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April 26, 2019

The Housing Bunny Shows Us He’s Ready To Rumble

The moral of the story, don’t judge a bunny by its cute, cuddly exterior [1]. Inside there may be a stronger person that is ready to fight.

But I digress…

Elliman Reports Released: Q1-2019 Hamptons, North Fork and Long Island

This was the final week of our four week quarterly report gauntlet. Phew. More markets are being added next quarter to our expanding Elliman Report series [2] I’ve been authoring since 1994.

Of utmost importance was a Bloomberg chart (2 versions) on the spike in listing inventory…

[3]

[4]

Here are some key observations of these markets:

THE HAMPTONS

Elliman Report: Hamptons Sales 1Q 2019 [5]

“The sub-million dollar market had its second highest sales share in five years.”

[6]

[7]

NORTH FORK

Elliman Report: North Fork Sales 1Q 2019 [8]

“Stable pricing with easing sales growth.”

[9]

[10]

LONG ISLAND

Elliman Report: Long Island Sales 1Q 2019 [11]

“Sales slowed as prices continued to rise.”

[12]

[13]

Elliman Reports Released: Aspen/Snowmass Village, Los Angeles, Venice/Mar Vista, Malibu/Malibu Beach

ASPEN

Elliman Report: Aspen + Snowmass Village Sales 1Q 2019 [14]

“Market-wide sales continued to see annual gains for the second straight quarter.”

[15]

[16]

SNOWMASS VILLAGE

Elliman Report: Aspen + Snowmass Village Sales 1Q 2019 [14]

“Larger sales size skewed price trends higher as sales slowed.”

[17]

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LOS ANGELES

Elliman Report: Los Angeles Sales 1Q 2019 [19]

“Overall market share of pocked/whisper listings declined as listing inventory expanded.”

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[21]

MALIBU/MALIBU BEACH

Elliman Report: Malibu + Malibu Beach Sales 1Q 2019 [22]

VENICE/MAR VISTA

Elliman Report: Venice + Mar Vista Sales 1Q 2019 [23]

Elliman Reports on Greenwich and Fairfield County, Connecticut Featured on CNBC

Diana Olick at CNBC reached out to me this week to talk about the Q1-2019 Elliman Report on the Greenwich, CT housing market and the impact of the federal tax law on high-end suburban markets in NYC metro. We spoke on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich at 8:30 am and had to keep doing segments over because of the random roars of delivery and garbage trucks. The irony was not lost on me – a busy downtown with not a lot of empty parking spaces so early in the morning – combined with a slow housing market. Anecdotal but this is what we are seeing at the macro level – a robust regional economy with soft housing conditions.

We were set up in front of a Vineyard Vines store while I was wearing a bright Ted Baker tie (Hey, I can be a social media style influencer too). The irony in this product placement “ties” this story altogether (in my own mind). I received more feedback about my tie than I did on my content. Oh well. And for the record, Diana made very clear to me that she commented on my tie first.

[24]

Here’s the segment that also includes my friend Jennifer Leahy of Douglas Elliman, their number one agent in Connecticut who just sold the massively oversized home of 50 Cent [25].

New tax laws take a toll on home sales in Connecticut [26] from CNBC [27].


Streeteasy’s Out East Site Has Brokerage Community Where They Want Them

The brokerage community is complaining that the new Streeteasy site for the Hamptons and North Fork – Outeast [28] – is preventing them from serving the consumers.

Let me start from the beginning.

It has been almost six years since Zillow acquired Streeteasy [29], the defacto MLS system for Manhattan. Streeteasy, as conceived, was an elixir that the brokerage community (and me) became addicted to. There had been no listing search engine that understood vertical housing markets since most platforms are “flat file” like in functionality. Zillow today and others remain like that. Condo unit 3A is viewed on its own merits and not with condo unit 47A in the same building at the same time. I had incorrectly assumed that Zillow would use Streeteasy to power the vertical housing markets they cover, but instead, they opted to use the acquisition to buy into the NYC market and have spent the time removing the bells and whistles that made Streeteasy so cool since there has been no real competition. Sure REBNY tried with their RLS system, but they don’t have the money to compete in the same league as Zillow and Zillow has won the consumer with hundreds of millions in marketing. Now that they won the consumer, they rolled out their Premier Agent program at $333 per month per listing [30] because they enjoy the monopoly that MLS systems around the country have long been accused of. Except that this is not a consortium of companies, it is simply a single tech platform.

I understand the New York Department of State is wrestling with this situation right now and the MLS world is watching for their final decision. I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Now we are seeing the same thing playing out in the eastern end of Long Island over the past two weeks – the brokerage community in the Hamptons seems to be besieged by tech issues now that they are forced to use the Streeteasy site Outeast now that they turned off editing of the Realnet site they acquired. The site is being forced on the community and it is not ready for daily use. Monopolies arent motivated in the same way as when competition exists.

Here are some of the incoming broker responses who are using a system that is not ready for prime time:

Their averaging stat misrepresents seasonal rents:

customers can not figure out what the rental prices are I always have to ask them first what period they are interested in and I think since averages are so high it keeps full season rentals from calling.

It’s been 2 weeks it is a crisis mode now for our business!
It took me two weeks to enter a rental condo , all my rentals Are average year round prices-shows up and most are only summer – you cannot average a Hamptons summer by the year .

Listing entry process is flawed

Who is your supervisor, you have no phone support you have a system that clearly doesn’t work and I have listings that can’t be entered. Where IS the old sale that was entered for the same address. I thought I could just use that. What is going on over there? How can you release a system that doesn’t work. Where is the open house info? Where is the day sheet. How do you operate a system that doesn’t work.

YOU GAVE ME A BICYCLE WITH NO TIRES AND ASKED ME TO PEDAL


There is more. I’ll expand on this topic this weekend over on my Matrix Blog [31].

In Canada, Losing A Purchase Deposit Can Be Gangsta

A one-time potential purchaser of a luxury home in Vancouver was not entitled to their $220,000 deposit back:

But property investor Shao Feng Yun wanted nothing to do with the mansion after finding out that notorious triad boss Raymond Huang Hong Chao was shot dead outside the front gate in 2007, in an unsolved gangland hit.

I’d be curious whether the property subsequently sold and there was any stigma attached to the sale.

[32]

Vertigo-Inducing Photos of Second Tallest NYC Building By Height

YIMBY has a photo spread of 111 West 57th Street [33] that is worth visiting. The technical challenges of this kind of construction have to be unreal but the views must be spectacular as visits to other supertalls have shown me.

My goal in life is to visit a top floor unit during a Hurricane without taking Dramamine. Here are a few of the photos taken by Michael Young for YIMBY. The third one was the most vertigo-inducing. Clicking on each takes you to the source article.

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HowMuch.net: Salary Needed to Buy A House In The Largest U.S. Metros

Chart eye candy.

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[Click to expand]

Tip: Remove All Your Toilets to Save Money on Property Taxes

Over the last few weeks, I have been particularly sensitive to the notion that consumers modify their behavior, especially the wealthy when it comes to avoiding paying taxes. The idea that they have so much money that they don’t modify their behavior is lazy armchair economics.

Here is an amazing example of tax avoidance in Chicago [35] if the charges are true.

One of the mayoral candidates in Chicago is accused of removing all the toilets in one of his extra homes to save $330,000 in property taxes.

The appraisal noted that “there were no functioning bathrooms in the house since all the toilets were removed,” adding that there were appliances in the “cooks’ kitchen” in the basement. It also noted that one stairway banister was braced and another one “sloped noticeably to the right side.”


No photos to be found online taken of the house or the lack of toilets…

Getting Graphic


Len Kiefer [36]‘s Chart Handiwork [37]
[click to expand]

His forecasting model for EHS is mindblowing. The change in forward-looking views has been incredibly volatile.

[38]

Appraiserville

(For earlier appraisal industry commentary, visit my old clunky REIC [39] site.)

Look for more discussion about the seminal NYS AMC Law this weekend over on my Matrix Blog [31].

Your Reports Can Turn Up Anywhere

OFT (One Final Thought)

I actually bought one of these last summer. It didn’t work (burn off carbs, that is).

Brilliant Idea #1

If you need something rock solid in your life (particularly on Friday afternoons) and someone forwarded this to you, or you think you already subscribed, sign up here for these weekly Housing Notes [44]. And be sure to share with a friend or colleague if you enjoy them because:

Brilliant Idea #2

You’re obviously full of insights and ideas as a reader of Housing Notes. I appreciate every email I receive and it helps me craft the next week’s Housing Note.

See you next week.

Jonathan J. Miller, CRP, CRE, Member of RAC [45]
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc. [46]
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog [47] @jonathanmiller [48]

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