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Luxury, Super, Ultra, Mega

[NYT Business Day Live] Luxury Real Estate As Art?

September 1, 2012 | 6:00 am | |


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I enjoyed the interview of James B. Stewart and Alexei Barrionuevo by Louise Story (best last name a reporter could ever have), on the topic of luxury real estate in the New York Times Business Day Live video series. Mr. Stewart (author of Den of Thieves – one of my favorite books of all time) penned “The Market for Real Estate Masterpiecesexploring the idea of high end real estate as art based on Alexei’s high end housing market coverage of the past year, including the $100M listing (including the upset interior designer), the $88M sale and the >$90M contract among others.

Here was my take on the “Art as Real Estate” angle in Mr. Stewart’s column:

“When people refer to their real estate as art, they’re really trying to say it’s unique, that it can’t be replicated.”

He said he’s seen the phenomenon not just in New York, but also Miami, London, Los Angeles and other markets where investors “are looking for safety in a world of turmoil and uncertainty.”

But, he said, “they’re confusing price with art. You’d think that titans of industry would be very individualistic about their acquisitions, but at the very top, there’s a herd mentality. You get one or two very large transactions that grab headlines and then it’s like a light switch goes off. In New York, this happened in the second half of 2010, and since then it’s been very intense. The size of what’s happening is unprecedented. How long can this go on? You see this kind of behavior and you have to wonder.”



New York Times Business Day Live August 31,2012 [New York Times]
Common Sense: The Market for Real Estate Masterpieces [New York Times]
Reaching for $100M [New York Times]
Other Luxury Real Estate articles by Alexei Barrionuevo [New York Times]

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Bloomberg Manhattan Luxury Housing Market Charts 2Q-2012

August 9, 2012 | 12:02 am | | Charts |

A few years ago Bloomberg set indices for the Manhattan Luxury Housing market based on our data seen by their terminal subscribers. Kind of cool.

These charts show the reset when the credit crunch began circa 2007-2009. On a ppsf basis (top chart), the luxury market seems to have begun climbing again at the same trajectory that was seen pre-Lehman bankruptcy.

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[On A1, 5 & Dime] New York Times Cover Story On Woolworth Condo Conversion

August 8, 2012 | 11:12 am | | Public |

A real estate article by Michelle Higgins on the Woolworth Building Condo Conversion: Luxury Living in Old Temple of the 5 and Dime made the cover of the New York Times today.

Not to wear out the use of irony here but the very idea that multi-million dollar homes will be located in the crowned jewel of nickel and dime retail sales is a bit mind boggling in retrospect.

Our company got a nice mention for the Manhattan zip code data we have been been tracking for the NYT for years. They’ve got a nice interface to slice and dice the data.

This is our 10th mention on A1 (I’m a numbers guy so I count everything) and I can assure you it never gets old.

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Luxury Housing: Does Anyone Really Wear White Gloves?

June 4, 2012 | 3:05 pm | |

This weekend’s New York Times Real Estate article by Vivian Toy about a “white glove” co-op listing got me wondering…do doorman actually wear them? Seems like an incredibly dated uniform requirement that speaks to a prestige symbol of another era.

While I recall seeing whited gloved doorman somewhere during my appraisal travels, it was clearly rare and most importantly, didn’t stand out as a “tell-tale” sign that a building was prestigious. More about coincidence I suppose.

I used Google Street View to get a closer look to verify if the doorman actually wears white gloves, and sure enough, the doorman is wearing white gloves.

Next subject of obsolete descriptions: the “silk stocking” district.

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Manhattan Residential Housing Sales Volume Is Crushing Other Boroughs

June 4, 2012 | 1:38 pm | Charts |

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The aggregate sales dollars (volume) of all residential sales (co-ops + condos + 1-3 family) for the first quarter of 2012 in Manhattan accounted for 62.5% of all residential sales dollars (volume) for the 5 boroughs (New York City). This is the highest market share in over 8 years and likely the highest market share in decades (my Bronx and Staten Island data only goes back to January 2003.)

No wonder real estate firms, whether brokerage or development, are concentrating on Manhattan.  The dollar volume is a reflections of a robust high end market since the market share of the number of sales doesn’t dominate the other boroughs like volume does.  

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The market share for the number of sales in Manhattan began to jump in 2006, right about when the new development boom was accelerating.

Incidentally, it’s interesting how many people refer to “Manhattan” as “New York City”.



  • New York City Residential Housing Market Charts [Miller Samuel]

Tallest Chart in History of Manhattan Real Estate (Number of Sales by Price, 1/03 to 1/12)

March 1, 2012 | 3:57 pm | Charts |

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[Haute Living Magazine] Buy The Numbers Column: December 2006

December 18, 2006 | 12:01 am | Articles |

Haute Living, a magazine that covers the luxury lifestyle, has gotten a lot of attention in New York over the past year. Publisher Seth Semilof began contacting me about a year ago, asking me to write a column. He wanted an analytical perspective of the the luxury real estate market.

[Although I am not part of the Jet Set, have any real estate dynasty or blue blood in my heritage, nor do I smoke fine cigars (allergic), play polo, have three homes in different states, nor do I grasp where the small fork is supposed to go in the place setting, I do enjoy dissecting values and explore relationships of amenities in the residential property market. In this issue, I began using a more Trump-esqe photo.]

I write a column on the luxury market appearing in the New York edition called Buy The Numbers.

Here’s my second Buy The Numbers column which is titled: Penthouse Living Provides A Clear View.

I’ll post the link to the digital version of the magazine shortly.


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[Haute Living Magazine] Buy The Numbers Column: October 2006

October 23, 2006 | 12:01 am | Articles |

Haute Living, a magazine that covers the luxury lifestyle, has gotten a lot of attention in New York over the past year. When originally launched, it covered the Florida market but eventually expanded to New York because the connection between New York and Florida made sense. The magazine is currently evolving into an alternating New York and Florida monthly edition.

Publisher Seth Semilof began contacting me about a year ago, asking me to write a column. He wanted an analytical perspective of the the luxury real estate market. Although I am not part of the Jet Set, have any real estate dynasty or blue blood in my heritage, nor do I smoke fine cigars (allergic), play polo, have three homes in different states, nor do I grasp where the small fork is supposed to go in the place setting, I do enjoy dissecting values in the residential property market.

[Close call: a distant relative of mine did invent instant mashed potatoes, but no fortune found its way to me.]

Seth’s determination impressed me, so I opted to write a column on the luxury market. Its going to appear every other month in the New York edition and I call it Buy The Numbers.

Here’s my first attempt at the Buy The Numbers column, (using a big fork on the mashed potatoes) called: Luxury Defined by a Bundle of Amenities.

Read the October Buy The Numbers column [Miller Samuel]

Read October issue of Haute Living New York [Digital Version]


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Penthouse Article In New York Living

July 5, 2006 | 12:05 am | Articles |

An article I recently wrote on the penthouse market, Penthouse Living: On Top of the World, appears in the July-August edition of New York Living magazine. I have been writing for them periodically over the past 4 years.

The magazine contains a lot more than pretty pictures (and there are a lot of those). There’s great information on various types of residences in the New York market and region, especially concerning luxury and new development.

Download article.

For urbanites, its safe to say that many aspire to be on top of things, and that goes for their apartments. Penthouses seem to fit the bill, but also, how is a penthouse apartment defined? The term “ penthouse” as a marketing label, implies exclusivity, cache and uniqueness, yet as an apartment type, its definition remains elusive. Besides their “elevated” status at or near the top of a building, penthouses tend to be uniquely configured, have open views, outdoor space and other unique amenities which may include above-average ceiling height, multi-level configurations and fireplaces…

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