I added my chart on bidding wars below – falling as supply enters the market, causing resale prices to soften.
I added my chart on bidding wars below – falling as supply enters the market, causing resale prices to soften.
I was reading the newspaper 2 weeks ago and saw that a well regarded area real estate brokerage firm had provided a listing photo magazine insert. I noticed what appeared to be a marketing inconsistency that referred to the Greenwich, CT housing market broker panic of a few months ago.
Below is the “We’re #1 in this market” type headline which is common in these photo magazines.
But it gets more interesting…
For the uninitiated, the Greenwich housing market received the ire of master of the universe Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood which is based in Greenwich. According to area brokers, he was unable to sell his Greenwich home. Apparently it was frustrating so he spoke about it at a large business conference. Bloomberg news captured the slight in “Greenwich Is the Worst U.S. Housing Market, Sternlicht Says“
“You can’t give away a house in Greenwich,” Sternlicht said Tuesday at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York.
The brokerage community in Greenwich was appalled and many took the insult personally, at the risk of propping up sellers to unrealistic expectations they have maintained since 2007. Some agents wanted to write responses in the local papers and have celebrities speak out on how amazing Greenwich was as a residential community. Sadly that type of response completely missed the point. Greenwich is awesome. I have relatives who live there. It is beautiful, close to the commuter trains into the city and has a terrific school system. But that isn’t what Sternlicht was criticizing.
A real estate agent’s job is to help their clients navigate a housing market, not lead their clients to believe agents can prop it up artificially (aside from the “glass is half full” orientation) because agents are not bigger than the market. The effectiveness of spinning market conditions to hide actual conditions is a myth. I believe this way of broker thinking actually damages the market by keeping the gap between buyers and sellers artificially wide.
Greenwich, which relies on Wall Street for the high end home buyer market, did not see the boom of the past five years that NYC saw. Bonuses being paid out to Wall Street are forecast to be lower this year for the third year in a row. I wrote about this agent-market disconnect in my Housing Note when the Sternlicht article came out. In addition, areas furthest away from the town center have been the hardest hit as more and more new buyers are reflecting the new urbanism call for walkability.
It appears this brokerage firm was attempting to counter Sternlicht’s insult and placate their own agents, by inserting the following awkward headline: GREENWICH REAL ESTATE IS VIBRANT AND ACTIVE in this listing photo magazine insert below.
I understand that the results of their market report were almost identical to ours – sales slipped year over year – but less than the size of the prior quarter slip. Incidentally they no longer prominently post their market reports on their web site. I assume they have been removed for a similar reason. Current market conditions are weaker than a few years ago in the areas they service so there is no need to illustrate it. Anyway, that’s only my assumption.
The following photo ad even says (you can see the top of the “5%” on the lower right of the photo that says their sales are up 5%. But that factoid does not speak to the market, rather it really speaks about the sales volume of their company. This is misdirection since it contradicts overall market direction.
I have long admired this firm and still do so I sent my thoughts about this to a senior executive I know but received no response. I can only assume that this was thought to be a good recruiting tool to attract those agents appalled by the attack on the Greenwich market by Sternlicht. Unfortunately this doesn’t do any market participant any good since real estate brokers are supposed to be trusted advisors.
I’m liking the new goodies in the New York Times real estate section, especially this week, and not because the most recent market report on the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens rental market for Douglas Elliman was featured. No, really.
Had a nice chat with Scarlet Fu and Matt Miller on Bloomberg TV, to discuss our 3Q2016 report on the Manhattan residential sales market that I author for Douglas Elliman. We referred to Oshrat Carmiel’s Bloomberg News story on the Manhattan housing market that went viral on the Bloomberg Terminals as the number one read story world wide and the story chart made their “Chart of the Hour” on their home page.
Note the “two comma” reference taken from the HBO show Silicon Valley:
Miller also rejects the thesis that Manhattan’s two-comma real estate prices were being fueled solely by foreign money and are now jeopardized by global uncertainty and a stronger dollar versus emerging market currencies.
Fairfield County, CT is one of the more recent editions to our Elliman Report series. Greenwich, CT as a submarket has proven to be a market still strongly linked to the heady days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and the beginning of the financial crisis. There remain many owners of high end homes purchased a decade ago that remain value-anchored to those days of yore.
I took a look at the last 15 years of residential sales, measuring the amount of time that passed from a home’s prior renovation to sale. From the late 1990s to Lehman, there was a compression of time from renovation to eventual sale, reflective of the speculative conditions leading up to Lehman. Reno a home, then sell it. During those days, business cards passed out by doctors and lawyers at Greenwich cocktail parties were either “hedge fund manager” or “developer.” Not so much anymore.
Subsequent to Lehman, the late 1990s pattern that preceded the U.S. housing bubble returned by 2010 and has remained remarkably stable since.
If you’re a subscriber to the Bloomberg Terminals, as roughly 350,000 people are (paying $1,600+ per terminal per month), then you may already know there are a half dozen charts on the Manhattan luxury housing market. To be clear, these indices don’t suggest that housing price trends should be presented as a stock ticker.
It’s a good thing too, since the thought of making real estate housing markets equate to stocks was inspired by, and then was crushed by, the housing boom-bubble-bust era 2003-2008.
Here’s why a stock ticker for real estate is a flawed (aka dumb) concept:
While a daily real estate index can be created with relative technical ease, it doesn’t mean it is a good idea. It infers a level of precision that doesn’t exist and an accuracy based on lagging data that is not understood by users.
Those who push the stock ticker idea either didn’t work through the last cycle in real estate, or they didn’t learn from the experience.
We update 3 charts on the Manhattan luxury sales market and 3 for the Manhattan luxury rental market. I have always defined “luxury” as the top 10% of transactions during a period.
Click on the gallery below to open each of the indices.
We published a slew of research today for Douglas Elliman Real Estate:
Manhattan Rentals – Median rental price increased year-over-year for the 18th consecutive month – Median rental price was third highest on record – Brisk employment growth and strong economic conditions kept upward pressure on rents – Mortgage lending conditions remained tight tipping would-be first-time buyers back into rental market – Strength at lower end of market remained as non-doorman rents rose faster than doorman rents – Luxury median rental price slipped, showing weakest conditions of all price segments – Inventory slipped and marketing time remained low, despite rise in vacancy rate
Brooklyn Rentals – Median rental price set a new record for third consecutive month – Median rental price exceeded the $3,000 threshold for first time – Landlord concessions remained at nominal level as inventory slipped – Rental price indicators moved higher across all size categories – Listing inventory as well as negotiability between landlords/tenants fell – Median Brooklyn rent was $288 less than Manhattan
Queens Rentals – Price indicators showed mixed results, suggesting general stability overall – Studios showed strong price growth as 1-bedrooms and 2-bedrooms were flat – New development market share comprised 30.2% of new rentals – Luxury market median price gain was modest, but exceeded the overall market – Median Queens rent was $362 less than Brooklyn and $650 less than Manhattan
Brooklyn Sales – Brooklyn median and average sales price set a new record – Brooklyn remains the only New York City borough with a median sales price above the pre-financial crisis high – Condo, co-op and 1-3 family properties set new median sales price record – Luxury housing prices followed overall market trend – Sales expanded as listing inventory declined, resulting in brisk market pace – Fastest marketing time in 8 years
Queens Sales – Queens median and average sales price set a new record – Condo median sales price set a record for second consecutive quarter – Co-op price indicators set new record – 1-3 Family price indicators set new record – Luxury price indicators set new record – Inventory declined as sales surged – Marketing time fell as negotiability expanded
Westchester County Sales (expanded) – Record number of sales for the quarter, based in historical back to 1981 – Fastest marketing time and least negotiability in the 5.5 years this metric has been measured – Listing inventory for all property types slipped from year ago levels – Absorption rate was fastest market pace in 15 years – Single family and condo median sales price indicated stability – Single family market share declined even though sales increased – Luxury price indicators slipped, out performed by overall market
Putnam County – Price trend indicators increased on a year over year basis – Listing inventory slipped as the number of sales surged – Based on absorption, the market pace was 17.2% faster than the year ago quarter – Marketing time and listing discount expanded despite faster market pace
Dutchess County – Price indicators suggested general stability – Single family prices edged higher as condo prices declined – The pace of the market slowed as sales declined and inventory expanded
Here’s a brief summary but I’ll provide a more thorough explanation of the results in tomorrow’s Housing Notes (don’t just stare blankly at the screen, please sign up for my free weekly newsletter here.)
Had a nice conversion this morning with Matt Miller and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg TV’s ‘Market Makers.’ Never been on this show before. Wow. Energy+.
Before the show started, we had a active debate on whether ‘American Flyers‘ or ‘Breaking Away‘ was the best bicycling movie. Clearly ‘Breaking Away” was the better of the two HANDS DOWN but I liked the other a lot, especially for someone who likes the whole culture of bike racing. Not sure what bike movies had to do with our ‘state of the Hamptons market’ discussion covering our Hamptons market report for Douglas Elliman, but hey, it was obviously more important to settle the bike movie issue first.
Douglas Elliman published our research today covering Queens sales, Brooklyn sales Westchester/Putnam sales as well as the rental market for Manhattan Brooklyn & Queens. You can download the reports and more at Douglas Elliman’s market report page.
Like last week’s Manhattan report, there were lots of records set and it wasn’t simply the influence of high end sales – prices were up across the board in most markets.
Incidentally, the Bloomberg News article that covered record Queens condo sales was the second most emailed story world-wide. It stoked more interest than the finance crisis in Greece and the recent Chinese stock market gyrations. Apparently only “investors with satellites” was a more popular read.
Idea (?) for next quarter: Talk about drones and investors in the Queens housing market.
Lauren Lyster put together an interesting piece called: $100 million listings?! Pros explain why this real estate market is hot, but not a bubble that explores the disconnect between this development boom and the housing bubble last decade.