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Posts Tagged ‘National Association of Realtors’

NYT v. WSJ Smogdown: Status of Chinese Investment in U.S. Real Estate

December 1, 2015 | 11:39 am | nytlogo | Favorites |

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[Source: Yahoo News]

Last weekend I read two terrific articles on Chinese real estate investment in the U.S. but they seemed seemed to conflict – check out the headlines:

New York Times Chinese Cash Floods U.S. Real Estate Market

Wall Street Journal Chinese Pull Back From U.S. Property Investments The subtitle says it all – The nation’s economic and stock-market slump puts buyers on the sidelines

Are the Chinese flooding the U.S. market now or are they pulling back? Which is it? Or is it both?

In my recent trip to Shanghai, I spoke to and interviewed many, many real estate investors at The Real Deal Forum. I got the impression that investment has pulled back a bit in 2015 but expectations were high that investment would expand again, although not to the level of the past 5 years. Of course I was doing this in a biased environment – at in investor conference. I was consistently told that government efforts to prop up the stock market spooked much of the smart money out of the market since the actions were taken to calm everyday investors.

The New York Times piece seemed prompted by a P.R. pitch from the Chinese developer for their Dallas suburb project enticed with a suburban angle. It was a refreshing angle since Chinese real estate investment in the U.S. has been an urban narrative and specifically focused on the high end. The article illustrated just how massive the investment patterns have been. To date the narrative has been focused on super luxury condos in expensive metropolitan areas, while the suburbs got limited attention.

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The WSJ article is more orientated towards the past few weeks while the NYT article is a longer term view. Both publications place emphasis on NAR’s Profile of International Home Buying Activity whose results emphasized the Chinese investment surge of the previous year. The survey results only reflect the market through last March, so it is 9 months behind the current market. The Chinese investment numbers are staggering, and they are probably understated. Since the NAR report is simply a survey of it’s members and NAR has limited exposure to New York City, especially Manhattan – a hotbed of Chinese real estate investment activity.

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Incidentally, do the above 2 charts look similar? They both relied on the NAR report.

The NYT piece set the table on the entire multi-year phenomenon using a ton of cool charts while the WSJ attempted to illustrate the change in recent weeks Both outlets were forced to rely on a lot of anecdotal to make their case. Both articles are consistent with my views as each provided a different context.

The NYT piece provided the long term historical view and the WSJ was a short term snapshot.

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[Infographic] NAR gets into the Urbanization Conversation

September 1, 2015 | 10:12 am | trulialogo | Infographics |

The National Association of Realtors, who is generally viewed as emphasizing suburban single family housing markets, may be plotting a new course. NAR will be sharing more releases on the topic of urbanization in the coming months. They look to be taking the same path as Realtor.com, the online entity who licenses their name from the NAR mothership. Realtor.com has cleaned up their act and has been much more focused on city life after their recent purchase by News Corp (through Realtor.com’s parent company Move), trying to become relevant again by emulating Zillow and Trulia. And of course, the consumer wins.

It’s a good thing too since urbanization is one of the most important housing trends (affordability aside) facing the housing market going forward.

Here’s an interesting infographic released by NAR today:

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Bloomberg View Column: Costly City Housing Is an Economic Drag

June 3, 2015 | 6:12 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Costly City Housing Is an Economic Drag.

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Here’s an excerpt…

It’s tough living in a big city — the people, the traffic, the noise. Oh, and did we mention the cost of housing? Contrary to conventional wisdom, high and rising housing costs in the U.S.’s biggest cities are not ideal for an economic recovery. Just the opposite: When housing costs take a big bite out of incomes, it diverts money that could be spent on local goods and services or invested in new businesses that stimulate growth…

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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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Bloomberg View Column: A Housing Recovery Built to Last?

May 16, 2015 | 9:17 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column A Housing Recovery Built to Last?.

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Here’s an excerpt…

The housing market has recovered in fits and starts since the financial crisis, so it’s worth noting when one important indicator looks really strong. This is the case with the pending home sales index, which reflects contracts signed for purchases of single-family homes, co-ops and condos, published by the National Association of Realtors…

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Bloomberg View Column: Want a New House? Good Luck

April 26, 2015 | 12:04 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Want a New House? Good Luck.

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Here’s an excerpt…

Much of the analysis of the housing market focuses on sales volume and price trends. These are important metrics, of course, but they really don’t tell you much about market fundamentals because they are, to a great extent, derivative…

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Bloomberg View Column: The Bidding Wars Are Back

April 26, 2015 | 11:31 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column The Bidding Wars Are Back.

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Hard to believe this is happening again…

Here’s an excerpt…

A relic from the days of the housing boom is making a comeback. The share of sales that feature bidding wars is up. According to the National Association of Realtors, 33 percent of all sales were at or above the asking price, a strong indication that more than one bidder was involved in a transaction…

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Bloomberg View Column: Real-Estate Agents Ride High Again

March 1, 2015 | 8:00 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Real-Estate Agents Ride High Again.

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It was disappointing to have so many Realtors go on the attack over this piece showing they missed the entire point – I was writing about the trend, not the dollars or the splits. Are commission incomes higher in say Manhattan than in rural Texas. Doh! The very idea that incomes are rising after years of low transaction volume plus the lack of resurgence in NAR membership since the financial crisis has made for a little less competition today. This seems like good news to me for the industry. But with the barrier to entry so low, the window will close sooner than later.

I even had a PR executive at NAR send me a critical email concerning my numerical calculations and results but made the mistake of exposing her significant lack of understanding about what data NAR actually publishes. To avoid embarrassing her I opted not to share the letter in this post.

Here’s an excerpt…

This is turning out to be a pretty nice time to be a residential real-estate agent. As the housing market recovers, average income has been rising faster than sales largely because there are fewer agents planting for-sale signs…

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Bloomberg View Column: Housing’s New Wealth Effect

September 27, 2014 | 1:00 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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Read my latest Bloomberg View column Housing’s New Wealth Effect. Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View. Here’s an excerpt…

It was a busy week for housing market reports. The U.S. Census published its new home-sales results for August, showing an 18 percent gain from the prior month and a 33 percent increase from August 2013. News headlines relied on words such as “surged” and “soared” to describe the results.

Only a few days earlier, the National Association of Realtors released its existing home-sales report for August, which showed month-over-month sales falling for the first time in four months. The inventory of unsold properties was 4.5 percent higher than a year earlier. I recently addressed the market slowdown in “Understanding Housing’s Dog Days.”

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Bloomberg View Column: Understanding Housing’s Dog Days

August 31, 2014 | 5:04 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

BVlogoThe comparison of housing market statistics against last year’s results produced misdirection in our understanding of it’s current state. Although a year-over-year comparison gets rid of seasonality, the results are at the mercy of how normal the prior year was…

The slowdown in the U.S. housing market has caused much hand-wringing. But keep this in mind: robust housing sales and price gains in 2013 were the anomaly and at odds with tepid economic fundamentals such as income, employment and credit. It’s the year-over-year comparisons that make things look worse than they are.

Read my latest Bloomberg View column
Understanding Housing’s Dog Days.
Please join the conversation over at Bloomberg View.


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My Bloomberg View Column: Housing Data Is Old and Moldy

July 31, 2014 | 11:32 am | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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After being pummeled with confusing sound bits after the release of Monday’s Pending Home SalesIndex by the NAR and the S&P/Case Shiller Index, I thought it was time to set the record straight on the applicability of this research.

This is my second column for Bloomberg View: Housing Data Is Old and Moldy


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My First Post on Bloomberg View: Homebuying Gets a Housecleaning

July 28, 2014 | 9:28 pm | BloombergViewlogoGray | Charts |

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I was recently approached by Bloomberg View, the editorial arm of Bloomberg LP, to provide commentary on the housing market. I seem to be in good company.

Although their well oiled machine began to append my additional title “Bloomberg Contributor” earlier in the month when being sourced, it wasn’t an oversight on their part. I didn’t submit my first post until last week. It took me a few weeks to get my groove on as I was in the midst of a 2Q14 market report release gauntlet.

Last Wednesday evening I wrote my first post about Lawrence Yun’s attendance at the Zillow Housing Forum and how NAR had become just one of the crowd, and the symbolism of it all. I got the idea when I was sent the Zillow e-vite to attend the conference and I noticed that Yun was to speak.

Excited, I submitted my first post on Thursday morning, unfortunately just before the Zillow-Trulia bombshell deal jumped into the headlines. So I needed to add this new twist – which thankfully made my original point even stronger. I re-wrote my first post and it was placed online last Friday.

Here is the first column of hopefully many to come: Homebuying Gets a Housecleaning


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