‘This Is A Moment’ For Housing: Serenading Cows With A Trombone Edition
A little over a year ago our market research across the U.S. began to show that housing trends were weakening, largely based on sales, not price trends. But very few in the real estate seemed to be talking openly about it. But over time the chorus got louder and by the end of 2018, it became very clear to many that market conditions were weaker now than the prior year, but to varying degrees.
This “cows enjoying trombone music” provides the perfect analogy, without getting into other quotes like “the grass is always greener…” or and “I gotta have more cowbell. “
Market Report Gauntlet Q4-2018 Week 1: Manhattan (and Northern Manhattan)
To start the new year, Douglas Elliman , the 3rd largest real estate brokerage firm in the U.S., published my research on the Manhattan sales market. I’ve been the author of the expanding Elliman Report series  since 1994 (and we are adding two more reports this month! – more on that later).
Video Interviews About Our Report
My interview on Yahoo Finance TV was fun!
Others bantering about our report results on Bloomberg TV based on this article :
And here is a great interview with New York City Douglas Elliman CEO Steven James  on CBS Channel 2’s new streaming service:
Bloomberg created a nice chart on the $999,000 median sales price falling below the $1 million threshold.
And of course, a sample of our Manhattan charts More here .
Going Back In Time, Block By Block
There is a fun visualization story by the New York Times if you have time to kill: Every Building on Every Block: A Time Capsule of 1930s New York 
In the late 1930s and early 1940s, New York City sent photographers to every building in every borough in an attempt to make property tax assessments fairer and more accurate.
Riding Elevators All Day, Sometimes With Gruesome Results
As appraisers in Manhattan, our staff collectively rides elevators every day. According to this alarming investigative piece by The Real Deal: Elevated risk , there are 63,000 elevators in New York City enabling an estimated 1 billion rides, annually and people die more often than you think.
Since 2010, at least 22 people have been killed in passenger elevators or shafts in the city, and there have been nearly 500 incidents, 48 of which led to serious injuries, according to the DOB.
The piece has a collection of gruesome stories, many not for the faint of heart.
They built a nifty tool to verify what outstanding issues remained in each building. Thankful, the office building where our company is based is well-managed and has no issues.
TROUBLE: Things To Look For In Fraud (Video)
Back in 2008, when the Madoff case broke, it was clear that a declining market prevented his Ponzi scheme from continuing. With evidence of a national housing slowdown becoming more and more tangible, it makes me wonder if we will see such schemes related to housing begin to appear. Our firm was hired for some of the cleanup. This Institutional Investor video  is a compelling narrative of an investor who didn’t fall for the Madoff fraud. Seems like good common sense advice is being dispensed. Click image to play video.
h/t to Barry Ritholtz .
When Government Raises Taxes On Residential Properties, This Happens
Vancouver, Canada has been the poster child for trying to tamp down foreign buyer appetites for their new development condos. Foreign buyers, especially from Asia, flooded the market shortly after the financial crisis to diversify risk. In response, the government instituted taxes to discourage foreign investment  and values began to decline. The emphasis was focused on the upper end of their market. It also interesting that the national housing stats in Canada have shown declines but Vancouver was the first to fall. With only 5 major markets nationwide, they played a large role in the national decline in housing trends.
Newsflash!!!! Higher housing costs suppress housing prices.
Upcoming Speaking Events
(For earlier appraisal industry commentary, visit my old clunky REIC  site.)
To all my friends and colleagues, I ran out of time this week to do any deep thinking (if you call my thinking “deep”). IRONY ALERT: A slew of appraisal business and research absorbed my time allotted for Appraiserville.
OFT (One Final Thought)
Stock markets explained in 15 secs. pic.twitter.com/HmrWQP0AAK — Savio Shetty (@abeautifulmind7) December 30, 2018 
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 . And be sure to share with a friend or colleague if you enjoy them because:
- They’ll be more like old photos;
- You’ll want more cow bell;
- And I’ll be on TV even more in 2019.
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.
Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed
- Coney Island, home to hot dogs and the Cyclone roller coaster, sees a budding real estate boom [NeighborhoodX/CNBC] 
- Every Building on Every Block: A Time Capsule of 1930s New York [New York Times] 
- Roosevelt Island for the Win [New York Times] 
- Wall Street’s Big Landlords Are So Hungry for Houses They’re Building Them [The Wall Street Journal] 
- Elevator Safety | NYC Elevators [The Real Deal New York] 
- The Right Backdrop for Art Is Bold. Or Maybe It’s Neutral? [The New York Times] 
- Canadian Real Estate Sales Drop Over 12%, Vancouver’s Decline Is Almost 3x Larger [Better Dwelling] 
- MIB: How the Co-op King of New York Earned His Crown [The Big Picture] 
- Court Injunction Puts Billionaires’ Row Homeless Shelter On Ice — For Now [Bisnow] 
- Sample of Metro Vancouver assessments show falling values among the priciest homes [Vancouver Sun] 
- How Madoff Pitched Institutions [The Big Picture] 
- Veterans Pay High Price as Lenders Push Cash-Out Home Loans [Bloomberg] 
- Where are we in the cycle? Some experts say luxury condo market will remain ice cold in 2019 [The Real Deal] 
- ‘We know how lucky we were’ [Politico] 
- Is it better to buy or rent? This economist’s answer will come as a big relief [Quartz] 
- Turpins' 'House of Horrors' Is Up for Sale—but Who'd Buy It? [My San Antonio] 
- H.R.1278 – 101st Congress (1989-1990): Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 [Congress.gov] 
- From Singapore to D.C. to Lagos: Urban Thinkers on Ideas That Died in 2018 [Citylab] 
- Why the podcast revolution is here to stay [Los Angeles Times] 
- NAR: Pending home sales retreat for 11th consecutive month [Housingwire] 
- Boston’s housing market, in three charts [Urban Institute] 
- Lack of Supply in Popular U.S. Ski Towns Dragging Down Transaction Numbers [Mansion Global] 
- Francis Greenburger Discusses Real-Estate Development (Podcast) [Bloomberg] 
- Money for nothing: Landlords are accused of overcharging tenants for poor renovation work, but is state law to blame? [The Real Deal] 
My New Content, Research and Mentions
- Median Manhattan home price falls under $1M [Crains New York Business] 
- What’s Coming in New York Real Estate in 2019 [New York Times] 
- VIDEO: Manhattan apartment under $1 million [Yahoo Finance] 
- Why Palm Springs' Luxe Hotels Are Going Condo [Hollywood Reporter] 
- Median Sale Price In Manhattan Drops Below $1M For The First Time In 3 Years [Forbes] 
- The price of a typical Manhattan apartment just fell below $1M [AOL] 
- Manhattan home prices fall under $1 million as sellers cut deals [LA Times] 
- Manhattan real estate closes 2018 as worst year since the financial crisis [CNBC] 
- Manhattan Home Prices Fall Under $1 Million for the First Time Since 2015 [Bloomberg] 
- A $110 Million Malibu Mansion and the Biggest Luxury Buys of 2018 [Wall Street Journal] 
- Manhattans bostadspriser sjönk 14 procent i fjol [Dagens industri] 
- 曼哈顿房价中位数跌破100万美元 去年下跌14%-要闻-证券市场红周刊 [Red Weekly] 
- The price of a typical Manhattan apartment just fell below $1 million [Markets Insider] 
- Manhattan resi sales fall for fifth quarter, but "the worst is probably over" [The Real Deal] 
- NYC real estate market is in ‘reset mode’—and that’s good for buyers [Curbed] 
- As housing market cools, median price for Manhattan apartment drops below $1 million (to $999,000) [Boston Globe] 
- One Year On, These Housing Markets Are the Winners and Losers of U.S. Tax Reform [Realtor.com] 
- Residential market report [The Real Deal] 
- 2019 market forecast: Will buyers 'seize the day' and get what they want? [Brick Underground] 
- Tax reform's winners (and losers) manifest themselves in luxury real estate [Miami Agent Magazine] 
- Tax reform's winners (and losers) manifest themselves in luxury real estate [Chicago Agent Magazine] 
- 2018 Manhattan condo sales show volume drop and price cooldown from last year's soaring heights [6sqft] 
- New report shows Manhattan sellers still in denial about buyers' market [Brick Underground] 
- Rosie O'Donnell sale, Bill Gates purchase among 2018's biggest residential real estate stories [Lohud] 
- One Year On, These Housing Markets Are the Winners and Losers of U.S. Tax Reform [Mansion Global] 
- The 8 most affordable NYC neighborhoods to buy an apartment in 2018 [Brick Underground] 
- Experts: Uncertainty poses risk to LI economy [Newsday] 
- Manhattan Real Estate Slows After Years of Record Activity [The New York Times] 
- Love thy neighbor then buy their apartment [The Real Deal] 
- Caen precios de venta de departamentos más caros en Nueva York [Gestion] 
Recently Published Elliman Market Reports
- Elliman Report: Northern Manhattan Sales 4Q 2018 [Miller Samuel] 
- Elliman Report: Manhattan Sales 4Q 2018 [Miller Samuel] 
Appraisal Related Reads
- Best TED Talks for Appraisers [McKissock] 
- Appraisers see Southern California home values up 7.2%, more than other measurements [OC Register] 
- When Is It Not Okay to Use a Sale Within a Mile? 
- Real estate trends to watch in 2019 [Sacramento Appraisal Blog] 
- Top 5 Appraisal Blog Posts of 2018 • Birmingham Appraisal Blog 
- WEBINAR: USPAP Third Exposure Draft [The Appraisal Foundation] 
- The Last Line of Defense… Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying [Jonathan Miller/Appraisersblogs] 
- New Year, new appraisals, new problems [Anna Maria Island Sun] 
Extra Curricular Reads
- WHY: Are You Waiting On Line For Pizza? [Gothamist] 
- The Replacements biographer Bob Mehr on ‘Tim’ (1985) and writing ‘Trouble Boys’ [Libsyn] 
- I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America. [The Huffington Post] 
- Talking Heads: Remain in Light Album Review [Pitchfork] 
- Trump’s Tax Cut One Year Later: What Happened? [The New York Times] 
- I ordered a box of crickets from the Internet and it went about as well as you’d expect [The Washington Post]