Matrix Blog

Rentals, Investing

Housing Slumped Over In The Easy Chair, Paint Brush In Hand

April 12, 2007 | 9:23 am | |

The front page story in the New York Times yesterday, featured a story written by one of my favorite economics writers, David Leonhardt, called A Word of Advice During a Housing Slump: Rent. He explores the rent versus buy dilemma at length in the article. In addition, the article links to the best rent versus buy tool I have ever come across.

The NAR is promoting the current market as a great opportunity to purchase because mortgage rates are low. However…

Over the next five years, which is about the average amount of time recent buyers have remained in their homes, prices in the Los Angeles area would have to rise more than 5 percent a year for a typical buyer there to do better than a renter. The same is true in Phoenix, Las Vegas, the New York region, Northern California and South Florida. In the Boston and Washington areas, the break-even point is about 4 percent.

The impact on prices and affordability is much more dramatic than a change in mortgage rates. Add to this, tightening credit and it appears that prices would need to correct in many parts of the country before the housing market comes back. And by coming back, I would measure this by a noticeable increase in the number of transactions.

“House prices have to fall more before housing becomes a clear buy again,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s, a research company that helped conduct the analysis. “These markets aren’t as overvalued as they were a year ago or two years ago, but they’re still unfriendly. And that’s one of the reasons the market is still soft — people realize it’s not a bargain.”

As far as New York goes, the analysis concluded the buy side was favored if the Manhattan co-op example increased 3% per year for the next 5 years and the Westchester county example increased 4% during the same period. Interesting. With inflation at 2-3%, in real dollars, the co-op would would effectively not need to show a gain and the house would need to rise only 5% overall during the five year period.

On the national front, I strongly believe the situation is not as good as NAR paints it (but hey, they are a trade group) and not as dire as economists paint it (hey, they are paid to worry) , but its definitely not good. There will be a lot more painting that needs to be done before this is over.

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[List-o-links] 4-2-07 Subprime Cuts: Turkey, Suing, Crimping

April 2, 2007 | 9:27 am | |

With enough here for two stomachs and my cow analogies running, well, thin, here’s a collection of some key prime mortgage stories of the week.

March Madness update: If Florida wins the championship tonight, I win the pool and my 8 year old comes in fourth!

but I digress…

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[Getting Graphic] Spikes Pack A Punch

March 6, 2007 | 9:25 am | |

Getting Graphic is a semi-sort-of-irregular collection of our favorite BIG real estate-related chart(s).

Source: NYT

Click here for full sized graphic.

Floyd Norris’ article When It Comes to House Prices, the Bloom Is Off the Cactus illustrates quite clearly how much housing price patterns varied by sub-market but also how much houseing spiked in some markets and how some markets were unaffected by the recent boom.

These are year over year changes rather than actual price level movements and are based on repeat sales, which uses properties that had multiple transfers. This technique has many flaws including and smaller data set and not considering changes to the same house, such as a renovation or extension.

Given the fact that renovations were another significant phenomenon of the housing boom, it is likely that repeat sales would greatly exagerate price change in some markets. However, in the markets with the largest price spikes, namely Pheonix, Las Vegas and San Diego, a large portion of housing activity was comprised of new development. Must have been a heck of a lot of flipping going on for this to be captured in the repeat sales index. 40% figures I have heard thrown around must not be far from the truth.

Which brings to mind another point. Is anyone still buying and selling flips these days? Apparently so. Its hard to believe its still going on as proactively as this article suggests.


[Getting Graphic] Speeches, Stocks And Safety

February 28, 2007 | 9:44 am | |

Getting Graphic is a semi-sort-of-irregular collection of our favorite BIG real estate-related chart(s).

Click here for full sized graphic.

Greenspan gives a speech in Hong Kong [NYT] and mentions the r-word (recession) as being a possibility in the US and the following day, after just reaching a record, the Shanghai Composite Index corrected sharply (but its up today) [WSJ].

Notice how Greenspan still carries more weight than Bernanke in terms of an immediate market reaction after a speech?

Combine this phenomenon with the coincidence that Freddie Mac announces more restrictive parameters for subprime lending (sorry, 3rd consecutive day of talking about subprime), durable goods orders shows weakness and all of a sudden, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is falling 400 points, aided by a glitch in computerized trading.

Thats quite a sequence of events for anyone to process. However for perspective, thats a 3.29% drop in the DJIA index, only 4.4% from its record high and yet it still remains above 12,000. I don’t want to sugar coat the drop because it is still a large drop, but on Black Monday, September 19, 1987, the index dropped even more. It fell 508 points but it fell from 2,500 and nearly 23% of value was erased in a single day. Quite a different senario than 3.29%. I remember being in Kansas City visiting friends on that day in 1987 thinking I was out of business. Real estate was over. (Of course I had that same feeling on September 11, 2001).

Warning – statistical aside: Every day, the rise and fall in the DJIA is chronicled in thousands of nightly newscasts. The other day the quote went something like this (I am embelishing here just a little bit):

Stocks slid 5 points as investors grew skittish about the price of rice in China and the growing political clout of left handed orthodontists…

Thats 5 points of a total index of about 12,600 points at that time or a .0004% drop. This is more akin to a rounding error and not an indicator of anything, anymore than an increase of 5 points would be. I think the consumer sees these points as percentage and reads more into subtle changes than they should simply because no perspective is provided. Its like looking at existing home sale trends as a benchmark for a local real estate market. The DJIA is merely a list of major companies that may or may not reflect the overall stock market (sound familiar?).

ok, I am back from the aside.

I was listening to a group of real estate panelists at a luncheon yesterday as the stock market was falling. At the end of the panel, a question came from an audience member that went something like this:

Now that the stock market has fallen moret han 400 points today, what will be the impact on New York City real estate?

The answer given was essentially no affect but the question seems a little dramatic at this point. My mindset is usually oriented to the trend is your friend.

However, it does raise the point that perhaps the conventional wisdom of a continued improvement in the US economy is more tenuous than has been cheered for as of late. In the fall, I was drifting toward the belief that the economy was headed for a recession. My worries have lifted somewhat but I don’t carry the same optomism that the stock markets seem too.

Housing should ultimately provide more of a drag on the economy. I don’t think the impact of the slowdown has had adequate time to fully flow throw the economy. Honestly, its been a challenge to me personally to keep euphoria in check, when commenting on national trends given the better real estate conditions enjoyed in New York as compared to other parts of the country.

What does this stock market drop mean for the real estate economy?

I am not entirely sure. However, if the underlying economy doesn’t change significantly and more people become more risk averse, we may see more movement to saftey like we did yesterday as people move from stocks to treasuries. Treasury prices would go up, and as a result, yields would go down. As yields go, so do mortgage rates, helping temper growing damage caused by foreclosures and limiting the future effects of tightening underwriting guidelines.

All this from a Greenspan speech in Hong Kong. Just imagine if the speech was given at halftime during the Superbowl?

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Giving The Finger To The Thumb: 20% Down Is Looking Quaint

February 15, 2007 | 10:36 am |

I remember when I was in college (really, I do), thinking about how long it was going to take for me to buy my first house because the 20% down payment seemed virtually impossible to reach. I had a $25 savings bond from third grade that had matured, and that was about it.

Of course, I wasn’t the thriftiest person around, which made my prospects of homeownership even dimmer. Hey, I couldn’t help it if my first car cost the same as the annual salary of my first job out of college. After all, it was a 5-speed with a sunroof and aluminum alloy rims.

Syndicated columnist Kenneth R. Harney wrote an excellent article called 20% down seems like ancient history [LA Times] about the topic. Here are two of the more salient points about the current mortgage market:

  • First time buyers put 2% down
  • Repeat home buyers, using the equity of their prior homes, put 16% down

Nary a 20% figure in sight. That’s got to make private mortgage insurance companies very happy to hear. As a result of easy financing, homeownership reached an all time high at 69% a few years ago. It’s all about the payment these days, not the down payment.

As the article says, no down payment cuts both ways. In rising markets, the purchasers gain equity quickly. In a falling market, the owners can be mired in debt.

The cause of anxiety for many is that financial instruments and choices have changed significantly in recent years and the old rules-of-thumb are just that: old. However, this new heavy financing approach to home purchasing has not lived long enough to go through real estate cycles and prove itself as a good strategy, yet it seems to make sense for certain situations.

If a homeowner is “underwater” (home value is less than mortgage) then it comes down to how long they wish to stay in a property. Being underwater limits their options yet it may or may not have any impact on their plans. In other words, it’s not necessarily a dire situation. On the other hand, it can cause significant hardship if a homeowner plans to move and can’t afford to get out of their present situation. In other words, it depends on whether your loss is real or on paper.

I think a lot more scrutiny should be placed on individual investors who bought with interest only 1-year ARMs (and could barely afford the payments thanks to lax underwriting standards) and were looking to flip their property for a quick profit. Mortgage rates are now higher, the buyers have faded away (the ponzi scheme ran out of gas) and these investors can’t get a high enough rent to cover the monthly mortgage payment. I’d expect significant problems in “flipper” prone markets more than anywhere else, but expect it to be tempered by the fact that most of these locations have some of the highest employment and wage prospects in the country.

As an appraiser, I am always fascinated by how many people think there is some sort of handbook that lays out the adjustments we make in an appraisal report, when they are simply extracted from the market at that time. I would think real estate brokers and mortgage brokers feel the same way.

Current mortgage strategies give the (or point a) finger to conventional wisdom, the proverbial 20% down payment rule-of-thumb.

Housing Fundamentals Go Boom!

February 12, 2007 | 11:50 am | |

One of my economics heroes, Robert Shiller whose work I have admired (but not always agreed with) wrote a provocative commentary on “Booms” in the Wall Street Journal last week called, interestingly enough: Things That Go Boom [WSJ].

We shouldn’t blame these people for not seeing the boom coming. Nobody did. But those economists who say today that the real estate boom has been justified by “fundamentals” have to explain why they weren’t able to forecast the high home prices we have today based on those fundamentals.

With the failure of anyone really to predict today’s high home prices, one may well conclude that no one can predict today whether a home-price bust is coming, or whether the housing market will land softly, or even is poised to resume its upward climb. That may be the right conclusion about our ability to forecast the markets.

On the other hand, there is another perspective on this colossal failure to predict. Maybe it doesn’t mean that no one can forecast, but instead that the high home prices today are just an enormous anomaly that will have to correct downward sometime, if not right away.

Basically, the premise in his piece is the idea that fundamentals didn’t help us predict the housing boom to the extent that it occurred, which means that fundamentals can’t tell us whether we will have a hard or soft landing either.

Can anyone define what housing fundamentals actually are? The term is always used rather loosely and infers strenuous economic consideration. How about: Employment? Housing Starts? Inventory? Mortgage Rates? GDP? Its seems to me that the list is subject to debate, and the assumption that fundamentals are solid is based on a list that is not universally agreed as fundamental.

Professor Shiller was the creator of the housing index used as the basis for trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last May, which has been characterized as garnering very little interest by investors.


Perhaps the lackluster interest is because it doesn’t include all elements of the housing market including new home sales (a significant factor) and foreclosures (a rising factor). The index predicts price declines in 10 major markets that are currently being covered but it seems like the same sort of experience (in reverse) made by individual investors who could do no wrong in the late 1990’s because every stock was going up.

I lost interest in following the CME price patterns because of the low trading volume. The volume in specific markets seems to be more of the story these days than the reliability of the pricing.

We are left with a deeply uncertain situation, but one in which it would seem that a sequence of price declines continuing for many years has some substantial probability of happening. Traditional finance theory has trouble reconciling even a semi-predictable sequence of price declines with basic notions of market efficiency. The situation we are facing is a reminder of the glaring inefficiencies and incompleteness of existing markets for residential real estate, and may be regarded as evidence that institutional changes will be coming in future years to fundamentally change the nature of these markets.

It doesn’t seem like anyone has a handle of the direction of macro real estate markets at the moment, beyond relying on conventional wisdom. Professor Shiller seems to be moving away, if just a little, from the position that indexes can be used to accurately predict real estate markets, despite his groundbreaking work in this area. He seems to be moving toward the conventional wisdom argument what comes up must come down.


Condo Data Used To Forecast The Entire Housing Market Analyze Condos

January 26, 2007 | 1:34 pm |

Yesterday I found myself on CNBC Morning Call debating with Adam Koval, former stock analyst and founder of the San Francisco real estate site Socketsite whether analyzing the condo market as representative of the overall housing market was a better indicator. There was no real time to make our points because Natural Gas Inventories numbers were being released.

Adam is a sharp guy who came up with this theory that got coverage in CNN/Money and was picked up by CNBC.

His stock market background probably explains his reason for taking the investor/condo approach to analyzing the real estate market. He believes that it is all about the investors because they are not emotional and condos are more homogeneous so they can be more readily compared.

So investors and condos lead the way because its easier to measure appreciation?

I think there is a great need by investors, consumers, real estate professionals, the media and others to strip away all information on real estate markets until you get to the:

Magic Real Estate Market Indicator

You know, that one indicator that makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing that we have the inside answer. Well, guess what? It doesn’t exist.

Investor Angle

The argument goes that investors research and interpret at the market clinically, without the emotional reactions that consumers and are simply looking for the return on investment (that makes so such sense or we would have never experienced market corrections in stock markets). Now imagine using the stock market indexes to estimate the value of your specific stock. i.e. the Dow Jones Industrial Average to price your Microsoft shares. It would make no sense.

Since I analyze a real estate market based in an international financial market hub (NYC) there is a great deal of efficiency because that is the orientation of many.

Here’s a few reasons why the stock market/investor activity doesn’t correlate to the real estate market:

  • Stocks operate in highly efficient markets, trading in thousands of shares per day
  • Transaction costs are low
  • Investors can move in and out of a position in seconds
  • Investors in the housing boom were carpenters and nurses rather than institutions.

Condo Angle

That being said, lets now look at investors and condos.

Individual real estate investors are more likely to purchase condos rather than single family houses. They are usually looking at cash flow after rental or appreciation. This is how publications like The Economist do it. They look at the relationship of rents to housing prices, assuming that investors are a major force in the market. But what if they are not?

Here are some basic problems with condos as an indicator:

  • Condos are not only purchased by investors. They are purchased as a primary residences as well so they have the same irrational influences the single family housing market.
  • Investor buying patterns and motivations are different than someone purchasing for owner occupancy.
  • Investors represent a minority of home purchases (In the investor peak year of 2005, NAR reports 28% of purchases were by investors). How can 28% speak for 72%?
  • Condos are a different price point than houses in most markets and they are usually less. That is a different demographic with different motivations for purchases.
  • Condo developments generally have different locations than single family houses. They are often in urban settings or other higher density areas where individual houses would not be viable. They enable to maximize the value of sites that are in locations less marketable to single family houses such as adjacent to commuter train stations.
  • Data for condos shouldn’t be any more difficult to get than houses are if they are both considered real property.
  • Condos are not necessarily homogenous and easy to compare. I think argument also sees condos as mainly newly developed but they have been around for a long time. True, the value differences between units in the same line are less likely to vary much in value within a few years after development. But what about older condos? Do we exclude them as well? If we exclude them we have more narrowly defined the market and therefore, less usable for other markets.
  • Condo markets in the major metro areas that reported highly unusual investor activity such as Washington DC, Miami, Las Vegas and San Diego are not representative of the overall markets in their areas. For example, an investor that can’t make their payments because they can’t rent out their unit for as much as the mortgage payment are going to work harder to protect their primary residence.

In Adam’s defense, I think he was trying isolate appreciation in order to see how the market is doing.

In other words, a new condo will like not be upgraded within a few years after purchase. So the change in value over this period would be attributable to appreciation, not some sort of improvement made to the property.

  • Passive appreciation – appreciation that comes from changes in market conditions
  • Active appreciation – appreciation that comes from improvements to the property

Also it is unlikely that the size of the unit would change (unless combined with an adjacent unit), unlike a new addition added to a house. This is a valid concept, but as an indicator, it can only apply to the market being measured, because any other similarities are merely coincidence.


[In The Media] CNBC Morning Call Clip for 1-25-07

January 25, 2007 | 3:18 pm | Public |

Here is a clip of my appearance on today’s Morning Call show on CNBC.

The topic was brought about by Adam Koval, who runs, a web log that covers the San Francisco housing market. Adam’s theory is that the condo market is a good indicator of the health of the overall housing market. This was covered in a CNN/Money article by Les Christie called Condo prices reveal housing trends: Comparing condo prices may be the best way to gauge the direction of housing prices. and I was quoted as not agreeing at all with the premise.

The CNN/Money article interested CNBC and they invited us both to appear in conjunction with NAR’s housing stat release for December. Adam and I have traded emails and we are on each other’s blog roll but I never knew what he looked like until we went “split screen.”

He and I were interviewed on CNBC Morning Call by Mark Haines who was great as usual.

As is the way on television, there was not enough time for the topic but it was fun to do. I was itching to respond to the last question but we ran out of time. Since I don’t agree at all with Adam’s premise I’ll present my argument as a post tomorrow.

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[Getting Graphic] DC Is For Speculators, By George

January 17, 2007 | 8:37 am | | Public |

Getting Graphic is a semi-sort-of-irregular collection of our favorite BIG real estate-related chart(s).

Source: NYT

In Vikas Bajaj’s excellent Page One piece titled Buyers Scarce, Many Condos Are for Rent [NYT], he explores whats happening in the DC market and it’s not pretty.

I recall last year about this time, when everyone was impressed with the +90% increase in Manhattan inventory over the previous 18 months, Washington, DC inventory had increased well over 200% in DC during the same period. The DC condo market had been built for speculators. The absence of investors/flippers is what saved Manhattan and other markets during this housing boom, something also experienced in Manhattan about 20 years ago. Vikas contrasts DC with the situation in Manhattan.

That’s a bubble

Based on the stats, presented in the article, there were about 24,000 condos listed for sale during 4Q in DC. With about 600 units sold in 4Q there, that means it would take 40 months for the current supply to be absorbed by the current pace of sales. More supply is coming on, although slowing down and demand is not expected to surge. It’s likely that 6-7 months is the norm for absorption in DC, like in many markets.

Getting lucky

While the article makes an important point by illustrating the wide void between supply and demand, I was struck by how lucky the one investor interviewed was who couldn’t get what he originally paid for his unit nor would the rental value cover his mortgage. Not only had his broker stopped him from buying several more units to begin with (the broker must have seen the writing on the wall early) but the owner has actually received a range of offers for his unit. He didn’t accept any yet because they were about roughly 10% below his break even. With the significant amount of overhang in this market, I am surprised he received any offers. With the tremendous disparity between supply and demand as well as the weakness of the rental market, it would appear that a 10% discount off the original purchase price would be very generous. Is this yet another bad decision on his part?

Falling rents

Based on the article and what I have read elsewhere, it seems likely that inventory will remain at high levels or even continue to rise in DC as a flood of investors will look to remain whole by renting their units. The excess supply could drive rents down further.

This is also complicated by stalled condos being converted to rentals. The developers interviewed seemed somewhat calm about the conversion as an option. Their tone seemed to be: yes, it provides less of a return because condo construction is higher, but it’s an alternative. The problem is that this type of thinking doesn’t consider the large amount of competition from other condo developers in the same boat.

The one thing DC has going for it is a strong economy with significant employment potential over the next several years. There is an economic theory that correlates investor speculation with optimism over future job growth which will cushion the blow of oversupplied condo markets. That’s seems to be the case in the primary speculative markets like DC, Miami, Las Vegas and San Diego and maybe that’s why no one seems to be in a panic, or perhaps the euphoria still hasn’t worn off?


The Onus of The Wall Street Bonus

December 15, 2006 | 9:56 am | |

Over the past few weeks, discussion of the impact of the Wall Street bonus has increased as rapidly as the housing prices did in 2004. Its a big economic event in the New York region and provides a significant impact on the local economy.

Bonuses been get a lot of coverage with more to come:

Huge Profit at Goldman Brings Big Bonuses [NYT]
Brokerages report record profits [AP]
Unbelieva-bull spending spree [NYDN]
Downtown realtors ready for bonus time [Metro]
Jaw-Dropping Bonuses on Wall Street [US News]

However, I don’t think that bonuses are the only reason why 2007 looks more promising today than it did 6 months ago. While bonus income seems to have more impact on pricing than the number of sales, the consensus is that a wider market strata will be affected this time.

Last year, the bonus income had more of an impact on the upper 2% of the market, for properties priced above $5 million dollars. This year however, as the saying goes, its different. But no real reason has been given as to why things are different this year other than bonuses, it just feels different. For example, its my impression that there have been more bidding wars in the last month and a half than in the early part of the year.

Here are some thoughts on why the outlook for 2007 could be better than last year in New York real estate:

  • Bonus income is higher than last year and its no surprise. Each quarter, news coverage of the pace of bonus money tracking has remained on target. The news gradually built expectations over the year.
  • Bonus income has seen 4 successive years of gains (assuming this year is), which provides a cumulative effect. Bonus payouts don’t necessarily go into the housing market in the first year of payout. Activity today may originate from payouts made a few years ago.
  • Mortgage rates have been generally in decline or flat for the past 6 months. Mortgage applications are rising including refi activity which adds to the churn. The Fed is largely expected to cut the federal funds rate in mid-2007 because of a cooling economy. However, the NYC economy is expected to be fairly solid so the market benefits from weaker conditions in other parts of the country through tapping into lower mortgage rates.
  • International buyers have been coming to the market in increasing numbers, (but less than I would have thought by this point). Favorable exchange rates due to the weakening dollar makes NYC properties increasingly affordable to foreign buyers.
  • Lending (underwriting) standards continue to erode making it easier to get deals done.
  • Some developers are starting to get the message that its all about accurate pricing and that marketing alone doesn’t move units. We are hearing that some stalled projects are being re-priced and then see units started to move. Placing ego aside is a huge step int he right direction.
  • Overpriced listings from non-serious sellers started to expire and not be renewed last spring, reducing the clutter and frustration for buyers. Inventory levels in the region have remained level for more than 6 months, after seeing substantial gains for the prior 18 months. There is some evidence of inventory bottoming out nationally after several months of gains but the jury is still out.
  • Rental rates spiked this year as a result of people moving into rentals for safety and lower cost. They became disillusioned after seeing bidding wars and 20 to 25% rent hikes in the luxury sector.
  • The local economy is on solid footing and the city is projecting a surplus.
  • The recent national election brought significant change to the Congress, implying some sort of changes in the future.

To expound on the last thought, the real estate market is often defined by negative milestones, ironic for such an upbeat industry. One of those milestones could be the recent national election.

With the president’s approval rating at record lows for his tenure and the situation in Iraq deteriorating, I thought that a change in control of the Congress could be one of those milestones. The looming election had turned the focus away from the housing market. While the change in power may or may not impact housing, it was a change and seemed to precipated a change in perception.

The latest wrinkle is the sudden illness of Democatic Senator Tim Johnson, who, if unable to continue in office, would be replaced by someone appointed by the Governor, a Republican by presumeably, a Republican. This would move the Senate to 50/50 representation by both parties just after the newly majority that the Democrats earned last month. However, I suspect that this is a non-event for housing. The momentum has already been initiated by the election.

Sure, the bonus money is an important, and perhaps primary component of the recent surge in activity in Manhattan, but it can’t claim all the credit.

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Reading The Signs: Casual Fonts To Hook The Naive

November 22, 2006 | 2:18 pm | | Radio |

About 6 months ago, I first noticed one of these signs in my home town.

But they multiplied and soon they were everywhere. I was at a party a few months ago and met Alexis Palmer, the advertising guru at Curbed who asked me if I had noticed these signs as well. I did and meant to take a picture.

Well today I finally got around to it.

What would possess someone to call the number to get into real estate investment (excluding crank calls)? The casual style suggests someone just hand wrote the sign because either they were too busy investing or because its some sort of soft sell approach (until you see them on every block).

I noticed on WFAN, an AM radio station in New York, that every other commercial is “How to get rich in real estate”, “How to buy a foreclosed house for $99 per month” and others, hawking free books and seminars on the subject.

The FTC processes public relations incentived complaints about Zillow and yet this radio stuff goes unchecked. Should public advertising and radio commercials have different regulatory standards than the Internet?

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Massey Knakal New York City Income Property Market Report is released

November 6, 2006 | 12:01 am |

My commercial appraisal partner John Cicero of Miller Cicero has been busy lately. He just completed a new market report on New York City income properties. We are really excited about the results. Here’s what he has to say about it:

This week the first Massey Knakal New York City Income Property Market Report [pdf] was released. This is a first of its kind study that I researched and authored on behalf of Massey Knakal, one of the most active investment sales brokerage firms in New York.

Massey Knakal is excited about it too. They are distributing about 300,000 copies of it over the next several months.

Massey Knakal New York City Income Property Market Report [pdf]

Report Methodology [Miller Cicero]

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