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New York City Suburbs

[Media] Bloomberg Markets Interview January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 | 11:07 pm | | Milestones |

So I was walking down Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in the late morning after a meeting and got a call from Bloomberg TV. Apparently, two different stories that featured two of the market reports I author – published by Douglas Elliman – were the number one and two most emailed on the Bloomberg Terminals worldwide.  They wanted to talk about them.

So I took a left and walked over Bloomberg HQ.  Got to speak with Vonnie Quinn and Shery Ahn on set – who knew how to make an interview go well.

This is a 2-minute clip of the 5-minute interview, but you’ll get the gist. I’ll expand on this discussion tomorrow at 2 pm when my weekly Housing Note is released.

[click to view video]

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Real Estate ChartArt in Elliman Magazine’s Fall 2017 Issue

September 18, 2017 | 3:12 pm | | Charts |

Douglas Elliman Real Estate just published their fall issue. I created the content for pages 208-209 and I think it looks pretty snazzy (and interesting).

Click on image below to expand.

EllimanMag

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Homes with Blue Bathrooms Sell for More?

June 1, 2017 | 9:40 am |


[Geithner Bathroom, Westchester MLS]

Remember former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s blue bathroom that didn’t help him get his price back in 2009?

Today I received a press release from Zillow that shared the results of their research with the headline: Homes with Blue Bathrooms Sell for $5,400 More than Expected.

Like the Zestimate’s results that are presented to the nearest dollar, this type of presentation infers a market precision that does not exist. Labeled as “disrupters,” I think Zillow’s concept of “aggressively marketing an accuracy that is non-existent” is one of the biggest challenges facing real estate appraisers and brokers and in turn, the consumers. Numbers can be magic, especially when presented in an econ-sounding way. The consumer absorbs the results as gospel without challenge.

I’m sure the numbers are accurate with the data they have but Zillow’s application of the results are misleading. Yes their data says blue bathrooms sell for $5,400 more but that doesn’t mean your blue bathroom will get you $5,400 more than your neighbor with the exact same house across the street that doesn’t have a blue bathroom.

As that commercial on tv says: if it’s on the internet, then it must be true.

 

 

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Westchester to Manhattan Commute Time by Housing Cost

April 7, 2017 | 10:34 am | | Infographics |

Because I’m a little behind, the awesome infographic below by Michael Kolomatsky appeared in the New York Times real estate section a few weeks ago: How Much Is Your House Worth Per Minute?.

My original version covering Fairfield County was so popular they wanted me to do recurring versions. This one was much harder since there wasn’t an obvious “sweet spot” but the concept was the same. And best of all, it’s pretty darn cool.

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Market Optics Over Facts: “Greenwich, CT is Vibrant and Active”

November 19, 2016 | 8:21 am | Favorites |

I was reading the newspaper 2 weeks ago and saw that a well regarded area real estate brokerage firm had provided a listing photo magazine insert. I noticed what appeared to be a marketing inconsistency that referred to the Greenwich, CT housing market broker panic of a few months ago.

Below is the “We’re #1 in this market” type headline which is common in these photo magazines.

hldarien

But it gets more interesting…

For the uninitiated, the Greenwich housing market received the ire of master of the universe Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood which is based in Greenwich. According to area brokers, he was unable to sell his Greenwich home. Apparently it was frustrating so he spoke about it at a large business conference. Bloomberg news captured the slight in “Greenwich Is the Worst U.S. Housing Market, Sternlicht Says

“You can’t give away a house in Greenwich,” Sternlicht said Tuesday at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York.

The brokerage community in Greenwich was appalled and many took the insult personally, at the risk of propping up sellers to unrealistic expectations they have maintained since 2007. Some agents wanted to write responses in the local papers and have celebrities speak out on how amazing Greenwich was as a residential community. Sadly that type of response completely missed the point. Greenwich is awesome. I have relatives who live there. It is beautiful, close to the commuter trains into the city and has a terrific school system. But that isn’t what Sternlicht was criticizing.

A real estate agent’s job is to help their clients navigate a housing market, not lead their clients to believe agents can prop it up artificially (aside from the “glass is half full” orientation) because agents are not bigger than the market. The effectiveness of spinning market conditions to hide actual conditions is a myth. I believe this way of broker thinking actually damages the market by keeping the gap between buyers and sellers artificially wide.

Greenwich, which relies on Wall Street for the high end home buyer market, did not see the boom of the past five years that NYC saw. Bonuses being paid out to Wall Street are forecast to be lower this year for the third year in a row. I wrote about this agent-market disconnect in my Housing Note when the Sternlicht article came out. In addition, areas furthest away from the town center have been the hardest hit as more and more new buyers are reflecting the new urbanism call for walkability.

It appears this brokerage firm was attempting to counter Sternlicht’s insult and placate their own agents, by inserting the following awkward headline: GREENWICH REAL ESTATE IS VIBRANT AND ACTIVE in this listing photo magazine insert below.

I understand that the results of their market report were almost identical to ours – sales slipped year over year – but less than the size of the prior quarter slip. Incidentally they no longer prominently post their market reports on their web site. I assume they have been removed for a similar reason. Current market conditions are weaker than a few years ago in the areas they service so there is no need to illustrate it. Anyway, that’s only my assumption.

The following photo ad even says (you can see the top of the “5%” on the lower right of the photo that says their sales are up 5%. But that factoid does not speak to the market, rather it really speaks about the sales volume of their company. This is misdirection since it contradicts overall market direction.

hlgreenwich

I have long admired this firm and still do so I sent my thoughts about this to a senior executive I know but received no response. I can only assume that this was thought to be a good recruiting tool to attract those agents appalled by the attack on the Greenwich market by Sternlicht. Unfortunately this doesn’t do any market participant any good since real estate brokers are supposed to be trusted advisors.

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NYT Calculator: Suburban Sales Boom Measured By Houses on Monopoly Board

November 19, 2016 | 7:46 am | | Charts |

The New York Times created another super cool graphic in their new Calculator column, based on my idea. In the fall of 2015 I observed a massive surge of sales in Westchester County (north of NYC for those not familiar with our area). However median sales price was nearly flat during this period. This was phenomenon repeated in all of the counties that surround NYC – except for NJ since I don’t cover that market yet but anecdotally I believe the same phenomenon is occurring there. I believe this moment was the point where the affordability challenge became so severe that renters and move up buyers had to move out of the city.

Specifically, Brooklyn showed a surge in median sales price from 2009 with a modest growth in sales. Westchester reflected the opposite patterns of Brooklyn. Westchester county sales boomed over the same period while the growth in median sales price was much more tepid.

westchestervbrooklyn11-2016

Below is the NYT graphic for the suburban sales boom article.

11-18-16nytcalculator

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The Relationship Between Commute Time and Housing Prices

October 28, 2016 | 3:48 pm | | Infographics |

Back in the mid 1990s after my wife and I moved to Fairfield County, Connecticut from Manhattan, I noticed the decline in housing prices further from the first express stop in Stamford, CT.

I worked on an updated version of the concept for this weekend’s New York Times Real Estate section: What’s Your Commute Time Worth? They did an amazing job on the graphic.

nytimesmetro-northcommute3q16

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[Speaking] The Fairfield/Westchester Chapter of REFA 10-25-16

October 11, 2016 | 10:49 am |

I’m moderating a great panel in Stamford, CT for the Fairfield/Westchester Chapter of the Real Estate Finance Association (REFA) on October 25, 2016 titled:

For Sale and for Rent, Trouble at the Top?

refabrocure10-25-16

Residential Real Estate has been one of the bright spots in the local economy in recent years. The single family market continues to post record sales volumes and the growth of the multi-family market in Fairfield County has been dramatic. However, there is mount- ing concern about perceived over-building at the top end of the luxury single family and multi-family markets. Where is the demand coming from? Will it continue? What prod- uct do people want? Where are we headed? We look forward to a lively and informative program.

The response so far has been heavy – click here for more information or to sign up.

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Greenwich CT Pre-Lehman “Reno, Then Flip” Mentality Is Long Gone

February 26, 2016 | 9:41 am | | Charts |

Fairfield County, CT is one of the more recent editions to our Elliman Report series. Greenwich, CT as a submarket has proven to be a market still strongly linked to the heady days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and the beginning of the financial crisis. There remain many owners of high end homes purchased a decade ago that remain value-anchored to those days of yore.

I took a look at the last 15 years of residential sales, measuring the amount of time that passed from a home’s prior renovation to sale. From the late 1990s to Lehman, there was a compression of time from renovation to eventual sale, reflective of the speculative conditions leading up to Lehman. Reno a home, then sell it. During those days, business cards passed out by doctors and lawyers at Greenwich cocktail parties were either “hedge fund manager” or “developer.” Not so much anymore.

Subsequent to Lehman, the late 1990s pattern that preceded the U.S. housing bubble returned by 2010 and has remained remarkably stable since.

4Q15GR-sincelastreno

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Brooklyn, Queens Set Records, NYC rents jump, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Get Busy

October 8, 2015 | 9:05 pm | | Reports |

wsjbrooklyn3q15-600

We published a slew of research today for Douglas Elliman Real Estate:

Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals

Manhattan Rentals – Median rental price increased year-over-year for the 18th consecutive month – Median rental price was third highest on record – Brisk employment growth and strong economic conditions kept upward pressure on rents – Mortgage lending conditions remained tight tipping would-be first-time buyers back into rental market – Strength at lower end of market remained as non-doorman rents rose faster than doorman rents – Luxury median rental price slipped, showing weakest conditions of all price segments – Inventory slipped and marketing time remained low, despite rise in vacancy rate

Brooklyn Rentals – Median rental price set a new record for third consecutive month – Median rental price exceeded the $3,000 threshold for first time – Landlord concessions remained at nominal level as inventory slipped – Rental price indicators moved higher across all size categories – Listing inventory as well as negotiability between landlords/tenants fell – Median Brooklyn rent was $288 less than Manhattan

Queens Rentals – Price indicators showed mixed results, suggesting general stability overall – Studios showed strong price growth as 1-bedrooms and 2-bedrooms were flat – New development market share comprised 30.2% of new rentals – Luxury market median price gain was modest, but exceeded the overall market – Median Queens rent was $362 less than Brooklyn and $650 less than Manhattan

Brooklyn Sales – Brooklyn median and average sales price set a new record – Brooklyn remains the only New York City borough with a median sales price above the pre-financial crisis high – Condo, co-op and 1-3 family properties set new median sales price record – Luxury housing prices followed overall market trend – Sales expanded as listing inventory declined, resulting in brisk market pace – Fastest marketing time in 8 years

Queens Sales – Queens median and average sales price set a new record – Condo median sales price set a record for second consecutive quarter – Co-op price indicators set new record – 1-3 Family price indicators set new record – Luxury price indicators set new record – Inventory declined as sales surged – Marketing time fell as negotiability expanded

Westchester County Sales (expanded) – Record number of sales for the quarter, based in historical back to 1981 – Fastest marketing time and least negotiability in the 5.5 years this metric has been measured – Listing inventory for all property types slipped from year ago levels – Absorption rate was fastest market pace in 15 years – Single family and condo median sales price indicated stability – Single family market share declined even though sales increased – Luxury price indicators slipped, out performed by overall market

Putnam/Dutchess County Sales (new)

Putnam County – Price trend indicators increased on a year over year basis – Listing inventory slipped as the number of sales surged – Based on absorption, the market pace was 17.2% faster than the year ago quarter – Marketing time and listing discount expanded despite faster market pace

Dutchess County – Price indicators suggested general stability – Single family prices edged higher as condo prices declined – The pace of the market slowed as sales declined and inventory expanded

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Podcast: My Port Authority of NY & NJ Interview on Regional Housing Market

September 24, 2015 | 12:16 pm | Podcasts |

panynj-header

A few days ago I was interviewed by Christopher Eshleman at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. He works for Alexander Heil who is the chief economist and publishes a lot of great regional economic insights. Although this is a new effort, this was their first podcast conducted outside of the institution so I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity to share my views.

Christopher is a sharp guy and kept the conversation interesting (I even inserted a Jerry Seinfeld joke). It’s about a half an hour.

Check it out.

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[VIDEO] Boomberg TV ‘Market Makers’ 7-27-15

July 27, 2015 | 10:49 pm | | Reports |

Had a nice conversion this morning with Matt Miller and Stephanie Ruhle on Bloomberg TV’s ‘Market Makers.’ Never been on this show before. Wow. Energy+.

Before the show started, we had a active debate on whether ‘American Flyers‘ or ‘Breaking Away‘ was the best bicycling movie. Clearly ‘Breaking Away” was the better of the two HANDS DOWN but I liked the other a lot, especially for someone who likes the whole culture of bike racing. Not sure what bike movies had to do with our ‘state of the Hamptons market’ discussion covering our Hamptons market report for Douglas Elliman, but hey, it was obviously more important to settle the bike movie issue first.

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