Even with the development of the New Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, New York City is never short of grandstanding.

Last week, there was a brou-ha-ha (sp?) prompted from an internal email by a controversial real estate agent questioning the downward trend in the number of sales in my Manhattan report from Q1 07 to Q1 08. The email was somehow, someway (conveniently) leaked to the public but was widely regarded as a non-story, until a market report colleague opted to grandstand by emailing thousands of agents that work in his same firm inferring his reports are better than mine. And by the way, his internal email to the masses was somehow, someway (conveniently) leaked to the public as well.

As per my personal policy and business ethics, I have never commented on his report findings [I am making an exception in this post], let alone send an email blast to thousands. I have never claimed that my reports are better than anyone (and really, who cares?). IMHO, my colleague’s actions made a non-story, a story and I believe it is what finally prompted the New York Times to cover the disparity resulting in his firm looking worse than it should. This was my position for the New York Times:

I have consistently compiled data from both public record and reliable industry sources using the same methodology since 1994. These numbers represent the overall Manhattan market and reporting discrepancies could be for a number of reasons, including timing of when the data was polled and which neighborhoods are included in the report. I stand by my numbers and the methodology used to compile them.

I was especially pleased to see that the New York Times counted about the same number of sales in Q1 07 that I had reported. Although the NYT number was based on 9 days after the close of the actual reporting period, that has long been my point. Since I use confirmed data in addition to public record (as this other person claims to do as well) it would lead a rational person to conclude that variations between the reports are likely attributable to timing of data. Although my market report colleague included 600 more sales than I did this quarter, he neglected to mention in his email memo that using similar methodologies and the basis of establishing a trend, he had 600 fewer sales than my report in the same period a year prior.

Back in Q1 07 it never dawned on me to send a memo to thousands of agents touting my report as superior because I had more data. If I had to do it all over again, I still wouldn’t send such a memo. Good grief.

As we all know, trends in data are based on more than one data point. As economists like to say, the trend is your friend.

Ok, high drama over. Back to work.

UPDATE: Added report links.
UPDATE 2: Yanks unearth Sox jersey from new park [MLB.com]


7 Responses to “[Grandstanding] Rational Markets, Irrational Public Relations”

  1. L'Emmerdeur says:

    You are giving Dolly Lenz the time of day? That’s like handing the dog your homework. He isn’t going to complete it, he is going to eat it, but you will still get in trouble.

    Your work and your ethics speak for themselves. Don’t associate with philistines and plebes of his caliber, it is far beneath you.

  2. Jonathan J. Miller says:

    Thanks so much L’Emmerdeur. I hear you but I just felt I needed to state my position in public. There are so many other more important issues to deal with these days.

  3. THX for the explanation, JM, and for the very kind words on my blog. I just posted my most recent (frustrated but confusing) take on the state of Manhattan data reporting.

    I agree with the french guy (comment 1) that your work and ethics speak for themselves. I hope yoiu will take my blog locution for you as “The Miller” as the sign of respect it is.

    Any chance that there will ever come a day when counting Manhattan deals will be as simple as … counting??

  4. Jonathan J. Miller says:

    Thanks Sandy! Apparently Manhattan likes things complicated and with high drama. As said in a movie, “New York is just like Kansas only more intense.”

  5. There is no one I trust more when a report is released than yours Jonathan. But hey, you already know this. NY definitely likes its drama!

  6. Louis Leone says:

    Having looked at some of the downtown numbers in detail, it’s right in line with what you are saying Jonathan. Most importantly, it also seems in line with what we are experiencing in the market.

  7. Grunt says:

    I have always belived you to be a straight shooter and you have given me no reason to believe otherwise.

    People need to understand that you are telling it like it is.