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Housing Trends & Cycles

Elliman Magazine Column – A Symptom of Chronic Inventory Lows: Bidding Wars Are Everywhere

April 14, 2022 | 4:35 pm | | Charts |

For each issue of Elliman Magazine produced by Douglas Elliman, the same company that publishes most of our U.S. market research, I write a brief column and create a graphic to illustrate an important issue facing the luxury housing market. Of course, the graphic I create is then supercharged by their very talented graphics staff.

Listing inventory has essentially collapsed in most U.S. housing markets as unusually low rates against the backdrop of robust economic conditions have burned off supply to record lows. Evidence of this is seen in the proliferation of U.S. housings markets with a significant share of bidding wars. Since these are broad markets, various submarkets can see the market share at must higher levels. The proxy for market share is the share of transactions that close above the asking price at time of sale against total period sales.

In the current issue of Elliman Magazine: Spring/Summer 2022, my column “A Symptom of Chronic Inventory Lows: Bidding Wars Are Everywhere”


[click to expand]

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Zillow Offers As A Proxy For ‘Big Data’ Shows The Lack Of Qualitative Analysis

November 7, 2021 | 8:24 pm |

Yes, big data usually infers ‘quantitative’ analysis, as in “relying on numbers.” The Zestimate legacy of profound inaccuracy finally reached a devastating conclusion with the collapse of Zillow Offers this week and the loss of hundreds of millions in shareholder equity. Zillow never figured out the qualitative part that enables the actual precision in the pricing of a home sale.

There is a lot of talk right now about how other iBuyers are continuing to buy and sell properties so the space is still viable – business as usual. But step back for a moment and think about this:

  • The iBuyer market is currently overcrowded, even with the loss of Zillow Offers.
  • The iBuyer bold-faced name is OpenDoor who was the unicorn of Softbank who famously backed WeWork without any apparent due diligence.
  • The iBuyer segment is characterized by its razor-thin margins and billions of investment required.
  • It was created and run in a rising market, most of it a boom, and was recently turned off during the recent downturn.
  • It is wholly dependent on housing markets with homogenous housing stock and will always need high volume just to survive.

I feel pretty confident there will be further fallout over time, but the iBuyer space will settle into a small segment of the overall transaction universe. It has been wildly overhyped (at real estate brokers and real estate appraiser’s expense) as investors, burdened with high volumes of capital, desperate for upside in housing in this fintech boom.

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NYC Metro Conditions Much More Robust Than Two Years Ago

August 20, 2021 | 12:56 pm | Infographics |

One of the problems with my normally preferred year-over-year comparisons with metrics to diffuse seasonal impact is that the year-ago period happened to be the pandemic lockdown.

I went through the region using our market report series for Douglas Elliman, comparing the same period two years ago to capture the pre-COV ID market and prices. and sales are up with the exception of Manhattan and North Fork. Listing inventory is up slightly within the city boroughs and plunged in the suburbs.

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TV: Newsday Live: Hot Tips For a Hot Market: For Sellers

June 18, 2021 | 6:09 pm | TV, Videos |

I had a fun conversation with Faith Jessie, journalist and anchor at Newsday, Maura McDermott, the real estate writer at Newsday, and Monica Balsan at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. My housing data came from our Elliman Report: Long Island Sales series I author for Douglas Elliman.

The interview was placed on Newsday’s home page, which was pretty cool.

Newsday Live: Hot Tips For a Hot Market: For Sellers

Newsday is the largest news publication for Long Island, New York.

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[Podcast] Masters In Business: Jonathan Miller on the Real Estate Industry

May 1, 2021 | 1:09 pm | Podcasts |

This is my fourth appearance with my friend Barry Ritholtz, a prolific columnist/blogger, radio show host/podcaster, and wealth management firm head on his Masters In Business show for Bloomberg Radio. He previously interviewed me in 2014, 2016 and 2020.

Barry also posted the interview on his essential Big Picture blog: MiB: Jonathan Miller, Appraiser Extraordinaire in addition to the Bloomberg Masters In Business landing page.

To say we talk a lot about housing and valuation in a crazy market wouldn’t do this fun conversation any justice. I am always thrilled to be in the company of his never-ending incredible lineup of guests.

To listen to the entire one hour and 49 minute show (sorry about that), you can go here:


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I Discuss The Florida-New York Housing SMACKDOWN On Bloomberg TV’s Surveillance March 12, 2021

March 17, 2021 | 1:08 pm | | TV, Videos |

Last Friday I had a fun discussion with Lisa Abramowicz on Bloomberg Surveillance. It’s been bedlam in Appraiserville so I’ve been slow to post it. The New York to Florida housing migration story has been a bit one sided with optics that suggest 9 people will be left in Manhattan by the summer time despite that Manhattan contract activity beginning to surge. On the other hand Florida sales activity continues to be frenzied.

I don’t have the short clip so you have to go to the end of the full show at the 2:10:50 minute mark to pick up my interview with Lisa (but I think its worth it):


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Peak Suburb Has Passed

December 28, 2020 | 2:22 pm | | Explainer |

The New York Times got the market nuances right in their epic end of year The Real Estate Collapse of 2020.

And including epic charts makes it even better.


I noticed that the Streeteasy median rent chart used in the piece shows the same pattern as my recent chart in Bloomberg. That drop in rent is gigantic.



[Source: Bloomberg – click image to open article]

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TRD Quick Question: Jonathan Miller “What’s Happening in the NYC Real Estate Market?”

December 28, 2020 | 1:51 pm | | Explainer |

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.





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NYT Real Estate: Signs of a Manhattan Rental Market Recovery

November 21, 2020 | 12:49 pm | | Charts |

This weekend’s New York Times Real Estate Calculator column provides a visualization of the recent rental market results in The Elliman Report: October 2020 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals

The Manhattan changes were the most interesting to me – record highs set for the vacancy rate, concession market share, concession amount, yoy% change in median net effective rent overall, studio, 1-bed, & 2-beds. Yet we saw for the first time in fourteen months, a jump in YOY% new lease signings and the highest October new lease signing total on record.

The significantly weaker rental market final hit a point that caused demand to begin to flood back into the market.


[click to open article]

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The ‘Urban To Suburban’ Narrative Is Really ‘Manhattan To Suburban’

August 19, 2020 | 1:26 pm | | Charts |

This post previously appeared in the August 14, 2020 edition of Housing Notes. I’ve been writing these weekly summaries on housing topics for more than five years. To subscribe for free, you can sign up here. Then you can look forward to each issue every Friday at 2pm New York Time.

The New York Times created a terrific graphic on our Elliman New Signed Contract Report by illustrating the performance of Manhattan and Brooklyn versus Westchester County. Brooklyn’s sales market performance is closer to Westchester than it is to its city counterpart.


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[Spectrum TV/NY1] Stuy Town Vacancies Surge 7/6/20

July 7, 2020 | 8:34 am |

Michael Herzenberg of NY1 did a great story on the exodus from Stuy Town after the landlord provided terms for people to break their leases. The story was inspired by a press release from CHIP (I haven’t seen) which talked about the pandemic exodus as the reason for the rising vacancies. I thought that was a bit of hyperbole since the other key factor has been the inability of the real estate brokerage industry to do in-house showings by state mandate until June 22nd. The lack of mobility has also been a key factor in driving vacancy higher.

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[Bloomberg TV] Bloomberg Markets 7-6-20: A Busy Housing Market This Summer

July 6, 2020 | 5:17 pm | | TV, Videos |

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.


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