Housing A License For Jet Planes, Motorcycles, Boats, Parachutes, And Real Estate


But I digress…

New York Metro Is Seeing A Slowdown From Both Lack Of Inventory And Rising Mortgage Rates

I’ve been the author of an expanding series of market reports for real estate firm Douglas Elliman. The most recent series was born out of the pandemic, our new signed contract reports. With the slow down in new signed contracts, we are finally beginning to see an expansion of new listings from record lows in many markets outside the city.

Elliman Report: May 2022 New York New Signed Contracts

  • The New York report attached covers Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Hamptons, North Fork, Westchester County, Fairfield County, and Greenwich, CT.

A sampling of press coverage:

More breathing room for buyers? Increase in listings calms frenzied NYC sales market[Brick Underground]

Long Island gets rare listings lift [The Real Deal]

New York City Sales Drop as Market Sends ‘Mixed Messages’ [Mansion Global]

Hamptons home market shifting; North Fork down to 89 listings [The Real Deal]

Here are a few charts but many many (and I mean) many more are available in our chart gallery.

Douglas Elliman also published our new signed contract data in three other regions:

Elliman Report: May 2022 Florida New Signed Contracts

Elliman Report: May 2022 Colorado New Signed Contracts

Elliman Report: May 2022 California New Signed Contracts

Revisiting My Real Estate And Life Forecast From March 26, 2020

I wrote this post about a week into the pandemic lockdown “The Future of Real Estate (And Life) Is Happily Looking Remote” and I think I got most of it right. The jury is still out on the Man-Bun though:

The Man-Bun will make a big comeback due to the inability to get a haircut

There will be so much toilet paper to appear on store shelves that it will take years to use it up and toilet paper production-related employment will be bleak

Consumers will not regret hoarding toilet paper but will refuse to admit it in public

With everyone frustrated about being housebound, they will plot and plan to buy or rent a larger home as soon as this crisis is over

Buy a new refrigerator after burning out the refrigeration unit with thousands of sustained door-opens

A surge in the stock prices of Jenny Craig and WW

Gyms will see a new revival (see ‘Jenny Craig’)

People will discover they actually like to walk every day to clear their mind

Many people will begin to use Zoom.us every day and discover they like to see their friends and relatives’ faces when chatting – even in HD

Universities will incorrectly believe that students will want to learn remotely when really all they want to do is party in the dorms

Employees will decide they hate the time wasted on the commute even more because it is not completely necessary

Americans will love sleeping in until 8:30 am permanently changing the 9-5 standard to 10-6

Podcast usage will become a bigger thing than it ever was (see ‘walk every day’)

People will rush to cut their cable service after enduring endless hours, watching mindless cable shows, for reasons they can’t explain, but did realize being permanently pissed off was exhausting and unnecessary

The difference between weekends and weekdays will suddenly be thrust back into our daily lives and we’ll hate it despite the dated conventional wisdom that we should keep our personal and business lives separate (see ‘walk every day’)

The divorce rate will skyrocket as couples actually discover their real partner in close quarters

Parents will completely shed their ‘put their kids on the couch to watch tv’ shame as they consider how many episodes of Gilligan’s Island they have watched

Commercial real estate will never be the same again as millions of employees worked remotely and companies realized it wasn’t that big a deal

UPDATES

There will be a new generation classification known as Baby Boom II beginning nine months from now – ok, boomer? (see ‘divorce’)

Uncomfortable chairs will no longer be tolerated as Herman Miller Aeron Chairs will be the only office chairs made worldwide



CNBC: Hamptons Rental Frenzy Seeing A Downshift

Robert Frank of CNBC unleashed a media frenzy on the Hamptons rental market of which we provided some rental trend data.

A sampling of press coverage:

The Hamptons summer rental market is facing an unexpected chill as inventory piles up and prices come down [CNBC]

Hamptons rental market slumps. Yes, slumps [The Real Deal]

Hamptons landlords are dramatically cutting summer rental prices [New York Post]

Discussion: The Disconnect Between A Population Declining And A Booming Housing Market

The New York Post released a story with a very New York Posty title this week: NYC population plunged while rental rates spiked: Census. The population dropped by 300,000 from April 2020 to June 2021 according to Census data but Census data is lagging and some of the heaviest activity in the sales and rental markets occurred AFTER June 2021. In other words, Census data lags a lot. Here’s a Twitter thread from a month and a half ago that touches on the same topic.

THREAD

I realize household formation is a big part of this, but I contend a powerful part of the demand is the fact that remote enables people to be in the city that don’t work here. I mean, office towers are nearly two-thirds empty so its hard to peg the boom completely on household formation:

Amid record rent and sales activity, city office towers remain two thirds empty; people are making the most of their pandemic-granted ability to work remote, migrating to New York and working from home. This trend is intensely reflected in the upper half of the market, “because lower-wage earners are much more economically damaged by the lockdown and pandemic era,” said Miller. “Remote work and mobility has defined the boom we’re seeing in the city right now.”

On another related note:

Axios did a cool breakout of the Census data by cities over 50,000 in population:

And Bloomberg broke out the 50 states by wages. Fascinating stuff.

The 2022 Home Purchase Market ≥ $50M Is Shaping Up To Be The Second Highest On Record

While I realize I shared a similar sales chart on this topic (magenta colored!) last week, the Wall Street Journal just included this super cool version of it yesterday in Aspen’s Market Is So Crazy That Buyers Shop for Homes That Aren’t Even for Sale:

If sales continue at the same rate, 2022 would be the second most sales at or above the $50 million threshold, after the 2021 rocketship. What does this circus sideshow mean to mere mortals like myself and most Housing Notes readers? Nothing, actually. These sales are fun to track and represent a circus sideshow that has little to nothing to do with their respective overall housing markets.

The New Republic Podcast: The Rent is Too Damn High

I tripped into this podcast/article that provides a coffee shop conversation about the current rental market in New York as well as a shout-out. It’s in podcast form, but also a good read.


Craziness—I would say a more specific word is frenzy. A realtor used the word “scrum” to me. It’s at almost every single level of the process. There’s when you look at the actual listing on StreetEasy or Zillow or whatever, and you’re already told that people are applying without even seeing it, so then you get to the showing and you’ve applied already—which is psycho—just to get ahead. So you’ve paid the $20 application fee. You sent them your tax return and maybe even your parents’ tax return; they know more about you than the government. Then at the showing, you’re hearing people offering more money than the listed rent amount. Then, depending on if it’s a smaller landlord, they might want to know more about you and your vibe, and you’re writing a letter.

Incidentally, Douglas Elliman is publishing a new batch of our rental market data next week.

Inflation Talk Inflating As Recession Talk Isn’t Recessing

There has been a lot of inflation talk and it’s reinforced every time we go to the gas pump. For the first time in my life, I opted for regular instead of high-test for my thirsty 485 horsepower Dodge Challenger and saved more than a dollar per gallon.

My friend Barry Ritholtz maintains a good inflation archive at The Big Picture and he doesn’t think we are in a recession yet: Are We in a Recession? (No)

But in Argentina…

And here are some more good reads on this topic…

Fear The Vibe Shift: Are We Entering A Recession? [Planet Money]

Fannie Mae says a recession is likely to hit next year, and it could hit the housing market too [Fortune]

However this plays out, I find it increasingly difficult to believe that the fed will be able to raise the federal funds rate five more times as once thought. Mortgage rates have drifted downward for the past two weeks and the huge price gains of last year don’t appear sustainable anymore such as the latest FHFA 18.7% YOY figure:

NYT Magazine: I Moved To New York For…

I love this graphic because it isn’t focused so much on “work.” New York real estate is booming and yet the office towers are nearly two-thirds empty. How is that possible? The idea that people are moving here because of the possibilities that remote work has enabled, seems to be much more powerful than anyone could have imagined in early 2020.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week of our own making

My favorite charts of the week made by others

[Bloomberg]

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork


Upcoming Speaking Events

The Agency/Triplemint June 9 9AM ET
Here is the announcement for their webinar – click here or on the image below to register.

REBNY June 21 10AM ET
Here are two marketing pieces for the REBNY webinar – click here or either image to register:

Appraiserville

(For earlier appraisal industry commentary, visit my old clunky REIC site.)

A Corelogic Take On Appraisal Overvaluation

The results of this 2021 white paper: Appraisal overvaluation: Evidence of price adjustment bias in sales Comparisons co-authored by Frank Nothaft are pretty interesting. At first glance, I get the CoreLogic evil empire stuff, but step back and take it all in. Here’s the abstract.

Home appraisal came under scrutiny for contributing to the home-price bubble and enabling the origination of risky mortgages that led to the post-2006 foreclosure crisis. Subsequent regulations tried to minimize or eliminate conflicts of interest and improve valuations. Nonetheless, our study of appraisals completed in 2015 and 2016 find that appraisal bias still occurred. Our analysis delves into the underlying appraisal development to identify causes of appraisal bias. Contributing factors are that comps are generally higher valued than the subject property, and appraisers are more likely to comparatively adjust upward lower priced comps but less likely to adjust downward higher priced comps.

 

Apparently The Future Of Valuation Doesn’t Include Women Or Diversity

By the time you read this, FIABCI will have already presented the webinar this morning – International Webinar: The Future of World’s Valuation Profession.

The Appraisal Institute and The Appraisal Foundation were represented on the panel yet continue to be unable to have their actions equal their promises about fixing the lack of women and diversity in the valuation profession.

Clearly, there are women and people of color (both significantly underrepresented) in the valuation profession yet time after time, we get a bunch of middle-aged white guys on these panels. I’m not bringing this up to be critical of the valuation knowledge of the individuals on this panel, but rather the lack of awareness of the zeitgeist that exists today by FIABCI and the organizations that are represented.

Remember that the Bureau of Labor statistics ranks appraisers as 400th of 400 professions in diversity. In other words, dead last. In high-profile events like this, the organizations and the individuals probably want to ask what the makeup of the panel is. Optics are important. I’ve made the same mistake myself more than once.

It is time for our industry to get off the bottom of that list.

REDUX – TAF Writes An Embarrassingly Badly Written Threatening Letter To Me

The organization that brought you the bat-shit crazy letter, brought us another example of non-governance which I dub the chickenshit letter. You can read my takedown in last week’s May 27th edition of Appraiserville if you missed it. However, I’ve provided it again below just because of its audaciousness. The fact that either of these letters was sent by TAF would be grounds for the removal of the authors and the insulated and detached c-suite of TAF (Dave/Kelly). There is no apparent governance at TAF which explains this inappropriate behavior of a defacto monarchy powered by Dave.

Here is a reprint of the May 27th Appraiserville post:

Appraisers: The Appraisal Foundation Writes A Chickenshit Letter On Your Dime

On Thursday I received a poorly written and threatening letter from the Appraisal Foundation for a blog post I wrote in Appraiserville back in February. I responded on the same day to their May 26th letter and have officially dubbed it the “chickenshit letter” for the petty misrepresentations it provides along the lines of the bat-shit crazy letter my loyal followers are very familiar with. Now I have two letters to constantly share here.

Here is the response I returned to them. I didn’t appreciate their misrepresentations and am baffled why they would write this as it just gives me more tangible evidence of their bad behavior as an organization. Specifically, I don’t currently represent RAC at TAFAC and haven’t represented RAC at TAFAC for several years. TAF’s inference in the letter illustrates just how poorly written this letter really was.


May 26, 2022

Hi Todd,

I received your letter today, and I am disappointed that TAF continues to hide behind its bureaucratic largess. Given my history, I am surprised you signed such a letter, but I also want to thank you for providing more tangible evidence of how The Appraisal Foundation operates. Unfortunately, you never attached the “documents” you cited which are the “Ethics Rule Suggested Amendments-Draft 1 2 24 22” as well as “Statement of Understanding on December 15, 2016 – I’m sure it was just an oversight. I’d appreciate your follow-up in sending the document for my records at your earliest convenience.

If your letter were sincere, you’d acknowledge that most TAF leadership have been well aware of my Appraiserville blog for several years, especially after I became highly critical of your organization’s practices. Dave and I spoke on a call shortly after I lost faith in TAF – in fact, my Appraiserville content prompted him to reach out by phone. Specifically, my final straws were with TAF’s overreach on the definition of “misleading” and Dave’s (now known as) “bat-shit crazy” letter to ASC.

You already know this per your letter, but I’ll recap it for Dave and others who will read this at TAF: I received a call from a colleague who is good friends with Michelle Bradley, who advised me to take the document down that you referred to (I did during that call). Unfortunately, I was unaware of a lifetime commitment to confidentiality for a position I no longer hold yet continue to receive random documents. Nevertheless, I’m glad you appreciated that I complied with the request.

The hypocrisy of your letter runs deep in an attempt to have the last word. The following excerpt from it conveys the same tactic you are claiming I took against Michelle. Here is your quote:

… a fair reading of your references to Michelle Bradley and her husband, as expressed in the second paragraph of your blog, suggest that you are questioning the integrity of both individuals because they are married vis-à-vis USPAP updates and the cost of USPAP; you’re not offering comments about the work of the ASB. We ask that in the future, you refrain from engaging in such allusions.

 

Here is what I actually wrote about Michelle:

This insular operational style prevents TAF from understanding the optics that the industry and consumers look through. For example, as chair of the Appraisal Standards Board, Michelle Bradley, is responsible for modifying USPAP every two years (enabling TAF to continue to move towards financial independence by forcing appraisers to pay for USPAP when ASC is happy to pay for it but she is also married to Dan Bradley, the Appraisal Curriculum and Content Director for McKissock, the largest appraiser online training course out there). Wow. People I met when I was active in TAF who knew about this situation, shared their concerns about conflict of interest. I’ve met Michelle at conferences and is clearly a nice, smart person as I’m sure her husband is too and both are probably very good at their day jobs, but how is something like this permitted? Corporate boards don’t allow potential conflicts of interest like this. The optics on this tells us that there isn’t any real governance in TAF.

 

Since my point in Appraiserville was about the lack of any real governance at TAF, it would clear the air to the public to confirm whether or not there is a conflict between these two organizations. Since you missed the point I was making, Dave needs to provide answers to the following questions about this financial relationship:

1) Has there ever been an RFP between TAF and McKissock on their working relationship? 2) If there was, how long has it been since the original was issued and when was the last one issued? 3) If there was no such RFP that McKissock would have won, why not?

I think it would be reasonable for TAF to share Dave’s answers to those questions with the public. The appearance of two related people in positions of power to make decisions on mutual commerce is the issue here, not how hard these people work, how nice they are, and the personal sacrifices it takes to hold these positions. I’ll assume it’s a significant personal sacrifice, etc. but the optics are still wrong without full disclosure and public sharing of the RFP process, if any, that established the relationship in the first place despite the potential conflict of interest. If there is no RFP – which I assume to be the case – then please provide evidence that this potential conflict was vetted.

In my view, TAF has clearly lost its way and so it remains critical that creating legitimate transparency should be all about the appraisers and the public trust, and not be about obtaining financial independence by 2030 on the backs of appraisers.

One more thing Todd. I’m sure you are a nice person too, are committed to the work that TAF does, and are excellent at what you do as a personal property appraiser, but did you personally drive the need for this letter yourself, run it by the TAFAC board for a vote and then freely sign it or is this yet another example of the FOD monarchy in action? Please advise.

Best,

Jonathan


Here is the TAF letter sent to me on Thursday if you missed the earlier link in the post:

OFT (One Final Thought)

Brilliant Idea #1

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See you next week.

Jonathan J. Miller, CRP, CRE, Member of RAC
President/CEO
Miller Samuel Inc. Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog @jonathanmiller

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