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Government, Politics, Regulations & Policy

[Bloomberg TV] Second Avenue Subway Nears Completion, Influences Housing

February 2, 2014 | 7:00 am | | Public |

Here is an interview I recently did for Bloomberg Television’s In The Loop on the first phase of the long awaited and sorely needed Second Avenue subway line. I had also looked at this data about two years ago.

subway map

For the show I crunched closed sales data for the 4th Quarter of 2013 versus the same period in 2009 and provided a similar time frame for the rental market. I defined the impacted subway zone as the Upper East Side neighborhood between Third Avenue and First Avenue extending from 96th Street to 59th Street. Areas out side the zone were simply those to the east and west of it but within the neighborhood. I realize that simply taking the average price of all transactions in each of the zones are subject to skew. However given the large size of the zones, I think it is a reasonable way to extract some sort of impact.

Based on the results, the subway zone fell behind the areas outside the zone during the 4 year time span.

West of Zone
Sales Prices +14.7%
Rental Prices +7.7%

East of Zone
Sales Prices +12.2%
Rental Prices +9.1%

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Money for Nothing Movie Trailer

March 28, 2013 | 5:29 pm | | TV, Videos |

I can’t wait for the documentary Money for Nothing to be released. In fact I donated to IndieGoGo.com because I was so impressed that I wanted my own copy.

This documentary is compelling and so are all the cast members. It includes a who’s who list of current and past members of the Federal Reserve as well as economists and Wall Street experts. Cast members include my friend Barry Ritholtz and Gary Shilling who both have been on my podcast. Todd Harrison of the great site Minyanville.com and John Mauldlin who I have always looked to for insights. Jim Grant of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer who called me at the height of the crisis to get a gauge on the Manhattan housing market.

During the housing bubble I often felt like screaming as I saw the financial world through my appraisal glasses thinking I missed an important math class in 8th grade. Fast growing banks with gigantic mortgage volume and many of my appraisal competitors in bed with mortgage brokers were clearly smarter than me – they could make the numbers work and I couldn’t.

In 2003 and 2004 I remember being absolutely confident as a non-economist that the Fed was keeping interest rates too low for too long. I could see it in the loss of lending standards and the lavish incomes enjoyed by those around me who embraced a world of based on moral flexibility. The froth was simply ignored.

Don’t mean to get sentimental on you dear readers, but this movie struck a chord with me. Enjoy the trailer and watch for the release date announcement.

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On Bloomberg TV, Surveillance w/Tom Keene 3-11-13: Housing, Mortgages, Rising Prices

March 11, 2013 | 11:46 am | | Radio |

Had a great visit with Tom Keene this morning on Bloomberg TV’s Surveillance along with Scarlet Fu and Sara Eisen. It was simulcast on Bloomberg Radio.

Also in studio was James Lockhart, vice chairman of WL Ross & Co., formerly the head of GSE regulator FHFA. We were also joined by Nicolas Retsinas, a senior lecturer in real estate at Harvard Business School who called in – he has been on my old podcast a few times. Both provided great insight to the housing narrative.

Here’s the second clip from the same session. My basic premise is that while new home sales are rising, it will not be enough to address the collapse of listing inventory which will drive housing prices higher in the US. Hint: It’s mostly about tight credit. Housing is local and credit is national.

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Want To See What A Sequestration Letter Looks Like?

March 4, 2013 | 3:34 pm |

We perform periodic appraisal services for the federal government so we got this email today regarding “these unfortunate circumstances.”

Unfortunate indeed.

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[In The Media] Newsweek/BeastTV – “The Number” with Dan Gross 12-27-12

December 30, 2012 | 11:34 am | Public |

I joined Dan Gross for my monthly visit on his “The Number” segment talking about the general improvement in the US housing market, FHA’s possible pending implosion and what’s in store for the market in 2013.

Always fun.

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Yes, Mortgage Rates Impact Housing Prices

December 26, 2012 | 4:50 pm | Charts |

I few weeks ago I was dressed down by an analytics friend of mine who is in the business. Based on his employment and housing sales analysis in Alabama (I’ve never been) he suggested my comments about mortgage rates influencing housing prices as anecdotal and hypocritical (who says analysts have to have tact) – that only employment can be correlated. And further…since mortgage rates can not be proved to influence housing sales through multiple regression, any such claims are hearsay and anecdotal. While I agree that housing’s largest influence comes from employment, I was a bit surprised by the out-of-left-field agita I inspired.

He was focused on the predictive element of a trend versus a knee jerk reaction to a sudden change in a metric. My comment about a spike in mortgage rates at this moment (not predicting it) as ending the party – is apparently what caused him to lose faith in my analysis. Appreciative of the constructive feedback, I whipped up a couple of US macro price charts.

Yes, US employment trends correlate with US housing prices and mortgage rates correlate by showing an inverse trend against housing prices.

Predictive? Only if considered with other metrics.
Anecdotal? Hardly.

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When We Say “Gut Rehab” We Mean It

December 11, 2012 | 9:11 pm |

Here is a front and back view of a gut renovation on the Upper East Side of Manhattan observed by one of our appraisers. Offhand I don’t know what the building was or will be but other than the street facade, nothing else remains. It’s like new construction only completely different (the facade keeps it authentic as perceived by the local market).

Street View

Rear View

Not much left inside.

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The Good Life Magazine – The French View of NYC

November 25, 2012 | 7:53 pm |

I provided some insight to a recent edition of a new French Magazine called The Good Life – the issue was dubbed 100% New York.

Since we make so much of the influence of international buyers in the New York City market, I found the issue to be refreshing as I flipped through it in its entirety, as if providing some sort of validation that the way we see the market as locals is how others outside of the US see it.

Of course this is a stretch because the issue is entirely in french, but hey, I took five years of french in school and on a good day can remember how to ask for permission to sharpen a pencil.

For the real estate portion, you can open it here, for the entire magazine – you can buy it here.

With the recent ratings downgrade to French banks, I wonder if the flow to US assets will accelerate.

Jonathan Miller
fondateur et président de Miller Samuel Inc.

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Besides Being Your Personal Responsibility, It Just Feels Good To Vote #Election2012

November 6, 2012 | 12:41 pm | |

I cast my vote this morning and it just felt good. My wife and 3 oldest kids are all voting today. It represents the basic premise of our democracy and what our soldiers have fought and died for. Don’t give %%$#% excuses, just do it.

Check out Nate Silver’s blog FiveThirtyEight (my statistician hero) for updates. By the way, Nate Silver isn’t a witch.

As an added bonus, you’ll get a badge on foursquare by checking into a polling location – that should cure widespread voter apathy immediately, right?


Sandy Language Summary: Snor’eastercane, SoPo and a Sturdy Mailbox

November 2, 2012 | 5:36 pm | |

Remember this mailbox? It’s been through a lot. The photo is of my street in my CT home town, one of many downed trees and wires on my street. It’s been a long work week, especially since I haven’t been able to work much without power at home or work and it’s not nearly been a week since Sandy wreaked havoc on the Northeast US. My family and friends are safe and I feel very fortunate.

I’ve expanded or refreshed my vocabulary since Super-Storm Sandy – here’s my slow wifi, town library recap:

%$$%%!!! Your one word profanity-laden scream (insert word of your preference) when one of your favorite healthy 6-story shade trees falls down next to your house during the storm and you realize the storm is no longer an adventure (incidentally a tree falls really fast, not like in the movies).

OMG – The word you utter when your fireman son tells you about all the near misses with falling trees while they were out on the truck responding to emergency calls while your other adult child is taking pictures of the storm and submitting them to the local paper’s web site.

Boom of Doom – What my friend Michael Gross called the collapsed crane on West 57th Street, which forced the evacuation of his apartment nearby.

Zone A – A FEMA designation that few were familiar with (as appraisers we are) that now smoothly rolls off everyone’s tongue in everyday conversation.

Waterfront – That highly sought after real estate amenity that has everyone wondering if living away from the water would be better. Nah.

Flood – See “Waterfront”

“Coned” – The way a long-time Weather Channel anchor was pronouncing the NYC’s electric utility “Con-ed”

SoPo – (h/t to my friend Dan Alpert) was an overheard description for “South of Power” – Manhattan below 39th Street is without power. Of course, my office is located on 38th and remains dark.

NoPo – My alternative to “SoPo” and it is not location specific – it refers to anywhere that has power.

Electricity – It’s that crazy magical force that makes pretty much everything we rely on actually work and we only notice it when we don’t have it.

Primary (Service) Wire – The name my fireman son gave a large thick black wire – if you touch it while electricity is coursing through it – you catch on fire – incidentally one of these wires is still laying on my front lawn.

Snor’eastercane – The nickname given to the storm coming to our area next week bringing cold weather, snow and rain. Has it’s own twitter handle.

Sandy – A hurricane we won’t forget. Replaces “Back in ’38” with “Back in ’12”

Frankenstorm – See “Sandy”

Super-Storm – aka Mega-Storm. See “Sandy”

Puzzles – Those arcane cardboard pieces of art cut into odd shapes that you try to reconnect when you have no power and have to actually speak to your significant other and your kids.

YES!!!! – The near-expletive yelled with joy when we discovered our boat dock came within 6 inches of lifting over the piling and floating away with our boat. Always have a “YES!!!” “chambered” and ready to use it when your power turns back on.

UPDATE

Treemaggedon – What it felt like to see huge trees down all over our street and yard.

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[In The Media] BeastTV – The Number with Dan Gross 10-4-12

October 4, 2012 | 3:45 pm | | Public |

Starting to be a regular (monthly) guest with Dan for a quick segment on “The Number”.

Today we talked about: Presidential Debates, pro cyclical, Manhattan housing, “sticky on the downside” “being a real estate pornographer”, “housing is back, baby”, single family foreclosure investors and a lot of words like: “kind of”, sort of”, “almost.”




“The Number” with Dan Gross [BeastTV]
The Elliman Report: 3Q 2012 Manhattan Sales [Miller Samuel]
The Elliman Report: 3Q 2012 Manhattan Sales [Prudential Douglas Elliman]

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[Three Cents Worth NY #198] Living Micro in a Macro Market

July 10, 2012 | 4:42 pm | | Charts |

It’s time to share my Three Cents Worth (3CW) on Curbed NY, at the intersection of neighborhood and real estate in the capitol of the world. And I’m simply here to take measurements.

Read today’s 3CW post on @CurbedNY:

There has been a lot of attention lathered on the mayor’s recent announcement that would allow the creation of smaller studios to improve affordability, so I thought I’d take a look at this sub market for a reality check. Since a “micro unit” was defined as 275-300 square feet, I took a look at how common they were in the sales market over the past decade (I don’t have enough sqft data compiled for small rental studios yet) and I also compared all sale studio sizes against all rental studio sizes over the past five years.



[click to expand]



Curbed NY : Three Cents Worth Archive
Curbed DC : Three Cents Worth Archive
Curbed Miami : Three Cents Worth Archive

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