The Year-End Massively Excessive Use of Housing Charts Edition

Consuming housing-related data via charts is like consuming too much chocolate via music. Wait for it…

But I digress…

The Weirdness of a Weakening U.S. Economy Versus Rising Housing Market Might Mean A Rapid Recovery

Please read this excellent NYT visualization this week: How the Economy Is Actually Doing, in 9 Charts

Though the pandemic has altered Americans’ day-to-day lives, it hasn’t halted their spending as much as some feared it would. Rather, consumption has shifted toward goods over services — buying alcohol from stores instead of from bars, for example — bucking a generational trend toward a service economy.

And this.

Countless businesses have been forced to close over the course of the pandemic. However, a sign that the economy may be adapting rather than totally halting is the increase over last year in new business applications.

The takeaway appears to be that the economy has adapted quicker to the change in economic conditions than expected but at the same time, the recovery process has been even more unequal.

NPR Radio: Commercial Real Estate Weakness Will Cause Stress To Their Lenders

I was interviewed for Marketplace for a quick piece on the NYC commercial real estate market that provided a good overview of the look on the front lines.

The Backlash Over Streeteasy’s Real Estate Listing Monopoly Begins

New York City is seeing a listing battle like never before. Gabriels is the disrupter here, battling the former disrupter Streeteasy (Zillow) to become the defacto MLS in Manhattan. After Streeteasy killed their listing competitors and won the consumer, they began to charge significant fees to the brokerage industry to hold their listings and are acting like a monopoly and the quality of their data and features has continued to erode. One of the ways Streeteasy (and Zillow) makes money is to deflect the consumer from the actual listing agent and push them to an agent who paid Streeteasy to receive the leads. Also, Zillow is now also a brokerage firm and is, therefore, a competitor with the brokerage community such as their iBuyer effort.

Zillow deflects leads away from listing agents nationwide and absolutely screws the actual listing agent by having an “imposter” poorly represent the property and provides a blatant disservice to the consumer.

It is going to be interesting to see how the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) navigates this, having been ineffective in pushing out RLS, their failed attempt to win consumers back from Streeteasy.

REBNY is not happy with the entrance of Gabriels into the mix and hit them with a cease and desist. I think this makes REBNY look bad to their members as all of the big Manhattan firms except Corcoran seem to be on board. Why would Corcoran not be on board? Curious.

Gabriels has been in this space for decades (remember the Gabriels guides in the books stores?).

Visualize How Housing-Related Sectors Compare To Others (Hint: Better)

The employment within industry sectors that touch housing all seem to be near the top of’s visualization: financial services, construction, and professional & business services.

The Risk of Eviction and Foreclosure Across The U.S. By State is Quite High

Visual Capitalist has quite a chart this week.

According to a recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, of the estimated 17 million adults who are not current on their rent or mortgage payments, a whopping 33% of them could be facing eviction or foreclosure in the “next two months”.

[click to expand]

The Fed’s Business Leaders Survey for NYC Metro in December Shows Growing Weakness

Like the Fed’s Beige Book, I take a look at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Business Leaders Survey as they are released. The December report shows the dire mood about the economy right now.

Activity in the region’s service
sector declined at its fastest pace
since June, according to firms
responding to the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York’s December 2020
Business Leaders Survey…Looking ahead, firms expect little
improvement in business conditions
over the next six months.

In other words, the vaccine is the lynchpin for regional economic growth to resume.

Video: The Manhattan Rent Plunge Caused The Most New Lease Signings For A November Since The Financial Crisis

The renewed rental affordability pulled consumers into the rental market from the suburbs and reflected the efforts of many in the city to move around to find better deals. Here are the Fox5 New York article and clip on the results of our November rental report for Douglas Elliman.

Unemployment: Big Cities Have Been Hit Harder Than Small Cities

My friend Jed Kolko over at Indeed posted a fascinating analysis of the job posting data his firm has amassed.

The disparity of job postings by wage levels is something we have seen but this confirms – higher wage earners haven’t seen the same economic damage as lower wage earners. This is another reason why the sales market is faring better than the rental market.

And big cities have been hit harder, showing fewer job postings than smaller cities on a consistent basis during the pandemic.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week of our own making

My favorite charts of the week

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork


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

Southern California Appraisers See Over-priced Home Risk But Nowhere Near 2013-14

Prolific real estate writer Jonathan Lanser at Orange County Register wrote about the Real Estate Research Council of Southern California’s appraiser survey that began about 70 years ago.

I wonder what any of my California appraiser colleagues think of this survey? This doesn’t appear to be like the amazingly misleading Quicken Loans monthly survey that plots trends of biased borrower estimates against appraisers. This chart junk index was put to death in 2019.

TAF’s Lack of Diversity Made It Vulnerable To Being Ignored By The Industry

After the poor performance of the “diversity” panel last week that introduced concepts that have nothing to do with the valuation of collateral for the global bond market (I mean, wow), I am calling on TAF to announce solutions to their own diversity problem immediately. It is hard to imagine the diversity problem being turned around given Dave Bunton’s 3+ decade tenure. Even worse, if he continues his transition to auto-pilot and follows the widely understood rumor-mill that names Kelly Davids as acting president in 2021 until his term is up in about four years.

Remember that this is the leadership, including the personal property appraiser Board of Trustees Chairperson that signed the bat-shit crazy letter, a self-absorbed diatribe, to the Appraisal Subcommitte (ASC).

Friends of Jim Amorin (FOJ) Are Making It Impossible To Be Considered For Office Unless You Are An FOJ

Here’s a reminder to all members of the Appraisal Institute that there is real corruption in national leadership: The proposed changes to the AI Bylaws will not allow people nominated to executive positions to provide any outside recommendations for the second vice president position. If they are submitted, they will be discarded. Why? It’s absurd and can only be explained by the stranglehold Jim Amorin and his posse have on AI executive leadership. This was clearly done to keep honest appraisers like Craig Steinley from doing what he did and submit an overwhelming number of letters of recommendations from leaders in other organizations. Doesn’t AI want to have relationships with other professional trade groups? Why would a recommendation from a non-AI executive be banned? If you’re an FOJ focused on controlling who gets to be an executive to keep the self-dealing financial party going, then that’s why.

This sham bylaw modification is being done because Jim Amorin wants to make sure the next second vice president is of the same political loyalty to him as Jim Tankersly shamefully showed in the recent application of the sham petition process.

Jim Amorin and the rest of his loyal followers are being relentless in shutting out the best the Appraisal Institute has to offer and stick with the current corruption composition of national leadership. I thought Jeff Sherman brought new honesty into the organization but I now realize I was wrong.

At one point when does someone whistleblow to the U.S. Attorneys Office, Northern District of Illinois to have them investigate this institutional takeover. My goodness. If this isn’t corruption, then I don’t know what is.

Just read what’s happening in Region X! They are furious with the corruption in the sham election process initiated in Chicago. My goodness.

Investigation Request re: Events Associated with the November 30, 2020 Special Meeting of the Appraisal Institute Region X

Corruption is everywhere within the organization on the national level.

Oh, and Merry Christmas to all.

OFT (One Final Thought)

This will take your breath away (in a good way).

Brilliant Idea #1

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– They’ll make charts;
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– And I’ll chart the market.

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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