Despite The Distracting Hairstyles, 1989 Got 2020 Housing Reasonably Correct

It’s hard to believe we started our real estate appraisal company wearing hair and clothing styles like in the video below, but hey this video isn’t completely wrong:

But I digress…

The NYC Suburban Contract Activity Woke Up Faster Than Manhattan

I’ve been the author of the expanding Elliman Report series for Douglas Elliman since 1994. Recently we introduced a new type of regional report that tracks several of U.S. housing markets by “new signed contracts” and “new inventory” each month with 3-8 submarkets in each.

Elliman Report: New York July 2020 New Signed Contracts
Elliman Report: Florida July 2020 New Signed Contracts
Elliman Report: California July 2020 New Signed Contracts
Elliman Report: Colorado July 2020 New Signed Contracts

The New York regional market (with newly added Westchester County, Fairfield County and Greenwich, CT has been especially interesting for two reasons:

– Suburban sales are surging around Manhattan while Manhattan still falls short by half of year-ago levels.
– The broader high-end (plus luxury) suburban markets have been outperforming the starter market based on year over year growth of new signed contracts.
– Its Manhattan that is showing weakness relative to the suburbs, not the overall city. Brooklyn new sign contracts for co-ops and condo are up YOY by nearly a third and townhouses are up by more than double.
– Manhattan lags because it has the most wealth and mobility of all the boroughs and a reported 40% of Manhattanites exited in March/April when the lockdown began.

All this activity got Wall Street interested and the story ranked #13 most emailed yesterday on the 350K Bloomberg Terminal subscribers.

And now that I’ve got that out of the way, the Bloomberg piece ran an incredible illustration of the Manhattan/Westchester variance while using the color blue. My work is done here.

Redfin: We’re running naked through the jungle with a Bowie knife clenched between our teeth

For a little levity, read the second to last paragraph of Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman’s comments in the transcript of their Q2 2020 quarterly earnings call. h/t to Ivy Zelman.

THE CON Episode 1 Debuted This Week And It Was Compelling Because Good Appraisers Lived That Hell Too

Although I’ve shared the following CNBC clip before, it’s worth showing again given my 15-year ago hairstyle. In 2005, I was interviewed by CNBC in the midst of the Housing Bubble and said that 75% of the appraisals being done then weren’t worth the paper they were written on (hey it was 2005 and they were done on paper, not pdf). They found me because I had just started my Matrix Blog because no one seemed to be listening to appraisers. Incidentally as of this week, Matrix is 15 years old!!!

And the October Research stats presented indicating that 55% of appraisers felt pressure to hit the value rose to 90% in the next year! The outlook was dire.

When I was interviewed, I was trying to keep it together because I assumed my business and my livelihood would be gone by 2008 if things continued. Thoughts about supporting my family of 4 sons and making my mortgage payments loomed large, but I couldn’t be morally flexible unlike many of my local peers who thrived as a result. Most lenders and mortgage brokers didn’t care about valuation quality, just hitting the numbers to make the deal. The appraisal profession became seen as one of “deal enablers” instead of neutral valuation benchmark setters. My big competitors at the time (who were part of the 75%), told me essentially: “Aw Miller, You Don’t Get It.” No, I didn’t. All my “75% competitors” during that era lost their licenses and/or went out of business after Lehman collapsed in 2008.

This is why this new documentary “THE CON” means so much to me. It tells the story that “good appraisers” like me and my firm have never been able to tell. Instead, good appraisers have been lumped in with the bad appraisers who are long gone.

Watch for my appearance along with several of my colleagues around the country in this week’s episode 2!

Think too much risk was the reason for the 2008 financial crisis? Nope. Unmitigated greed and systematic fraud are the real issues — and no one’s discussing them…. Until now. @theconseries is now available on virtual cinema: #TheCon

Beginning now, you can watch entire THE CON series, episodes 1-5 through a network of independent cinema outlets.

Watch Last week’s Episode 1

PODCAST The Global Impact of Covid-19 On Housing Has Been Far-Reaching

I spoke with Anna Ward of Knight Frank, host of the Intelligence Talks Podcast on how Covid-19 has impacted home buyers in New York. Other guests included Kate Everett-Allen, Head of International Residential Sales at Knight Frank and author of Global Buyer Survey – 2020, Head of International Residential Sales at Knight Frank, Mei Wong; and Global Head of Research, Liam Bailey at Knight Frank.


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

Quid Pro Quo: The Right Candidate Got Elected And Corrupt Leadership Got To Keep Their Sham Election Maneuver

Yesterday’s AI Public Airing Of The Sham Election Process was a dark day for the institution but a bright day for the good guys. The actual selection of Craig Steinley after he won the national nominating committees’ endorsement took literally thousands of members to apply pressure to the BoD. Thankfully it worked.

However, in order to enable the Board of Directors to do the right thing, they got to keep the sham petition process in place. Membership will have to go through this all over again next year and every year that Jim Amorin stays as CEO. Look for Tankersley to shame himself again next year.

The feedback I received from membership who watched this carnival was patently negative. The Board of Directors meeting came across as disorganized, tech-averse, and embarrassing. At the moment, they have shown they are clearly not our industry’s leader.

The presentations by Tankersley and Steinley couldn’t have been more different.


First, Tankersley’s bloviating about how tight he is with the board was really awful. I still can’t get over that someone with his credentials doesn’t appear to have any shame for agreeing to be a player in the sham petition process. It’s only purpose is to overrule the vetting by the NNC so that Amorin can get his lackey’s in. At no time in the five weeks, I’ve been chronicling this debacle has AI Leadership provided a specific reason for the need for this sham petition process.

Here were a few nuggets from this Amorin lackey.

“Times like this bring out the best in people or the worst in people” LOL

“Open your eyes to what the possibilities are for this organization” LOL

How embarrassing.

Tankersley emphasized he is a team builder which is obviously false for the fact he is a candidate in this sham election process. He wants to expand the education delivery yet that ship has sailed. He wants to examine the financial structure to which I ask, why? The whole purpose of this sham election is to keep the yes-men like him in the pipeline so they can travel first class with wives, friends, and family around the world. The lack of ethics here is absolutely unconscionable.

It should be noted that Tankersley criticized Steinley directly which revealed that he is not a teambuilder. The feedback has been that the Execs/BOD gave him pure softball questions so he could answer them and even with that, he was cringe-worthy.


Why bother going into details? The man was relaxed and the consummate professional. His performance was clearly proof as to why he was selected by NNC over Tankersley. He is what the Appraisal Institute needs to finally get AI National moving in the right direction.

Steinley was announced as the winner by the Appraisal Institute yesterday:

Tackle Appraiser Moral Dilemmas with Live Online Business Practices and Ethics

The wording of this morning’s AI email is laden with a:

Word Salad of Irony

Read the email header and consider the topic of the CE course. Good grief.

Voice of Appraisal Covers The CON, TAF, and AI This Week

Episode 244 from Phil Crawford’s New Studio. Who’s that on his t-shirt?

Mortgage Banks & Brokers Are Starting To Complain About Turn Times

Here we go again. Mortgage brokers are beginning to complain about appraiser turn-times given the massive surge of mortgage appraisals needed right now. Get ready for AMCs and mortgage brokers to dust off the false “appraiser shortage” narrative.

Lori Noble, appraiser for, said she is seeing urban areas with high volume feeling the strain of high turn times with suburban areas holding steady. Covey stated he saw higher turn times for unique properties and those outside of metro areas that create a challenge for appraisers to get to.

Surging mortgage volume puts pressure on appraisal turn times [Housingwire]

OFT (One Final Thought)

It is hard to believe we have to say this but until mask-wearing and social-distancing are ubiquitous, we won’t get to the other side of this global crisis. Here’s a snippet to consider.

Brilliant Idea #1

If you need something rock solid in your life (particularly on Friday afternoons) and someone forwarded this to you, or you think you already subscribed, sign up here for these weekly Housing Notes. And be sure to share with a friend or colleague if you enjoy them because:

– They’ll wear a mask;
– You’ll wear a mask;
– And I’ll wear a mask (and vote).

Brilliant Idea #2

You’re obviously full of insights and ideas as a reader of Housing Notes. I appreciate every email I receive and it helps me craft the next week’s Housing Note.

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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