Matrix Blog

Housing Notes

May 29, 2020

At Some Point Housing Has To Fly On Its Own

Flying in circles doesn’t necessarily beat not flying at all.

But I digress…

The Plural of Anecdotal is not Data

I have found the past several months exceedingly challenging because everyone wants to know what the number is. You know, the discount that should be applied to every single property in the Manhattan market to reflect the COVID-19 discount.

Well, I’m here to tell you it doesn’t exist yet in a credible way. Current numbers being shared are quite misleading because they reflect closings and we know that most closings have linkage to the pre-COVID19 world prior to mid-March. In an amNY article, factual information is presented by two data providers commonly used by market participants but they are clearly out of context:

Streeteasy results

Driven sellers, however, weren’t afraid to lower their prices in April. The Manhattan price index that StreetEasy monitors fell 2.7%, to $1,075,336. Brooklyn’s price index was down 1.8% to $689,989, while the price index for Queens remained relatively flat at $510,345.

I don’t disagree with the results, here, it’s just that they don’t reflect the COVID-19 world. I would speculate that nearly all sales that closed in April had linkage to the world before Covid-19 whether that was the inspection, negotiation, or contract signing. In addition, Manhattan housing prices were sliding since the beginning of 2020 so sliding in April means nothing, actually. Their index uses the repeat-sales methodology found in Case-Shiller so the lag time of this methodology is longer than relying on aggregating closings. Streeteasy brought me in to look at the index before it launched years ago and I had experience with a now-defunct index that competed with Case Shiller.

Property Shark results

The median sales price in May also stabilized at $700,000, which marked a 2% gain over the May 2019 median price. Even though pricing trends have been “firmly positive throughout the crisis,” PropertyShark’s report noted that the 2% May gain represented “the smallest year-over-year price growth” in 2020.

This analysis using closed sales suffers the same problem as discussed for the Streeteasy results. The vast majority of May closing prices reflect pre-COVID19 conditions since the average number of days between contract signing and closing is around 90 days. In other words, a large swath of their May closings were contracts that occurred in February or March. Again, likely accurate results but provide no indication of actual market conditions post-COVID19.

MANHATTAN IS STILL DEVOID OF EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE. ALL WE HAVE IS ANECDOTAL.

I suspect the data-picture will change quickly once real estate brokers are allowed to physically show real estate in NYC. Virtual inspections are occurring but their success rate for causing a sale by someone who has never physically inspected the property remain as outliers.

COVID-19: The difference between “Density” and “Overcrowding”

Since the crisis began in mid-March, I’ve been obsessed with the misuse of the word “density” as a driver of the virus. Manhattan has been continually described as a hotspot because of its high population density, yet Manhattan had the lowest infection rates in the five boroughs of NYC but has the highest density.

The same pattern is occurring in LA. Density is certainly a factor, but not THE reason. poverty and overcrowding are also significant factors.


[City Obervatory]


[City Obervatory]

But neighborhoods in South LA and the San Fernando Valley are epicenters of the pandemic, despite not being very dense. And some relatively housing-dense areas, like Santa Monica and Venice, have low COVID-19 case rates. It’s a more complicated relationship than “more housing equals more COVID”.

Why does this matter?

Since many people are prognosticating the death of cities and the boom of the suburbs it is hard to continue to make that argument when the rural Texas panhandle is a hot spot.

And then consider the mindset and our collective memories if a vaccine is developed in 2021. Will the market recover as a “V” or a “Swoosh?”

And then consider the states where social distancing protocols are few and far between as everyone is anxious to get back to business as usual. This restaurant trend suggests a second infection wave in the fall, no?

REFA:”Suburban Green Shoots” Panel Discusses The “Urban to Suburban” Upside

I presented and moderated a fascinating discussion with Randy Salvatore, CEO & President of RMS-Companies, a large development firm in Fairfield County and Jim Fagan, Executive Director at Cushman & Wakefield in Westchester and Fairfield Counties.

Copy the password 1C*%x&9R and then click on the image to see the discussion.


Paraphrased from the REFA web site: The Real Estate Finance Association assists real estate finance professionals by communicating industry information, providing continuing education and networking opportunities and offering venues for members to exchange experiences.

I have worked with REFA in the past and found the organization to be an energetic proactive networking group.

And The Big Manhattan Sales Keep Happening

To escape the COVID-19 talk, I returned to the once tired subject of record-setting housing prices as a respite to the current nightmare. I was nudged to this shift after reading the Amy Rose piece in Forbes: ‘Covid-Pricing’ Hits High-Profile Homes Across U.S. And Billionaires Are Snapping Them Up.

And I chuckle every time I say this, but I had to move my company logo to the left on the following chart to accommodate last year’s record sales price. I will continue to update the year 2020 results but here is what I have for record closings by property type for the year 2020 so far (none are all-time records):

Co-op | $43,000,000 | 4 East 66th St 8
Condo | $56,258,312 | 220 Central Park South 65
Townhouse | $38,000,000 | 8 East 75th Street


[click to expand]

Year over Year April Hamptons Sales Down 73.7%

There was a good read on the state of the Hamptons market in the WSJ. The Hamptons experienced a massive surge in rents in March and April as NYC residents flocked to safety while sales are down sharply.

“It was really a panic,” said real-estate agent Susan Breitenbach of the Corcoran Group. As a result, very few rentals remain available for either the spring or summer, and those that do become available get snapped up quickly. Ms. Breitenbach said last week she arranged a rental for a house that was asking $900,000 for the summer; there was a bidding war and the house rented at close to that amount.

I would imagine that rental landlords are going to be anchored to these “panic” numbers” next year yet conditions post-COVID19 will likely be different.

Here are the numbers we saw for the sales market that I define the Hamptons as the hamlets from Westhampton to Montauk that were used in the story.

WSHU: Will The Aftermath of COVID-19 Push The Suburbs Ahead?

For many real estate participants in the suburban markets surrounding NYC, there is a sense of hope that the suburbs will see the long-term benefits of the “urban to suburban” shift that seems to be occurring in the short-term. Click on the image to play the clip.


[WSHU]

Forbes: In A Quickly Changing Market, Pending Sales Are The Best Indicator We Have Despite Flaws

I’m trying out this Forbes thing. Can you support me by following me on Forbes? Just click “follow” under my name at the top of this page.


Original Article: In A Quickly Changing Market, Are Pending Sales A Lagging Indicator?

As I read through available housing stats during this COVID-19 era to get a general sense of where the overall market is going, it is notable how difficult that task has become. Everything we look at seems to require an asterisk. While such punctuation was required before this global pandemic, the need for fresh insights makes the qualitative aspects of information more critical. We know that closing price trends are lagging indicators, but tend not to think of current contract trends as a lagging indicator, yet that assumption has always been wrong. The day to day nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for qualifiers more evident.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) metric known as the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) is regarded as the fastest moving barometer of market direction. Still, its flaws tend to be overlooked, especially when compared to closed sales.

Meeting of the Minds

The “meeting of the minds” process is where the buyer and seller negotiate general price and terms, usually facilitated by listing and buyer brokers. Once the parties are in sync on price and terms, their respective attorneys work out the written language, which leads to the signing of the contract. Once the contract details are ironed out, both parties sign, and it then appears as a written deal in the MLS.

NAR posits that closing trends follow contract trends by two months.

The Pending Home Sales Index is a monthly release

The April 29th release by NAR is the most current version available as of this moment, and it reflects the market data of March that includes “meeting of the minds” data from February. This PHSI release represents a two-month lag, and the following chart using non-seasonal YOY% change patterns is pretty terrifying. And that’s just the data through March.


NAR Pending Home Sale Index compiled from publicly shared data and charted by Miller Samuel. JONATHAN MILLER

The May PHSI report that uses April contracts will be released on May 28th (four days from now), but I deliberately wrote this beforehand to show the potential lag in contract data.

Pending Sales (Contracts) Is Less Backward Looking

NAR publishes the PHSI monthly and always describes it as “forward-looking,” yet it is not. I think of their PHSI index as “less backward-looking” because it is only forward-looking in the context of closed sales, and we know closing sales are lagging indicators. Closed sale dates generally lag contract dates by 30 to 90 days, the latter being markets like New York. Sales contracts can lag the “meeting of the minds” by a few days or more than a month, depending on the market location and condition.

Contracts Can Blow Up

There are specific periods, especially in quickly deteriorating markets, when large swaths of contracts don’t close. I recall that about one-third of pending sales blew up shortly after the housing bubble burst more than a decade ago. Just prior to the Coronavirus crisis, the contract failure rate was in the single digits. I haven’t found fresh post-COVID19 data on this yet (because it is lagging).

In New York City’s situation where I am based, closing attorneys tell me that written contracts lag the “meeting of the minds” by a month or more right now. Buyers are trying to cut better terms, and sellers are trying to keep the deal together. However, in a rapid market, especially those markets that have recently eased restrictions for real estate brokers to physically show properties, that delay might only be a few days.

The Contract Coverage Area Is Very Broad

NAR says that the PHSI report covers about 20% of the market and we’re not sure what 20% it covers in any given month. Hopefully, most of us know that there is no “national housing market.” Contract activity is much more useful as a local trend indicator but it can give us a sense of the U.S. housing zeitgeist.

Typical Report Timeline

“Meeting of the Minds” – price and terms agreed to

[Less than a week to more than a month]

“Written contract” – parties sign

[A month]

PHSI Reported By NAR “Contracts”

[Two months]

Existing Home Sales Reported BY NAR “Closings”


I still look at pending home sales data as a broad market trend indicator because it is the most recent we have, but it is more useful in local market conditions. But either way, its use often needs an asterisk.

UPDATE Pending Home Sales Slump 21.8% in April


Getting Graphic


Our favorite charts of the week of our own making


Appraiserville

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

USPAP will no longer be ‘Misleading’

Back in early February here in Appraisalville, I questioned a new definition that appeared in USPAP for the term “misleading.” Many others took to their platforms to criticize it, such as Phil Crawford of the Voice of Appraisal podcast and Dave Towne, a prolific writer of all things that keep appraisers sane.

Dave writes today:

Gad zooks…..I (and lots of others) hope and wish the Appraisal Standards Board would QUIT making changes to USPAP every friggin’ two years! There is no way to satisfy everyone’s individual perspective as to how USPAP should be written.

Here is the problematic definition from the current version of USPAP.

While I didn’t question the intent of TAF (the irony of this statement doesn’t escape me), I felt they had overstepped their bounds and the determination of the qualitative nature of intent was for only for the courts to decide. This situation is likely a result of the too frequent two-year updates. After three decades, there isn’t much to update in our industry and therefore the operating boundaries of TAF are more likely to be inadvertently crossed as reasons for changes become harder to find.

The definition of “misleading” unleashed a wave of criticism because it meant that if an appraiser made an inadvertent error (think about the 800+ fields on a URAR), they were essentially a criminal. This exposed appraisers to a potential tsunami of litigation and real estate attorneys were excited about the prospect.

There is always the usual good-faith attempt to rationalize the pretzel logic but all this did was heighten the confusion and angst of appraisers. For what purpose?

Thankfully it looks like the definition of “misleading” has been scratched in the Second Exposure Draft 2022-23 of USPAP:


I am thankful that the industry response has influenced this edit and appreciative that The Appraisal Foundation listened.

Please don’t forget to submit comments to the other proposed changes by July 30, 2020.

OFT (One Final Thought)

I’ve had three.


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 virtual;
  • You’ll be more viral;
  • And I’ll be more visceral.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


May 1, 2020

Gravity for the Housing Market is Overrated

I can see the benefits of letting this loop for hours:

But I digress…

From My Matrix Blog: Contract Data Is Pending Data Is Lagging Data

In our post-Coronavirus world, it is clear that market conditions and our understanding of the future are subject to change every day. In my prior post Establishing the COVID-19 Demarcation Line: From ‘Hanks To Banks’, data that falls after the line represents a different market.

So how do we determine what data falls in after the demarcation line? It’s not as straightforward as it sounds.

Throughout my career, I have seen brokerage firms publish pending/contract reports, touting pending trends as more reliable than reports based on closings. I don’t look at them as better or worse, just a different way to look at the market. The simplistic, uninformed argument for pending sales is that contract dates occur before closing dates, so they are more current. Incidentally, contract prices are not readily shared. I get all of this. Yet I have seen the failure rate of contracts be as high as 40% – in other words, many contracts might not close whereas closing reports are solely based on successful transactions. Still, pending sale trends are useful as long as the reader understands their shortcomings. I plan to develop one someday.

Closing data and contract/pending data lags the “meeting of the minds.

Meeting of the minds (also referred to as mutual agreement, mutual assent, or consensus ad idem) is a phrase in contract law used to describe the intentions of the parties forming the contract. In particular, it refers to the situation where there is a common understanding in the formation of the contract.

While we know that closing dates lag the “meeting of the minds,” we also need to understand that signed contract dates are lagging indicators, often by 2-4 weeks. During this crisis, I’m speculating the failure rate will be high initially, and the time lag will be on the longer end rather than, the shorter end of this 2-4 week range.

Here’s why contract dates are a lagging indicator and not necessarily more insightful than closing data:

1) The “meeting of the minds” occurs when buyers and sellers negotiate price and terms, usually facilitated by a real estate agent or broker.

2) The price and terms are handed off to transaction attorneys who work together to craft language agreeable to both parties.

3) The contract is signed by both parties and often indicated as such in an MLS-type system.

4) In some markets or marketing periods, especially when a market is cooling, many contracts never close, so their initial inclusion makes pending trends reports suspect.

If there is a four week signed contract lag from the meeting of the minds, and considering the March 15 demarcation line for post-Coronavirus, that means that with us being six weeks into the crisis, we are only able to see two weeks worth of post-Coronavirus data. And even with that reality and current shelter in place rules, many current contracts might have been older deals that were facilitated by the buyer who had already inspected the home in January/February – we are seeing some of that now.

In other words, relevant data on the new market remains extremely limited.

Barron’s Live Interview: The Covid-19 Crisis Doesn’t Really Compare To 9/11

I’ll place my interview by Beckie and Lucy here as soon as I get a copy. DONE.

UPDATED

The recording of the interview was just placed on the Barron’s web site. You have to register if you haven’t already done so in order to listen to it (click the image):


[click to listen]

To thwart random outdoor noises, I attempted to get points for style when speaking for this event (I did hear a few kids in the background but I swear they weren’t mine):

The Land Angle In The Era of Social Distancing

This Mansion Global article For Investors Seeking Stability, Land Maintains its Classic Appeal makes the pitch for land as a favored investment, and not just for the asset value but for practical nature of inspection during this historic moment of social distancing.

While the angle is interesting, I’m much more interested in the concept of appreciation as it relates to land. In other words:

  • land appreciates
  • improvements depreciate

…if you want to be a purist about the concept.

I wrote about this when I was a Bloomberg Opinion Columnist from 20014-2015 called Housing Bust Wasn’t About the House.

.

What does “Back to Normal” Look Like?

Data Report with Jonathan Miller: So Cal, So Good

Douglas Elliman has a new podcast channel and this was a recent town hall meeting that I “Zoomed” to SoCal agents.

Getting Graphic


Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork

Upcoming Speaking Events

Join us and guest speaker, Jonathan J. Miller, industry-leading commentator, appraiser, consultant, and author of real estate reports, for an in-depth discussion: Valuations then, now and the day after tomorrow… Where are the bargains? The banking industry. New Corona lending guidelines. Re-opening the real estate industry – what, when, and how?

  • Prepare for the event:
  • Register Here to receive the Zoom link
  • Email us your questions in advance

Additional Q & A live opportunities during the session.

We look forward to “seeing you”.

Appraiserville

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

John May Shows Us How We Can Convey The Crisis To Our Clients

John May of Louisville Appraisals reads these Housing Notes regularly and sent a cool chart. I love it because it showcases his local market knowledge and can be a great visual to educate is clients.


[click to expand]

Housing Wire Interviews Phil Crawford (VOA) on Appraising During COVID-19

Good stuff- a great listen:

In this episode, the host of the Voice of Appraisal Radio podcast also touches on whether or not the business is an essential service. Crawford also shares his perspective on why appraisers need a bigger voice in policymaking and touches on the potential impact of some recent announcements from federal banking regulators that allow appraisal postponements up to 120 days after a mortgage.

Dave Towne Opines On How We Can Become Unglued If We’re Not Careful

It’s a wonderful write-up:


Folks….

This essay was tough to write, but it’s important. (Yes, that’s my opinion!)

The current state of affairs in this country, and globally, is the worst we humans have seen in generations. Most of us were not alive during the last major pandemic in the early 1900’s, or even during WWII, when living situations were very trying for many people.

In later years, pandemics have occurred, but governments’ reactions and actions to those were much more mild as compared to this one. You can read more about those here: https://www.livescience.com/worst-epidemics-and-pandemics-in-history.html

The pandemic we are in now is unprecedented in modern history. Due to governmental inactions, and actions, the devastation to humans and world-wide economies will last many more years.

This pandemic, and the way it is being managed, is affecting people and relationships in profound ways. Many very adversely.

I write this because for about the last decade or so, I’ve had a very nice, respectful, even joyful relationship with another appraiser. I learn from that appraiser and appreciate the dialogue and experiences we’ve shared.

Not long ago, I wrote an essay concerning appraiser conduct involving an aspect of our work. Over the course of several days, the appraiser acquaintance has ‘come unglued’ as the expression goes about my opinion and choice of words, and I’m very concerned. The desire to just not be able to move on appears obsessive to me.

In that essay I used one strong word, based on my opinion, which does not appear in any of the requirements or guidelines appraisers must follow. I used that word to make a point because too many appraisers want to make excuses why the written requirements and guidelines can’t or won’t be followed. That bothers me, from an ethical standpoint. My point was to encourage appraisers to pay attention to the assignment SoW, additional assignment conditions that go beyond USPAP, and other expectations clients want to see in our reports. My other point was to say that ‘new technology’ being promoted by several companies is not appropriate to use in all assignments.

I enjoy respectful discussions. Dialogue helps greatly. I learn from it. But sometimes responders and I will just have to ‘respectfully disagree.’ However, when verbiage turns to name calling due to frustration because of a single word disagreement, it causes me to really ponder the circumstance. I believe our current pandemic situation may be exacerbating the underlying causation of the glue-pot explosion the appraiser has exhibited.

Medical professionals who understand human psyche have been sounding alarms about personal actions relating to how this pandemic is being managed….or not managed well, depending on your point of view. People are becoming more and more frustrated, spouse/partner and child abuse is on the rise. Burglaries, robberies, thefts and other crimes are beginning to increase. Incomes have been destroyed. Businesses have been upended. Relationships have suffered. People have become more desperate as governments have turned normal society nearly into martial law, restricting normal freedoms. If things don’t change, and we don’t get back to ‘normal’ relatively quickly, attempts or actual suicides will also rise. Chaos amongst the population will manifest itself.

Appraisers, as a general statement, tend to be loners in our profession. Few appraisers take time to associate with peers in formal or informal settings. Which is a shame, because some of the nicest people you’ll meet are your peers. They are not your enemy. Make an effort NOW to meet and get to know appraisers in your area. You won’t regret it.

(On a related personal note, I have a “sista from anotha motha” because I made an effort to be helpful to another appraiser 1,300 miles away when we ‘met’ on a web forum. That turned into meeting in person to attend a live CE class together, and has evolved into a wonderful brother/sister relationship over the past dozen or so years.)

I was moved to write this because I really do care about the appraiser whose glue-pot is boiling. And I’m concerned about other appraisers who may not really understand how their moods, emotions and expressions may be manifesting adverse behavior within themselves, and with others around them…..due to the exterior pressures we are enduring.

One word of disagreement, or some other basically silly issue, should not be the catalyst to blow a hole in an otherwise healthy and enjoyable relationship.

It’s important that all of us pay close attention to our activity and mental state on all levels. The ‘perceived normal’ at the moment actually may not be. Anxiety, irritability, obsessiveness and depression are devastating to humans.

Please be careful, talk to appropriate professionals if things are tilting, and stay well.

OFT (One Final Thought)

An old chestnut tweaked for the crisis. I forgot how much I loved this commercial.

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 what’s up;
  • You’ll be more what’s up;
  • And I’ll be more whats up.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


April 24, 2020

Hip Hop Housing In The Dog House

Quarantine time has given us and our pets the opportunity to master some new skills. And not because I’m some sort of quoted source on pet-friendly real estate or track data on the topic of pets in housing.

But I digress…

Manhattan Listing Inventory Is Listing In The Spring

If you want to see empirical evidence that the market is not performing as we would expect in the spring, this is it. Listing inventory rises at the beginning of each year in anticipation of additional demand in the spring.

Not this year.

A Strong First Quarter In The Hamptons Until The ‘The Rona’ Paused It

I’ve been writing the expanding Elliman Report Series since 1994 and this week Douglas Elliman published our research for The Hamptons, The North Fork, and Long Island.


HAMPTONS HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: The Hamptons Q1-2020

“After noticeably stronger results in the first two and a half months, listing inventory growth slowed as market awareness of Coronavirus occurred in mid-March.”

  • Listing inventory fell sharply year over year for the second straight quarter
  • The number of sales rose sharply from the year ago quarter for the second straight time
  • Median sales price rose annually for the second time in three quarters
  • Largest listing discount in eight and a half years


NORTH FORK HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: The North Fork Q1-2020

“After noticeably stronger results in the first two and a half months, listing inventory growth slowed as market awareness of Coronavirus occurred in mid-March.”

  • Listing inventory fell sharply year over year for the first time in six quarters
  • The number of sales increased annually for the second straight quarter
  • Median sales price increased year over year for the tenth time in twelve quarters
  • Marketing time and negotiability compressed from year-ago levels


LONG ISLAND HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: Long Island

“After noticeably stronger results in the first two and a half months, listing inventory growth slowed as market awareness of Coronavirus occurred in mid-March.”

  • List inventory fell to the second straight quarterly record low
  • Number of sales increased annually for the sixth time in seven quarters
  • The median sales price has not seen a year over year decline in seven years
  • Condo listing inventory fell to a new record low in eleven years of tracking
  • Single family listing inventory saw a record year over year decline in twelve years of tracking to a record low
  • Luxury listing inventory declined year over year for the first time in nine quarters

Many Buyers, Sellers in Housing Holding Pattern

Here’s a clip from Bloomberg Radio on the state of the housing market:

Overemphasizing Population Density As The Cause Of The Covid-19 Crisis

This tweet got me thinking about this topic:

As cities will undoubtedly face renewed housing competition from their suburban counterparts when we get to the other side of the crisis, there seems to be a distorted assumption that the high rate of infection in cities is the exclusive purview of high population density (which is the secret sauce that makes a city so great).

Yet that’s not quite fair and will likely be rethought as we review this crisis in the rearview mirror down the road. As the great read in Vice describes:

If past actions predict future results, cities are in trouble. In terms of containing the virus to begin with, New York City was days late to shutting down schools and issuing stay-at-home orders compared to other American cities with better outcomes, days that researchers are increasingly identifying as critical in the virus’s spread. And, thanks in large part to profound failures on the federal level, Americans simply cannot access accurate coronavirus testing, dooming us to languid and troublesome returns to normalcy.

As Henry Grabar in his Slate piece said:

A cursory look at a map shows that New York City’s coronavirus cases aren’t correlated with neighborhood density at all. Staten Island, the city’s least crowded borough, has the highest positive test rate of the five boroughs. Manhattan, the city’s densest borough, has its lowest. Nor are deaths correlated with public transit use. The epidemic began in the city’s northern suburbs. The city’s per capita fatalities are identical to those in neighboring Nassau County, home of Levittown, a typical suburban county with a household income twice that of New York City. True, New York City apartments are crowded. The share of housing units with more than one occupant per room is almost 10 percent. But that number is 13 percent in the city of Los Angeles. As a metro area, New York isn’t even in the top 15 U.S. cities for overcrowding. It’s not even the American city with the most apartments per capita (Miami) or immigrants (also Miami), to take two other characteristics that critics say might be associated with coronavirus infections.

[click on image for supporting research]

Aren’t Banks Doing What They’re Supposed To?

More than a decade ago when the housing/credit bubble burst the focus on exiting the financial crisis was to bail out the banking industry. They were essentially insolvent and by not forcing them to “mark to market” their asset values to their new lows which would force them to declare insolvency, they survived. Banks had become reckless and in the eyes of the government and needed to be bailed out or the global economy would collapse and caveman days would return.

My friend and zen-goddess of the housing data vertical Ivy Zelman of Zelman & Associates paraphrased a quote by Howard Marks: “Capitalism without loss is like being Catholic without hell.”

However, my thinking here is that the federal government is expecting healthy banks to take a bullet for the economy and the banks show little appetite for suicide.

Going into this downturn, banks were in relatively good shape and the government is leaning on them to facilitate saving small businesses and independent contractors. But the banks are not being reckless as I would assume the federal government wanted them to be in order to save the economy. Yes, the $350 billion dollar stimulus showed how the payouts were skewed to larger businesses and existing customers of the banks, but that’s how the legislation was written. There is another batch of money for SBA that was just put into law that hopefully will fix and redirect emphasis towards small business.

But the banks are doing what they didn’t do in the prior crisis, focus on risk management.

That’s because the banks are concerned about self-preservation and likely do not trust the word of the federal government in the execution of new rules to enable trillions of funds to be distributed to individuals and small businesses. Here’s a great summary by the Urban Institute.

In other words, the credit box is shrinking.

  • Mortgage rates are low but higher than pre-covid-19 despite the 1.5% fed funds rate drop
  • Credit score requirements are higher
  • Loan-to-value ratios are lower
  • Forbearance periods are followed up by immediate repayment
  • 20% down on jumbos is commonplace

These institutions are demonstrating that they are fully aware of the risk and won’t be the backstop on the crisis – the federal government will be forced to take the lead. So much for hell.

Noble Black on NBC: “last-minute discounts becoming more common”

Here’s a clear, logical depiction of the current state of high-end real estate from my friend and top broker Noble Black.


The Rubin Special: Josh Rubin Interviews Jonathan Miller

About 6 months ago, my Facebook account switched to require double authentication somehow but didn’t text by code for access. I tried for months to work with Facebook to regain access and they were remarkably unresponsive so I gave up and feel better about life in general as a result.

When my friend Josh Rubin reached out, one of the top-producers at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, he said we can do his Facebook Live event as a Zoom call into Facebook. I’m not sure how all of this works, but at least both of us confirmed we were at wearing pants for the discussion.

Check it out:

[click on image for the interview or play on YouTube link below]

The Los Angeles area and Aspen/Snowmass Village Markets Were Looking Good Before Covid-19

The story on these market reports tell us that the first 2.5 months were relatively robust and the last two weeks of the quarter were not.


GREATER LOS ANGELES INCLUDING WESTSIDE AND DOWNTOWN SALES HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: Los Angeles Q1-2020

“After noticeably stronger results in the first two and a half months, listing inventory growth slowed as market awareness of Coronavirus occurred in mid-March.”

  • Listing inventory declined year over year for the second straight quarter by the largest amount in five years
  • All price trend indicators rose year over year for the fourth consecutive quarter
  • The number of sales rose year over year for the second consecutive quarter after six quarters of declines
  • More than one-third of all listings sold within a month
  • Luxury listing inventory for condos and single-families fell year over year in three of the past four quarters

MALIBU/MALIBU BEACH

Elliman Report: Malibu/Malibu Beach Q1-2020

  • Single-family sales rose sharply year over year as condo sales declined

VENICE/MAR VISTA

Elliman Report: Venice/Mar Vista Q1-2020

  • Venice sales surged across property types as Mar Vista sales fell short of prior year totals

ASPEN SALES HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: Aspen/Snowmass Village Q1-2020

“After noticeably stronger results in the first two and a half months, listing inventory growth slowed as market awareness of Coronavirus occurred in mid-March.”

  • Listing inventory declined year over year for the fourth consecutive quarter
  • All price trend indicators surged over year-ago levels
  • Sales fell sharply year over year to the lowest quarterly total in a decade
  • The listing discount rose to its highest level since 2011 as sellers had to travel farther on price to meet the buyer
  • Both condo and single-family listing inventory declined annually for the fourth straight quarter
  • Luxury price trends surged while luxury inventory fell sharply year over year for the second straight quarter


SNOWMASS VILLAGE SALES HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: Aspen/Snowmass Village Q1-2020

“After noticeably stronger results in the first two and a half months, listing inventory growth slowed as market awareness of Coronavirus occurred in mid-March.”

  • Listing inventory declined year over year for the fifth consecutive quarter
  • Average price per square foot declined while the number of sales surged year over year
  • The 3-bedroom market showed the most annual growth in price and sales trends
  • Luxury price trends and listing inventory declined from year-ago levels

Getting Graphic

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork

This week, his charts are all about Fed Beige Book terminology:

Appraiserville

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

COVID-19 Line of Demarcation Is From Hanks To Banks

In order to understand what is happening now, we need to ween ourselves off of what happened before this crisis and focus on finding data exclusive to the post-COVID-19 era. In Manhattan, that data set is not yet apparent because we are in nearly a total market shut down but it is evident elsewhere to a limited degree. From my perspective, the demarcation line for the onset of the crisis is where market participants would have to be living in a cave on a desert island to be unaware of the sharp pivot in market sentiment.

For me, that date is March 15th which was the date of the Federal Reserve rate cut to zero and the second cut in less than two weeks.

My friend and California appraiser Ryan Lundquist proclaimed March 11th which was the date Tom Hanks announced he and his wife had contracted COVID-19.

I was talking about this difference in these dates with a friend, Chicagoan, and RAC appraiser Michael Hobbs who brilliantly dubbed this four-day window from March 11 to March 15 as: “From Hanks To Banks.”

Whatever your specific local demarcation line is, use it to keep the data for these two market periods separate.

OFT (One Final Thought)

I’m hopeful that society is able to get back into other’s personal spaces when we get to the other side of the Coronavirus crisis. There is a lot of inspiration coming from our first responders, and workers on the front line that have no choice. This cover says it all.


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 rap;
  • You’ll sing from the windows;
  • And I’ll keep looking for actual data.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog
@jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


March 27, 2020

Essential Businesses Keep The Housing Market Trucking

I had one of these bad boys growing up and they were indestructible.


But I digress…

Warning! This week is heavy into the real estate appraisal world – but you’re probably cooped up inside so even if you are not an appraiser, it still might be interesting to explore.

Randall Bell’s Bell Disaster Index Shows We Will Survive

Randall Bell is the guy you call for property valuation analysis when there is a catastrophic event in the U.S. He provides a fascinating perspective for the current situation in his Bell Disaster Index.

From My Matrix Blog: The Future of Real Estate (And Life) Is Happily Looking Remote

With many Americans living under self-quarantine, the future of housing and office space will experience radical change. Here are some random thoughts about life after coronavirusappoccalypse:


The Man-Bun will make a big comeback due to the inability to get a haircut

There will be so much toilet paper to appear on store shelves that it will take years to use it up and toilet paper production-related employment will be bleak

Consumers will not regret hoarding toilet paper but will refuse to admit it in public

With everyone frustrated about being housebound, they will plot and plan to buy or rent a larger home as soon as this crisis is over

Buy a new refrigerator after burning out the refrigeration unit with thousands of sustained door-opens

A surge in the stock prices of Jenny Craig and WW

Gyms will see a new revival (see ‘Jenny Craig’)

People will discover they actually like to walk every day to clear their mind

Many people will begin to use Zoom.us every day and discover they like to see their friends and relatives faces when chatting – even in HD

Universities will incorrectly believe that students will want to learn remotely when really all they want to do it party in the dorms

Employees will decide they hate the time wasted on the commute even more because it is not completely necessary

Americans will love sleeping in until 8:30 am permanently changing the 9-5 standard to 10-6

Podcast usage will become a bigger thing than it ever was (see ‘walk every day’)

People will rush to cut their cable service after enduring endless hours, watching mindless cable shows, for reasons they can’t explain, but did realize being permanently pissed off was exhausting and unnecessary

The difference between weekends and weekdays will suddenly be thrust back into our daily lives and we’ll hate it despite the dated conventional wisdom that we should keep our personal and business lives separate (see ‘walk every day’)

The divorce rate will skyrocket as couples actually discover their real partner in close quarters

Parents will completely shed their ‘put their kids on the couch to watch tv’ shame as they consider how many episodes of Gilligan’s Island they have watched

Commercial real estate will never be the same again as millions of employees worked remotely and companies realized it wasn’t that big a deal


UPDATES

There will be a new generation classification known as Baby Boom II beginning nine months from now – ok, boomer? (see ‘divorce’)

Uncomfortable chairs will no longer be tolerated as Herman Miller Aeron Chairs will be the only office chairs made worldwide


I’ve seen the future, and it is good. -Beavis & Butthead

Other insights welcomed.

Getting Graphic


Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork

Appraiserville

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

Appraisers in Quarantine

This meme is making the rounds. Truth!

Effective today, more VA appraisal orders will be exteriors

It’s a good sign to see institutions shift their orientation to exteriors considering the largess of the mortgage world.

Here is the announcement and scope of work:

GSE Regulator FHFA Announced Their Position On Exterior Inspections

After a massive agency effort to address the issue of appraisers performing in harm’s way, the FHFA issued temporary rules to address it during a rapidly ramped of crisis. Individuals like Danny Wiley, Scott Reuter, Lyle Radke and others made it all happen within the massive bureaucracy of the mortgage market whose underpinning is essential to the economic condition of the country. I know I complain a lot but their actions warrant a large thank you from the appraisal industry.

March 23, 2020: FHFA Directs Enterprises to Grant Flexibilities for Appraisal and Employment Verifications

Real estate appraisers are an essential business and here to protect the public trust

I hope all my readers (and everyone else) are staying safe and healthy during this crisis – now let’s get to business.


With New York State on lockdown, real estate brokers/agents can’t sell real estate right now because they are not considered an essential business (yet they are in nearby Connecticut!) This declaration determines whether you can or cannot remain in business during a crisis like this.

Are real estate appraisers considered an essential business in New York? Yes. They are in New York State and they are stated as such in the federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. But the fact that real estate appraisers are an “essential business” is not consistent in the federal language, especially now when many states are, or will be going on lockdown.

My good friend and appraiser/regulator Pete Fontana and I wrote a letter nicknamed: Fontana/Miller Essential Letter of March 24, 2020. This letter combines the scattered references to address this issue in very specific terms using key language in the public record that illustrates the fact that appraisers are an “essential business” now and going forward.

This letter is the first to address this important issue. It was just sent to Congress, state officials, trade groups, agencies, and other groups related to our industry today and went viral industrywide. The feedback from these groups has been immediate and overwhelmingly encouraging and positive.

Please share the Fontana/Miller Essential Letter of March 24, 2020 with your colleagues in the industry, trade groups, state governments, on forums, and with anyone or in any place you think is relevant to our industry.

Real estate appraisers are an essential business in our country, always have been.

UPDATE – Pete Fontana sent our letter to the Governor of Montana who subsequently made sure that “appraisers as essential business language” were inserted in yesterday’s Stay at Home Directive See Pete’s highlight in the document.

In the following days, a number of trade groups wrote similar letters which is very encouraging.

NAR sent a joint trade association essential business letter on behalf of four institutions

Their letter is from the American Land Title Association, Mortgage Banker Association, National Association of Realtors and National Association of Home Builders.

They urged the implementation of stay-at-home orders to combat the coronavirus, and among other things, stating that appraisers are an essential business.

The Appraisal Institute, American Society of Appraisers and others sent a letter on appraisers as essential services

The American Society of Appraisers, American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers, Appraisal Institute, Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers and the National Association of Realtors sent a joint letter on the Designation of Real Estate Appraisals as Essential Services.

We urge remaining jurisdictions to classify real estate appraisal services as essential…
Peter Christensen rolled out a free webinar and materials for appraisers to manage risk in a COVID-29 world

Peter has always been the voice of risk management in our appraisal world through conference presentations and his website Valuation Legal. He is allowing me to share his in Appraiserville.

Take a look at his slides and presentation. His content is all very helpful to our community.

Appraiser Frank Gregoire Has More Monitors Than You Do


Ryan Lundquist shows us how to communicate the market in this crisis

Delivery: Factual, neutral, non-apologetic, empathy without bias.


XOME Issues Vendor Authorization Letter In Case Appraisers Get Arrested

Insiders tell me they are publishing a Dick Tracy Decoder Ring next week. Good grief. This suggests they are so desperate for appraisers to place themselves in harm’s way that a printer and a logo is all you need they need for protection. Do they have a legal department?


OFT (One Final Thought)

The cover of the NYT today followed by the business section cover showing all 50 states. First here is the mockup for the anticipated announcement – this is how I design each market report I create!

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 essential;
  • You’ll be more essential;
  • And I’ll rest easy knowing U.S. real estate appraisers are considered essential businesses.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


February 14, 2020

Housing Is Like Dogs Jumping From Trees

It’s a surreal housing market out there but someone always figures out how to get that ball.


But I digress…

Manhattan, Brooklyn and Northwest Queens Rents Rose Sharply

I’ve been the author of the expanding Douglas Elliman market report series for twenty-five years and the Manhattan, Brooklyn & Northwest Queens rental report is the only monthly report we produce. The bulk of our report series is released on a quarterly basis.

Elliman Report: 1-2020 Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens Rentals

Mansion Global produced a clear summary table that shows that 96% of the market is seeing sharp gains in the median rental price. Robust rental conditions are being created by a weak sales market.


A Douglas Elliman infographic for the report:


Important note:

It is too soon to see the impact from last week’s New York Department of State guidance on the Statewide Security and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 and a subsequent temporary restraining order issued after real estate industry trade groups and firms filed a lawsuit to stop its execution.

______________________________________________________
MANHATTAN RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

“New leases continued to fall as landlords continued to be more successful at the time of lease renewal.”

  • The market share of landlord concessions slipped for the twelfth time in thirteen months
  • The number of new leases fell year over year for the sixth straight month
  • The net effective median rent rose annually for the thirteenth consecutive month
  • New development median rental price rose year over year for the ninth straight month
  • Median rent for new development increased more year over year than existing rents in ten of the last twelve months
  • Luxury median rent hasn’t seen a year over year decline since last March

______________________________________________________
BROOKLYN RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

“The market share of landlord concessions fell year over year for the thirteenth straight months.”

  • The net effective median rent rose annually for the fourteenth straight month
  • Thirteen consecutive declines in the market share of landlord concessions
  • The fifth time in six months the number of new leases declined as landlords were better able to retain tenants at renewal

______________________________________________________
QUEENS RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

[Northwest Region]
“Six straight months of year over year declines in new lease signings.”

  • The market share of new development reached its lowest level since the summer of 2018
  • Net effective median rent increased annually for the third time in four months
  • Concession market remained above the fifty percent market share threshold for the third straight month


We Just Added Another $100M+ U.S. Sale to the List

With the proliferation of $100 million+ home sales, I’m starting to feel like a red carpet paparazzi. Jeff Bezos of Amazon just purchased an LA home for $165 million home, not including a nearby $90 million plot of land.

This home sale isn’t remotely connected to the local housing market in any way despite this broker quote:

“The Geffen sale will really help the high-end,” Hyland said.

If we are talking about this super-luxury market, perhaps but it has nothing to do with the “normal” high-end market.

The first known $100 million+ sale occurred in 2011 and by 2014, the market segment was formed. The 2019 market was the high water mark with contributors from LA, New York, and Palm Beach.

Manhattan’s Upper East Side Condo Market Performance Is Quite Bifurcated

I was speaking to a crowded room of real estate professionals on the Upper East Side – here’s a snippet.

Mortgage delinquencies correlate with unemployment and therefore remain low

MBA released its latest National Delinquency Survey – for the fourth quarter of 2019 – earlier this week. Mortgage delinquencies track closely to the U.S. unemployment rate, and with unemployment at historic lows, it’s no surprise to see so many households paying their mortgage on time.

The Mallpocolypse Is Real

When I was in DC this week, I listened to a presenter from the Atlanta Fed talk about retail real estate risks and malls were front and center. A few years ago this topic was seen as sensationalist as was the phrase “retail apocalypse,” but no longer. The scale of the problem is apparent in the following table, where the vast majority of mall properties are rated “B” or lower.


Here are several good reads on the topic. h/t @ritholtz

Never Mind the Internet. Here’s What’s Killing Malls. [NYT]

In short, the broad forces hitting retail are more a lesson in economics than in the power of disruptive technology. It’s a lesson all retailers will have to learn someday — even the mighty Amazon.


Retail Apocalypse Hits High End Malls, Leading to Landlord Deal [Bloomberg]

The fallout from the retail apocalypse is putting pressure even on high-end malls.

As bankruptcies and store closures pile up among brick-and-mortar retailers, investors are increasingly concerned about mall operators. For the most part, those worries have centered on the landlords who operate dying malls.


How chain stores are rightsizing New York City retail [Retail Dive]

An analysis of stores in New York City last year revealed that the number of national chain stores operating in the retail destination had dropped a notable amount. That the entire retail industry is in flux is not a secret, but the drop in one of the countries top retail destinations sparks a larger question: Is the decline of national retail brands in New York City a regional problem, or endemic of a larger retail shift?

Getting Graphic


Our favorite charts of the week

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork




Appraiserville

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

GAO to Study The Dilution of Intent of Title XI

In December, The Appraisal Foundation requested the House Financial Services Committee take a look at the dilution of the intent of Title XI. This week the Financial Services Committee directed the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to provide a study on the dilution of the 1989 intent of Title XI.

From the House Financial Services Committee:

“The Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC), the entity created and charged under Title XI to monitor the appraisal related actions of the Federal financial institutions regulatory agencies (Agencies), estimated in its 2018 report to Congress that ‘at least 90 percent of residential mortgage loan originations are not subject to the Title XI appraisal regulations,’” the lawmakers wrote. “Over the past few decades, however, the federal agencies charged with implementing Title XI of FIRREA have taken steps to limit the number of transactions for which an appraisal is required….We request that you conduct a review of the impact of these changes, including the potential risks that they pose to homeowners and the safety and soundness of our financial system.”

As a reminder, the original de minimus in Title XI was $15,000. It is now $400,000. That is a $2,567% increase over 30 years (1989-2020). Using the FHFA Home Price Index, home prices have grown 182% from 1991-2019, a similar period.

In other words, the de minimus has risen 14 times higher than housing prices. I’d say Congress’ original intent has not been followed.

Phil Crawford Interviews The Cosmic Cobra Guy

The author of “Dispatches From The Cosmic Cobra Breeding Farm” lays out his case against The Appraisal Foundation on Phil Crawford’s Voice of Appraisal. It is quite compelling reasoning and a good read. I got a lot out of it.

However, I am troubled by the author’s bias in rationale. Where he falls short is trying to explain why he doesn’t hold AI, IRWA, and ASFMRA to the same standard as TAF. The logic Jeremy uses is that he can quit those trade groups and he can’t quit the foundation and still be an appraiser. That’s quite a disingenuous argument.

In the real world, if I didn’t have an MAI as a partner in our commercial practice (I’m a CRE), we wouldn’t get commercial work from most, if not all financial institutions no matter what the regulations are. That’s a fact. The MAI designation is embedded in many state laws and CMBS regulations. That’s a fact. I’ve written about how AI scared designation holders who might speak out against them because their designation is a building block of the designation holder’s livelihood. That’s a fact. Although for my latter point, admittedly I’m getting a better feeling about AI with some of their new leadership and board members. Fingers crossed.


We All Use A Periodic Table of Data Elements

Earlier this week I represented RAC (Relocation Appraisers & Consultants) at the Appraisal Subcommittee (ASC) Roundtable held at the OCC. The ASC is the financial link between congress and The Appraisal Foundation. Over 50 agency representatives that connect to the mortgage process were there to discuss data.

Lee Kennedy of AVMetrics, a firm that tests AVMs moderated a panel on the topic of data. Lee’s presentation included a terrific slide that was shared with the attendees.


Setting The Standard For Telling The Story Of The Market

As the mortgage industry pushes to wigdetize appraisers, the cream of the crop are straying from mortgage work and not looking back. Many of us (appraisers) possess an invaluable level of knowledge that agents and consumers are hungry for but are unable, unwilling or afraid to share it.

My friend and appraiser colleague Ryan Lundquist in Sacramento shows all of us how to give a presentation (that he was generous enough to share). Please watch and take notes.

OFT (One Final Thought)

I’m begging you to watch the whole clip. You just never know when it will be your last conversation with someone.


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 jump out of trees;
  • You’ll use an answering machine;
  • And I’ll look at the intent of Title XI.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Real Estate Blockchain

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


January 17, 2020

Some Housing Styles Really Stand Out In Any Location

I’ve often wondered what kind of school graduates students of architecture like this? Locating it near train tracks becomes a positive amenity.

But I digress…

Greenwich and Fairfield County Connecticut Continue To Show Choppy Improvement

I’ve been writing the expanding Douglas Elliman market report series for 25 years and nothing is more fun than fueling reader interest at a large scale.

The Greenwich market report I wrote for Douglas Elliman which they published yesterday, was included in a Bloomberg News story. And despite the heavy news volume, the piece was the #2 most-read article at one point in the day by 350K± Bloomberg Terminal subscribers worldwide.


…and if that wasn’t cool enough, the story included a twofer! (2 charts).



________________________________________________
GREENWICH SALES HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: Q4-2019 Greenwich Sales

“Negotiability expanded to the highest level in two years as more sellers became in sync with market conditions.”

  • Single-family median sales price jumped year over year as listing inventory declined
  • Single-family listing discount showed the most negotiability in two years
  • Condo price trend indicators and the number of sales declined from year-ago levels
  • Luxury listing inventory fell year over year for the third consecutive quarter
  • Luxury price trend indicators and the average sales size decreased at a similar rate




________________________________________________
FAIRFIELD COUNTY SALES HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: Q4-2019 Fairfield County Sales

“Sales expanded and listing inventory compressed annually for the third straight quarter.”

  • Median sales price rose year over year after four straight quarterly declines
  • The number of sales increased annually for the third consecutive quarter
  • Listing inventory declined year over year for three straight quarters
  • Luxury median sales price declined year over year for the eighth straight quarter
  • Luxury listing inventory declined annually for three straight quarters at an expanding rate




Downtown Boston Keeps Moving Quickly Even After Cherry-Picking

Let me explain. The price growth of this affluent submarket are influenced by the proliferation of new development activity that continues to be absorbed. And it is clearly being influenced by the rapid absorption of high-end projects like One Dalton.

Someone suggested to me the market was rising because of this one new development so I ran the numbers without its 40+ Q4 closings and the marketwide numbers still showed robust conditions:


______________________________________________________
DOWNTOWN BOSTON SALES HIGHLIGHTS

Elliman Report: Q4-2019 Downtown Boston Sales

“Numerous price trend indicators set new records as the market pace remained brisk.”

CONDO
– The overall price trend indicators reached new records with significant year over year increases
– Despite the annual surge in sales this quarter, year to date sales fell short of last year
– Listing inventory fell year over year for the first time in seven quarters

TOWNHOUSE
– Price trend indicators increased year over year as median price rose for the fifth straight quarter
– Listing inventory remained unchanged after rising annually for the prior two quarters
– The decline in sales was due to the chronic shortage of listing inventory




SALT: Inventory is dropping in Florida

Douglas Elliman just published 13 market research pieces I wrote on the Florida markets they service. The newest addition was the South Tampa/Greater Downton Tampa report which rolled out this quarter.

The one commonality across most of these Florida markets this quarter was the growing pattern of declining inventory. Even the Miami Beach market, which still has excessive luxury condo supply, is seeing inventory fall.

Since there the volume of research is too large to not monopolize these housing notes, you can go to these resources:

Florida Elliman Reports

Chart Gallery (includes Florida markets)

[Podcast] The World of Real Estate with Frances Katzen – Jonathan Miller

I had a great chat with my friend and Douglas Elliman power broker Frances Katzen.


NY1 Delves Into The Cause of the Manhattan Supertall Skyscraper Boom


[click to see article and play clip]

Enjoyed speaking with Michael Herzenberg of NY1 on the Super Tall story in Manhattan. This is a great summary of the phenomenon.

Bloomberg Markets 1-6-20: Manhattan High-End Hurt By New Tax Laws


I joined Vonnie Quinn on Bloomberg Markets to talk about the results of my recent research for Douglas Elliman’s Elliman Report: Manhattan Sales Report Q4-2019. Always enjoy the conversation.

Upcoming Speaking Events


Appraiserville

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

The Better Mortgage Business Philosophy Doesn’t Include The Appraiser

A good friend and appraiser colleague of mine in the midwest sent me this appraisal order request from Better Mortgage in New York [redacted]:


My friend and I and most of my peers marvel at order requests like this. They are paying half the market rate to the actual person analyzing the asset to be used as collateral for the mortgage, but most importantly that seems to enable them to provide free lunches and snacks to their employees who process the loans. See the review in Glassdoor.


Companies like this can often find a few appraisers willing to work for this fee because those individuals’ services aren’t in demand (they aren’t competent to earn the market rate), or they’ve fallen on hard times. Its not a sustainable fee structure (half the market rate) to preserve valuation quality. And new millennial-targeting companies like this seem to be focused on anything but the value of the collateral. The millennials ordering Buffalo Wild Wings on Uber Eats or a mortgage don’t understand what’s behind that click. But they should because they will inherit the reckless mortgage process today as Baby Boomers did after the housing bubble crash. Those clicks aren’t cheap.

This disconnect is a pervasive problem that our industry has been unable to effectively change the message because we don’t have lots of venture capital or large legacy financial institutions backing us as the AMC industry does.

Do you want to take a first step? Think about that order. Stare at it. You should be insulted if that’s all you think you’re worth. If you’re not insulted, then you need to move on and get a job that pays at least minimum wage.

OFT (One Final Thought)


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 make a chart;
  • You’ll talk to a McMansion architect and ask “why?”;
  • And I’ll crack more eggs than Robert Moses.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Real Estate Blockchain

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


December 20, 2019

Placing A Roomba In The Middle Of A Rich Creamy Housing Market

Because we all love rich, creamy pudding, I used it for a luxury market analogy this week. Oh, and Happy Holidays to all – see you next week!

Wait for it…


But I digress…

Cash Is No Longer King For Luxury Buyers

The plunge in cash buyers above $5 million (top 8% of the Manhattan market) might be attributable to the wealthy taking advantage of the plunge in mortgage rates over the past year. However, I believe it is much more indicative of the exodus of investors from the market after the passage of the new rent law in New York state that punishes aspiring landlords.

The exodus of investors has a significant impact on the current absorption as well as the future of new development activity since at least 25% of new condominium sales were made by investors and there is nearly a decade of stock to sell-off. Investors typically become landlords on the day they close.

Creating “Combos” May Be One Way Around New York’s New Rent Law

There is a good Wall Street Journal article using empirical data to show the change to apartment renovations since the frenzy of new New York State housing-related laws first half of 2019.

While it is a small data set, combining units are catching on, taking advantage of the market premium for larger contiguous space.


In Manhattan Townhouse Sales, Width Matters

The widest house I’ve ever appraised was a 50-footer on the Upper East Side in the park block between Madison and Fifth Avenues once owned by the son of the IBM founder Thomas Watson and had remained a gutted shell since the late 1980s before the previous sale in 2006.

The second widest sales I am aware of was the 48-footer created by the Milbank family in 1920 by combining two houses at 14-16 East 67th Street. My firm and I have appraised that house a number of times over the years, before and after its complete gut renovation.

Clearly a wider house enables more square footage but there is another reason why width is a valuable amenity on its own. Because townhouses are normally built right up to the lot line, townhouse width can’t be expanded unless the adjacent property is acquired. In a high-density market like Manhattan, width is a key valuation metric.

The Milbank family also created a 55-footer in Greenwich Village years ago and it is now on the market with a new price cut to $50,000,000.

What’s so interesting about this house is that the exterior is maintained (I believe it is landmarked) as original yet the interior is modern.


[Click image to see NYT slideshow]

Since the financial crisis, there have been at least 10 sales at or above $25,000,000 downtown. The metrics for downtown townhouses contain the largest average width of any region in Manhattan. According to our Elliman townhouse report in 2018, the average width was 24.9′ while Manhattan averages 21 feet.

Here’s a hypothetical about townhouse width: two homes equal in square footage are side by side in identical condition. One is 50′ wide and one is 35′ wide. The 50-footer enjoys a significant premium in the market.

In A Weakening Market, More Manhattan Co-op Boards Are Killing Sales That Are ‘Too Low’

I’ll be writing about this phenomenon a lot in 2020 but I’ve been told that a growing number of boards are killing sales they deem too “low” even though the sale was vetted by the market – properly exposed, fully qualified buyer, etc.

A leading real estate broker, Donna Olshan, that I’ve known for most of my career, shared a letter written to a board that described the efforts to sell the apartment to offset certain board members who felt the price was too low. I’ve redacted everything that would reveal the parties but you get the point. The letter conveyed the reality of selling co-op apartments in today’s market.

Here’s my message to all co-op boards who do this – THE MARKET DOESNT CARE WHAT YOU THINK. By killing sales you think are too low, you are violating your fiduciary responsibility to the shareholders by acting this way. Co-ops that do this are damaging shareholder equity as brokers steer would-be buyers away from boards that are violating their fiduciary responsibilities.

The letter:


October 28, 2019

Board of Directors
[redacted]
c/o [redacted]
New York, N.Y. 10128
Re: Apartment [redacted]

Dear Board of Directors,

I am writing to provide context for the sales price of $[redacted] million of apartment #[redacted] located at [redacted].

Before being listed for sale, the apartment was professionally staged and refreshed at great expense to [redacted]. Additionally, a professional photographer was hired to insure the portfolio of listing photos were just right. (Please See attached photos):
https:[redacted]

On May 22, 2018, the unit was listed in the multiple listing service run by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY-RLS) and disseminated electronically to its approximately 12,000+ residential members. The original listing price was [redacted]. The apartment was shown numerous times however the owners received no offers and by the end of December 2018, the unit was withdrawn from the market so the listing did not appear as stale.

On March 13, 2019, it was relisted at a reduced price of [redacted] million in the hopes that listing earlier in the Spring at a lower level would draw buyers. It did not.

On May 6, 2019, the price was lowered to [redacted].

By August 2019, a contract was signed at [redacted] million.
This was the ONLY offer that the seller received during the entire marketing period.

The current market has been on a consistent downward swing since Congress changed the tax law at the end of December 2017 when the deduction for state and local taxes (including real estate) was capped at $10,000. The mortgage interest deduction was also reduced to a maximum of $750,000. Since 2018, the pool of buyers has shrunk and there has been an increase in inventory. Unit [redacted] was caught in a downward cycle and by any metric available, the market continues to head south. Below is a 3rd quarter report written by the appraiser Jonathan Miller for Douglas Elliman. Jonathan is considered the dean of appraising in the industry and is frequently cited in mass media and is consulted by various institutions:

https://www.elliman.com/pdf/cd301cd94c6c2fee6e9317e7fc8e5ca0b2d9c658

I have been a professional in the real estate business since 1980 and my career spans many markets, properties and clients. I am very experienced in the market and conditions and can confidently state that the price achieved is fair market value and the unit has been thoroughly market-tested.

Very truly yours,
Donna Olshan
President



Getting Graphic


Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork


Appraiserville

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

Happy Holidays From Appraiserville

May your holiday gifts include the perfect comps…

OFT (One Final Thought)

I once read that the Washington Square Park Arch was made of wood. Apparently not.

UPDATE A loyal Housing Notes reader tells me today:

Hey jonathan:
You confused washington square arch with the victory arch.
See link below.

You almost had a perfect year!

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 clean their carpet;
  • You’ll be more into pudding;
  • And I’ll write a letter about the market.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


December 13, 2019

In The Housing Maze, The Shortest Distance Between Two Points Wins

When I think of the complexity of the real estate industry, sometimes breaking conventional rules can get you there faster.


But I digress…

Elliman Report Released: November 2019 – Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals

High-end rental market strengthened by weakening high-end sales market

I’ve been the author of the expanding Elliman Report series for Douglas Elliman Real Estate since 1994. To they released our research for the rental market in three boroughs of New York City.

First of all, there is nothing better than a good chart provided by Bloomberg from their coverage of our research:

And a video, making it a two-fer!


Here are some borough specific key trends and charts:

______________________________________________________
MANHATTAN RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

“Median rental price rose to its second-highest level recorded.”

  • Net effective median rent hasn’t seen a year over year decline in 2019
  • Median rent reached its highest level in more than a decade
  • New leases fell as landlords were more successful retaining tenants at renewal
  • Landlord concession market share fell annually for the eighth straight month
  • Non-doorman median rent surged at highest rate in more than seven years of tracking
  • Highest median rent for 1-bedrooms reached in nearly twelve years of recording
  • Median rental price moved higher at all price strata presented and by all bedroom sizes
  • Share of new leases at or above $10,000 reached its highest level in more than eight years of tracking
  • Super luxury rent representing the top 5% of the market, showed the highest annual gain


______________________________________________________
BROOKLYN RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

“High-end of the market saw the largest price growth.”

  • Year over year median rental price trends rose more in higher-end markets
  • Net effective median rent rose year over year for twelve consecutive months
  • New leases fell as landlords were more successful retaining tenants at renewal
  • Land concession market share fell year over year during every month of 2019


______________________________________________________
QUEENS RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

[Northwest Region]
“The largest areas of price growth occurred at the high-end.”

  • Landlord concession market share was significantly lower for larger apartments
  • Net effective median rent hasn’t declined year over year in three months
  • Concession market share for new development was nearly double that of existing rentals
  • New leases fell as landlords were more successful retaining tenants at renewal


This Week in Aspirational Pricing: The Beverly Hillbillies’ Place


I spent a lot of time in my youth watching that show after school – what are the odds that Lachlan Murdoch of News Corp., the buyer and Ruppert’s son, has ever seen an episode?

The Wall Street Journal got the scoop on another 9-digit US sale: $150 million for the mansion used as background in the Beverly Hillbillies 1960s TV show. Asking $350 million since 2017, the estate was able to let it go for a 57% discount. The price cut shows how far off the asking price was in 2017, not some sort of firesale discount.

According to my records, it is the second-highest residential home sale in U.S. history. I began tracking this market as a hobby since 2014.

This Week in Aspirational Pricing: 3rd $100+ Million Manhattan Sale

The closings at 220 Central Park South are starting to accelerate with 7 sales to close above/above $50 million.

The year 2019 is starting to approach sales levels seen in 2014. Please remember, this is a rarify market niche and the Manhattan luxury market remains unusually weak.

Bloomberg Podcast: Manhattan Luxury Market Is Challenged


[click on image to play]

NPR Planet Money’s The Indicator “New York City’s Luxury Condo Hangover”

As a matter of fact, I’ve long declared that our economy and the housing market remains in the hangover phase of the financial crisis. Credit hasn’t normalized and falling mortgage rates haven’t had the expected impact on the housing market.

Hint #1: Low mortgage rates make housing prices higher
Hint #2: Global investors chasing higher returns over-invested in luxury condo development

NPR interviewed Grant Long, a sharp data scientist I know at Streeteasy.

New in the Real Estate Lexicon: Peak Uncertainty

I officially dub this housing era “Peak Uncertainty” for the large numbers of variables that consumer face in high cost, high tax markets like New York:

  • 2019 NYS Mansion tax
  • 2018 Federal SALT deduction cap
  • 2019 Rent Law
  • Retreat of foreign buyer and investors
  • Affordability challenge

The Real Deal Magazine shows a great reason why recent closing in a building often doesn’t represent the current market. The new building 220 Central Park South has 2 sales above the $100 million threshold and the units actually went to contract several years ago.


Curbed: Will The Role Of Realtors Change Even More

There was an especially great read in Curbed: The 2010s changed how you shop for homes. Will the 2020s change the way you buy them?

There has been an incredible volume of venture capital entering the real estate space with the singular mission of simplifying the home buying process.

Wagging The Dog With Questonable Due Diligence

I’ve been giving national real estate brokerage Compass a lot of grief in recent months after the meltdown of WeWork – which exposed Softbank’s lack of due diligence when they were awarded significant funding. The specific reason I bring this topic up here was that Compass pushed their Softbank fundraising quite hard as a confirmation of their business model. After one of the Compass reported raises, I remember reading an article shortly after about Softbank’s $300 million dog-walking app-maker called Wag. Two years later Softbank appears to have given up on their investment.

$300 million for a dog-walking app maker? Really?

There was a lot made about Softbank’s unicorns as being disrupters by capital but it sure looks like many of them have no clear path to revenue. Expect more problems in the unicorn space to come. Disrupters by capital might be turning out to be unsustainable as a concept and have already experienced their moment in the sun.

Appraiserville

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

Pizza Deliverance

My friend and leading Chicago appraiser has stepped up his game to pizza and is now my hero: Chip Wagner has won $100 of pizza every month for 5 years.


OFT (One Final Thought)

This is unreal. The Ramones could never have imagined this. Check out the other songs in that link.

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 sedated;
  • You’ll be more like the Beverly Hillbillies;
  • And I’ll pay more for a rental.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


December 6, 2019

How Smooth Is the Housing Market? Popcorn Ceiling Smooth.

I’m out of town at the moment with a scrambled schedule running at 50% capacity in this issue. I suspect some of my Housing Note readers will be thankful. But I’m never short of time when it comes to the topic of popcorn ceilings.

Back 33 years ago when Miller Samuel was launched, we used “wheel on a stick” measuring devices to calculate square footage of co-ops and condos. Since the measuring stick (no telescoping handles back then) stuck out of my appraisal bag (we don’t use cars to do property inspections in Manhattan), many assumed I was headed out to play squash?

There were no lasers or infrared devices available yet to measure apartments and co-ops have no square footages available in public record. Yet this latest and greatest “wheel on a stick” gadget was a significant improvement from the “tape measure.” I remember fondly hearing from the owner of a large appraisal firm in my market during the 1980s telling me confidently “the tape doesn’t lie.” But in the same breath, he asked me how often I had to return to an apartment to remeasure at the client’s request. And my answer was “like, never” so apparently his “tape measure” lied a lot.

But there was a potential problem for this new fangled measuring device. There were many apartments that still had thick shag carpeting as a decorating legacy of the 1970s. That modern “wheel on a stick” we used to roll across the floor could be off by as much 1-inch per foot.

To counter this inaccuracy “I hear” this wheel on a stick “may” have been rolled on the ceiling to measure these “shaggy” apartments with popcorn ceilings and that wheel “may” have left a few tire tracks in its wake. That’s what I heard, anyway.

So there’s this.


But I digress…

Bloomberg TV 12-3-19: Super Luxury Oversupply

I got to speak with Lisa Abramowicz on her Bloomberg TV show “Money Undercover” yesterday. She is a great follow on Twitter. Best of all, I sat in a comfy chair.

Lisa mentioned the topic of “inventory loans” that developers are relying heavily on to limp to the next upcycle with lots of unsold inventory. Hedge funds have dived headfirst into this space, even developers who are in good financial state are lending money on unsold condo inventory. These loans are another way that financial engineering prevents the market from healing in the long run. This loan product reminds me of the actions of the Fed and FDIC a decade ago whose policy changes allowed banks to avoid “mark to market” so they wouldn’t be insolvent on their balance sheet. The goal is to sit and pretend everything is alright until enough time passes when everything becomes okay again.

While the interview was occurring, a real estate agent I know was walking down the street and saw me being interviewed via television sitting in a bank window. He emailed me a picture of it with a chuckle. The agent said he couldn’t hear what I had to say but hoped the news was good. Well, it is good news for South Florida property sellers.

Deutsche: Homebuyers Are A Lot Older Today Than In The 1980s and Other Observations…

Some unbelievable analytics from Deutsche Bank…

The median age of US homebuyers in 1981 was 31. Today it is 47, see chart below and here. The rise since the financial crisis is particularly noteworthy. This is driven by an aging population, affordability, higher student debt levels, and tighter mortgage lending standards for young people and individuals with lower credit scores. All these forces have also contributed to lower levels of residential mobility.


The chart below shows that roughly 10% of the population, or 30 million people, move to a new home every year, down from 20% a few decades ago. In other words, the US population is less and less mobile. This development started in the 1980s, and the financial crisis has not had any particular impact on the slope of the trend…


There is an elevated level of uncertainty in markets, but it has come down from a few months ago…

Appraiserville

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

Shag Carpeting > Wheel On A Stick

For those of you that missed the introduction to these Housing Notes up above.

Appraisal Industry Big Data Can’t Validate Their Reason For Being

To those who say, “just throw more data at it to get it right,” certified appraiser Paul Chandler eloquently tells us in so many words that big data never will.

I encourage you to read his terrific article: A Perspective on AVMs

Following the presentation, I asked the following question: “Given that you are contending big data and artificial intelligence are much better today and you use FSD as a test to validate models, has your research shown that FSDs are improving over the years?”
The presenter’s initial response was, “good question,” followed by five minutes explaining how cool big data is and the importance of speed of execution. Of course, I had a follow up question, “I take from your response you have no evidence that FSDs are getting better, is that correct?” His response was, “yes, you are correct.”

OFT (One Final Thought)

This is insane. Note the comment about SF’s infamous Millennium Tower in the tweet comments…

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 super oversupplied;
  • You’ll be more earthquake-proof;
  • And smooth over those damn ceilings.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


November 29, 2019

That First One Was The “Greatest House Of All Time” (G.H.O.A.T.)

One of my sons and his wife have an accepted offer on their first house. It is the greatest house of all time in their eyes. I remember looking back at our first rental apartment, our first rental house and our first home purchase and how exciting it was. Today, I can’t imagine living in our first after having traded up over the years, but the memories are still warm. Do you remember that sense of irrational exuberance? It is an awesome feeling. Just perservere to get one as illustrated here:


But I digress…

Build A Home As Solid As Sears

Check out the Sears Archives:

From the 1908 catalog


[click to expand]

Interest Rates Are Near 670 Year Lows

When looking over back the last 670 years as I’m sure many of us do, it is clear that current interest rates are unusually low. That doesn’t make home purchases more affordable by the way. It ensures housing gets more expensive in the future. Think about the dutch and the tulip bubble in the 1400s and 1500s while you’re at it.


Housing Prices Have Risen More Than Turkey Prices In Past Three Years

Because its the day after Thanksgiving, I wanted to understand how poultry price trends relate to housing costs, because, well, just because.


[Source: MBA]

Fed Beige Book for New York Shows Little To No Economic Growth In Region

Periodically, I mention to my Housing Note readers how helpful I find the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book (“Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions.”) It’s a qualitative description of the economy, both nationally and within the footprint of its twelve member banks. I’ve been used as a resource for it for more than a decade and also refer to it regularly.

Formerly called the “Red Book” when it was an internal document, it became known as the “Beige Book” when it was made public in 1970 because of its…wait for it…tan cover.

National housing snippet:

Home sales were mostly flat to up, and residential construction experienced more widespread growth compared to the prior report. Construction and leasing activity of nonresidential real estate continued to increase at a modest pace.

New York Real Estate and Construction snippet:

Housing markets across the District have been mixed but, on balance, weaker in the latest reporting period. Prices of New York City condos and co-ops have continued to trend lower and are now running moderately below comparable 2018 levels, with steeper declines at the high end of the market and in Manhattan. A local real estate expert noted a precipitous drop in the share of cash purchases at the higher end of the market, which is seen as a signal that investors have largely left the market. The inventory of existing homes has continued to climb to a fairly high level in Manhattan but less so in the outer boroughs. Housing markets in the suburban areas around New York have been more stable, with prices still rising moderately in most areas and inventories generally stable. Similarly, in upstate New York, the sales market has remained strong, with inventories steady at very low levels, prices still rising, and bidding wars still fairly commonplace in the more sought-after areas.

The residential rental market has strengthened further. While Manhattan rents have leveled off, rents across much of the city and metro area have continued to rise at a moderate pace—and at a somewhat faster pace at the high end of the market, reflecting a shift in demand away from owning. Rental vacancy rates have edged up but remain quite low across New York City.

Commercial real estate markets across the District have generally weakened in the latest reporting period. Office rents have been mostly flat, while availability rates have climbed modestly in most areas, with leasing activity steady to slower. Industrial markets have been mixed: rents have continued to trend up, though the pace has slowed, and availability rates have been flat to up slightly. The market for retail space has weakened further, even as the holiday shopping season draws near, with rents flat and vacancy rates at multi-year highs.

New multi-family construction starts have held steady across the District, while the volume of ongoing multi-family construction has remained fairly brisk. New office and industrial construction has continued to weaken modestly.


OK, Boomer There’s Not Enough Gen Xers But Plenty of Millennials

There was an epic Wall Street Journal article of the coming down cycle of housing demand as Boomers die off and there aren’t enough Gen Xers to buy them. It looks like big homes in the suburbs built before 1970 are going to be a hard sell for a generation. My home was built in 1825 (gulp).


Source: WSJ, click to expand]


Source: WSJ, click to expand]


Recommendation: My sons constantly say “Ok, Boomer” when I pontificate too much (which is always too much) so the best retort I found is “Ok, Millennial” which locks up their brains.

Getting Graphic


Our favorite charts of the week of our own making

I share this chart often because it amazes me. The Greenwich, CT housing market showed us that the housing bubble pre-2008 was also a home renovation bubble!

Appraiserville

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

Consider getting out of the bank appraiser rat race, and focus on clients who respect your services

Since I co-founded Miller Samuel in 1986, our mission was to work for clients who needed our services, not clients who were forced to use us through mortgage regulations. Over the years appraisers became our own worst enemies and didn’t work together to protect a profession designed to protect the public trust. Because we and our trade groups have been asleep and adversarial, we became marginalized, often disrespected and wholly blamed for anything that went wrong in a deal, even if it had nothing to do with us. Yet appraisers are the last stop in the mortgage process to protect the consumer and the taxpayer.

Our firm works for only those institutions that treat us professionally, pay us a market wage and enable us to complete assignments in the time needed to perform a credible analysis. You can only demand that by providing the best or one of the best appraisals in your market (reliability, not fast and cheap).

In 2005, near the peak of the housing bubble, we rejiggered our business from 75% bank/25% lawyer-consumer -> 25% bank/75% lawyer-consumer because it became apparent that most retail banks thought of us as “deal enablers” rather than independent arbiters of value to provide a neutral benchmark for informed lending decisions. After all, they could offload the risk to unsuspecting secondary market investors.

One thing to consider. If you are resolved to work with AMCs for the rest of your career, consider that most of them will be gone within a few years. Their time has passed and banks are on to what they really are.

So to those of you who are thankful to have enjoyed a lengthy career or those who want to have one, there are plenty of clients out there that are not banks or AMCs. One of the ways to build a thriving appraisal practice if you are a talented appraiser is to market and brand your services. As an industry we are woefully inadequate and have been trained to “wait for the the fax to ring.” LOL. I’m involved in one of efforts that addresses this smart business focus: FindMyAppraiser.com

If I’ve learned anything about the appraisal profession since 1986 is that residential mortgage appraisers are seen as “pain-points” by most lending institutions, appraisal management companies, as well as most banking regulators. Why waste your years of hard-earned expertise working for clients that don’t appreciate it or want to pay for it? Spend your productive time focusing on appraisal assignments that rely on your professional expertise. Consumers are being ill-served in the current regulatory environment. Why not work for them directly and have someone help you market to them?

I’ve spent my appraisal career looking for clients outside of the banking industry and FindMyAppraiser.com aligns with that mission. Disclaimer: I am part of Find My Appraiser because its mission aligns with mine.

Check out FindMyAppraiser.com

OFT TFT (One TWO Final Thought(s))

Innovation…


Leadership…


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 shop at Target;
  • You’ll be the greatest of all time;
  • And I’ll watch more goat videos.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads


November 22, 2019

Our Tall Housing Future Is Still Defined By Its Past

The following conversation is amazingly quaint.

Ironically, Bill Gates’ Microsoft figured out the internet too late to dominate it as they did for their Office Suite (that included Word & Excel). It’s hard to imagine Letterman and a large swath of America was so incredibly wrong either. As email was entering mainstream real estate practice in the late 1990s, a top real estate agent I know, who is still around, made the case to their tech people in her firm: “Why do I need email when I can just pick up the phone?”


But I digress…

How Do You Know Your Future Neighbor is A Nightmare?

My wife and I were home-shopping in 2004 when the market was tight, and we placed a bid on a house that was a stretch for us, so we didn’t offer full ask. We were outbid and lost the house. We found out later that the sellers were moving because of a nightmare neighbor. We consider ourselves very fortunate.

One of my sons and his wife are under contract for their first home right now and I think back to our experience, and worry a little bit. Most people are good, and the odds are against such a situation like the following


Can Residential Buildings Be Too Tall For Consumers? Apparently, The Answer Could Be Yes

James Tarmy of Bloomberg moderates an interesting conversation with developer Arthur Zeckendorf and starchitect Robert A.M. Stern. Having spoken with James for a number of his articles, I have always found his take on eclectic real estate topics a great read.


[click on image to play video]

Too Much SALT Wasn’t Good For the Market, But Adjustment Is Well Underway

Nearly two years ago, I was criticized by a Westchester real estate brokerage firm that competes with Douglas Elliman after stating in our Elliman Report: Westchester Sales that the drastic change in federal deductions from SALT would adversely impact the housing market. The Westchester sentiment then was that because of the AMT (alternative minimum tax), the SALT tax would have a nominal impact on the assumption that most homeowners there don’t take deductions for SALT and property taxes. Yet Westchester sales fell year over year for six straight quarters, and that firm modified its messaging. Pushing that silliness aside, The Real Deal presents a solid take on the state of the market since SALT..

Scott Elwell, Elliman’s regional vice president of sales for Westchester and New England, said that “we’re seeing a lot of older inventory pass through now.”

“At all price points, including the higher end, sellers are coming to better terms of what a house is worth, and buyers are getting a better grasp on what they are willing to spend,” he said.

Brokers said buyers started stepping up shortly after they found out what the damage was from their 2018 tax bills.

“When buyers met with their accountants, it was almost like a faucet went on,” said Deborah Doern, regional vice president for Houlihan Lawrence in Westchester.

Because of the trade war and the resulting flight to safety by investors, the Federal Reserve has been aggressively lowering rates and as a result, mortgage rates have fallen sharply over the past year, mitigating some of the damage of SALT. One important consideration of SALT that gets missed. I believe that many in the market see SALT as a “forever” weight on the market when, in reality, once prices slide to equilibrium, it won’t be a market obsession anymore because it will already be baked into the price structure of the market.

Every drop in pricing brings the market closer to that equilibrium.

Taller Building Trends Are Rapidly Bringing More Shadows

And no, I’m not speaking about shadow listing inventory. Rentcafe shared a study on the significant shift towards taller buildings. Here’s a 30 city building type breakout for the past decade with the interactive version below:

The Chicago Condo Deconversion Trend Is Growing

While I lived in Chicago for three years following college and kept loose tabs on the market, I had no idea that condo deconversion back to rental was such a thing. In fact, the condo to rental phenomenon is such a big deal that the City Council just passed a “Condo Deconversion Ordinance” to slow the frequency of these occurrences:

the number of “yes” votes needed from condo unit owners to sell the building to an investor, from 75 percent to 85 percent.

Based on the principle of “highest and best use” it makes sense to convert a condo to a rental just like it makes sense to convert a rental to a condo, I just thought that 100% of the unit owners need to vote for it as we have in NYC.

China Trade War and Capital Restrictions Driving LA Condo Sales Downward

With roughly 50% of buyers in LA’s downtown condo market coming from China, the two-year-old trade war and capital restrictions are crushing sales in the submarket.

The Soft Luxury Sales Market Is Driving Luxury Rents Higher

Using our research from the Elliman Report released for the New York City rental market, there have been a number of articles that delve into the topic. The slowing luxury sales market has motivated would-be buyers to rent out luxury property temporarily, and at the same time, would-be sellers are listing properties for rent to stem the bleeding.

Elliman Report: 10-2019 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals

  • Manhattan’s Rental ‘Glampers’ Send Luxury Lease Prices Soaring [Bloomberg]
  • The luxury rental market is booming. Here’s what a $100,000-a-month penthouse looks like [CNBC]
  • Luxury Leases That Reach Six Figures [Wall Street Journal]

Incidentally, the number of new Manhattan leases at or above $10,000 per month has jumped 21.1% over the past three years. Before that growth began, this market segment was languishing from oversupply.

Here’s CNBC taking you into a $100K per month Manhattan rental:

Getting Graphic


Our favorite charts of the week of our own making

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork

Appraiserville

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

All I Do As An Appraiser
Reflecting: NAR Real Property Valuation Committee Issues Position On Bifurcation

I reread last week’s post in Appraiserville: “NAR Real Property Valuation Committee Issues Position On Bifurcation” and felt I left the reader hanging with this incomplete thought: But I don’t want our industry to think: “There, we’ve addressed and resolved the threat to appraisers and more importantly, the public trust.”

After marinating in this topic, I believe the more accurate way to think of this new NAR policy position is this:

One of the largest residential real estate trade groups (NAR) developed an appraisal policy on a controversial appraisal topic: bifurcations. Appraisers have been battling the implementation of bifurcation for several years, largely on the misrepresentation of future providers of such services such as AMCs and future users of this service, such as banks. Bifurcations may have some very limited uses, but I object to portraying it as an industry-wide replacement for full appraisals. Bifurcations are much less accurate, more expensive, and slower to complete. But other than that, they’re awesome.

Regulators like FHFA reach out to groups like NAR to get feedback on controversial proposals for policies like this. Now one of the largest residential real estate trade groups with about 400 lawyers will be pushing this policy through all their channels, and that is a good thing for the appraisal industry. Groupthink has been steered to the appraiser’s way of seeing the world, the last protector left in the mortgage process to protect the public trust.

The VA Provides A Sane View on Hybrids With AAPP

The Veterans Administration has provided a position on controversial hybrid appraisals (aka bifurcations):

which states “[t]he Secretary shall permit an appraiser on a list developed and maintained under subsection (a)(3) to make an appraisal for the purposes of this chapter based solely on information gathered by a person with whom the appraiser has entered into an agreement for such services.”

In other words, the appraiser has to form an agreement with the inspector since the inspection is critical to the reliability of the appraisal. In my view, this policy is the equivalent of a “no, we don’t want hybrids.” Impressive.

This appears to resolve an important aspect of the bifurcation insanity, where it has been presented that the actual appraiser has to rely on the inspector but can’t interact with them or have any understanding of their competency. This depiction was making appraisal industry E&O carriers salivate with excitement over the fresh income sources for an entirely new category of litigation.

The VA seems to have addressed this gaping hole in logic with AAPP. More on this topic here.

How to Become a Luxury Real Estate Appraiser (Being Wildly Dependent on a Designation)

Back in the late 1970s, when comedian Steve Martin was at his standup peak, he appeared on Saturday Night Live in a routine whose theme was “How to have A Million Dollars And Never Pay Taxes.”

Steve got right to the heart of the matter:

“First, get a million dollars…”

Appraisalbuzz provided a press release type piece on luxury real estate appraising, and I did a double-take wondering whether this was a parody. McKissock, a well respected online education company, now offers a designation for luxury real estate appraising, which I find quite silly. Here are the steps they shared to get into this niche so appraisers can make more money and work fewer hours per this piece:

1) Become a certified residential or certified general appraiser (licensed appraisers are a tiny segment already)
2) Make sure you’re well-suited to specialize in luxury appraisal (don’t wear the same shirt you used to change the oil in your car)
3) Familiarize yourself with the luxury home market(develop local market knowledge which takes years)
4) Earn a professional designation (get the CLHA designation today!)
5) Get started as a luxury real estate appraiser (find wealthy attorneys to give you business)

In other words, this new designation conveys the appraiser’s luxury expertise to the world. But it can’t!

In reality, many appraisers don’t understand that the organization creating the designation has to spend a lot of money market the designation’s brand, or the consumer will place no value in it. And appraisal organizations have never demonstrated adeptness at doing so, largely because it is too freaking expensive. Early on, appraisal designations did mean something, but with the advent of appraiser licensing/certification and the proliferation of new designations as largely revenue opportunities, their effectiveness for generating new business is severely limited, except perhaps within the old guard of the profession itself.

OFT (One Final Thought)

Totally.


Brilliant Idea #1

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  • They’ll stick the landing;
  • You’ll venture onto the internet;
  • And I’ll market a new appraisal designation.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

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November 15, 2019

Housing Weakness Is More Rental Than Sentimental

Despite having a reputation as being a difficult person to work with, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ marketing legacy is incredible. Being a devoted Mac nut, having built both our appraisal companies using Macs, he made a lasting impression on me. The craft of story-telling he employs is unmatched as far as I’m concerned.


But I digress…

Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rental Markets Show Cooling Price Trends Except for Luxury

I’ve been the author of the expanding Elliman Report series for Douglas Elliman Real Estate for a quarter of a century (yikes!). What has made this affiliation work so well over the years is that Elliman has respected my independence, a deal killer for me otherwise. With their entrepreneurial business culture, they want their clients to understand actual market conditions to enable them to navigate better. I consider myself fortunate to be affiliated with a firm that has never had an issue with me conveying honesty in my market messaging.

One of our research pieces is the monthly rental report that covers Manhattan, Brooklyn and Northwest Queens in New York City. Although few realize this, 2/3 of the NYC housing stock is rental.

Elliman Report: 10-2019 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals

With the massive surplus of news this week, coverage of the rental market reached 18th place yesterday on the ±350,000 Bloomberg Terminal subscribers.

And of course, a chart!


______________________________________________________
MANHATTAN RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

“Rental price trends pressed higher across all apartment sizes.”

  • The vacancy rate has increased year over year for three straight months
  • Median net effective median rent year over year growth appeared to have peaked in July
  • The seventh consecutive month with year over year declines in concession market share
  • New development median rent continued to rise faster than the existing median rent
  • Share of new leases at or above $10,000 expanded for the fourth straight month
  • The luxury entry threshold hasn’t seen a year over year decline in 2019
  • The median rental price moved higher year over year at all price strata


______________________________________________________
BROOKLYN RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

“Rising demand resulted in the largest year over year drop in concessions for 2019.”

  • Net effective median rent increased annually for eleven consecutive months
  • Most significant year over year decline in concession market share for 2019
  • The average size of a rental apartment rose across all bedroom categories


______________________________________________________
QUEENS RENTAL MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

“Net effective median rent rose annually for the first time in four months.”

  • The market share of landlord concessions fell year over year for the third straight month
  • Net effective median rent rose year over year for the first time in four months
  • The most significant decline of concession market share in six months


SoftBank Unicorns Got No Apparent Due Diligence

One of the tragedies for investors and current and former employees of WeWork has been the stunning lack of due diligence by SoftBank. I mean, $300 million for a dog-walking app maker and no one blinks?

The sting of WeWork’s collapse is spilling over into other SoftBank unicorns like Compass, the traditional real estate brokerage firm that markets itself as a tech firm, presumably to get a higher valuation. In response to the bad WeWork headlines of late, Compass has sweetened the pot for its agents, probably because of the perception that anything associated with SoftBank is now tainted – that all unicorns received the same lack of due diligence that WeWork did.

The theme of these unicorns seems to be to go big to dominate their vertical, and then presumably after they kill off or buy most of the competition, they can charge higher commissions. They are disrupting through capital, not any apparent innovation. The problem with this strategy, ethically, is that the consumer will end up paying more in the end. With the toxic nature of unicorns these days, that vision is getting blurry. Uber continues to lose billions and was just fined $649 million. Peloton too.

Large signing bonuses create short term loyalty, say, just enough until an IPO when the founders can cash out and leave everyone else with a disruptor that has a lot of capital but hasn’t provided new ideas beyond the traditional brokerage model. I just heard from a broker friend who told me of a top producing team that signed with Compass to get a very large signing bonus to take some of the stress off of maintaining their top performance.

Cooling Rental Markets May Be Holding Back Inflation

Because national rents of primary residences, including the rental equivalent of a home, account for 40% of core inflation calculations, the direction of the rental market has a significant influence on core inflation.

The declines in New York and Boston weighed on the national measure for rent of primary residence, which rose 0.1% on a monthly basis, the least since April 2011.


Click on the chart to read more about this trend.


NAR Attempts To Solve Inventory Shortage By Fighting Whisper-Listings

The fight between Bright MLS and Compass over whisper/Pocket listings fight has been in the news. The grand strategy by Compass looks like they are trying to become the center of the listing universe to capture both sides of the commission in an organized way. This practice cuts off inventory access to the broader public unless they go through Compass and place pressure on housing market affordability already plagued by chronically low levels of supply.

This week NAR approved its “Clear Cooperation Policy” meant to standardize how long a broker can hold the listing until they share it with their members on the MLS. The associations have until the spring to adopt it.

If members don’t adhere to the new policy, they can always leave the MLS, I suppose. Look to see how hard Compass fights this policy nationwide. I believe this disrupts their key strategy of destroying the MLS system to become the center of the listing ecosystem.

Recession Probability Is Losing Steam

I typically speak a few times a week to the real estate brokerage industry and have found the word “Recession” undoubtedly comes up. Often referenced as the “R” word, it stokes fear in the hearts of many a real estate broker. We are in late innings of the proverbial baseball analogy cycle, and yet I think the reason for the elevated concern about such a probability is based on what people associate with a recession. The last one involved a global thermonuclear meltdown of global credit, and those conditions are associated with how a recession might feel today. Yes, we are still in an over-corrected hangover phase of the financial crisis, but fear of the “R” word has become the “boogieman” of the real estate economy. And who can blame the real estate industry’s concerns? We have seen a significant mortgage rate decline over the past year, and that usually occurs when the economy is weak rather than like now when unemployment has remained crazy-low, below 4%.


One of the reasons that rates are falling is because the Fed is trying to offset the economic damage created by the ongoing trade war and its uncertainty. This confluence of events has impacted real estate in the high-cost markets I analyze in my research by slowing sales despite falling mortgage rates. Here’s a variation of a checklist I’ve shared before.

-Uncertainty
-Sales slow
-Inventory rises
-Sales continue to slow
-Price discovery for 1-2 years
-Market stabilizes

The following is a diagram of the trade war that is driving economic uncertainty and explains why lower mortgage rates aren’t as much impact as one would expect. Click the tweet to expand the infographic:


The best description using a baseball analogy I’ve heard (can’t recall the source – likely on Twitter or heard in a podcast). Here’s how the conversation goes:

Prognosticator:
“We are in the third inning…”
Listener:
“Wait; what? How can that be? We are much further in the cycle than that!”
Prognosticator:
“We are in the third inning of the second game of the double-header.”
Listener:
“Oh, I get it.”

Getting Graphic


Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork



Appraiserville

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

NAR Real Property Valuation Committee Issues Position On Bifurcation

The Real Estate Valuation Committee within NAR, which includes a slew of some of the best practicing appraiser minds in the industry, came out with a position on bifurcation. The release speaks to NAR’s support of independent valuation by state-credentialed appraisers, which is great. And it states that the appraiser must be able to interact directly with a third-party property data collector (inspector), which is also great.

Presumably, the inspector could be a Realtor since NAR is a trade group for Realtors, not for appraisers. Thankfully NAR recognizes that the detachment of appraisers from the process may damage their members’ livelihood as well as hurt home buyers and sellers. It’s great to have NAR in the mix, and they have long supported the importance of our role.

As much as I appreciate the symbolism of this policy position and the hard work by this committee, it is not clear to me how it makes much of a difference in the ultimate use of bifurcation assignments by mortgage lenders. Presumably, if views change with the future of the pilot programs at the GSEs, the use of bifurcation appraisals won’t be stopped. Still, I see their efforts as very important.

But I don’t want our industry to think: “There, we’ve addressed and resolved the threat to appraisers and more importantly, the public trust.”


Home Value Stories Podcast: If the Appraised Value Is Lower Than You Anticipated If the Appraised Value Is Lower Than You Anticipated

My friend Jamie Owen of the Cleveland Appraisal Blog has a new podcast that you can add to your feed. It gets into the nuts and bolts of our profession yet keeps it interesting and has high-quality production values. Here is the latest episode:

OFT (One Final Thought)


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 upgrade their Mac;
  • You’ll rent;
  • And I’ll grab that fish.

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
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads

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