Matrix Blog

The Real Deal

Business As Usual+: Miller Samuel Is To Be Acquired By Radar Logic

September 27, 2007 | 9:00 am | |

Its an exciting day for all of us at Miller Samuel.

Our firm, which has been tirelessly providing unbiased appraisal reports and market studies since 1986, is being acquired by Radar Logic, the data and analytics company enabling derivatives trading in the RPXâ„¢ market based on daily prices for residential real estate.

We are “business as usual”

Whats new?

  • We will be able to leverage our valuation and market reporting expertise with the groundbreaking data analytics pioneered by Radar Logic.

Stay tuned!

Press release [pdf].
Press Release [Market Wire].


Wonderfully complimentary blog posts:

A Champion reigns [Property Grunt]
Radar Logic to Acquire New York Real Estate Appraisal Firm Miller Samuel [Sellsius]
Radar Love for Miller Samuel [Altos research]

News stories:

Miller Samuel, Appraiser, to Be Sold to Radar Logic [Bloomberg]
Radar Logic to buy Miller Samuel [The Real Deal]
Miller Samuel acquired by Radar Logic [Crains]
Radar Logic acquires Miller Samuel [Inman News]

Repeat Sales, Fancy Math and Shaking The Tree

September 20, 2007 | 12:26 pm | | Public |

There was a great Page One article in the New York Sun by Bradley Hope today Amid Market Uncertainty, a New Hedge that covers Radar Logic’s property derivative product RPX. (note: I head up Radar Logic Research). As a good reporter should, Bradley gathered a quote from Karl Case, one of the creators of another property index, the S&P/Case-Shiller® Home Price Indices that has been available for more than a year.

While I have met the widely quoted Yale economist Robert Shiller and recently appeared with him at Lincoln Center at the Real Deal New Development Forum, I have not had the pleasure of meeting his longtime associate, Karl Case.

Mr. Case, who has been involved with research into real estate indices, said the RPX caters more toward dealers, but includes more “unpredictable random error” by using complex mathematics to calculate the values on a daily basis.

“They add fancy math, but they don’t add data,” he said.

Coming from a respected economist, I am surprised by his lack of understanding of RPX, and for making this type of comment, especially when RPX methodology is transparent and fully available on the Radar Logic web site.

Professor Case has really got it backwards. RPX has added data which is specifically excluded from the S&P/Case-Shiller® Home Price Indices:

  • Condos – “Condominiums and co-ops are specifically excluded” (from CSI)
  • New construction – “new construction is excluded” (from CSI)

It is fair to say that the real estate markets in the metro areas covered in their index have been significantly influenced by condo and new construction activity.

In addition:

  • Foreclosures – “subsequent sales by mortgage lenders of foreclosed properties are candidates to be included in repeat sale pairs” (from CSI) How is this determined?

As far as the fancy math comment goes, all I can say is: “good grief.” The RPX proprietary methodology was created by an affiliate of Radar Logic, Ventana Systems who for more than 20 years have been creating and deploying robust, comprehensive models of a complex environment for strategic visibility and control and whose current projects include modeling the national airspace system, research and development productivity, national economy, energy, climate, disease epidemiology and intervention. Ventana is run by the brightest people I have ever met.

Stay tuned!

Tags: ,

Can We Reach A Freakin’ Quorum About Housing?

August 20, 2007 | 12:01 am | |

Besides having a lot of admiration for the never ending contrarian ideas of Stephen J. Dubner, a la Freakonomics, it provides a great excuse to use “Freakin'” in public and not get scolded or lose my temper.

He gathered 5 real estate veterans to get their take on the questions: Is it finally time to believe in the housing bubble? And how much should the average American care?

He solicited comments from:

Robert Shiller: author of Irrational Exuberance and one of my economics’ heroes, who seems to be more optomistic than his introductions before various interviews would seem to suggest:

It is not clear whether the boom has come to an end; there is still investor enthusiasm out there.

Lawrence Yun: the new chief economist for NAR, who has taken the torch from his predecessor by dissappointingly finding obscure positive elements to expound upon that conflict with each other.

All real estate is local, and there are many local variations…The national median price was 1.1% lower in the second quarter of 2007 than its comparable period the year before….If people want to call the 1% price decline a bubble collapse — well, everyone has an opinion

David Lereah: the former NAR chief economist who gave this job title a bad name. He missed the opportunity to make NAR a trusted resource during the housing boom and post-housing boom periods, re-inventing phrases like “housing expansion” and balloons. A number of my agent colleagues were embarrassed by the things that he said during his tenure.

Bubble is the wrong imagery for today’s housing markets. Bubbles inevitably “pop.” A more useful image for the housing markets is a balloon. Balloons expand and deflate.

Barbara Corcoran: the former head of one NYC’s largest brokerage firms that bears her name. She was a brilliant marketer who really needs to re-connect with the market today. I am thinking that what worked 10 years ago doesn’t work today because I doubt that people believe she is running around the country snapping up property like picking apples from trees. But then again, I don’t understand marketing.

I’m yahoo-ing, low-bidding, and snatching up deals wherever I can find them…I’m grabbing as many over-priced, over-stuffed, and over-rated homes as I can get my greedy little hands on.

Aviv Nevo: one of the authors of the controversial Madison FSBO article who raised a lot of eyebrows with the study for his sharp insight, but also its limited applicability to the national market (not his fault at all). BTW, have you been to Madison lately? and is Jocko’s Rocketship near the football stadium still there?

I don’t know if it is time to believe in a housing bubble, and, frankly, I am not sure the average American should care.

Amir Korangy: founder and publisher of The Real Deal, to whom I have a particular bias, being in their publication a number of times, but for good reason: its a go to resource that is growing fast and has seemingly bigger than a Manhattan White Pages (8 pages of Millers, last time I checked).

Real estate prices are a local phenomenon based on employment, industry, and other factors including climate, quality of education, cost of living, immigration, and crime. Therefore, if the concept of a national housing market is ultimately a false construct, there simply cannot be a national housing bubble.

So why am I rambling about all these commentators in one column by a really smart contrarian economist? Because it speaks volumes about the residential housing market and how we see (or don’t see) it. The commentary represents a world filled with mixed signals, spin (cherry picking), more spin, limited applicability, out in left field silliness and rational thought, which leaves us freakin’ hungry to read more.

Oh, and by the way, I don’t think there was a quorum on the state of housing here.

Tags: , , , , ,

[In The Media] The Real Deal Clip for 7-30-07

July 30, 2007 | 10:44 am | | TV, Videos |

The Real Deal Magazine which has experienced phenomenal growth and is a must-read reasource for the New York housing market, has made a real commitment to the videocast format and delivers new video content on their web site every week. Look for my regular new podcast feature, coming soon.

I just released my 2Q 2007 Long Island/Queens Market Overview for Prudential Douglas Elliman and this interview covers the results, with emphasis on Queens. You can download a copy of the report.

To watch the videocast.


2Q 2007 Long Island/Queens Market Overview Available For Download

July 25, 2007 | 2:50 pm | | Radio |

The 2Q 2007 Long Island/Queens Market Overview [pdf] that I write for Prudential Douglas Elliman [PDE] is available for download. We created this market area study in 2006.

You can see the methodology that went into the report.

You can also build your own custom data tables using the aggregate report data (from 2Q 2003 through 2Q 2007 [2Q 2007 – to be uploaded shortly]). I have created a series of quarterly market charts that may also be of interest.

_An excerpt_

…Both average sales price and median sales price indicators approached stabilization, after two years of decline. However, changes in price levels varied by price strata and market area. The most notable price changes occurred in a weaker North Shore market and a stronger Queens condo market. Despite stabilizing prices, the overall number of sales fell across the entire region with the North Shore market being the only market to show a gain as compared to the same period last year. As a result of diminished demand, inventory levels have continued to rise, causing other market indicators like days on market and listing discount to expand. A decline in the overall number of sales in one of the most active quarters of the year suggests that the housing market may experience continued weakness in the near future…..

Download report: 2Q 2007 Long Island/Queens Market Overview [pdf]

Here’s a brief summary of the media coverage for the study. Its interesting to place the coverage side-by-side because its based on the same data.

Here’s the recap:

Queens-Long Island Home Prices Little Changed in Second Quarter [Bloomberg]
LI, Queens housing sales still cool [Newsday]
LI, Queens housing sales still cool [amNew York]
Queens prices down in 2nd quarter [The Real Deal]
Queens Residential Market Drops, Except for the Pricey Stuff [Curbed]
Queens-Long Island Home Prices [Bloomberg Radio (no clip yet)]


[In The Media] The Real Deal Clip for 5-14-07

May 14, 2007 | 1:29 pm | | Public |

The Real Deal Magazine which has experienced phenomenal growth and is a must-read reasource for the New York housing market, has made a real commitment to the videocast format and delivers new content on their web site every week.

Despite the fact Curbed teased me with the link at the end of last year: “Jonathan Miller has a lot of books” on the inaugural broadcast, The Real Deal promised to make the books look better and I think they succeeded.

Last week, I was interviewed for two articles on the Irish investment in New York residential real estate market (New York Times and AP) and little did I know the response they would garner. I have received calls from a number of developers looking for more information or to make introductions.

My parents recently informed me that I have ancestors going back to the mid-1800’s from Cork, Ireland. However, I don’t think qualifies me as having unique insight into the Irish real estate investment market. However, I did have the pleasure of meeting John Mehigan of Gumley Haft Keier Inc. a very sharp agent, who specializes in the Irish investment market and he has that insight.

To watch the videocast, our interview starts early on.


Book ’em Dano: Real Estate Reading List+

May 10, 2007 | 7:50 am | |

With 4 kids, 3 businesses, the Yankees and a lot of things going on in between, I still wonder why I haven’t been reading as many books as I used to. My wife is a voracious book reader, but over the past few years, I haven’t kept pace.

I took on this self-loathing view point after attending Daniel Gross‘ book launch last night for Pop! Why bubbles are good for the economy. I spoke with him at his book launch party last night as well as met Barry Ritholtz, who, along with Dan, are among the smartest and most acessible writers and interpreters of economics out there.

I read a large portion of Dan’s new book on my train commute home. Really good…enjoyable. When I got home, I decided to take a look at my magazine and newspaper subscription list and I realized how large it has become. To examine my list…

I am not including papers I pick up for my commute home including the NY Post, NY Sun, NY Daily News or Newsday, or count copies of Metro or AM New York for the subway.

I am not includimg the 119 rss feeds coming into my bloglines account, the email blasts I subscribe to, nor the sites like Slate, Salon, CNN/Money, Curbed,, Inman,, (SF Chronicle),, PIMCO,, Seeking Alpha and quite a few others I like to check in with every day.

Now there are a few on the list that are simply impossible to read everything or I choose not to (namely the New Yorker and The Economist because they are weekly and chock full of stories although I admit I look at every cartoon in the New Yorker.) I definitely don’t read all of these publications front to back. I included non-real estate subscriptions because, well, you never know.

Its apparent that anyone can get so involved in reading news, it could become a full time job. Where’s Evelyn Wood when I need her?

I feel like a sieve, with a slew of these publications going through my brain and the parts that stick, end up in my blog and in my understanding of the real estate market, the economy, and of course, make intelligent picks for next year’s March Madness tourney.

I suspect I am missing a few but don’t have time to check…too many to things to read. Here are the subscriptions I can think of and these are in no particular order.

new york times
wall street journal
financial times
new yorker
city journal
new york observer
the economist
new york magazine
new york living
time out new york
the real deal
sports illustrated
hemmings muscle car
excellence (porsche)
panorama (porsche)
american banker
valuation review
real estate weekly
yankees magazine
2 local weekly newspapers

The quantity has cut into my book reading time, that’s for sure. Its a good thing I have invented more time in the day (no time to explain). Suggestions for additions are welcome (no lesson learned from this exercise).

Hey did you hear about that new magazine that came out the other day….?

UPDATE: Here’s a few I forgot to mention:
rolling stone
haute living
new york home
appraisal today
real estate valuation magazine
appraisal journal

Tags: , , , ,

1Q 2007 Long Island/Queens Market Overview Available For Download

April 23, 2007 | 12:03 am | | Public |

The PDF version of the 1Q 2007 Long Island/Queens Market Overview [Miller Samuel] that I write for Prudential Douglas Elliman [PDE] is available for download. We just introduced this study series in 2006.

You can see the methodology that went into the report.

You can also build your own custom data tables using the aggregate report data (from 2Q 2003 through 1Q 2007). I have created a series of quarterly market charts that may be of interest as well.

_An excerpt_

…Overall price indicators showed weakness this quarter particularly at the higher end of the market. Overall median sales price showed relative stability as compared to the same period last year while average sales price showed a modest decline. Inventory levels are expected to level off as seasonal demand increases the number of sales. Current inventory levels remain below those seen in the second and third quarters of last year. However, the number of sales for the quarter is the lowest seen in three years suggesting a lower intensity of sales activity this spring, even when seasonally adjusted….

Download report: 1Q 2007 Long Island/Queens Market Overview [pdf]

Here’s the media coverage for the study. I think I got most of them. Normally I would have covered this the day of publication last week but if you remember, I was kind of in Seine.

Here’s the recap:

Bloomberg News
The Real Deal
New York Observer
Crain’s New York

Bloomberg Television – In Focus

Bloomberg Radio
Bloomberg Radio

Tags: ,

[Media Chain-Links => Post March Madness] 1Q 2007 Manhattan Market Overview

April 3, 2007 | 7:17 am | | Public |

My firm released the 1Q 2007 Manhattan Market Overview that we author for Prudential Douglas Elliman today. Its pretty much consumed most of my time for the past week and I am glad it is finally out. The “pretty” version should be online by the end of the day.

Note: I am equally thrilled that I won my March Madness pool last night with a Florida win.

The numbers were released and my summary of their interpretation were provided to the media for the coverage today. The actual data and charts will be available later today as well.

A year ago, I began posting the links to the coverage of each report as they are released to see how each media outlet reports the market using the exact same data. I find it to be an interesting process.

This list of articles is presented basically when I found them. I also include some duplicate news feeds because I like to see what regions are interested in the story – I place those near the bottom because of the repetition. I’ll keep adding links through the end of the week.

The Link List

Market Strong for Apartments in Manhattan [NYT] April 3, 2007
Big Apple’s Housing Market Shines [] April 3, 2007
Manhattan home prices on the rise – again [CNN/Money] April 3, 2007
CITY HIGH RI$E [New York Post] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Apartment Prices Increase at Slower Pace [Bloomberg] April 3, 2007
Wall St dollars help NY buck U.S. housing decline [Reuters] April 3, 2007
Buoyant Manhattan Market Bucks National Housing Trend [New York Sun] April 3, 2007
No bubble in NYC apartment prices [New York Daily News] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Market Report: Sales Soar, Prices Nudge Up [Curbed] April 3, 2007
Residential market in bloom [The Real Deal] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Apartments Keep Selling [Gothamist] April 3, 2007
Manhattan home prices still rising [MSN Money] April 3, 2007
Wall St dollars help NY buck housing decline [Yahoo! News] April 3, 2007
Manhattan’s real estate market stays hot [amNew York] April 3, 2007
Big Apple Bucking National Housing Market Trends [All Headline News] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Residential Market Surges in 2007 [Commercial Property News] April 3, 2007
Quarterly Figures Defy Dour Predictions [New York Observer] April 4, 2007

Radio and TV clips

Manhattan Residential Market [Bloomberg TV] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Residential Market Surges in 2007 [Dow Jones TV] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Residential Market [Bloomberg TV] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Residential Market [WABC-TV] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Residential Market [WNYW-TV Fox 5] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Residential Market [NY 1] April 3, 2007
Manhattan Residential Market [NY 1] April 3, 2007

[Bloomberg Radio] April 4, 2007
[Bloomberg Radio] April 3, 2007

Tags: , ,

Real Deal Totals Lincoln Center

March 26, 2007 | 12:05 am | | Public |

90. entire panel laughing

Well, Real Deal magazine sold out their “Science of Real Estate” New Development Forum at Lincoln Center last week. It was an event! Over 3,000 tickets were sold.

Some thoughts…

  • It was the first real estate event in the history of Lincoln Center.
  • It was the first sellout event in 2007 for Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.
  • Amir and Stuart proved once again, that they are truly unable to think small.
  • Additional confirmation that the backstage green room, is never green.
  • Amazed that Fritz was able to crash the green room.
  • Glad that Cathy H picked Real Deal red.
  • The constant and very loud church bells that ring behind the black curtain.
  • The spotlights were so bright, I now know how a deer feels.
  • Steve Cuozzo was our fearless conductor.
  • Admiring developers Kent Swig and Steven Ross’ incredible knowlege and the lion’s share of questions.
  • New understanding for the looming 421a tax abatement expiration.
  • Memories of bursting with answers and comments, but couldn’t figure out how to get a word in.
  • Appreciated Amanda Burden’s stance in not apologizing for critics accusations of micromanagement.
  • Wished Professor Shiller would not be so apologetic for his contrarian views on housing. He’s a smart man and has a lifetime of work to show for it.
  • Kudos to Pam Liebman of Corcoran and Bob Knakal of Massey Knakal for asking the first questions of the panel, achieving a strong pr play without being on stage.
  • Relieved that so many other people aside from myself have real estate centric existences.
  • Glad to get that free chocolate bar in the Real Deal goodie bag.
  • Sure that The Real Deal has been around longer than 4 years.

86. Miller Cuozzo 5. Shiller and Burden 68. Pre-event over shot room filled

Tags: ,

The Science Of Real Estate At Lincoln Center 3-20-2007

March 15, 2007 | 9:14 am | |

The Real Deal Magazine is hosting its third annual New Development Forum. With nearly 3,000 seats in Avery Fisher Hall, its amazing to me that its nearly sold out and projected to be at full capacity by show date.

I am excited to be a panelist and fully expect to learn a lot from my co-panelists. With my lack of artistic talent, this is the only way for me to get on stage at Lincoln Center.

Hope to see you there. Next stop, Carnegie Hall.

Click here to purchase tickets.

The Science Of Real Estate: The Real Deal At Lincoln Center 3-20-2007

January 15, 2007 | 12:02 am | | Public |

The Real Deal Magazine is hosting its third annual New Development Forum. Last year it was held at Cooper-Union with over 1,000 attendees, a line out the door and many turned away because of limited seating capacity. This year the venue has been moved to Lincoln Center with a seating capacity of 3,000.

I was invited to participate in the panel discussion, and as a big fan of The Real Deal Magazine, I accepted.

Robert Shiller (who is one of my economist heroes – is there such a thing?) will be there as well as Amanda Burden Chair of the NYC Planning Commission and other notable icons in the development industry. The panel will be moderated by Steve Cuozzo, Managing Editor of the New York Post, who did a great job last year in what was a standing room only ruckus of an event.

Click here to purchase tickets.


Get Weekly Insights and Research

Housing Notes by Jonathan Miller

Receive Jonathan Miller's 'Housing Notes' and get regular market insights, the market report series for Douglas Elliman Real Estate as well as interviews, columns, blog posts and other content.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter

#Housing analyst, #realestate, #appraiser, podcaster/blogger, non-economist, Miller Samuel CEO, family man, maker of snow and lobster fisherman (order varies)
NYC CT Hamptons DC Miami LA Aspen
Joined October 2007