Matrix Blog

Humor or Whimsy

[Matrix Hack] Medicinal Proof Housing Market Is Up

November 4, 2009 | 11:56 am |

My blog was just hacked in a pretty clever way. Search “matrix miller” and click on the top link for Viagra – it takes you back to my blog.

Per my developer.

I went through the template line by line and I think I found a place where someone inserted some code. It points to code on a remote server that’s not up right now, I don’t know what that could would do when loaded. I suspect that they changed the content of the template at night, when we wouldn’t notice. If you look at that text-only version of the cached Google page, none of your content is on it.

As I understand it (and thats quite a stretch), the source of the cached page is ok – its the title and meta tags in Google’s cache that have been altered.

Order Generic Viagra Online – Online Drug Store, Best Prices Order Generic Viagra Online. Pill Shop, Secure and Anonymous. We ship with EMS, FedEx, UPS, and other. Personal approach!

in the cache while the source says:

Matrix | Interpreting the Real Estate Economy

The google link takes you to my blog even though it displays different titles. We’ve removed the hack and once Google re-indexes in a few days, it’ll go away.

Just imagine how quickly we could fix healthcare, global warming and the Mets pitching rotation if this brainpower was put to productive use.

[Bobbleheads] Known For Their Ubiquitous Media Verbosity

November 3, 2009 | 10:23 am | | Public |

In the current issue of The Real Deal magazine, the article Real estate’s most verbose talking heads: A look at the busy schedules of NYC’s go-to market pundits

…goes haywire with Adobe Illustrator and selects four go to media resources:

Barbara Corcoran, the founder of the Corcoran Group and now a regular on the “Today Show”; Jonathan Miller, the ubiquitous president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel; Dan Fasulo, managing director at Real Capital Analytics; and Bob Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal Realty are just a few among a growing bunch of go-to contacts.

I think the bobblehead designation is a compliment? Verbosity? I always used that word in the “long-winded” connotation. Well, my phone simply rings – plus – I’ve been known to hang out on car dashboards on the weekends.

Aside: Bob Knakal is a long time colleague who has generously agreed to sit down with me on my podcast, The Housing Helix, in a few weeks.

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[Philling Up With Yankees Stimulus] Bomber World Series Victories Boosts Economic Growth

November 2, 2009 | 9:55 pm | |

Because we can’t let an obvious economic trend pass me by – and it has nothing to do with being a Yankee fan. After all, I pride myself on my neutrality in housing market coverage – 26 World Series Championships aside – 27th coming shortly.

WSJ’s Real Time Economics does a fun (ok, in their words, stupid) analysis, arguably for the Yankee brethren, that:

Win or lose, just an appearance by that Yankees in the World Series seems to foretell the next year’s growth. The economy grew an average of 4% in years after the Yankees lost the World Series. We’d also note that the last time the Yankees played the Phillies in the World Series (the Yankees won in four games) the economy grew a robust 7.7% the following year.

Phillies victories, it seems, don’t foretell the same kind of economic boost. The Phillies have twice won the World Series — last year and in 1980. Growth in 1981 was a paltry 2.5%, while economists expect the full-year number for 2009 will be negative. But what about growth after Phillies’ World Series losses? About 5%, on average.

[Central Park v. Detroit] $363,538,692,000 v. $4,500,000

October 26, 2009 | 11:57 pm | |

Source: Google Earth

Back in 2005, I did a fun exercise for New York Magazine – I was asked to value Central Park (just for fun) in about 3 minutes. It was within an article that ranked the reasons to love New York and was item number 3.

The New York Observer recently asked me to update this calculation using the same methodology (in 3 minutes and just for fun) and I came up with $363,538,692,000 which is a far cry from $528,783,552,000. The same disclaimers apply as the original effort, seriously.

To put this in perspective, about 9,000 Detroit properties were auctioned (hat tip WalletPop) with opening bids of $500. Only 20% received bids. The total land area of these properties was equivalent to Central Park. If all 9,000 properties received a bid of $500 (which is probably not far off if you assume the 20% that received bids were over $500 and the rest $0), that represents a total value of $4,500,000.

Thats’s not much of a value and these properties also pull down values around them – plus they are off the tax roll placing more financial burden on existing properties.

Not a good sign
Most of the bidders were investors and vacant land in Detroit equals the entire footprint of Boston.

As much as I love my time spent in Michigan and my relatives there, I believe this is called an economic failure spiral.

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[Seasonal (Seasonings)] Google Real Estate Index (and Weight Watchers)

October 8, 2009 | 10:21 am |

[click to expand]

Apparently Google search patterns for real estate terms is highly seasonal (hat tip Big Picture) – while it doesn’t track exactly with sales activity or prices, it clearly shows that the race is on at the beginning of the year no matter how week the market is and doesn’t dissipate until right after July 4th. The level of search activity changes but the seasonal patterns are consistent.

Of course, web traffic for is also seasonal. After a barrage of holiday eating, there is nothing like a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Like housing, the race to lose weight begins in January of each year.

[click to expand]

What’s curious though, is that WeightWatcher traffic has been rising year over year (I only have two years of info) while the housing market has been falling year over year.

Conclusion? Stress over housing market/economy leads to the need for more dieting.


[The Stamford Review] Ten Commandments for 21st Century Real Estate Finance

September 17, 2009 | 5:38 pm |

This was taken from the just released issue of The Stamford Review: Housing & The Credit Crisis, a terrific 2x annual publication by Lawrence Sicular. I wrote two articles for the publication three years ago.

One of the pages had a fun list of the Ten Commandments for 21st Century Real Estate Finance sourced to the Counselors of Real Estate Ethics Committee Panelists in October 2008.

Ten Commandments for 21st Century Real Estate Finance

I. Write upon thy heart the law that ‘reward’ and ‘risk’ shalt always appear in the same sentence.

II. Make neither markets nor regulators into idols, and follow not false prophets of simplistic bias.

III. Be sober and watchful, lest the enemy of massive loss approach like a thief in the night.

IV. Honor thy father and thy mother’s ancient counsel; keep it simple, stupid!

V. If thou wilt not do thy own credit analysis, then vow to invest not at all.

VI. Thou shalt not adulterate thy portfolio with excessive leverage.

VII. Thou shalt not bear the false witness of hidden assumptions in thy investment underwriting.

VIII. Thou shalt not covet for the short term, yea, but shalt lay up thy treasures for length of days.

IX. In all things, yield not to the tempter’s snare of panic.

X. Remember that, after thy exile in the wilderness, if thou heedest these commandments, thou shalt once again return to the land of milk and honey.

Appraiser Reduced to Moonlighting as a Stock Photography Subject

August 21, 2009 | 4:19 pm | Public |

One of our appraisers at our commercial appraisal firm Miller Cicero was taking an on-line McKissock appraisal course (which is excellent) and came across a page under the section One-person firms and noticed a familiar person in the photo.

Here’s the screenshot (click image to expand):

Even though there is an “I” in “appraiser”, unlike “team”, our appraisal firms of Miller Samuel and Miller Cicero is growing – and our staff does a lot more work than I ever could.

One could say I’m a “model” appraiser? Ok, probably not.


[Daily Show] Geithner’s Home Pricing Strategy, Shiller Provides Decorating Ideas

July 31, 2009 | 12:58 pm | |
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Home Crisis Investigation
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJoke of the Day

Hat tip to Trulia Blog. This is LOL.

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[Over Coffee] Morning Quote From The Home Front

July 23, 2009 | 10:39 am |

From a borrower to a mortgage broker, who didn’t realize the appraisal firm was cc’d in their email regarding a complex residential assignment.

$800 is not going to happen, find another appraiser , [there] are hundreds dying to make $400

Apparently the environment for appraiser pressure is alive and well.

[86’d] Up A Notch In Power Poll

June 3, 2009 | 11:45 am | Public |

The New York Observer, and it’s heavy coverage of New York City/Hamptons real estate released its annual (and obviously highly scientific research of an empirical topic):

The 100 Most Powerful People in New York Real Estate

After a year of hard work burning the midnight oil seven days a week, I was able to move up one position to 86. Goal met. Life is good.

It’s not clear how a real estate appraiser became one of the most visible real estate icons this side of Dolly Lenz, but when the media-savvy, Web-connected Mr. Miller speaks, New York listens. His market reports are like a quarterly Super Bowl.

Hey, I’m the only appraiser on the list.

Ok, back to work.


1-Across Is No Puzzle

May 19, 2009 | 4:06 pm | | Favorites |


The Real Deal Magazine, one of the best resources for real estate information on the New York housing market, also delves into the world of crossword puzzles in each monthly issue.

You know you’ve arrived when you make it to 1-Across.


Ok, back to work.


[Teardowns] A Novel Way To Reduce Costs

May 14, 2009 | 1:52 pm |

Ok, we all agree that inventory is high because of the lack of activity. Here’s another way to work off excess housing – I call it thinking outside the foundation.

Via The Economists’ Free exchange

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