Housing Market Baggage On The Conveyor Belt Of Life

And here’s some late-breaking news…

But I digress…

Perhaps Because Of The Delta Variant, A Full Manhattan Rental Price Recovery May Be On Hold Until Next Year

Since 1994, I’ve been the author of the expanding Douglas Elliman market report series for real estate giant Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

One of the most volatile housing segments we cover, post-pandemic lockdown, has been the NYC rental market, given the larger economic damage directed at lower wage earners. Until recently, the rental market recovery has been a rocketship with expectations of a second wave of rental demand to come in September as Corporate America begins to call their workers back. Wall Street started the back-to-work discussion last month with a number of financial institutions expecting their workers to return to a 5-day office week beginning after Labor Day. A CEO said (and I’m paraphrasing from memory) that if you weren’t willing to come into the office five days a week and work long hours then you need to switch industries.

We will see where the office/home workplace debate rage on for several years but expectations of a September return seem dashed. The Fall of 2021 is beginning to be replaced with The Winter of 2022 in the chatter.

Also, rapidly rising rents and landlords reducing concessions might prove too much for inbound migration as once-motivated workers seeking cheaper digs might be more hesitant over the next few quarters. It is hard to say because the transition back to normalcy has been slowed a bit, and the introduction of the Delta Variant and some new variants, caused by the length of time it is taking to get critical mass in vaccinations, just makes this tragedy take longer to play out.

The lack of listing inventory erosion can be seen in July in the cool Bloomberg chart below as new lease signings, while the most for a July since 2021, is more than 20% below the off-the-chart levels we’ve observed over the previous three months.

Here’s the report:

Elliman Report: July 2021 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals


“Heavy new leasing volume continued as price trends moved towards pre-COVID levels.”

– The highest number of new lease signings for July since tracking began in 2008
– Net effective median rent slipped annually by its lowest rate since June of 2020
– Doorman median rent rose year over year for the first time since May 2020
– New development median rent expanded annually as existing median rent continued to decline
– The studio market showed the largest annual decline in median rent while three or more bedrooms showed the only gain
– All price trend indicators for the at or above $10 thousand threshold saw no annual declines
– The West Side was the only one of the four main regions not to see an annual decline in the median rent


“The number of new leases signed remained high as the market continued to tighten.”

– The highest number of new leases signed for July since 2008
– The thirteenth consecutive month of year over year declines net effective median rent
– The first annual rise in listing inventory since this past January


[Northwest Region] “Rental price trends rose annually as reliance on concessions edged lower.”

– The highest number of new leases signed for July in more than a decade
– Net effective median rent rose annually for the first time since April of 2020
– The amount of landlord concessions has fallen by nearly a third since peaking last January

Nationally, Rents Are Rising Faster Than The Pre-Pandemic Trend

There’s good research by Apartment List that shows that rents are rising faster now than they were pre-COVID.

Understanding The Intensive Demand Wave: Current Mortgage Payments Give You More Affordability Than Your Parents And Grandparents Had

A real estate broker in CA does a good job placing context in the affordability discussion. I’d recommend reading this post thoroughly.

Fannie Mae: Homebuyer Sentiment By Income And Price Point Continue To Decline

The Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI) continued to show hesitation by buyers to participate in the market. Yet as we know from surveys, answers don’t always translate into actions.

Low rates, a chronic lack of supply, bidding wars, and a reversal in trends in the battle against COVID, make the market appear less inviting. Here’s how the results break out.

The Chicago Condo World of Deconversions Is Complicated

There is a fascinating article in Slate: How Condo Buildings End: Aggressive developers looking for a way in—or desperate homeowners looking for a way out.

After reading this piece, and not seeing anything like this in the U.S. markets I cover, I can’t imagine wanting to buy a condo in Chicago. Condos seem much more politically charged as a topic than in other markets.

Longtime homeowners tend to think that’s not fair. Lawsuits abound, and some Chicago condo boards are starting to play defense by amending their bylaws to head off takeovers. But there’s another side to the story, in which deconversion is the only way out for condo owners stuck in deteriorating properties. In June, the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, drew attention to the challenges that confront condo boards as they assess structural damage and raise money for repairs. Maintenance bills for the Great American Condo Boom of the ’70s and ’80s are starting to come due in areas like South Florida.

Working From Home Is Not Going Away Quietly

Even A San Fran Area Home Destroyed By A House Fire Is Selling Quickly

This post was modified to say that the fire was not from a housefire. Essentially this is a tear-down for $850K!

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week of our own making

My favorite charts of the week made by others


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

Jim Amorin Wins The “Lifetime Achievement Award” As A Hedge Against the Sham Petition Process Outcome

To the complete mystery of many, the CEO of the Appraisal Institute received the Lifetime Achievement Award along with former president Scott Robinson being posthumously awarded (Scott died in a tragic accident this year) and two others.

The awards were given two days before the sham petition process was voted on this past Thursday. Jim Amorin’s award was provided in case he lost the sham petition process to keep his iron grip on the organization intact. Sadly this award deeply diminishes the value of the recognition given to the other three recipients.

I got feedback such as:

I was in Orlando this week and witnessed the awarding of a lifetime achievement award to Jim A. Flabbergasted doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings.


AI gave Amorin a Lifetime Achievement Award! I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Sadly, The AI Orlando Convention Just Sealed The Long-Term Fate of A Once Respected Organization

The FOJs and Dear Leader are now able to permanently control the Appraisal Institute with their win in Orlando using the sham petition process. It was a raucous affair that required extra security to handle the divisiveness. It is now impossible for non-FOJs to stop Dear Leader’s control because anytime an NNC selection is not an FOJ, Dear Leader will simply apply the sham petition process and usurp the NNC selection as been done the last two years. Dear Leader has established a fail-safe mechanism. It is quite sad because now because there really is no going back unless there is a legal intervention by the feds for the “institutional takeover” that is now official. Membership can’t say anything critical of leadership because they will lose their designation. It is already starting to happen and I will look forward to throwing the spotlight on those individuals that will do the dirty work.

Many designated members have reached out to tell me they are not renewing their memberships, are removing their designations from their list of credentials, or keeping their designations but pulling out from any more volunteering for the organization completely. Look for more “sameness” in AI policy and solutions going forward, and certainly, without Rodman Schley and Craig Steinley in leadership after their terms, there will be zero meaningful diversity initiatives based on Dear Leader’s prior actions and AI will accelerate its demise into irrelevance.

Here are a couple of clean-up thoughts and points I’ve alluded to, missed, or anticipate occurring:

– FOJs were calling NNC-blessed candidate Steve Stilotski and President-Elect Craig Steinley “male chauvinists” for not endorsing Sandy as a candidate in the sham petition process and just stepping out of the way. This was said when Sandy took the stage as the winner after embedding herself in the sham petition process. The irony of this thinking has been widely explored in prior posts. How cruel and selfish.
– The AI CEO will be making $600K within 3 years, 2-3 times the value of the CEO position
– AI membership numbers will continue to decline because of the “sameness” of the sycophants
– One of Sandy’s alliances in AI right now walked up to me in person at a joint TAFAC/IAC in DC a few years ago after being suspended from AI and actually said to me in DC “do you want dirt on Jim Amorin?” I responded “no” ignoring them and continuing with my work during the break until they walked away. I’d be surprised if the reason for their suspension isn’t widely known. Wow, let that sink in Dear Leader. Hypocrisy knows no bounds with FOJs.
– Look for membership to flow to other organizations who want to hold a designation. ASA should benefit from this migration and they need to provide reciprocal designations if they don’t (I don’t know if they already offer?)
– To those congratulating Sandy on Facebook and blogs, remember that she is dependent on Dear Leader for her AI teaching revenue. I’ve been told that her agreement does not allow co-teachers which essentially means that no one else can teach “green residential” in AI except her. How is that fair for other members who want to teach the same topic? The teaching and book publishing deals are FOJ benefits that have long been abused by the organization and used as an ingratiation tool by Dear Leader.
– I certainly hope that Steve Stilotski, whose rightful place as Vice President was stolen by the sham petition process, and other AI leaders, decide to sue the Board of Directors and the CEO for this institutional takeover. The corruption brought about by the sham petition process will now run unchecked.
– The wolves (FOJs) are already out on those that raised awareness of Dear Leader’s corruption. I plan to document this properly and shine light on the individuals doing it. Get ready!!!
– I hope that a federal law enforcement agency looks into this “institutional takeover.”

And an MAI shared this when recently speaking to FOJs in the organization:

Talking to AI is like talking to a bunch of anti-vaxxers…defiant toddlers.

This is all so sad and tragic.

UPDATE! Trevor Hubbard has just been appointed to the Audit Committee. Given his long expressed desires to get rid of residential appraisers, why would Dear Leader appoint him to the Audit Committee? Getting rid of residential has become Trevor’s professional brand yet he is being rewarded for his FOJ loyalty. Gotta love how clueless the FOJs are on FB Group that attacked my observation because, hey, he would never attack residential appraisers because he has an SRA! Looks like we’ll be talking about the adventures of Trevor in the future.

The Future In Jeopardy

A long time MAI writes about loss – its an excellent overview:

Because there’s a lot going on and we all need a break.

A very long-running US institution was a bit lost after ongoing crises at the top. Yes, it was in need of a refresh – a facelift, if you will, a way to stretch its relevance in its elder years, as its declining participation tips over to oblivion.

And they’ve been announcing some new yet old faces!

The first was a guy who had “auditioned” but it wasn’t really an audition. You see, he could be considered the “executive producer” of the institution. Oh, some might say that no, no, he had no inside track, yet so many others who were greater qualified and market tested somehow fell by the wayside. Yes, the executive producer who swore he was willing to search high and low for a qualified individual, really only searched the inside of his insider office for a candidate. Imagine that! And surprisingly enough, he was placed in that “new/old face” role by his own hands! (well, he says not).

The second was a woman who hey – has some quals! A highly educated, actual practitioner! And a woman (oh, already said that) Well, come to find out, she wasn’t quite as vetted as some other candidates. Turns out that in spite of outward trappings, such diplomas and certs in her profession, she held some pretty unsubstantiated and downright scary viewpoints about an ongoing global crisis. So those quals weren’t quite quals in practice. And then, come to find out, although a woman, she really wasn’t much of a supporter of women when the chips were down. In fact, there was some harsh shaming done by this woman against other women in crisis. Weird, yeah? Just inserting a woman into the equation doesn’t mean advancement of women at all!

Oh to be sure, there were other candidates – strong candidates without these kinds of insider self-dealings or “talking out of both sides of the mouth”. Thoroughly vetted candidates presented to the public as such. Quite a few people were and are very suspicious and equally vocal about these strange and hidden transactions. But somewhere, in a closed door “executive” meeting somewhere, sausage was made: unpalatable sausage, a bit rancid, especially to those who have supported and maybe even loved this institution for decades.

Jeopardy might limp along for a few more years but its best decades have clearly passed it by.

Why, what did you think I meant?

Here’s a refresher (click on the “Watch on YouTube” link!):

Some Additional Commentary On Last Week’s Appraiservile Post: TAF Is About To Get PAVEd

Over at National Appraisers Forum@groups.io there was a post about my writings in my Appraiserville post TAF Is About To Get PAVEd and reposted with permission at Appraisers Blogs.

This appraiser spent a lot of effort sharing his thoughts. I shared them so I can provide my additional insights beyond my TAF Is About To Get PAVEd. I responded at the bottom of his comments below.


Over on the Jonathan Miller: Appraisal Advocacy and Misleading or Misreported information
Denis DeSaix, MAI, SRA Aug 12 #11235

In one thread I commented on Jeremy Bagott’s newest email/press release. I noted that I thought Mr. Bagott’s emails were one-sided and contained much innuendo. I also noted that I understood that as his press releases were advocacy for his arguments but that the facts he reports didn’t tell the full story. But let me be clear: I think every time Mr. Bagott refers to a specific item, that reference has been factual (while I think there are other facts that would put his representation into a more balanced content, he is factual in what he states).

I cannot say the same about Jonathan Miller.

Here is his recent blog: https://appraisersblogs.com/the-appraisal-foundation-is-about-2-get-paved-appraiserville

In it, he seems to make a big deal that TAF was not invited to be a member of PAVE (the recently formed HUD task force we have talked about on this site). TAF was not invited, and that is factually true. But omitted in Miller’s piece is the fact that PAVE was made up of government agencies and TAF is not a government agency (as I think Jonathan Miller knows better than most appraisers). As TAF is not a government agency, why is it a salient point as Miller seems to make of it? It isn’t. I have to believe that Miller knows why TAF is not eligible for a seat on the PAVE committee but intentionally left that out. Here is the passage in question (my bold):

Here are the details of the PAVE Task Force….They just had their first meeting and this is a serious effort unlike the silliness of TAF’s bureaucratic actions of the past year that were nothing more than window dressing to the lack of diversity problem within the appraisal industry. Incidentally, The Appraisal Foundation is not part of PAVE Task Force.

The blog goes on to opine that TAF will come under scrutiny of PAVE. I agree; it certainly will. Miller is no fan of TAF for many reasons; some of which I agree. But I consider this another example of leaving out a pertinent fact (i.e., TAF could not be a member of PAVE) to insinuate that TAF might have been eligible but was omitted because they are part of the problem that PAVE is investigating. Why not leave the bolded part out as having it in only casts questions about misrepresenting the facts? He could have written his piece without that one sentence and made all his points (whether I agree with them or not) just as strongly.

As an appraiser, I try to research my data before I use it in my reports. A blog is not an appraisal, I know that. But the blog’s audience are appraisers who are researches and who, presumably, would expect an accurate representation of the facts. I may disagree with Miller’s opinions but if I believe he is misreporting the facts, then I’m always going to question his motives.
Is it a fact that TAF isn’t a member of PAVE? Yes, it is.
Does it make a difference that TAF isn’t eligible to be a member of PAVE? I think most reasonable people would think it does.

Despite the above, I do recommend everyone read this piece. Miller makes some forecasts of possible outcomes from the PAVE task force. I agree with many of his points but their will be short-term pain for appraisers before we get to the mid- or long-term benefits.

The short term pain will be this: I believe the ultimate outcome of a honest investigation will be that value differences of minority/people-of-color properties vs. what may seem to be similar properties in predominantly white neighborhoods is not a result of bias in appraisal. It is a result of economic differences (and if the blame for those differences is due to historical practices and policies, that isn’t an appraisal issue). But what will be discovered is that there are many appraisers who are not completing their assignments in a competent manner due to lack of competency, lack of applying the necessary diligence for the assignment, or both. This means we, as a profession, are not a group of racists but we, as a profession, are not uniformly as professional as we should be or represent ourselves to be. I believe Miller makes this point when he writes one of the outcomes of the PAVE task force will be:

It will reduce the pressure from the AMC industry, whose bad actors emphasize only speed and price
I agree with the above and I hope we’re both right on this!

Denis DeSaix, MAI, SRA

Livermore, CA


My thoughts:

Denis points out: But I consider this another example of leaving out a pertinent fact (i.e., TAF could not be a member of PAVE) to insinuate that TAF might have been eligible but was omitted because they are part of the problem that PAVE is investigating.

And Denis is right, I should have made the point more clear that TAF wasn’t a government agency and not eligible. However, the reason I talked at all about TAF being omitted, was because of all that I had written about their efforts not to have oversight by ASC. TAF in fact has been acting as an independent agency or their own independent for-profit company and they are a big part of the problem with our appraisal industry. They’ve been fighting with ASC for a couple of years now, from their bat-shit crazy letter” to generating so much revenue that they have refused ASC grant money for the past two years (they have $11M± in the bank right now). The grants are the mechanism Congress intended to give oversight of TAF to the ASC. If TAF doesn’t accept grant money (which has strings attached) then TAF is essentially a rogue agency.

I hope that makes my intent of the post more clear. Thanks for taking the time to dive in!

OFT (One Final Thought)

While the original ‘Black Dog’ is awesome, sometimes it’s a good idea to slow things down and listen more closely:

Again, click on “Watch on YouTube” link!

Brilliant Idea #1

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Brilliant Idea #2

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See you next week.

Jonathan J. Miller, CRP, CRE, Member of RAC
Miller Samuel Inc.
Real Estate Appraisers & Consultants
Matrix Blog

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