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A Narrative of The Housing Economy

Condo Developers Are Told “No” For A Living

The Alexander Twins Scandal Is Changing The Marketing/Branding Calculus Developers Shvo and Stern Show Opposite Strategies In Response To The Scandal With The High Rate Environment, Branding Risks Become Front & Center Being Michael Shvo and Michael Stern got a lot tougher this week. These wellknown luxury residential condo developers have been grappling with weakening market conditions in...

New York City Rents Remained High As Mortgage Rates Stay Put

Manhattan rents fell unexpectedly as Brooklyn & Queens rents barely budged New lease signings and listing inventory soared in New York City as churn persisted Listing discounts go "negative," reflecting the marketwide premium above ask Elliman Report: May 2024 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals The listing discount metric in the report is the percentage difference between the original...

Wednesday Was Prince Spaghetti Day Until Everyone Stopped Using Their Dining Room

Somehow we got into the habit of eating at our desks at the office and watching television in the den over time. Postpandemic, there was a need to allocate more space to a home office and even a second home office. A separate dining room was relegated to infrequent holiday gettogethers or used as a home office rather than daily meals. I love our formal (it has a wall) dining room but I'd rather...

Commercial Real Estate Values Continue To Be ‘Slashed’ 60% to 70%, But Investors Still Trust The Asset

I've been posting commercial office price drops here fairly regularly and the anecdotal drop in value is hovering around twothirds of the prepandemic value (before WFH was supercharged). The most recent commercial office sale in Manhattan was a 67% discount from a 2018 purchase. This building, 321 West 44th Street, ironically houses the headquarters of the Commercial Observer, a widelyread...

Hybrid Car Sales Boomed Despite High Rates. Why Not Housing (And Soda)?

Despite the bad press EV and Hybrid cars have had recently with cold weather charging issues, the spike in interest rates that began in early 2022 didn't seem to have the severe detrimental impact on car sales as it did on housing sales. With both, prices remained high despite the rates. Car sales took off and home sales slowed. Why? With the chip shortage of 20222023, new car sale listing...

Junk Stats Are Like Rodent Hairs In Your Peanut Butter

Yeah, I love peanut butter and I accept this and this. One of the most annoying aspects of covering the housing market is that we are bombarded with junk stats. Here's an example from this Market Watch article: Mortgage rates can vary significantly by state.  How many people are going to move to another state to shave off 25 to 40 basis points from their mortgage? Do consumers think the same way...

Despite Blue Lights, Manhattan New Signed Contracts Remain Sleepy

Our May New Signed Contract Report for the New York metro area came out today and the annual results for condos were underwhelming. Newly signed condo contracts fell 5.2% annually as their new listings slipped 3%. However, above the $5 million threshold, roughly the top 10% of the condo market, newly signed contracts jumped annually. Despite condos being a highcash market, at roughly 66.3% of all...

Wednesday – Sleepless In Seattle Because Of The NAR Settlement And A Dodge Charger

There is a lot of revvedup noise coming from the Pacific Northwest these days. The housing market is booming, the local MLS is getting belligerent, and social media is driving people through the roof. The Seattle housing market continues to soar with hometown employers like Microsoft with its ChatGPT alliance and Amazon booming, keeping the pressure on the lack of housing affordability. Prices...

Tuesday – California And New York Have Something To Brag About

They have low LTVs, game show longevity, and more places to go to the bathroom. Pat Sajak, 41year host of Wheel of Fortune is retiring this Friday. New York is launching “Ur In Luck” (pun obviously intended) to expand the number of public restrooms. Oh, and New York and California have the lowest mortgage loantovalues of the 15 largest states. Here's a reminder of how big NYC is. Both NY and CA...

Monday – Housing Consumer Identifies Through Ketchup As They Slow Their Spending

More than half of consumers identify as middle class and that fits nicely within the American Dream narrative. Housing used to fit nicely into that narrative too, before the 2022 Fed pivot created higher mortgage rates and the lack of inventory made bidding wars a fact of life. But for the consumer, some of the financial pain has been eased through higher wages as they were shifted from decades...