[In The Media] BeastTV – The Number with Dan Gross 8-29-12

August 29, 2012 | 1:54 pm | Public |

Got to talk housing with my friend Dan Gross, the Global Business Editor at Newsweek & The Daily Beast on his BeastTV segment “The Number”:

THE NUMBER: 101.7 That’s the pending home sales index from the National Association of Realtors, up over 12% from a year ago. Dan Gross and The Matrix’s Jonathan Miller reveal why we should be cautiously optimistic.

Their offices are located in the IAC building in Manhattan which is one of my faves – looks like a meringue pie. Here’s my photo from the cab:

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[In The Media] Bloomberg Surveillance w/Tom Keene 8-1-12

August 8, 2012 | 11:13 pm | | Public |

This interview occurred more than a week ago – I’m doing some blog housekeeping after returning from vacation.

Always a lively discussion on housing. I’m big on negative or low equity to explain why inventory is falling faster than sales activity can explain. Love their show. Had some issues with my earpiece constantly falling out. Apparently my ears are too big for TV (ie better listener).

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[On A1, 5 & Dime] New York Times Cover Story On Woolworth Condo Conversion

August 8, 2012 | 11:12 am | | Public |

A real estate article by Michelle Higgins on the Woolworth Building Condo Conversion: Luxury Living in Old Temple of the 5 and Dime made the cover of the New York Times today.

Not to wear out the use of irony here but the very idea that multi-million dollar homes will be located in the crowned jewel of nickel and dime retail sales is a bit mind boggling in retrospect.

Our company got a nice mention for the Manhattan zip code data we have been been tracking for the NYT for years. They’ve got a nice interface to slice and dice the data.

This is our 10th mention on A1 (I’m a numbers guy so I count everything) and I can assure you it never gets old.

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Money Mag Shows Us How To ‘Think Like an Appraiser’

July 23, 2012 | 3:18 pm | Public |

The August 2012 issue of Money Magazine on the newsstands now has a nice article penned by Ali Rogers called “Think Like an Appraiser.”

It’s not available online yet but the magazine is always a good read. Although Money Magazine has named me “Best Online Real Estate Expert,” I swear I have offline expertise too.

Ok before you go on with snarky comments about the last appraiser that screwed up your deal, I’ve heard it all before, much of it spoken here on this blog. The article is more about the concept of “contributory value” – how certain modest improvements help provide additional value of your home. In theory, an appraiser is going to walk through your home at time of sale just like your buyer would and place a certain value on things you may have done to improve the property. First impressions are important in building a sense of value for the property.

I’d like to expound on the contract “data” point in the article to provide context (not something I commented on for the article). Appraisers absolutely consider contract data in addition to closed data (and listing data). We can place them in the report but normally are not the sole basis of determining value.

What often happens is that we are told about a home that is under contract nearby but we don’t know the sales price. We will call the listing agent of that “contract” and try to get a sense of the interior condition and the actual price (99% of the time we are NOT successful getting the price) but we sometimes we might get feedback like “sold at list” or “sold very close to ask” etc. This can be a helpful gauge on value but not the key factor in the report presentation, especially since there is a higher probability in today’s market than in year’s past that homes under contract don’t always close.

These bits of info from a little detective work are among the subjective elements to valuation that help “tell the story” of the transaction. It’s not about dropping raw data on a spreadsheet and taking an average.

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Why “Pull From Air” (P.F.A.) Is An Appraisal Term, Pig v. Sheep Explained

July 23, 2012 | 11:41 am | | Public |

This weekend I was quoted in the New York Times article “Shooting for the Moon” by Alexei Barrioneuvo which explored some of the crazy prices being asked at the top of the market. Appraisers come across list prices every day that have no rhyme or reason to them.

In providing this quote, I sort of felt like I was in the movie “Babe” which I saw with my kids years ago (admittedly, I liked that movie) sharing that “secret word” that Babe used to get the sheep to talk to him.

I explained the PFA phenomenon as follows:

Within the appraisal industry there is a term for listings based on loose associations to reality, he said: “P.F.A.,” or “Pulled From Air.” As Mr. Miller explains it, “Take the highest sale you can find and apply some methodology in a very subjective way to talk yourself up to this bigger number.”

At the high end of the market, sometimes this approach is successful, but in reality, it is more often successful in new development than re-sales because of the concentrated marketing effort in place and that it is “new” with no benchmark bias already established.

Another name for it (and I just made this up) could be “unprecedented pricing” or UP. Buildings like 15 CPW and One57 in Manhattan and One Hyde Park in London had no real comparable benchmarks and became their own market.


Shooting for the Moon [NYT Real Estate]
Babe (1995) [IMDB]

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[In The Media] Yahoo!’s ‘The Daily Ticker’ With Dan Gross 7-19-12

July 19, 2012 | 2:17 pm | Public |



Had a spirited conversation with my friend Dan Gross, the economics editor at Yahoo! Finance who has a new book out.

Something I thought about before the show that I sort of mentioned but I will mention a lot more going forward:

The state of the housing market is a process rather than a moment.
ie “bottom” becomes “bottoming”, “recovery” becomes “recovering”, “turned the corner” becomes “turning the corner”.

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CNBC Street Signs – Is Miami Forming a New Housing Bubble?

June 18, 2012 | 1:10 pm | Public |


[click to play video]

Reporter Robert Frank spoke with me and pens a good piece on the Miami phenomenon and provides an interview for Street Signs. It’s worth a look.

No, not in the same way we saw one formed in the middle of the last decade.

In other words, Miami’s boom is not a broad-based market recovery driven by local families needing a home. It’s being fueled by a tiny top slice of super-rich overseas buyer looking for the latest hot investment.

They’re not buying their first home, or even their second or third. They’re investing in a stock with an ocean view.

25% of foreign investment of US real estate in Florida, most of it is in Miami.

“Most patient” capital

“Very discretionary”


Is the Miami Mansion Boom Becoming a Bubble? [CNBC]
Is there a bubble in Miami? [CNBC Street Signs]


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Bloomberg Surveillance Midday with Tom Keene 6-15-12, On The Housing Market

June 18, 2012 | 12:41 pm | | Public |

Got to join Tom Keene on his Bloomberg Surveillance Midday to talk housing – national and NYC metro, credit, distressed and donuts. I love the show structure, one of the few networks that provides a longer interview format for more substantive conversations in their programming.

Ironically I rode in on the train with Tom that morning:


















Jonathan Miller on Housing Market [Bloomberg TV]

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[NYT] Brooklyn Townhouse Boom, From Brown To Gold

June 3, 2012 | 9:31 pm | | Public |


Market Surge

The cover story in the New York Times Real Estate section this weekend: Brooklyn’s Gold Rush chronicled the jump in prices over the past year. Marc Santora pens a good piece that begins with 3 examples of properties that sold over list.

I crunched the year over year numbers for the piece.

“Even when the most expensive sales are removed from the calculations, Mr. Miller said, the surge in prices in striking.

“The theory was that when the credit crunch hit, you would see home sizes get smaller,” he said, “and that is not what happened in New York.” Across the city, he added, space is king.

The spiraling prices are being driven, in part, by the lack of supply. Despite the rising demand, no one is building new brownstones. The number of town houses on the market this spring is about the same as it was a year ago.”

Fixed housing stock + more demand at higher end of market = price increases for Brownstones



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A Twitter Shout-out from Valuation Review on their 10th Anniversary

May 21, 2012 | 3:30 pm | Public |

Here’s the Editor’s page in a recent copy of Valuation Review, an essential publication for real estate appraisers by October Research. I’ve been subscribing since nearly the beginning when it was called something else. Always relevant good reading for an industry besieged by bad information.

And more importantly, take notice of my twitter shout-out . Fun!


[click to expand]

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[Eye on Real Estate] WOR NewsTalk Radio 710 June 19, 2010

June 21, 2010 | 12:37 am | | Public |

For each week’s Eye on Real Estate Show on WOR NewsTalk Radio 710, we include a segment called “The BlogCast” where I discuss several housing related (sometimes a stretch) posts from some of my favorite blogs. They cover topics that are current, funny or simply a “must read”.

Saturday’s BlogCast covered the following blog posts:

[The Real Estate Bloggers] The Watergate Hotel Sold To European Investment Group For many of us, the term Watergate brings back bad memories of politicians gone bad. We forget that the scandal is named after the Watergate Complex, a group of 5 buildings near the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The hotel that was attached to the complex failed in 2007 but was purchased yesterday by a European real estate management company. They plan on returning the hotel to it’s former glory while keeping the option of turning some of the rooms into condos if the market will accept it.

[Straight Talk About Mortgages] Lending Rule #101 – Don’t Loan Money to People Who Can’t Pay It Back… Duh, it’s all about common sense. People who can’t pay it back shouldn’t get the loan in the first place…

[ST Paul Real Estate] Should I take the fridge? I got a call last week from a woman who is being foreclosed upon and there isn’t anything she can do about it at this point…She wanted to know if she had to leave her appliances behind when she left her home. She told me that they are fairly new and that she would like to keep them.


If you missed this past Saturday’s show or any prior show, you can listen to the podcast at any time or subscribe to it for free via iTunes to always get the latest show delivered automatically to your computer or handheld device. My Blogcast is usually in the first hour of the show.

Listen to the most recent Eye on Real Estate podcast.

Subscribe to the free weekly Eye on Real Estate podcast.

Become a fan on Facebook.

Or visit the Eye on Real Estate Website.


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[Eye on Real Estate] WOR NewsTalk Radio 710 June 12, 2010

June 14, 2010 | 10:40 am | | Public |

For each week’s Eye on Real Estate Show on WOR NewsTalk Radio 710, we include a segment called “The BlogCast” where I discuss several housing related (sometimes a stretch) posts from some of my favorite blogs. They cover topics that are current, funny or simply a “must read”.

Saturday’s BlogCast covered the following blog posts:

[City Room/NYT] Life Costs More Here, Unless You’re Hiring In both Boston and the San Francisco Bay area, the average worker receives more in wages and benefits than does the typical worker in the New York metropolitan area, according to figures released this week by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Boston and San Francisco are also the only big American cities where the cost of providing health care, year-end bonuses and other benefits is higher than it is in New York, the numbers show…

[Naked Capitalism] RealtyTrac: Most foreclosures have positive equity Of all of the foreclosures in the RealtyTrac online database, less than 50% have mortgages worth less than what is owed, said Rick Sharga, senior vice president at RealtyTrac, during a session at REO Expo, which concludes in Dallas Wednesday…

[Sienna Research Institute] 4.7% of New Yorkers Want To Buy, Most Since Lehman Tipping Point Ok, so this isn’t really a blog, but it pertains to the listening area and I covered it here on Matrix. 4.7% of consumers in the state plan to buy a home this year, compared with just 3.4% in April and 3% in May 2009. As good as it is, the latest reading is still far shy of the three-year high set in June 2007, when 5.6% of New Yorkers said they wanted to buy. Conversely, in January 2009, at the lowest ebb in the last three years, a mere 2.2% said they would buy a home.


If you missed this past Saturday’s show or any prior show, you can listen to the podcast at any time or subscribe to it for free via iTunes to always get the latest show delivered automatically to your computer or handheld device. My Blogcast is usually in the first hour of the show.

Listen to the most recent Eye on Real Estate podcast.

Subscribe to the free weekly Eye on Real Estate podcast.

Become a fan on Facebook.

Or visit the Eye on Real Estate Website.


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