[In The Media] Bloomberg Surveillance March 12 7AM

March 11, 2010 | 7:55 pm | | Radio |


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Friday Morning March 12, 2010 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM [TOMORROW]

Usually I post something AFTER I speak, but since I was invited to “guest co-host” (in title only since I’ll have no idea what I am doing) Bloomberg Surveillance tomorrow, I thought I’d give a head’s up. I’ll be on with Ken since Tom will be traveling.

Talking mortgages, housing, mods, short sales, foreclosures. Always fun to be in the studio.


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[In The Media] Bloomberg Radio/TV Housing Recovery May Take 3 to 4 Years

December 18, 2009 | 11:30 pm | | Public |


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I was invited this morning to join Tom Keane and Ken Prewitt on their must listen to radio show Bloomberg Surveillance at 8am. I sat in for about 3/4 of an hour. Love this show – avid listener of their podcasts.

This time, they brought in a few cameras for a few minutes, mid-interview and cut in from the Bloomberg TV broadcast to join us. Fun!

Mentions during show
55 Sq Ft Apartment [NY Post]
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 [Amazon]

Show links
Listen to the show podcast [Bloomberg]
Watch the TV clip [YouTube]


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[FHFA] July 2009 Monthly House Price Index

September 22, 2009 | 4:38 pm | | Radio |

FHFA released its

July 2009 monthly housing price index report today which showed more of the same – month over month price increases (up 0.3% from June) and year over year decreases (down 4.2%).

Since OFHEO (pronounced O-Fay-O), I’ve been wondering how to pronounce FHFA and not be kicked out of Acronym Heaven (aka Washington, DC).

Kathleen Hays of Bloomberg Radio interviewed me today on her new show “The Hays Advantage” M-F 1-3pm EST and dubbed FHFA (Foo-FA). That works for me.

While it is encouraging news that the bottom isn’t falling out of the housing market, this index basically reflects the low to mid layers of the housing market since it is based on data from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who only handle conforming mortgage products. Currently this means mortgages of $417,000 or less in most of the country and $729,750 in the handful of “high priced” housing markets. That is the market that is recovering first since it has a secondary investor market for bamnks to sell their paper too and ifree up their capital.

I find it a bit troublesome that, as we hang on the edge of our seats each month, the revisions for prior releases are all over the map. Last month, the month over month was 0.5% (6% annual) which was revised downward to 0.1% (1.2% annual). Still, the news is better than its been.

If you are a believer in trend lines, the following chart suggests we have about 10% more to go until the market reaches the trend broken circa 2001. That means that the sideways motion we are experiencing would have to change for the worse over the next several years. Factors could include more foreclosures, rising mortgage rates, elimination of first time home buyers tax credit, etc. While I am concerned, thats more bad karma than I can process.

Read the report.


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[NIMBY] Peter Schiff’s Predictions Met With Disdain, Yet Were Accurate

August 2, 2009 | 6:03 pm | Radio |

I try my best to keep an even keel on what I observe about our regional housing market – the benefit is it enables me to be criticized by more people as too negative and too positive. 😉

It’s been quite a fascinating year to observe how so many became so wedded to their original beliefs despite how much the world is changing around them.

This applies to TV pundits.

Here’s a few Peter Schiff clips that many of you may have seen, but its worth refreshing your memory. What is particularly interesting in this clip is the lack of content within any responses given by all those who disagreed with Schiff. Just disbelief, distrespect and misinterpretation of historical trends.

…such as Ben Stein’s description of the subprime problem as tiny, Arthur Laffer’s penny bet and and Mike Norman’s disrespectful tone and lack of understanding about bank underwriting and housing despite being a business radio host (his show was cancelled in 2009 and he blamed “Schiff and cockroaches who believed Schiff”) stand in stark contrast to reality.

While on this topic, I continue to have regular exchanges of emails with some real estate agents who suggest that Manhattan, Fire Island, The Hamptons, etc. (high end enclaves) are basically immune from the world’s economic problems because “They are an island, can’t be expanded, there’s nowhere like them, etc.”

Here’s a recent exchange:

As a real estate broker, I know what I see. I see Manhattan being an island, indeed. Once value was perceived, people began buying. I haven’t been happy about some of your negative statements, not because I am in denial but because I truly see a different reality.

This agent later told me in the exchange that their spouse was laid off and times are tough for everyone (but not their customers?).

Of course there are many agents who have adapted and have been successful in this market. It’s not about being more positive, it’s about helping customers navigate it and finding opportunity.


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[Public] Tonight’s Observer Living Real Estate/Tomorrow AM Bloomberg Surveillance

May 14, 2009 | 3:05 pm | | Public |

Fun tonight!

I hear that 1,000+ people are registered to attend the Observer Living event (although I think the room where we are speaking is half that size).

8:00 PM – Panel #3: State of the Residential Market
Moderated by: Tom Acitelli, Location Editor, The New York Observer

Featuring:

  • Ivanka Trump, EVP, The Trump Organization;
  • Dottie Herman, President/CEO Prudential Douglas Elliman;
  • Pam Liebman, CEO/President, Corcoran;
  • Jonathan Miller, CEO/President, Miller Samuel

Topics:

  • Pricing: The $1.8 Million Question
  • Refinancing
  • New Condos vs. Condos vs. Co-ops
  • State o’ Things: Misconceptions and Perceptions
  • Where to Buy in New York

Tomorrow morning at 7am on Bloomberg Radio am 1130 – I’ll be the first guest on Bloomberg Surveillence with Tom Keane and Ken Prewitt to kick off a show on the housing market. I listen to the show via podcast nearly every day – always interesting.


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[Radio Active] WOR AM 710 Eye of Real Estate Radio Talk Show

April 20, 2009 | 2:00 pm | | Public |

Last Saturday we launched our new radio show on WOR 710 called Eye on Real Estate which is a 2-hour talk radio format that airs live on Saturdays from 10am to Noon.

The show is co-hosted by Dottie Herman, Jeff Appel and myself. Dottie brings brokerage experience, Jeff brings mortgage experience and I bring valuation experience to the table. None of us had hosted a talk radio show before but all of us have done a lot of public speaking together on various housing issues so on paper it seemed like a good fit. I think it was.

WOR came up with the show name and their management staff is unbelievably well organized and professional. They made it easy. Their audience is reportedly in excess of 1M listeners which is pretty exciting. We’re camped out for two hours in a studio with boom mikes, guests, call in questions, an active chat room during the broadcast, a control room and all the other radio trimmings.

I think our biggest concern going into this was that no one would call in since we were just getting started. However, after the first commercial break we were all estatic as the phones lit up like Christmas Trees. Fun.

If you can’t get to a radio from 10am to 12 noon on Saturdays, just subscribe to the podcast – it is uploaded to the web a few hours after the show airs.

The show’s web site: www.wor710.com/realestate

And subscribe to the podcast


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[The Housing Helix Podcast] Panic, Confidence and Roving Gangs of Golfers

April 20, 2009 | 12:57 pm | Podcasts |

This week I talk about roving gangs of grown men carrying golf clubs (on Wall Street). Well, not really. I dabble on social networking, panic, TARP and higher mortgage costs. Plus the new new development marketing pitch and my worry about the Fall market (no pun intended).

And our new radio talk show on WOR! I was walking down an empty Wall Street financial district on Saturday morning only to see roving gangs of men with golf bags…

Check out the The Housing Helix Podcast – this week’s edition is:

Panic, Confidence and Roving Gangs of Golfers

You can subscribe in iTunes or simply listen to the podcast on my new blog The Housing Helix. Don’t forget to share your suggestions and comments there.


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[In The Media] Bloomberg Surveillance 4-6-09

April 6, 2009 | 11:10 pm | | Public |

This morning I had the honor of appearing with Ken Prewitt and Tom Keene on the Bloomberg Surveillance radio program. I listen to their show regularly via podcast so I eagerly accepted their invitation to appear.

Here’s this morning’s interview [mp3]. “Miller Says NYC Housing Prices Down 25% From September 2008” – a state of New York housing interview for a national audience. It’s not painful to listen to – I promise.

When I got to the studio, Tom and I began talking about his entré into the world of Twitter and the show’s Facebook fan page. He plugged my own Twitter page to his audience and my new podcast – The Housing Helix. Nice!

My friend Rudy, Social Media Guru (and Maven) at Trulia, who is a big fan of the Bloomberg show, blogged about my interview and used Twitter to interact with the show. Thanks Rudy!

Fun!




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[When Brooklyn Was The World] 4Q 2008 Brooklyn Market Overview Available For Download

January 14, 2009 | 10:08 pm | | Radio |

The 4Q 2008 Brooklyn Market Overview that I author for Prudential Douglas Elliman was just released.

The President and CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman, Dottie Herman, is a big believer in publishing market data to create more transparency for consumers in the market her firm serves – Manhattan to Montauk.

Other reports we prepare can be found here.

Customized tables for the 4Q 2008 Brooklyn data and a series of updated charts are available on our corporate site.

A report excerpt

…The median sales price was $490,000, down 7.5% from the prior year quarter result of $530,000 and down 3.9% from the prior quarter result of $510,000. The year over year change in quarter median sales price has declined for 5 consecutive quarters beginning in the fourth quarter of 2007 when the decline was 0.9%. Subsequent quarters resulted in declines in this metric of 1%, 1.9%, 5.6% and 7.5%. In addition, this is the first time the indicator fell below $500,000 since the first quarter of 2006 when the median sales price was $499,500. Average sales price for the quarter was $559,338, down 5.2% from the prior year quarter average sales price of $590,169 and down 2.8% from $575,287 in the prior quarter. Brooklyn showed declines in median sales price more than a year ahead of Manhattan…

The media coverage of the report is available here as they were obtained (in no particular order). In addition, the headlines and respective links to articles listed below are a fun way to see how the media interprets the report content since every outlet was working off the same information.

Print/Web

Brooklyn Apartment, Home Prices Drop 7.5% as Recession Hits [Bloomberg]
Brooklyn Housing Boom: Dude, It’s So Over [New York Observer]
Q4 Brooklyn Reports Show Bloodletting, Except Brownstones [Curbed]
Brooklyn housing market still suffering [Crains]
Brooklyn apartment sales prices fall 7.5 pct -report [Reuters]
Brooklyn Real Estate Begins to Collapse, Too [Gothamist]
Brooklyn apartment sales prices fall 7.5 pct -report [Forbes]
Brooklyn Real-estate Market Reports: More Sobering News [New York Mag]
Elliman: Condos Down, Co-ops Flat, Brownstones Up in 4Q [Brownstoner]
Brownstone Brooklyn prices unscathed in fourth quarter [The Real Deal]
Brooklyn Housing Market Hit [WNYC]
Experts: Real-estate boom about to go bust [The Brooklyn Paper]

Radio

4Q 08 Brooklyn Market recap [WNYC Radio]
Brooklyn Housing Market in 4q 2008 [Bloomberg Radio]


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[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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[Below 1%] Turning Japanese, I Really Think So

December 5, 2008 | 1:53 am | | Radio |

Not much wiggle room left for the Fed, but always time for New Wave “turning Japanese” nostalgia.

I keep thinking about the 0% discount rate set by the Bank of Japan since the mid-1990s and how that hasn’t worked. The Bank of England’s rate was dropped to 2%, the lowest since 1951.

Referring to Great Britain, but the same concept applies to the US economy:

Like Japan, the recession has shown government spending to be way out of kilter with the size of the post-bubble economy, and our budget deficits are set to easily reach those of Japan at its peak.

In Barrons:

Are U.S. Markets Turning Japanese?
It would seem so as yields plunge well below 3%. Think of it as the 1970s in reverse.

BABY BOOMERS, MORE THAN ANY OTHER GENERATION, seem stuck in their youths. Think of how the tastes of so many of their numbers remain ossified in the 1960s and 1970s, from Classic Rock on the radio to recreations of the autos of their youth, such as the VW Beetle, the Mustang and the Mini.

So, too, have their expectations about the economy. Prices only go one way — up — whether for the stuff they buy every day (except for computers and the other electronic accoutrements), their assets such as stocks or houses, or the pay for their services. They can no more conceive another kind of world than one without cell phones. And any departure must be an aberration, surely short-lived and certain to revert to the norm they’d known.

In other words, finance, as we know it, is undergoing massive change and the products we end up with are not going to be the same as we had a few years ago when the market was always going up.

Mortgage rates are fallng and mortgage applications (not necessarily successful applications) have just tripled and the US Treasury is talking about pushing rates as low as 4.5%. Although it doesn’t address jumbo mortgages, it is a first sign of progress, but by no means does it solve a whole lot.

Some say that with the nearly 8 trillion in exposure we taxpayers have through guaranties and investment, rates will rise with the flood of paper issued to pay for all this. I’m not sure. If the economy is lackluster at best for the next 2-3 years, I have a hard time seeing rates rising with the lack of demand in the near term.



Aside: Donald Trump is complaining his new Chicago condominium project is too expensive.

Yet another aside: This is your child’s brain on a Sony HD 52 inch Flat Screen with surround sound.

Big 3 + UAW aside: Combined common stock worth $3B, so lets give them $34B To date they have: fought emissions restrictions, fuel economy, safety features, make poor quality cars, and paid 12,000 people to not work. I went to school in Michigan and, despite obvious sympathy for hard working people in this situation, I have a hard time seeing how things are going to change in any way whatsoever. I’ll bet they don’t go on the same extravagant trips that AIG took if this goes through now that they have driven their own hybrids.


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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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