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Posts Tagged ‘CNBC’

[Quadrillions In Indebtedness] 4Q 2008 Manhattan Market Overview Available For Download

January 8, 2009 | 2:25 am | | Public |

The 4Q 2008 Manhattan Market Overview that I author for Prudential Douglas Elliman was released on Tuesday.

Other reports we prepare can be found here.

The 4Q 2008 data and a series of updated charts are also available.

All in all, well over 100 media hits covering the report (that we know about, but who’s counting) without a formal press release. Apparently there is interest in the Manhattan housing market.

An excerpt

…At the close of the prior quarter, there was significant turmoil in the financial markets and unprecedented intervention by federal government agencies. The bailout of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and insurance giant AIG, the investor run on the money market Reserve Primary Fund and the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, marked a significant change in the Manhattan housing market as well as the US housing market. The fourth quarter was characterized by a sharp decline in contract activity and a downward correction in contract price levels. Sales contract activity showed evidence of a decline in activity of 40% to 75% compared to the same period last year. Contract price levels showed an average decline of 20% from August 2008. As a result of the 45-60 day lag between contract and closing date, a decline is anticipated in both the number of sales and closing price levels in the first quarter of 2009…

In 2005, I began posting the links of the coverage of each report to see how each media outlet reports the market using the exact same data. I find it to be an interesting way to look at how this information is interpreted and presented.

The media coverage of the report was provided here as they were released (in no particular order). The headlines selected below provide an interesting media perspective of the report contents since every outlet was working off the same information. I didn’t include all the wire stories from AP, Bloomberg or Reuters.

Print/Web

Television/Radio


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[In The Media] CNBC Squawkbox 1-6-09

January 8, 2009 | 1:21 am | | Public |

I love doing a live interview on CNBC, especially when my earpiece falls out during the interview without warning and would not stay in the remainder of the time (a 4.5 minute interview). I was at a remote site so they cut away to show Manhattan skyline photos as the technician later said, to “save me from embarrassment” and cut back to me just at the end. A bunch of my friends teased me but said I didn’t miss a beat!

Becky Quick interviewed me this time – she was sharp as always. I exhaled a slew of Manhattan stats from my report released that day. Here was the press coverage for the Manhattan 4Q 08 report.

Here’s the clip.

When I was done, went down the block to a Starbucks to give an insanely ALL CAP style Curbed IMterview.


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[Bonus Thinking] All Children Are Above Average

November 10, 2008 | 12:43 pm | | Radio |

A survey found that despite all the gloomy economic news, 1/3 of Wall Street think their compensation will exceed last year’s levels.

If people think that, it’s a combination of human nature and the Lake Wobegon effect,’ he said — a reference to the mythical town in Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion,” where “all children are above average.”

Don’t forget that “all the women are strong and all the men are good looking.” (I am long time podcast devotee of Lake Wobegon.)

One of the key reasons that the New York City metro area was one of the last residential housing markets to be impacted by the housing market slow down was the financial might – that is Wall Street bonus compensation. Last year bonuses accounted for just under 50% of total wages paid out in the financial services sector. It’s a long time annual economic ritual in New York.

It’s going to get painful for many in NYC over the next few years. I have many friends on the Street who work hard and make a decent living, but have or will lose their job as a result of a sector of Wall Street that went haywire. It’s simplistic reasoning to lump all segments of Wall Street all together. However, we do like to do that, especially when pointing fingers. Lower bonus compensation will impact the housing market in the New York region over the next few years with less income making it’s way toward mortgage payments.

Bonuses, which soared to record heights in recent years, could drop by 20 to 35 percent across the industry, according to a private study to be released on Thursday. Bonuses for top executives could plunge by 70 percent.

If 50% of your total compensation drops 50% or more, that’s a major decline in spending power. It’s very easy to be generic about all of this. The message given out is: Wall Street is BAD and all Main Street is GOOD. Yet, they are not mutually exclusive.

Is some of the logic for compensation crazy? You bet (no pun intended).

Should New York Attorney General Cuomo go after financial abuse and fraud? You bet. Of course it furthers the notion that bonus compensation is somehow criminal so he needs to walk the path very carefully. Judging by how Cuomo handled appraisers’ role in the mortgage crisis, I suspect he will do it right.

Somehow along the way, the word “bonus” has become another word for “greed”. Sure, there are upper bracket wage earners who make mind boggling compensation. But that is not the masses.

Main Street was pitted against Wall Street as an election theme (just like small town America was presented as the ‘Real America’).

Greg David, editor of Crains New York writes in his post “In defense of Wall Street Bonuses” He makes the case that:

The mayor gets 9% of his revenue from Wall Street, and the governor relies on it for 20%. Bonuses are key to spending on education, health care and police.

One of Greg’s students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism gives a more ground level perspective:

So, every time I hear about Wall Street cutting jobs or cutting salaries, all I think of is Eddie. A 25-year-old guy who works his tail off about 50 hours a week–and even more since the financial crisis made its landfall.


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[In The Media] CNBC Squawk Box 10-3-08

October 5, 2008 | 6:25 pm | | TV, Videos |

We released the 3Q 2008 Manhattan Market Overview on Friday for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

CNBC offered to have me come to their studio in NJ, which is a terrific facility, but I had a tight schedule as a result of the report release and opted to do this at 30 Rock.

We’ll have the formal report here on Monday afternoon. The unanticipated frenzy of coverage put me a little behind schedule. I had hoped to post the report on Friday. Oh, well.

Here’s the clip


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[Think] Fear (and Anger) Beats Out Greed For The Hearts And Minds Of Americans

September 30, 2008 | 12:03 am | |

I had MSNBC and CNBC on as white noise for much of the day and was somewhat surprised that the markets saw such a sharp drop on the news that the bailout was rejected by the House. I suspected it would be close, but it really wasn’t. In fact, the stock market fell below levels seen at the start of the first term of our president. Television pundits were interpreting the sharp decline as the market’s way of telling us that the bailout, if to be passed, had to be re-jiggered.

Did you notice how any discussion of the housing market problems has been shouted out by congressional bickering?

In reality, the Constitution worked well today and thats why we have elected officials, no matter how much we complain about them. Conventional wisdom says we will have a revised deal within a week, or even less. And perhaps even a better deal. A different proposal is what 56% of taxpayers want.

This just in: $700B is not a lot of money. $1.2T was lost in the stock market today. Memo to self: I need to think really, really big.

It’s interesting because Wall Street has got a bad rap because I suspect many Americans lump everyone in the industry in one big pile. Here’s an example: Dot-Com Billionaires are Good, Wall Street Billionaires are Bad. Even CNBC used the term “fatcat” more times today than I could count. The people I know who lost their jobs over the past week were not “fatcats.”

Speaking of “fatcats,” perhaps there is distortion in news accounts that are dramatizing the “anger” that main street is feeling right now against a “bailout.” It’s all how you phrase the question.

And here’s a commentary written before the vote by Edward Leamer, Professor of Economics and Management at the UCLA Anderson School, who sent me this link to his article: Please Think This Over. The article takes issue with the broad powers to be yielded to the US Treasury. In fact, the wording reminded me of the intimidating legal language commonly used in my flirtation with Wall Street last year. My way or the highway.

The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgagerelated assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States. Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are nonreviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Wow. It’ll be interesting to see whether Congress is able to rework this. I am getting anxious to talk about housing again, but for now, it’s all about credit and changing that light bulb in my entry foyer. Its also about remembering that this was the day I was born, as many years ago as the contiguous states and yet I don’t feel red or blue.

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[Hindsight Is 007] Market Bloom Is Not On The Rose

September 17, 2008 | 12:26 am | |

Today, my senior appraiser told me I had to watch the Charlie Rose Show he saw Monday night called “A discussion about the crisis on Wall Street” with Lawrence Summers, Charles Gasparino, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Nouriel Roubini and Josh Rosner.

He was right – it was engaging (not many have the interview skills of Charlie Rose). I highly recommend watching it.

While you’re listening, take a look at Megan McCardle’s of The Atlantic’s post called Hindsight regulation.

I hope that this will result in deep changes to our regulatory system, starting with unifying the diverse bank regulatory body, and giving them a stronger mandate to watch systemic risk like a hawk. I hope the GSEs will be broken up, stripped of their government guarantee, and regulated like other companies that do the same thing. I hope the central bank will pay more attention to inflation, and less to unemployment.

While you’re pondering all this hindsight, consider tragedy of Jack White and his unhappiness with his music in the advertisement for Coke Zero Zero Seven for the new James Bond movie.


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[The Real Deal Magazine] Will Own Lincoln Center

September 7, 2008 | 8:53 pm | | Public |

The Real Deal magazine’s New Development Forum at Lincoln Center was sold out at the 3,000 capacity venue last year. For lack of a better description, it was fun.

So this year, I was more than happy to help spread the word (all 3 seconds worth). The ad is running hourly on CNBC on Time Warner Cable and on NY1.

Since Publisher Amir Korangy knows how to pack content into his magazine, there’s no doubt he’ll pack ’em into Lincoln Center for another sell out. He lined up a group of interesting guests and with the housing and credit markets in turmoil, this event will prove especially informative.

To buy tickets


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Catch Phrases That Capture Our Housing Hindsight Morality

July 21, 2008 | 12:23 pm | |

Here’s a collection of phrases that caught my eye for our newfound understanding about our new housing/credit morality/thinking:

Moral Hazard – I have linked to Holden Lewis’ brilliant post before: Moral hazard is when people take unwise risks because they are sheltered from the consequences. For example, if you wear a seat belt and drive a car with airbags, you’re more likely to tailgate.

Rally between Concern Phase and Fear & Capitulation Stage – Comstock Partners has some great commentary about the housing market: Now even Fed Chairman Bernanke has caught on to the dangers of the bursting of the bubble.  He stated in both Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s testimony before Congress, “the housing market is the central element of the financial crisis.  Anything we and Congress can do to strengthen the housing market, or strengthen the mortgage financing market, will be helpful.  We can do this by restoring confidence in the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).”  We are happy to have Mr. Bernanke on board, but are not too happy about begging Congress to slow down the process by trying to get bills passed that would postpone the inevitable decline and make the eventual decline even worse. We have to let the free market work its way through the housing crises.

Flat is the new up – Daniel Gross of Slate’s column captures the feeling of victory in today’s economy. Last weekend, at a suburban barbecue, I asked a friend who works for an asset-management company how his firm was faring in these turbulent times. “We’re actually doing OK. Keeping our heads above water.” At which point another guest chimed in: “Hey. Flat’s the new up.”

Nexus between fear and greedI wrote about this one before.

Foreclosure Contagion – Zubin Jelveh’s Odd Numbers blog in Portfolio.com offers a wealth of sharp insight on an array of economic topics: The researchers also find that the negative hit from a foreclosure is strongest right before a lender takes control of the property. They argue “that when foreclosure is inevitable, efforts to speed the foreclosure process would be effective at reducing the contagion effect.”

It’s a good time to buy real estate – housing prices double every ten years – NAR is hard selling and yes, it may be a good time to be real estate in certain markets and for some people. Because NAR says this 24/7, it’s hard not to cast a jaded glance their way.


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[Foreclosure Bus Tours] Lost In Translation

June 23, 2008 | 4:29 pm | | Public |

A foreclosure storyline is probably better without a tie, no?

Click here to view.

CNBC interviewed me for a story covering the growing foreclosure situation on Long Island and how it is entering Manhattan. Natalie Erlich did a nice job with the piece. The foreclosure tour bus running on Long Island is now entering Manhattan.

Foreclosure bus tours are appearing in other parts of the country. Some with boxed lunches!

What I find fascinating, is that there were only 23 residential foreclosures in Manhattan in Q1 2008 down from 25 in 2007, according to PropertyShark.com

Hardly a significant trend or pattern…no? There must be another justification to run the tours to Manhattan with such a low foreclosure rate. I’m guessin’ it was a publicity play, to contrast the resiliency of the Manhattan market.

UPDATE: Click here to view the second video for the storyline. The disconnect between the number of foreclosures and the ability to run a bus seems to be because there are middlemen that buy blocks of distressed properties before they go into foreclosure and then re-sell for a profit. Sort of an inverse flip.


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[Housing On Fire] Blogoshere Hose-Down, Time Capsule Edition

May 13, 2008 | 12:08 am | |

Periodically, I like to round-up some of my favorite recent blog posts that are housing market/credit/economy related. A lot of good information can be backed up in a Time Capsule.

Quote of the week…

The paperless society is about as plausible as the paperless bathroom.” —Jesse Shera [librarian and author]


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[Housing On Fire] Blogoshere Hose-Down

April 21, 2008 | 12:01 am | |

Periodically, I like to round-up some of my favorite recent blog posts that are housing market/credit/economy related. And of course, a few extras…

Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy – George Carlin


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[Picture In Picture] Memory Lane Has A For Sale Sign On It

March 24, 2008 | 11:07 pm | Public |

To view clip

I was sent an email clip of a spot on today’s CNBC broadcast covering the existing home sales stats released for California, except I was included in the broadcast. Unless it was due to too much Easter candy, I didn’t remember being on the show today. 😉

Real estate correspondent Jane Wells reached into her video archive and pulled out an interview we did in 2005 where I estimated 75% of all appraisals were inflated. I remember that my concerns fell largely on deaf ears in the industry back then. Its been a frustrating three years. (And to her comment, her hair looks just as great now).

It was a picture in picture clip, where the anchors watched the tv that was playing the interview. Very cool. I actually posted the same clip of the 2005 interview a little over a week ago.

While it’s satisfying to be proven correct (and have actual video evidence), it’s a shame the lights were on and nobody was home (sorry). She was one of the few national correspondents that covered the housing market at that time that understood the “appraiser” problem growing at an alarming rate.

It’s making me feel both a little old and like a broken record because I have been saying the same thing since that interview (and at least a year before) but finally there is some hope for change.

Appraisers need to be able to perform independently to be able to function.

What was striking about the home sale stats she mentioned was that 1/3 of all sales in California were foreclosures in February. Crazy.


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