ago, but with the shift towards the higher end of the market, there seems to be more money available for creating iconic designs.

As far as the China hyperbole cited in the piece, it is an assumption based almost exclusively on anecdote as well as 2013 research by National Association of Realtors (cited as “US National Real Estate Association” but had no luck finding it with Google so I assumed they meant NAR). And how do we rely on an NAR survey of it’s members when so few Manhattan real estate agents are members of that trade group?

I’ve inserted all the renderings below: I’m not going to  bother labeling them since that’s not the point – you can get that detail in NY Post piece.  These are placed here for your oogling pleasure.

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ARTS ARCHITECTURE

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99 Church Street, Silverstein Properties, New York

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World Trade Center

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[London Calling] ‘Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel’ New Development Edition

June 9, 2014 | 10:41 am |

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I read Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel nearly every night to my 4 sons when they were younger (probably an unnecessary qualifier). It was also my favorite children’s book as a kid.

As it turns out, this story preempted current London construction methodology (h/t boingboing.net).

So, many of the squares of the capital’s super-prime real estate, from Belgravia and Chelsea to Mayfair and Notting Hill, have been reconfigured house by house. Given that London’s strict planning rules restrict building upwards, digging downwards has been the solution for owners who want to expand their property’s square-footage.

mikemulligandig

This trend reflects the appraisal concept of highest and best use for the equipment despite the inherent wastefulness. Does it make sense to leave the equipment in the basement? With all the concern in the US about below grade empty oil tanks and the environment, I wonder how this practice is allowed, cost effectiveness aside.

Given the exceptional profits of London property development, why bother with the expense and hassle of retrieving a used digger – worth only £5,000 or £6,000 – from the back of a house that would soon be sold for several million? The time and money expended on rescuing a digger were better spent moving on to the next big deal.

You really need to read the book.

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Urban Planning: 8 Parking Spaces for Every Car?

June 9, 2014 | 6:00 am |

Parking Craters: Scourge of American Downtowns from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Parking lots are the scourge of American Downtowns. Citylab does a nice summary on the problem with parking lots.

There are said to be at least 105 million and maybe as many as 2 billion parking spaces in the United States. A third of them are in parking lots, those asphalt deserts that we claim to hate but that proliferate for our convenience. One study says we’ve built eight parking spots for every car in the country.

About the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined

The problem is that much of the vast “craters” of parking lots in urban centers are empty. NPR’s Planet Money does a good job explaining how the “free market” can be applied to parking space usage.

The price should be cheap enough that most of the metered spaces and city parking lots are always almost full.

But it shouldn’t be so cheap that spaces are entirely full, leaving drivers frustrated and adding to congestion as cars circle endlessly looking for a place to park.

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[Manhattan Absorption] May 2014 – Swimming in high-end condos.

June 8, 2014 | 6:19 pm | Charts |

5-2014Manhattan [click to expand] Thoughts Not a significant change from a year ago. The absorption rate is generally a little faster than the year ago pace when you are talking about the sub-$3M market and a little slower from an already cooling rate above that threshold. Hi end condos – over $10M – are seeing a 32.3 month absorption rate which is extremely slow largely because of the new product entering the market.

Side by side Manhattan regional comparison:

May 2014 v 2013
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I started this analysis in August 2009 so I am able to show side-by side year-over-year comparisons. The blue line showing the 10-year quarterly average travels up and down because of the change in scale caused by some of the significant volatility seen at the upper end of the market. The pink line represents the overall average rate of the most recently completed month for that market area.


Manhattan Market Absorption Charts [Miller Samuel]

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The Woolworth Penthouse Explained

May 29, 2014 | 5:35 pm |

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[Source: NY Post, click to expand]

I’ve had this page bookmarked all week and found myself referring to it periodically for the above sort-of infographic. Lois Weiss lays it all out in her article, clearly titled: This is what a penthouse on top of the Woolworth Building could look like

At one point in time, the Woolworth Building was the tallest building in the world, so this apartment would have been the highest condo in the world (ok, ok, condos weren’t around back then).

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[Bloomberg TV] Guest Host of ‘Surveillance’ 5-28-14

May 28, 2014 | 6:00 pm | bloomberg_news_logo | Videos |

This morning, I got to join Tom Keene, Adam Johnson and Cristina Alesci on Bloomberg TV’s Surveillance to talk housing for the 6am to 7am hour. Definitely worth getting up at 4am to make into the studio. No, really!

Covered a lot of ground this morning on the show. Here’s another clip.

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