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Carnival Of Real Estate [Week of August 7, 2006]

August 7, 2006 | 11:15 am | Public |

[Matrix is hosting the Carnival of Real Estate the week of September 25, 2006. Its a great way to read some great posts on real estate topics of the day and not get sick on cotton candy.]

What is a carnival?

Here’s a great carnival Q & A. Its basically a a bunch of blogs that take turns displaying the favorite posts of the group each week. Carnivals can vary by topics and of course and the most relevant to Matrix readers is the Carnival of Real Estate.

This week’s host: Property Grunt is presenting what he feels are the best posts submitted to him by carnival members and applies his unique insight to the expanding content.

Next week’s host: Brownstoner who takes his obsession with Brooklyn Brownstones to the carnival.

Carnival of Real Estate


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[Matrix Commentary] The Housing Blame Game

August 2, 2006 | 6:37 am | |

A cyclical market goes through, well, cycles. That is to be expected, hence the name cycle. However, when the cyclical asset is deeply personal, like residential housing, there is always seems to be a need for the market participants to blame someone else for its troubles. This idea resonated with me last year as the housing market began to shift away from its frenzied (frankly, scary) pace and the media became the scapegoat for the problems, then real estate brokers, and on and on.

I would have thought much of this would have ended by now, but a year later, it hasn’t. I think thats the sign that we are still in transition because few seem to be in agreement on why and where we are headed. I came across this article the other day that inspired this post:

Tabloid hysteria greatest threat to house prices [in2perspective]

Here’s a small sample of things to blame for the housing market downturn if you run out of ideas yourself:



Carnival Of Real Estate [Week of July 31, 2006]

August 1, 2006 | 7:49 am | Public |

[Matrix is hosting the Carnival of Real Estate on September 25, 2006. Its a great way to read some great posts on real estate topics of the day and not get sick on cotton candy.]

What is a carnival?

Here’s a great carnival Q & A. Its basically a a bunch of blogs that take turns displaying the favorite posts of the group each week. Carnivals can vary by topics and of course and the most relevant to Matrix readers is the Carnival of Real Estate.

This week’s host: The Future of Real Estate Marketing is presenting the best posts of the group this week (apparently, I screwed up and didn’t submit a post to him this week. Sorry Joel!).

Next week’s host: Property Grunt who always has a different take on things.

Carnival of Real Estate


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Carnival Of Real Estate Is In Full Swing

July 25, 2006 | 12:01 am | Public |

[Matrix is hosting the Carnival of Real Estate on September 25, 2006. Its a great way to read some great posts on real estate topics of the day and not get sick on cotton candy.]

What is a carnival?

Here’s a great carnival Q & A. Its basically a a bunch of blogs that take turns displaying the favorite posts of the group each week. Carnivals can vary by topics and of course and the most relevant to Matrix readers is the Carnival of Real Estate.

This week’s host: Seachlight Crusade is presenting the best posts of the group this week.

Next week’s host: The Future of Real Estate Marketing who also has a great blog.

Carnival of Real Estate


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[Matrix Commentary] Reader’s Angst About Sex Offenders, NAR Stats, Delayed Closing Dates

July 17, 2006 | 9:55 am | |


Its been a slow real estate news month other than the exploding townhouse in New York – or perhaps, better yet, the scope of the exploding townhouse coverage actually confirms that its a slow real estate news cycle right now. Incidentally, the property owner just died [NYT] this weekend.

However, our readers had a few other tidbits for us to digest which is not a bunch of hot air.

  • As a homeowner trying to sell my home with a registered sex offender right next door, I can say this is financially devastating. I live in an area with excellent schools and my home is geared for beginning families, 3 bedrooms, expensive play system in yard, etc. Already we have lost 3 sales in 3 months in an area where most homes sell within 2 weeks. Unfortunately,we purchased a new home and moved in anticipation of selling our old home quickly only to find that our neighbor’s son is a registered offender. He is 27 and has always lived at home and isn’t going anywhere. We even asked them to have him move temporarily and they refused. We are now faced with a 250,000 home that is essentially worthless which is financially devastating to us. I understand the idea behind the register for sex offenders but at what cost to innocent neighbors? We are honest, law abiding citizens who are being unfairly punished for another person’s crime.

  • My other problem with NAR is that they typically don’t provide more than one year worth of stats. The result is you’re stuck with their analysis without the benefit of having access to the data from prior time periods (i.e. 3 years, 5 years, and 10 years). Like you, our local MLS posts their market reports with data from prior years. NAR has a lot to learn from you and your market reports. If NAR thinks it has a corner on the market in terms of market data, sooner or later they will find someone out there providing better data. Openness and unbiased analysis is what gains credibility with the public.

  • Is this data dated from the closing date or contract date? If so, there could be a significant time lag from contract to closing date. Is there any data on the lag between contract and closing date? Could it be as much as 3 months? It took me more than 1 month to close from contract signed in early may ‘06… but i’m just one data point.



Matrix Readers Take: The Housing Economy

July 11, 2006 | 5:59 am |

[Periodically, we’ll start providing a salient comment summaries by Matrix readers ’cause they have a lot to say -ed]


Common Sense: Inflation is rising rapidly because the CPI bases its housing cost component on rents, which are also rising rapidly. With sales prices leveling off, if the CPI used those prices as a surrogate for the cost of owner occupied housing, inflation would seem lower and there would be no need to raise rates.

HOWEVER during the bubble, as people exited rental units for owner occupied housing, rents were depressed, and that kept the CPI down. Yet if you did not own a home and wanted one, your cost of living soared — due in part to the effect of cheap credit –and the CPI did not reflect this.

If the FEDs stop now, it would in effect have ended up using whatever measure of housing price inflation would make the CPI seem lower, and would have ignored housing price inflation on the upside and reacted to it on the downside — a Bernanke put. The result will be inflation and (yet another) transfer from younger generations to older onces.

Housing price affordability relative to income is going to have to be restored, folks. There aren’t enough very affluent people willing to live as if they were poor for 40 years paying off 40 year mortgages to support the current prices. We’ll either have to have inflation, allowing at least some people’s income to catch up with today’s prices, or price cuts, or both.

BTW, if the FEDs cut interest rates to support housing, foreigners could stop buying U.S. bonds, the dollar could tank, and rates could soar anyway.


Candor: As a developer, I’ve certainly benefitted from the generous amount of money in the marketplace seeking out a real estate investment. I had not considered the increase in mortgage brokers as a source for looser underwriting standards, however. Certainly here in DC, mortgage brokers are still looking to fill desks and keep placing loans, but I think the FOMC is right: it is the astonishing amount of money that is now in the industry is leading to looser underwriting standards. Blackstone just closed a huge portfolio, and many, many other companies are finding similar success. Unfortunately, there just are not that many good projects out there that provide the returns these companies are seeking. That means either return the money, look much, much harder for properties, or ‘tinker’ with the revenue projections. About five years ago, Sam Zell spoke at the NYU REIT conference about the maturation of real estate into ‘yet another investment asset’ and the unimaginable amount of money that would bring. He felt it would continue to be hard to place the money, but that those owners who ran their properties like more traditional investments (ie no reciepts in a shoebox) would reap the benefits.


Insight: Wait, isn’t the most important statistic the one that says the number of condo sales were down 15%, compared to second quarter, 2005?

Or, was that decrease in condo sales offset by an increase in co-op sales? I don’t see much in any of these reports about actual number of sales, only about average price of properties and inventory levels.


Compassion: I think a lot of people are OK financially. BUT, job uncertainty seems higher. It is pretty easy to find some one who is just as skilled and talented and doing worse (and better). I think the anxiety comes from a recognition of how easy it is to fall off of the ladder and how badly it would hurt.

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[Media Chain-links] 2Q 2006 Manhattan Market Overview

July 6, 2006 | 6:07 am | | Public |

The 2Q 2006 Manhattan Market Overview that my appraisal firm, Miller Samuel, prepares for Prudential Douglas Elliman, was released today. Each quarter I place links throughout the day of publication to make it easy to compare how each media outlet (big and small media, blogs) presents the exact same set of data.

Even more interesting to me is how the other real estate brokerage companies who write alternative reports, frame their comments in the articles. While I have not had access to their specific results, I understand that some of the statistics such as average sales price, differed from the results in our report. Some of the reporters that cover the real estate market in New York have expressed frustration at trying to discern what actually happened this quarter.

To view the actual data and charts (going live by noon Friday 7-7-07). The actual report pdf will be available next week.

This list is in no particular order and were generally presented when I found them. I included some of the duplicate news feeds because I found it interesting who picked up the story. I will keep adding to the list through the remainder of the week.


Little Shift in Prices of Manhattan Apartments [NYT]
Manhattan Has Most Apartments for Sale Since 1994, Report Says [Bloomberg]
Mixed messages on Manhattan home prices [CNN/Money]
Manhattan apt. price hits record [NY Daily News]
Disparities in Manhattan apartment prices show a market that is neither booming nor busting [NY Newsday]
Condo Expectations May Be Rethought As Prices Plunge [NY Sun]
Manhattan apartment prices leap despite sales drop [Reuters]
Manhattan real estate inventory grows [Inman]
NYC Housing Prices Keep Climbing [TheStreet.com]
Manhattan condos again outsell co-ops [The Real Deal]
Sales drop, prices rise in Manhattan market [The Real Deal]
2nd Quarter 2006: “The Boom is Done” [The Real Estate]
Manhattan housing prices up [USAToday (Miller Samuel)]
Brokerages Submit Reports, Hope to Avoid Summer School [Curbed]
Manhattan Apartment Price Hits Record Highs [All Headline News]
Investing: Rising rates depress N.Y. apartment sales [IHT]

_Duplicate News Feeds_
Sales mellow in Manhattan [Houston Chronicle]
Manhattan apartment prices leap despite sales drop [Yahoo News]
Manhattan has most apartments for sale since 1994 [The Journal News (Westchester, NY)]
Manhattan apartment prices leap despite sales drop [Washington Post]
Sales of Manhattan apartments falling [Sun-Sentinel]
Apartments On The Market In Manhattan Hit 12-Year High [Tampa Tribune]
Manhattan apartment prices leap despite sales drop [MSN Money]
Manhattan apartment prices leap despite sales drop [7KPLC (Lake Charles, Louisiana)]
Manhattan apartment prices leap despite sales drop [Wave3 (Louisville, Kentucky)]

Here are a handful of radio and tv spots as well – more to come.


[Bloomberg TV]

[WPIX WB11]

Morning Call [Bloomberg TV]

Bloomberg Morning Markets [Bloomberg TV]

Squawk Box [CNBC]

News at Ten [WB11]

News at 5 [Fox 5]

WSJ Report [WCBS Radio]
NPR poor fidelity – better clip coming [WNYC]


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[List-o-links] Housing: Tipping Point For Fed?

June 28, 2006 | 7:13 am | |

Here’s a list of articles discussing the Federal Reserve’s rate move tomorrow at the close of the 2-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Oil-based inflation concerns have kept the pressure on the FOMC to keep raising rates.

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List-o-Links: Values, Sellers, Rate Hikes

June 19, 2006 | 9:55 am | |

Here’s a container of links that didn’t ship.


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List-o-Links: Debt, Costs and Prices

June 12, 2006 | 12:01 am | |

Here’s a mish-mash of articles that didn’t make it into Matrix as a post, but they are worth a look.


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Post-Memorial Day Weekend, Things I Didn’t Have Time To Grill List-o-Links

May 30, 2006 | 12:01 am | |

Source: NYT from “Pimp My Grill”


I’m so exhausted from all the eating and activities afforded me this weekend that I need to go to work to rest up. Here’s a smattering of links I didn’t do anything with. Enjoy:


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Subway Train Track Links

May 23, 2006 | 12:01 am | |

Here are some links I found interesting but didn’t have time to write about.


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