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The Real Deal

[The Housing Helix Podcast] Candace Taylor, Real Estate Reporter, The Real Deal Magazine

April 7, 2010 | 2:00 am | | Podcasts |

I really enjoyed my conversation with Candace Taylor, writer for The Real Deal Magazine, one of the best resources for residential real estate news in NYC. She covers real estate all day long and we speak about many issues including square footage discrepancies and getting people mad.

Check out the podcast

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.



[Bobbleheads] Known For Their Ubiquitous Media Verbosity

November 3, 2009 | 10:23 am | | Public |

In the current issue of The Real Deal magazine, the article Real estate’s most verbose talking heads: A look at the busy schedules of NYC’s go-to market pundits

…goes haywire with Adobe Illustrator and selects four go to media resources:

Barbara Corcoran, the founder of the Corcoran Group and now a regular on the “Today Show”; Jonathan Miller, the ubiquitous president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel; Dan Fasulo, managing director at Real Capital Analytics; and Bob Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal Realty are just a few among a growing bunch of go-to contacts.

I think the bobblehead designation is a compliment? Verbosity? I always used that word in the “long-winded” connotation. Well, my phone simply rings – plus – I’ve been known to hang out on car dashboards on the weekends.

Aside: Bob Knakal is a long time colleague who has generously agreed to sit down with me on my podcast, The Housing Helix, in a few weeks.


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[Over Coffee] Quote: It’s Hard To Soar Like An Eagle When You Are Surrounded By Turkeys

September 15, 2009 | 2:35 pm | |

I was listening to the US Senate Banking Committee Hearing on the Bernard Madoff investigation last Thursday and was thoroughly entertained by the dry delivery of Harry Markopolis, a financial investigator who pulls no punches – he warned the SEC about Madoff in 1999. I don’t know whether he is the real deal or not but he cuts to the chase which is refreshing after listening to endless govspeak by the SEC Enforcement Division Director and SEC Compliance Acting Director.

At about the 02:14:00 mark, it starts to get entertaining and a reminder of how slow government can be in responding to a much faster moving private sector. Remember this is one of the agencies that provided oversight to financial institutions that created complex financial instruments for the mortgage market that preceeded the credit crunch last year. Markopolis said the best tool the SEC has to prevent this from happening again is the “Pink Slip” and fire half the SEC staff. While I don’t know the details well enough to comment whether this is reasonable, I find his directness refreshing.

Markopolis chirped out one of many homespun homilies at the hearing including (02:17:09):

It’s Hard To Soar Like An Eagle
When You Are Surrounded By Turkeys.

He said this at the table with the SEC! …in front of the US Senate Banking Committee! Wow!

Incidentally, Benjamin Franklin sort of suggested the Wild Turkey be the national bird instead of the Bald Eagle.

Who said CSPAN had to be dull?



[Interview] Stuart Elliott, Editor-In-Chief, The Real Deal Magazine

August 20, 2009 | 3:20 am | | Podcasts |

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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Stuart Elliott, Editor-In-Chief, The Real Deal Magazine

August 20, 2009 | 12:01 am | | Podcasts |


I had the pleasure of interviewing Stuart Elliott, the Editor-In-Chief of The Real Deal Magazine. Together with Publisher Amir Korangy, The Real Deal pushes out a lot of content on the residential and commercial real estate markets in New York City and South Florida, making their publication a must-read.

Check out the podcast

The Housing Helix Podcast Interview List

You can subscribe on iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my other blog The Housing Helix.


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[Over Coffee] Morning Quote From The Real Estate Front

July 31, 2009 | 1:23 pm | |

Well, it’s still morning in LA.

Real Deal Magazine publisher Amir Korangy and Editor Stuart Elliott finally get their due with a page 1, column 1 story in the LA Times yesterday. It covers their history and what its like to cover the New York housing market.

There was a market related quote in the article from one of the top New York City commercial real estate brokers, Bob Knakal, of Massey Knakal in Manhattan that got my attention. Here’s how he described the current commercial real estate market.

“It’s as if you had both your arms hacked off and you were bleeding all over the place,” Knakal says. “But then the bleeding stopped and you feel a little better. You still have your arms hacked off, but everything is relative.”

That’s brutal honesty – literally.


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Wrapping Up Foreclosure Properties, Literally

July 7, 2009 | 12:06 am | |

Did a lot of boating this weekend and there seemed to be a lot of boats still under “wraps.” So today I saw an interesting article in The Real Deal/Miami (hat tip to WSJ Developments Blog) Foreclosures could put houses in plastic

Foreclosures, dried-up financing and simple bad timing means countless South Florida construction projects now sit unfinished and all but abandoned. In the subtropical climate, the wood develops mold and degrades and the metal rusts.

…the company has wrapped three homes in the past several months, and is working with a group in Pennsylvania to begin wrapping 240 homes in the Northeast.

It’s a growing problem – not sure this is the answer but perhaps it beats the alternative.



1-Across Is No Puzzle

May 19, 2009 | 4:06 pm | | Favorites |

trdMay09crossword

The Real Deal Magazine, one of the best resources for real estate information on the New York housing market, also delves into the world of crossword puzzles in each monthly issue.

You know you’ve arrived when you make it to 1-Across.

Stumped?

Ok, back to work.


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[In The Media] The Real Deal 4-29-09

April 29, 2009 | 12:42 pm | | Public |

Here’s a recent interview I did with Jen Benepe of The Real Deal Magazine on the East End and the market report 1Q 09 market report covering the Hamptons and North Fork.

You can stick a “fork” in it as much as you want, but the Hamptons aren’t “done,” by the way.

View the interview.


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[Canceled/Reconfigured] Developers Forced To Confront New Reality

February 5, 2009 | 11:06 pm | |

The Real Deal Magazine is relentless in its coverage of the New York City real estate economy (and other markets), warts and all – one of those areas is getting a lot of attention lately is the new development market. We are seeing new types of selling techniques.

One of the significant issues is shadow inventory and the change in plans that many developers are forced to initiate/accept with the fall off in demand and increased difficulty in obtaining mortgages.

Here are a series of maps which shows the status of a number of new developments in New York City.

The federal government might be a good suitor – apparently they have no qualms about overpaying for assets.



[Market Report Pulse] Sales Contract Data Can Mean Nothing

January 16, 2009 | 2:44 am | |

One of the most sought after trending tools for housing markets is contract data. Not listing data, not closed data. Contract data.

Compile a lot of data across all regions, property types and price strata and you are golden. You are observing the market as close to the “meeting of the minds” as is humanly possible – you have its proverbial pulse.

I thought to write about the concept of reporting contract data after I got a call from The Real Deal about a new contract-based real estate market report. Their founder is a very creative, very smart and very successful marketer of real estate, first as an agent and then as a marketing expert for new developments. Visually, the report is beautifully done, consistent with the quality of their firm’s marketing materials and online presence. However, they might consider dropping the name of “real-time” from the report. It’s monthly. I understand the intention, but the use of the phrase “real-time” infers a live feed, which this report is not. Isn’t “monthly real-time” an oxymoron?

A quote from The Real Deal article:

It tracks contracts info. To me, that’s what reflects the marketplace and where we are currently, not closed information, which is actually a look back in history.

Another company attempted “real-time” a few years ago by treating real estate listings like the stock market and began publishing a “ticker” type interface. I have to give them credit for the innovation, but it never really got people’s attention.

But I digress

What is contract data exactly?

It’s a property sale with an executed (both parties signed) contract – It is usually 45-60 days ahead of a closing date if new development data is excluded. Actually this 45-60 day time frame is currently expanding as lenders become more difficult to deal with. New development data in the mix could lag the market by 1 to 2 years.

I sort of dealt with contract activity in the most recent market report numbers in my 4Q 2008 Manhattan Market Overview but not in the traditional sense of aggregating contract data and trending it.

Our appraisal firm began to see a pattern in late September 2008 where current contracts of properties we were appraising, were clearly lower than contracts signed in the summer of 2008. The range was roughly 15% to 20%. My 20% number has been widely referenced by the Fed, Goldman Sachs and others, and in fact, page one of AM New York published the number “20%” in red on the entire cover. But our conclusions were based on more of a case by case analysis, similar to a repeat sales analysis.

I don’t currently issue contract reports but I certainly aspire to, but only when I have credible results. Periodically I’ll see one of my appraisal competitors distribute a press release with their own contracts tabulated. I’ll see real estate brokers and marketing agents issue contract reports.

Readers oooh and ahhhh over the relevancy of contracts because the data is perceived to be fresh and current. In principle it is current, but in practice it is much more subject to skew than other data.

I also wonder why methodologies are never fully provided, especially those prepared by marketing groups or departments.

Here are the issues that make much market analysis of contract reports suspect, despite perhaps the best intentions of the authors.

  • Quantity of data — the key issue that makes much analysis unreliable – absent from the public domain.
  • Location of the data — contract data tends to be sourced from a few institutions or entities so its availability and the potential for skew is very serious.
  • Unit mix of the data — This is subject to skew depending on the source of the data – what type of business they have – who their customers are (low end, high end, studios, 3-bedrooms, etc.)
  • Source of the data — The four largest real estate brokerage firms probably account for 80% of all sales in Manhattan. I know each of the senior management teams so I am fairly confident they will not release contract data in bulk to anyone outside their company, especially to a competitor.

I have never met a broker that will share contract data in bulk because it can jeopardize their company’s sales and commissions. We are able to get contract data periodically, but not in bulk. If producers of contract reports can win me over on these key issues, I am ready to jump in with two feet. NAR publishes a pending contract index and frankly, not many people I know believe the results.

In other words, contract data is the Holy Grail, but I am not convinced it’s yet achievable as a reporting tool.

Now give me a sales contract specific to the appraisal we are working on and I am happy ’cause that’s a whole ‘nother story.


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[Inman Connect] No one is living in tents…yet

January 15, 2009 | 2:36 pm | | Public |

Here’s a quick video snippet of the last two panels of the 2009 New York Inman Connect conference which is always a great time. I was invited to speak at the main session for the last panel of the conference.

The Real Deal magazine parsed out some of the conversations, specifically from Dottie Herman and moi.


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