I met Rich Barton, Zillow CEO, at an Inman/Curbed party held during an Inman conference in Manhattan a long time ago, the evening before Zillow’s launch. I asked Rich, a very nice and fascinating person, what he did for a living, not realizing he was the co-founder of Expedia. Ugh. He also said they were launching their latest effort the following morning – a web site called “Zillow,” and he added “as in rhymes with pillow” to the description. Little did I know real estate would never be the same after that.
So this weekend’s SNL skit on Zillow was particularly delicious with all the “pillow talk.” Even Rich got a kick out of it.
I recently completed a quick interview with Stuart Elliott, Editor In Chief & CEO at The Real Deal who asked me questions with a uniquely mellow intensity. The Real Deal is required reading for anyone in the real estate profession or interested in real estate. Fun.
Although I’ve shared the following CNBC clip before, it’s worth showing again given my 15-year ago hairstyle. In 2005, I was interviewed by CNBC in the midst of the Housing Bubble and said that 75% of the appraisals being done then weren’t worth the paper they were written on (hey it was 2005 and they were done on paper, not pdf). They found me because I had just started my Matrix Blog because no one seemed to be listening to appraisers. Incidentally as of this week, Matrix is 15 years old!!!
And the October Research stats presented indicating that 55% of appraisers felt pressure to hit the value rose to 90% in the next year! The outlook was dire.
When I was interviewed, I was trying to keep it together because I assumed my business and my livelihood would be gone by 2008 if things continued. Thoughts about supporting my family of 4 sons and making my mortgage payments loomed large, but I couldn’t be morally flexible unlike many of my local peers who thrived as a result. Most lenders and mortgage brokers didn’t care about valuation quality, just hitting the numbers to make the deal. The appraisal profession became seen as one of “deal enablers” instead of neutral valuation benchmark setters. My big competitors at the time (who were part of the 75%), told me essentially: “Aw Miller, You Don’t Get It.” No, I didn’t. All my “75% competitors” during that era lost their licenses and/or went out of business after Lehman collapsed in 2008.
This is why this new documentary “THE CON” means so much to me. It tells the story that “good appraisers” like me and my firm have never been able to tell. Instead, good appraisers have been lumped in with the bad appraisers who are long gone.
Watch for my appearance along with several of my colleagues around the country in this week’s episode 2!
Think too much risk was the reason for the 2008 financial crisis? Nope. Unmitigated greed and systematic fraud are the real issues — and no one’s discussing them…. Until now. @theconseries is now available on virtual cinema: thecon.tv/watch #TheCon
Had a wonderful, nearly 7.5-minute conversation with Vonnie Quinn on Bloomberg Television’s Markets today discussing how the housing market will likely look over the summer. The interview touched on the analysis in the Douglas Elliman Report series I author.
Some ‘inside baseball’ fun. I was connected to Bloomberg via Zoom from my home for this. If you look closely at the 5:15 mark, you can see my garage door open as my wife drives in. My wife panicked when watching this clip, thinking she would be on TV as she walked out of the garage, but randomly ended up using the other door.
If you can indulge me, I was included in the ABC World News Tonight broadcast on Saturday night to talk about the potential urban to suburban housing shift, particularly in NYC. It was cool to be interviewed by Deirdre Bolton for her first World News Tonight segment since just joining ABC via Fox Business and previously from Bloomberg where I had spoken with her before. Great move ABC!
The full segment is a great listen. My interview starts at 21:33.
[click image to play]
Bloomberg TV: Markets – ‘Manhattan Home Sellers Hold Back Listings During Coronavirus’
I joined network Vonnie Quinn in New York to talk about the state of the market since the coronavirus hit. She is always wonderful to speak with. The stock photo they used for me was taken about 15 years ago (when I was 15, obviously). At the last second, they had me speak through their London bureau for technical reasons, so each question and answer saw a small delay. The interview was based on this Bloomberg article: Manhattan Home Sellers Hold Back Listings in Coronavirus Retreat:
Cheddar TV reached out to me on March 11th as I was 4 days into my self-quarantine and my voice sounded quite scary. Aside from bad lighting and a red face, the discussion was long-form in nature covering low mortgage rates, which is why I so appreciate Cheddar’s format.
March 11 was soooo long ago!
Using Skype (which has been improved since Microsoft acquired it to be less of a horror show) I am able to blur out the background so you don’t get distracted by my prized autographed drum head from Lynyrd Skynrd, my 2002 March Madness pool victory plaque and my certificate for passing a 1978 Italian Cooking class in my Dad’s former cooking school in the DMV.
When I came through security, the guard at NYSE asked me “when was the last time you visited the NYSE?” and I said, “about 10-12 years ago.” He looked it up to confirm and deadpanned, “I’ll bet you remember that I was the guy that took your picture in 2007, right?!?! He and his colleague and I all had a good hard chuckle over that. Moments like this are what I love so much about my job.
Back in 2007, I was interviewed by Erin Burnett (now CNN) and Mark Haines (sadly passed away in 2011) at CNBC on the balcony overlooking the exchange floor. It was a tight fit on the balcony so I got to sit near the president of the Russian natural gas conglomerate Gazprom and his dozen very large bodyguards. It was very crowded. While he was being interviewed I thought to myself, there is no amount of money in the world I would take to live with that kind of personal risk every single day.
No such worries today. Kristen and Tim were terrific to speak with and I appreciated the invite.
If you haven't already, sign up for
'Housing Notes' to receive weekly insights and research.
About Jonathan Miller
Jonathan Miller is President and CEO of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm he co-founded in 1986. He is a state-certified real estate appraiser in New York and Connecticut, performing court testimony as an expert witness in various local, state and federal courts. He holds the Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) and Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) designations. He is an Appraiser “A” Member of the Real Estate Board of New York and a member of Relocation Appraisers and Consultants, Inc. Learn More...
Subscription Service Coming Soon
You'll be able to choose from an array of robust housing metrics compiled using research developed during the preparation of our market report series. Expanded significantly from prior offerings, use this resource to build charts and custom data tables or leverage your own information for more powerful research and presentations.
In the meantime, here is a small sample of the aggregated data we will provide.
“Jonathan...understands how to take numbers and explain them to people in a way that makes sense.”–Dottie Herman, President and CEO, Douglas Elliman
“A web site 'worth visiting.'”–Realtor Online Magazine
“Jonathan Miller...one of the nation’s most prominent appraisers.”–Money Magazine
“His prescient 2012 declaration that “luxury real estate is the new global currency” was repeated as gospel...”–New York Post
“Jonathan Miller, the go-to expert on all residential real estate figures.”–Crain’s New York Business
“Jonathan Miller—the data whisperer”–Brick Underground
“His quarterly reports on the New York City-area market is considered required reading among real estate professionals.”–Reuters
“In the real estate world, Jonathan Miller is where street-smart meets book-smart.”–Jed Kolko, Chief Economist, Trulia
“Jonathan Miller is an incredible real estate analyst, a true Rockstar on NYC metro luxury markets.”–Ivy Zelman, CEO, Principal, Zelman & Associates
“Renowned appraiser and [Matrix] real estate blogger, Miller is a statistical wizard. Can dodge bullets in slow-mo.”–Real Estate Tomato
“Miller is the best real estate blogger out there.”–Bankrate
“Check out Superstar Appraiser Jonathan Miller’s blog Matrix for the latest in depth information on NYC housing.”–Urban Digs
“Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel is a NYC real estate "cultural icon."”–Katherine Clarke, New York Daily News
“Jonathan is considered the 'dean of appraising' in the industry.”–Donna Olshan, President, Olshan Realty Inc.
“Jonathan Miller: The man who knows.”–Real Estate Weekly
“Our sherpa in the land of broker euphemism for the current state of the housing market.”–New York Observer
“Jonathan Miller delivers real estate news in language even a blogger can understand.”–Curbed DC
“Jonathan Miller, an appraiser dubbed 'the Wikipedia of Manhattan real estate.'”–Barrons
“The oracle of New York City real estate: Jonathan Miller.”–Amir Korangy, Publisher, The Real Deal
“Jonathan Miller is one of the icons of the real estate industry.”–Real Estate Board of New York
“Jonathan is a legend, one of the most quoted appraisers and experts in the industry.”–Dottie Herman, President and CEO, Douglas Elliman
“"Between the Bricks" Columnist gives a 2016 Data Brick to Jonathan Miller for keeping the industry honest.”–Lois Weiss, New York Post
“Jonathan Miller, Go-To Appraiser. Appraising the state of real estate.”–Barry Ritholtz 'Masters in Business,' Bloomberg Radio
“Why is Jonathan Miller’s Matrix required reading? …He grabs you right from the start.”–New York Times
“Somebody-explain-this-crazy-market-to-me guy Jonathan Miller.”–Curbed New York
“Jonathan Miller, President of Miller Samuel and real-estate savant.”–Curbed Miami
“Jonathan Miller: One of the most famous appraisers in America today.”–Phil Crawford, 'Voice of Appraisal' Radio Show
“Jonathan Miller is 'one of the most important people in real estate.'”–Elizabeth Ann Stribling-Kivlan, President, Stribling & Associates
“Market Analyst Jonathan Miller: Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster he's on our side.”–Curbed Miami
“Should we have seen this coming?...I spoke to appraiser Jonathan Miller 3 years ago.”–Jane Wells, CNBC
“Jonathan Miller...Manhattan’s most revered independent appraisers of residential property.”–Daily Telegraph (UK)
“Jonathan Miller’s blog Matrix. Completely Keanu Reeves-free real estate economics, not for beginners.”–Curbed San Francisco
“Then there is Miller’s authority in residential appraisals.”–Reuters
“Expert Appraiser Jonathan Miller: New York City’s Real Estate Data Wizard”–Epoch Times
“Miller Samuel CEO Jonathan Miller holds the key to the luxury real estate market.”–Deirdre Bolton, Anchor, Fox Business
“A combination of Godzilla, King Kong, and Hurricane Katrina all wrapped up in one as he wreaked havoc on the housing market.”–New York Sun
“Jonathan Miller is 'a complete pro, a shining star in the real estate industry.'”–Donna Olshan, President, Olshan Realty Inc.
“His market reports are to the Manhattan housing market what those brackets are to the NCAA Tournament.”–New York Observer
“New York real estate maven Jonathan Miller.”–Slate
“A Curbed reader goes all 'Jonathan Miller' on us.”–Curbed New York
“It’s tough to find the good guys..Fortunately we found one. His name is Jonathan Miller.”–Glenn Beck, CNN
“Jonathan Miller is well-known for taking the pulse of Manhattan real estate.”–PBS Nightly Business Report
“Our man Jonathan Miller drops the truth bomb.”–Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture Blog
“Jonathan Miller, owner of New York City’s Miller Samuel and one of the nation’s most prominent appraisers”–Money Magazine
“In this ever changing NYC market, Jonathan’s reports give me an accurate snapshot at any given time.”–John Gomes, The Eklund Gomes Team / Douglas Elliman Real Estate
“Jonathan Miller: the true God of real estate data.”–Fredrik Eklund, The Eklund Gomes Team / Bravo’s MDLNY
“Jonathan Miller: He's the guy with 'boots on the ground' when it comes to real estate.”–Tom Keene: Bloomberg TV, Surveillance
“Jonathan Miller is the most trusted (and quoted) man in New York real estate.”–New York Observer
“Jonathan Miller delivers the unflinching and un-fluffy truth about an industry he knows inside out.”–Teri Rogers, Brick Underground
“Miller is arguably the most influential voice in residential property valuation markets today.”–Altos Research
“When it comes to markets trends, nobody knows the multiple NYC real estate markets better than Jonathan Miller.”–John L. Heithaus, CSO, Buyside
“If market guru Jonathan Miller said it, it must be true.”–Stuart Elliott, Editor-In-Chief, The Real Deal
“Jonathan Miller: Best online real estate expert.”–Money Magazine
“Matrix: One of the top five U.S. real estate blogs.”–Inman News
“Miller’s more than 20 years of real estate experience comes out in this no-nonsense blog.”–Seeking Alpha
“Jonathan Miller: One of the best finance people on Twitter.”–Business Insider
“Jonathan Miller is the DJ Khaled of real estate.”–Stefanos Chen, New York Times
“Jonathan Miller: One of the top 25 most influential U.S. real estate bloggers.”–Inman News
“Jonathan Miller, the most popular guy on the block when talking about real estate in New York.”–Tom Keene, Bloomberg Radio
“JM makes real estate stats talk in language that normal people understand.”–Teri Rogers, Brick Underground
“Jonathan Miller, the appraiser who is the savviest observer of the local residential market.”–Crain’s New York Business
“If New York real estate is a sport, one of its most prominent score keepers is Jonathan Miller.”–New York Daily News
“Jonathan Miller, the demigod of New York real estate stats.”–New York Observer
“Jonathan Miller is a master of his craft...we are lucky to have him as an advocate for appraisers.”–Phil Crawford, ‘Voice of Appraisal’ Radio Show
Columns by Jonathan Miller
'Three Cents Worth' column 3CW ('05-'16)
When Curbed was acquired by Vox, my eleven years of 3CW chart art and column links were broken on Curbed NY, Curbed DC, Curbed Miami, Curbed Hamptons, Curbed LA, and Curbed Ski.
As I’ve chronicled in the Appraiserville section of my Housing Notes newsletter since 2016, the scale of Appraisal Institute bureaucratic self-dealing of the executive committee and some members of the AI Board of Directors is breathtaking. Over the past decade… Read More