Matrix Blog

Development, Construction, Architecture

Palace: When A $500 Million Asset Is Not A Home

May 26, 2015 | 3:15 pm | bloomberg_news_logo |

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When I was called by Bloomberg News about a new Bel Air (LA) listing that was asking $500m and another one down the block by the same architect but different developer at around $400 million, my initial reaction was laughter. I wasn’t doubting that there could be a buyer somewhere out there somewhere…but rather at the absurdity of it. It also seems like a strike against it to have a nearby home done by the same architect, no?

As I told a bank executive/client this morning that it’s clearly a strange world when someone builds spec housing for a handful of buyers worldwide and no houses in the local market have ever sold close to half the proposed asking price (including Jeff Greene’s $195 million listing that has been on the market since December.)

At a combined $100k square feet (main house + 3 smaller houses), it will be bigger than “Versailles” a 90k square foot house outside of Orlando, Florida that was the subject of the documentary “Queen of Versailles.”

According to NAR, the U.S. median home sales price is currently $219,400.

If the Bel Air home is sold, it is doubtful this would end up as someone’s primary residence. Perhaps we should label this type of asset as something else besides a “home?”

How about a Palace?

That’s what the architect suggested:

“It’s very similar to a palace,” he said. “The house is about public functions rather than domestic living.”

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[VIDEO] Chinese Housing Bubble Version of ‘The Truman Show’

April 29, 2015 | 9:31 am | nytlogo | TV, Videos |

To keep the sales going, developers in the massively bloated Chinese housing market are getting more creative. This NY Times short documentary is fantastic and surreal. I’d chalk it up to simply bizarre, if there wasn’t such a desperate undertone to it.

It reminded me of “The Truman Show” movie where everything Jim Carrey’s character saw was fake, made for him. However in the Chinese version, everyone knows it’s fake but embraces it.

With the massive oversupply, no wonder savvy Chinese investors are extracting as much wealth as they can and investing overseas in anticipation of that day of reckoning.

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[Three Cents Worth #279 NY] New York’s Building Boom Doesn’t Mean More Units For Sale

April 26, 2015 | 1:57 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:

Now that I am fully recovered from Micro Week, I thought I would think a little bigger and present the Manhattan inventory picture by comparing new development and re-sales. I’ve charted it from the pre-Lehman high (PLH for those in the know) through the end of 2014 in two graphs. One shows the year-over-year change, and the other tracks inventory by units to help tell the whole story. Inventory was in a state of free fall for both types from 2009 through 2013, but in 2014 the picture clearly changed…



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My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Three Cents Worth: New York’s Building Boom Doesn’t Mean More Units For Sale [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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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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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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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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Speaking at ULI Miami Condo Market Symposium

December 30, 2014 | 8:24 pm | delogo | Public |

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Since it’s the end of the year, I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite events 2014. This past November, I was invited to keynote and moderate the main panel at the Urban Land Institute’s, Southeast FL/Caribbean District Council’s Miami Condo Market Symposium.

My panel included the heavy hitters of condo development and brokerage in South Florida – who spoke candidly in front of a sold out venue at the Epic Residences & Hotel:

- Ugo Colombo, Founder, CMC Group Inc.
- Eduardo Costantini, Chairman, Consultatio Real Estate Inc.
- Richard LeFrak, Chairman & CEO, LeFrak Organization
- Howard Lorber, CEO, Vector Group Ltd. & Chairman, Douglas Elliman
- Jorge Perez, Chairman, CEO & Founder, The Related Group

A recap of my panel and the other speakers and panels…

Photos…
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[Three Cents Worth #275 NY] Why New Developments Are So Darn Pricey

December 26, 2014 | 1:57 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:

As 2014 winds down I thought I’d break down the year’s condo market by splitting up resales and new development closings using median sales price. Since early 2012, the new development and resale price trends have parted ways. That’s when the stalled shadow inventory that resulted from the Lehman collapse—a.ka. condos that weren’t formally offered yet and went unsold, because first batches of units didn’t sell in the midst of the financial downturn—was finally bought up or otherwise absorbed…

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[click to expand chart]


My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Three Cents Worth: Why New Developments Are So Darn Pricey [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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[Three Cents Worth #274 NY] Number of Manhattan Homes Selling for $10M+ Is Way Up

December 26, 2014 | 1:53 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:

This week I took a look at the volume of super high end sales that closed each quarter to show how out of whack current activity is when compared to longer term norms. From 2006 through 2013, the average was 21 apartments sales for $10M or higher per quarter. That’s seven per month or nearly two per week for eight years. That’s a lot of sales in this price segment…

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[click to expand chart]


My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Three Cents Worth: Number of Manhattan Homes Selling for $10M+ Is Way Up [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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VIDEO: Fox Business Risk & Reward w/ Deirdre Bolton 11-24-14

November 29, 2014 | 9:19 pm | TV, Videos |

Joined Deirdre Bolton to talk about the U.S. high end development residential market. We spoke about softness at the NYC high end and how the cooling of new development doesn’t speak for the entire high end market.

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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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My Bloomberg View Column Directory

My Bloomberg View RSS feed.

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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….

[read more]


My Bloomberg View Column Directory

My Bloomberg View RSS feed.

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