Matrix Blog

Manhattan

Tall and Thin Skyscraper Renderings: the New Bricks and Mortar

June 10, 2014 | 10:05 am |

nyposttall1

[click to expand]

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.

HudsonYards from West Chelsea (c) Related Cos..jpg

ARTS ARCHITECTURE

432PA_SE View from Central Park_copyright dbox for CIM Grou.jpg

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99 Church Street, Silverstein Properties, New York

56 Leonard -Woolworth view - Credit Herzog  de Meuron.jpg

53W53rd Street entrance.jpg

World Trade Center

OneVanderbilt_03_Looking-East-from-Bryant-Park.jpg

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Manhattan Penthouse Co-op Sold For 2nd Highest PPSF in History

June 9, 2014 | 2:57 pm | Milestones |

960fifthFP

Real estate reporter Katherine Clark at the New York Daily News got the scoop on the $70,000,000 penthouse sale at 960 Fifth Avenue, the highest price ever paid for a Manhattan co-op apartment. Curbed New York lays out all the (pretty?) pictures.

The previous record was held by David Geffen, who paid $54,000,000 in 2012 for the Penthouse at 785 Fifth Avenue. Although the Geffen penthouse was renovated, it was 12,000 square feet, more than twice as large as the 5,500 square feet within the penthouse at 960 Fifth Avenue – that just sold for a record price of $70M.

To further illustrate how much more expensive this new record price actually is, take a look at the two highest Manhattan co-op sales prices achieved, but on a price per square foot basis:

David Geffen paid $4,500 psf for the penthouse at 785 Fifth Avenue for the then record price of $54,000,000.

Nassef Sawiris paid $12,727 psf for the penthouse at 960 Fifth Avenue for the new record price of $70,000,000. On a sales price basis, the new record is 29.6% higher than the old record of 2 years ago.

On a price per square foot basis, the record sale was 182.8% above the previous record sale price set two years ago.

With all the attention focused on the newish or new development residential condo market, the all-time price per square foot apartment record was set 2 years ago, around the time of the Geffen purchase.  A Russian oligarch paid $88,000,000 for Sandy Weill’s penthouse condo that works out to $13,049 per square foot. That record breaking sale was largely viewed as a market outlier, that the buyer overpaid as part of a larger divorce strategy – since it was 31% higher than the previous record in the year prior within the same building.

Some other oddities about this new record co-op sale at 960 Fifth Avenue:

  • The 960 Fifth Avenue co-op board is old world and I’ve heard it is fairly tough. As a general statement, it is not that common to see a foreign buyer at the high end of the market approved by a co-op board.
  • The news coverage suggested the buyer was slow to pay his taxes and negotiated a reduced amount with the government. This would be a concern for most co-op boards in terms of collecting maintenance charges in arrears from a foreign national if they stopped paying.

Since these conditions would probably make any high end co-op board nervous, perhaps this is a sign that shareholders (board members are also shareholders) are concerned about damaging potential property values by limiting the universe of people that would be able to afford these types of prices in this new market condition.

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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
5-201405-2013 [click images to expand]

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.

Definition Absorption defined for the purposes of this chart is: Number of months to sell all listing inventory at the annual pace of sales activity. (The definition of absorption in our market report series reflects the quarterly pace – nearly the same)


Manhattan Market Absorption Charts [Miller Samuel]


The Woolworth Penthouse Explained

May 29, 2014 | 5:35 pm |

woolworthPHinfographicnyp
[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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[Three Cents Worth #266 NY] Inventory Is Rising, Just Not Enough

May 27, 2014 | 2:01 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:

I took a look at Manhattan’s climb out of the depths of the inventory void, and things are changing, but at a glacial pace. On a monthly basis, inventory bottomed last August (but it boomed in the fourth quarter on a quarterly basis). Perhaps the only significant reason inventory has begun to rise is because housing prices are beginning to ramp up, and sales are below last year’s pace. Sellers with new found equity have begun to list their properties. However, rising inventory remains inadequate against demand and the imbalance between supply and demand remains significant—and forget about the new development boom, that’s not going to help the overall market. The above chart shows a long view of the monthly Manhattan co-op and condo peak and trough and provides context on how low current supply actually is….

[My post title was originally "Biggest Inventory Rise in Decade, Just Not Enough" but wasn't used - the crack Curbed staff didn't think it was catchy enough.]

3cwNY5-21-14a
3cwNY5-21-14b
[click to expand charts]


My latest Three Cents Worth column on Curbed: Inventory Is Rising, Just Not Enough [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] TRD Forum: Getting A Sense of the New Development Frenzy

May 23, 2014 | 4:24 pm | trdlogo | Videos |

I stumbled across this clip taken at the recent New Development Showcase hosted by The Real Deal. The publisher and founder, Amir Korangy, pulls off a couple of well-timed video-bombs!

This video gives you a good sense of the excitement, if not frenzy in the residential development space in New York City. There was a long line of people waiting to enter the venue for the event when I arrived.

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[Manhattan Absorption] April 2014 – Market Pace At Top Eases As Remainder Accelerates

May 19, 2014 | 6:30 am | Charts |

4-2014Manhattan [click to expand]

Thoughts
You can see a slight slow down in the pace of the market at or above $5M while the remainder of the market continued to accelerate as evidenced by faster (lower) absorption rates. It makes sense since there is no new development entering the market to ease the supply shortage of the “lower 90%” of the market.

Side by side Manhattan regional comparison:

April 2014 v 2013
4-201404-2013 [click images to expand]

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.

Definition
Absorption defined for the purposes of this chart is: Number of months to sell all listing inventory at the annual pace of sales activity. (The definition of absorption in our market report series reflects the quarterly pace – nearly the same)


Manhattan Market Absorption Charts [Miller Samuel]

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Contrary To Popular Belief, The World Has Manhattan All Wrong

May 18, 2014 | 11:00 am |

nycsubway1969timelife
[Source: Time-Life]

Today, when I speak to friends and relatives in other parts of country, I find a consistency in the image Manhattan currently conveys and it’s completely skewed. Here’s a little background.

1985 to 1995 [Wild West] I moved to Manhattan in 1985 and it was perceived by outsiders as a very dangerous place. “Manhattan-bashing” was in vogue. My relatives in the Midwest saw Manhattan as a place where tourists were getting mugged and stabbed in broad daylight (It didn’t help that my father was mugged twice in Midtown outside of our office in broad daylight on a weekday). They feared for our lives.

1996 to 2000 [Dot Com Boom] Manhattan now had “Silicon Alley” as well as NASDAQ – which was soaring. Midwesterners were caught up in the stock market frenzy as evidence by conversations of trades of Microsoft and Caterpillar stock over potato salad and cheeseburgers and bottles of Faygo.

2001 to 2008 [9/11 to Development Boom to Lehman] The 9/11 tragedy struck New Yorkers hard but the subsequent rise of NYC from the ashes into an eventual new development housing boom was simply amazing. The Manhattan housing boom peaked in 2008, two years after the US housing market had peaked. This period ended with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and access to credit worldwide immediately evaporated.

2009 to 2010 [Collapse and Rebound] There was a surprisingly rapid improvement in the regional economy in the year following Lehman’s collapse and housing rebounded faster than expected.

2011 to 2014 [Playground of Wealthy Foreigners] Manhattan and Brooklyn become a favorite safe haven for international investors to park their money in real estate.

But now we stuck with a Manhattan housing market exaggerated stereotype (represents 90% of media coverage) in 2014:

  • Most sales are all-cash transactions.
  • Most purchasers are made by foreign buyers.
  • Most sales are millions of dollars (i.e. $5M and up).

When in fact, the 2014 Manhattan housing market reality is:

  • 45% of sales are all-cash transactions.
  • Foreign buyers are a small part of the market – i.e. 60% of all sales are co-ops and foreigners don’t purchase them.
  • More than half of all sales are below $1M (i.e. $5M+ is way up in the top 5%).

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[Infographic] Manhattan and Brooklyn Rents Continue to Rise

May 17, 2014 | 8:55 pm | delogo | Infographics |

Here’s the latest infographic from Douglas Elliman covering the Manhattan & Brooklyn rental market reports for April 2014.

April2014 Manhattan Brooklyn Rentals


Manhattan Home Sales Are NOT 80% All-Cash (They Are 45%)

May 17, 2014 | 11:04 am | delogo | Favorites |

Actually, overall Manhattan Home Sales are 45% All-Cash. I want to make sure that the 80% number doesn’t become embedded in our housing market mindset.

1q14manhattanCASH
[click to expand]


I’ll explain.

Recently a friend passed along a post in the Washington Post titled: 8 in 10 Manhattan home sales are all-cash and my jaw dropped. The author, who I am a fan of, got this information from Realtytrac, who I am also a fan of, but I knew it was either wrong or misinterpreted.

Over the years I’ve played around with NYC mortgage data, usually incomplete and very dirty, from various sources and have combined that with frontline feedback from our own experience as appraisers, as well as from real estate brokers and lenders. I had come to the conclusion that roughly half of Manhattan home sales (co-op, condo & single family) were probably all-cash and condos are definitely well over 50%. I used the logic that foreign and high-end buyers are a large part of the all-cash market, especially within the new development space. And it makes sense – while condo end loan financing is tight, new development condo end loan financing is beyond tight.

The reason the Realtytrac 80% figure jumped out at me was the fact that co-ops account for about 60% of sales and have the highest concentration of entry level and middle class demographics in Manhattan. I was very skeptical that virtually all the market-majority co-op buyers were paying all-cash, especially in the tepid economy we are stuck with.

So I reached out to Daren Blomquist, Vice President at RealtyTrac who is often the point person on their data releases. I indicated that the 80% figure seemed off and wondered if it excluded the co-op market. It didn’t. However even an 80% all-cash share for only single family and condo sales seemed like a stretch. He said he would look into it and within an hour they could see an issue with their co-op data feed. They were already working on the issue (and why I like Realtytrac). He shared their 1Q14 Manhattan information (I omitted the suspect co-op data) and here are the key numbers:

Their Results
All-Cash Condo Sales 60.78%
All-Cash Single Family Sales 73.08%

I came up with a new methodology, which looked at the ratios seen in Douglas Elliman sales – the largest real estate brokerage company in Manhattan – with a sales mix is generally consistent with the overall market mix and applied their results to the overall market, and I saw this:

Our Results
All-Cash Co-ops 36% (no revised Realtytrac results yet)
All-Cash Condos 58% (similar to Realtytrac’s 60.78%)

I didn’t have the single family (fee simple) results compiled so I went with Realtytrac’s 73% because: their fee simple (condo) data was consistent with ours, the single family market is skewed much higher price-wise than the condo market (i.e. skewing towards cash buyers) and the single family market share is very small. In fact the market share is so small that the overall 45% all-cash ratio wouldn’t change unless I dropped the single family market share down to 6% from 73% but even then the overall cash ratio would only drop to 44% from 45% – so you get my point (my apologies for the excessive wonkiness on this but it was necessary).

As a result and represented in the table at the top of this post, it is reasonable to say that the overall Manhattan all-cash home sale market in 1Q 2014 was 45% of all residential sales. Got it?

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