Floating Housing and Exploring Diet Coke Density

Quite often it is easier NOT to ask why, just nod your head and move on. But then you miss the good stuff. This week we use the following “float” analogy to explore lighthouses (they don’t float despite being in water at all times), getting quoted in Woman’s Wear Daily and People Magazine (they float initially) and urban density metrics (don’t even ask), among other housing issues.

But first…

Christmas didn’t come in July for Landlords

Douglas Elliman published my July rental market analysis as part of our expanding Elliman Report series that I began in 1994. Before we get to the analysis part, I wanted to point out that the article covering the report was the 5th most emailed article on the Bloomberg Terminals world wide (±350,000 subscribers) and I don’t care whether their terminals float or not.

And a chart I made that shows the YOY decline in median net effective rent for July…

And a longer view of Manhattan median net effective rent… In the fall of 2013 and early winter of 2014, the rental market demand was strongly poached by the sales market. The buildup of pent-up sales demand was released in 2013 despite the uptick in mortgage rates due to the Fed’s spring “taper tantrum.” Nationally the pattern was inverted with the tantrum slowing sales.

This shows the seasonal pattern of the rental market. July is the activity peak.

Here are some additional charts…

Let’s Talk About Density and Prices

Here are several good reads from NeighborhoodX, a startup run by Constantine A. Valhouli that I advise.

Comparing housing prices in major U.S. cities: And what this says about each city.

Let’s talk about stats (Part 1 of 2): Population density in New York City

Let’s talk about stats (Part 2 of 2): Metrics matter, and can have policy consequences.

Millennial Settling in San Fran

I continue to be fascinated by the situation facing the developer and owners of Millennial Tower in San Francisco. The following quote was provided in the coverage:

“The latest data shows the tower has tilted about 2.5 inches west to the Salesforce skyscraper since January. That’s ‘more than twice the historical tipping rate,’’ the owners’ lawyers argued to the judge.

They noted that the building tilted a total of 11.5 inches in the eight years since it opened in 2009 and the end of last year.

‘At the current rate of tilt, even a two-year delay could add another eight to 10 inches of tilt to the west,’ the homeowner lawyers said in the filing.”

Lighthouses as homes

What about the idea of buying a lighthouse to live in? It sounds like a good idea at first – no lawn to mow and no solicitors. But on the other hand, Dominos won’t deliver and running errands during a storm seems needlessly risky.

There is a good read in the New York Times where $15K will get you one.

Apparently, the federal government is lousy with lighthouses (they have a lot). Through GSA auctions, you can buy one but the prices are much higher than $15K. Here is one that was bid up to $282,345. It has more curb appeal.

I’ve seen lighthouses in Connecticut on the market for around $700,000 but not aware of one that actually sold. I’m also the mayor of a number of lighthouses on Long Island Sound using @foursquare.

Jed Clampett’s kin folk told him to load up the truck and move here

Here is another aspirationally priced listing in the Los Angeles area. Mark your calendar for 2 years from today and check back in to see if it either sold, sold with a drastic price cut or never sold. Last year there were 2 homes in LA that sold for $100M. One had 38,000 square feet on 2 acres and the other has 22,000 on 5 acres.

Buying a street out from under you on a technicality

A couple bought a private street that through some sort of snafu, was put up for auction. I would guess the homeowners association will have to pay up for the oversight, but in a weird way, this seems unethical since the city has been mailing bills to the wrong person for decades. If this was a street of modest homes, I suspect these investors wouldn’t be written about in such a positive way.

New York City parking was vertical in 1930

I just love this photo. Not sure of the actual source, but it’s awesome. Doesn’t fit with the new urbanism trends, but it showcases that we are capable of many things, even parking.


This is something I shared over on my appraisal forum site: Real Estate Industrial Complex.

Region III drafted a “resolution for resignation” document, requesting the resignation of the current national leadership and CEO of AI.

This resolution was sent to me as a Word document and was written to be used by all the regions. I have attached the Word document and a pdf. I believe it will be voted on this coming Tuesday in Region III. It is ironic that Chicago, the location of AI National, is in the same geographic area as the Region III chapters: Chicago, Great Lakes, North Star, Northern Illinois and Wisconsin.

This is the long awaited “do or die” moment for Appraisal Institute members who love their organization. Although the outcry over the “taking” controversy began last fall and was suspended due to membership pressure, it could be implemented as soon as January 1, 2018. As I’ve noted before, I believe this governance move was done without any legitimate membership input as judging by the outcry, nor were any credible reasons provided to take millions of dollars away from local chapter control.

This Resolution presented to the Regional Officers, Chapter Presidents, Regional Representatives and Alternates and other interested parties is offered on this 7th day of August 2017, as a part of the Region III third quarter meeting (conference call).

WHEREAS, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Appraisal Institute is comprised of President Jim Amorin, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS; President-Elect James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA; Vice President Stephen S. Wagner, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS; Immediate Past President Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS; and Chief Executive Officer Frederick H. Grubbe, MBA, CAE, and 

WHEREAS, the Executive Committee of the Appraisal Institute, in secrecy and without Region or Chapter consultation, developed, lobbied board members, promoted and attempted implementation of the policy sometimes referred to as The Chapter Financial Management Policy, and

WHEREAS, the lack of transparency in the development and implementation process of The Chapter Financial Management Policy has led to the distrust of national officers and national governance within the Regions, Chapters and the Membership, and

WHEREAS, this same Executive Committee has introduced, endorsed and promoted the Governance Structure Project Team’s recommendations which eliminates Regions and the ability of members to meet, interview potential candidates and select their representatives to the national board of directors; furthermore, this proposal wrests control of the Appraisal Institute from the membership and firmly places organizational control in the grips of even fewer insiders, and

WHEREAS, the Executive Committee unnecessarily encouraged “exposure” of a policy permitting national assistance to Chapters in lobbying appraiser friendly state legislation including codifying Appraisal Institute’s Standards of Valuation Practice and Code of Professional Ethics – a move that could unnecessarily aggravate friendly and unfriendly organizations with little membership gain, and

WHEREAS, members of the Executive Committee have not utilized the existing framework of the organization to foster a cohesive organization, develop a collaborative culture and in fact, have presided over the largest decline the Appraisal Institute has endured; furthermore, members of the Executive Committee have insulted members and Regional and Chapter staff and are responsible for the divisive “us against them” mentality that permeates Chapter, Regional and National relationships, and 

WHEREAS, the Regional Officers, Chapter Presidents, Regional Representatives and Alternates have lost confidence in the ability of the Executive Committee to lead this organization and face the challenges our changing and evolving profession presents;

NOW THEREFORE, in the best interest of the public, the valuation profession and the Appraisal Institute going forward, a vote of no confidence is approved and it is hereby RESOLVED:

  1. Region III demands the immediate resignation of President Jim Amorin MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, President-Elect James L. Murrett, MAI, SRA, Vice President Stephen S. Wagner, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, Immediate Past President Scott Robinson, MAI, SRA, AI-GRS, and Chief Executive Officer Frederick H. Grubbe MBA, CAE.
  2. Absent the immediate resignation of the Executive Committee, we call on the Board of Directors of the Appraisal Institute to hold a vote of no confidence and remove the entire Executive Committee as soon as practicable.
  3. A copy of this Resolution be forwarded to every Region and Chapter for discussion by their respective boards at the earliest possible opportunity – even if it must be by conference call.
  4. Region III recommends every Region interview their Regional Chair, Vice Chair and Third Director to insure those officers are committed to advancing policies that strengthen the Regions and Chapters.
  5. Region III further resolves the letter of transmittal distributing this Resolution to the Regions and Chapters contain a request that this Resolution be transmitted to their respective Chapter members.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the voting members of Region III affirm this Resolution by a vote of _____ in favor and _____opposed.

LA Anderson, Region III Executive Secretary

A Brilliant Idea

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See you next week.

Jonathan Miller, CRP, CRE
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants

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