Housing Market Analogies As Strong As Glass

By the end, I was rooting for each one.

A Weekly Shout Out To My Columbia Grad Students


Our second class of the summer semester was held on the Columbia University campus this week, and my ±150 students have to be one of the most engaged groups of students I’ve had.

During the class, I recommended Kathy Clarke’s must-read book, Billionaires’ Row, because it so smartly covers the real estate development world, and our class is part of the graduate masters program in real estate development within the architecture school at Columbia University. No, I didn’t recommend it because I got 14 mentions in the book’s index (only amateurs count these things). This book is NOT part of your quizes or exams. Ha. It’s merely to help you gain insights.

Incidentally, back when this Midtown submarket’s name began to evolve and become embedded in new development nomenclature, I would immediately think of “row” as a “fight,” and this was about a fight to build the tallest structures in the housing market. I still think that makes sense. There are other markets nicknamed “Billionaires’ Row.” I immediately think of the one in Palm Beach. I asked my pal “Ask AI” on my iPhone and it gave me two others:

“Billionaires’ Row” is a term that has been used to refer to several high-end residential areas in the United States. While there isn’t a single definitive location known as “Billionaires’ Row,” there are a few notable areas that have been associated with this nickname. Here are a few examples:

1. New York City, New York: One of the most famous “Billionaires’ Rows” is located in Manhattan, specifically along 57th Street, between Park Avenue and Eighth Avenue. This area is known for its luxury high-rise residential buildings and has attracted wealthy individuals from around the world.

2. Miami, Florida: In Miami, a stretch of Collins Avenue in the South Beach neighborhood has also been referred to as “Billionaires’ Row.” This area features high-end condominiums and luxury waterfront properties.

3. Los Angeles, California: In Los Angeles, there is a section of North Hillcrest Road in the Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Beverly Hills that has been dubbed “Billionaires’ Row.” It is known for its exclusive and opulent mansions.


Did you miss last Friday’s Housing Notes?

July 14, 2023: Squaring Off The Housing Rental Market

But I digress…

Connecticut Has Plenty Of Nutmeg But Little Listing Inventory

I’ve been the author of an expanding series of market reports since 1994 for Douglas Elliman Real Estate. My home state of Connecticut has been devoid of supply since the beginning of the pandemic-era, which has kept housing prices relatively stable.


Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Fairfield County Sales

“All price trend indicators rose to new records as listing inventory fell sharply.”

– All price trend indicators rose annually to their highest levels on record
– Sales fell year over year every quarter for the past two years
– Listing inventory fell sharply to a near-record low as the bidding war market share reached a near-record high
– All luxury price trend indicators rose annually to their highest levels on record
– Luxury listing inventory fell annually for the first time in four quarters
– The luxury entry threshold rose to a record high as the segment moved further from the overall market


Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Greenwich Sales

“Price trends remained mixed as low listing levels challenged consumers.”

– Single family median sales price rose annually for the fifteenth consecutive quarter
– Single family listing inventory declined annually for the sixteenth time in seventeen quarters
– Condo price trend indicators posted significant annual gains as listing inventory fell annually for the second time in three quarters
– Luxury median sales price rose year over year for the first time in three quarters
– Luxury listing inventory fell sharply year over year for the second time in three quarters


Elliman Report: Q2-2023 New Canaan Sales

“The market share of bidding wars exceeded half of all sales.”

– Single family median sales price rose annually for the fourteenth time in fifteen quarters
– Single family listing inventory fell year over year for the first time in three quarters
– Condo price trend indicators surged above the year-ago quarter as listing inventory hasn’t seen an annual increase in nearly two years

Business of Home Podcast: A Real Estate Check-In With Jonathan Miller

I joined Dennis Scully again on The Business of Home podcast: The Thursday Show: A real estate check-in with Jonathan Miller, why Gen Z loves dupes and more. A lot has happened since our previous conversation back in July 2022. Other than having quality issues with my microphone, I really enjoyed the conversation. It starts at the 25:22 mark.

[click on the image to play]

Florida Sees Growth In Listing Inventory But It Remains Unusually Limited

We produce quite a few market reports in Florida for Douglas Elliman Real Estate and there was general consistent in the second quarter results:

Notable coverage of our Palm Beach report:

The Shiny Sheet
Palm Beach real estate slows in second quarter but stronger than before pandemic: Reports

The Real Deal
South Florida resi sales fall again in second quarter. Lack of “quality supply” still an issue

MARKETS [alphabetical order]

Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Boca Raton
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Coral Gables
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Deerfield Beach
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Delray Beach
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Ft. Lauderdale
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Jupiter/Palm Beach Gardens
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Lighthouse Point
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Manalapan
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Miami Beach
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Miami Mainland
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Naples
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Palm Beach
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Pompano Beach
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 St. Augustine
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 St. Petersburg
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Tampa
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Vero Beach
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Wellington
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 West Palm Beach
Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Weston

More markets are in development!


Most Q2-2023 Florida markets we cover are seeing the following results:

– Sales remain below the year-ago frenzy that characterized the pandemic-era housing boom, but most markets experienced a robust, greater-than-seasonal quarterly increase
– Despite fewer sales, listing inventory has been slow to recover with modest gains, yet remaining at half the levels seen pre-pandemic
– The supply shortage has continued to provide a firm underpinning for prices. Many markets experienced stable to rising prices, and those that declined tended to experience a shift to a smaller average size
– Besides firmer pricing, bidding wars remained prevalent, accounting for five to fifteen percent of all sales in many markets analyzed
– The pace of the market, also known as months of supply, remained slower than the year-ago frenzy but accelerated again in the new year

Random sample of charts found in our gallery

Knight Frank Provides Global Insights On Residential Real Estate: Soft Landing

Knight Frank works with Douglas Elliman to provide world wide exposure of all their sales listings. Their alliance has been widely copied by other New York-based brokerage firms. The wrote about our cash stats:

Click image to view the rest of the blog post]

New Glut City: The Best Commercial Real Estate Cover In History

The featured article was sobering and pulled no punches and was absent of hype:

New Glut City The city’s mega-office landlords are panicking, pivoting, and shedding what’s worthless. One opens his books.

[click image for story]

Other stories in the feature:

A Typology of Unwanted Manhattan Office Buildings Certain kinds of properties are more doomed than others. Here, four case studies.

Are the Landlords Bluffing? And why is it so hard to tell?

When You Don’t Have Metrics To Measure Occupancy (Not Leasing) In Real Time

Since the pandemic began, we found ourselves challenged by understanding the state of the office markets with the insertion of work from home into the narrative and no metrics to cover actual use:

Kastle data became part of our toolbox to measure the office market. It was problematic because it compares to pre-pandemic as 100% occupancy (so its results are too high) and we don’t understand the product mix – it likely skews to larger Class A buildings which might be hit harder than smaller buildings. It stuck at 50%, relying on security card swipes.

REBNY Manhattan Office Building Visition Report entered the scene this year using Placer.AI using GPS coordinates from 30 million mobile devices. REBNY is a trade group and their data seems stuck at 61%.

Hudson Yards Mega Discount Reflect Market Change

There was an epic Wall Street Journal piece on the shift in prices at Hudson Yards, a beautiful new neighborhood development launched before the pandemic.

I admired the quotes from a real estate agent selling her place there at a loss – she literally “owns it.”

“I can’t beat myself up,” she said. “You always take a risk when you step into a new product. That’s just the nature of the beast.”

I do that when I speak about the new home we bought last summer, beating 36 other buyers and paying 36% above the ask. We love the house, and the comps show we paid more like 10-15% over ask because the listing agent clearly set the price low to create a frenzy. Who cares? We love our new home. Own it.

What’s so striking about Hudson Yards is that they had a massive backup of pre-orders and had a reputation for not negotiating. I’m glad to see Related acknowledge market conditions—another reason they are one of the best developers.

Downtown Boston Sees Sales Slide But Solid Pricing And Chronically Low Inventory

This submarket is largely comprised of luxury real estate. Bisnow provided a great summary of our Douglas Elliman Report on the Q2-2023 Downtown Boston market.

Condo Sales Volume In Boston Falls 34%, Sixth Straight Quarter Of Slowdown [Bisnow]

Elliman Report: Q2-2023 Downtown Boston


“Bidding war market share surged to its highest level in five years.”

– Median sales price rose annually for the seventh time in eight quarters
– Sales declined year over year for the sixth consecutive quarter
– Listing inventory fell annually for the eighth time in nine quarters

“Listing inventory continued its two-year trend of seeing year over year declines.”

– Median sales price rose annually for the seventh time in nine quarters
– Sales fell short of the prior year’s sales boom for the fourth consecutive quarter
– Listing inventory fell year over year for the fourth time in eight quarters

Strict Parking Rules in Multi-Family Housing, Illustrated

Now What: SF’s Millenium Tower Is Seeing Its Windows Blow Out

We tend to be bombarded with success stories of residential towers with their views and amenities. In order to recognize the severe financial risks developers are willing to take (I certainly couldn’t), not all stories turn out happy.

Developers are retrofitting 3,000 windows after spending $100 million in pilings to stop the building from leaning. Who thought building a tall, heavy glass tower on the sand was a good idea?

Millennium Tower, completed in 2009, went from being the city’s poshest condo tower to a symbol of the excesses of the city’s tech gold rush five years later when it was revealed that the building was leaning 24 inches to the west and 7.9 inches to the north.

This NBC TV reporter has doggedly been covering this building nightmare.

Getting Graphic

My favorite housing market/economic charts of the week made by others

@LanceLambert, Real Estate Editor of @FortuneMagazine Churns Out Great Housing Visualizations

Apollo’s Torsten Slok‘s amazingly clear charts.

Kastle card swipe data charts

Remember that Kastle charts are overstating occupancy* because their pre-pandemic occupancy benchmark was 100% which is simply incorrect (*measures card swipe activity as a proxy for occupancy).

My favorite random charts of the week made by others

Post by @nytimes
View on Threads


The Inspiration For The Names: FOJ and FOD

Some background:

Appraisal Institute Back when I began going after Jim Amorin, CEO of The Appraisal Institute hard in 2016 when National took all chapter monies in an obnoxious and selfish power play, I referred to his sycophants as FOJs or “Friends of Jim.” Even after his departure in February, Jim’s legacy endures as FOJs remain FOJs even though their power base is weakening. Think “Super Duper.” They still place their ongoing grift and faux elevated statuses over the needs of the hard-working AI membership.

The Appraisal Foundation – In the middle of the pandemic, in addition to my efforts against JA since 2016, it became apparent after working within TAF that Dave Bunton, president (or leader) of TAF since its creation 30+ years ago, that they were far more damaging to the industry than AI ever was. TaF is a monarchy run by Dave, and the people are largely in their positions because they are FODs or “Friends of Dave.” TAF has made all appraisers vulnerable to outside criticism by keeping the mentoring system as the method of entry and never tangibly addressing diversity. They have made our industry vulnerable as we sit in a bubble. According to BLS, we’re dead last or nearly dead last in diversity yearly, resulting in the public stereotype that “all appraisers are racist.” TAF is nearly devoid of diversity and works hard not to change the industry’s direction. Why?

I was reminded of this when I read about the former CEO of Countrywide Mortgage, Anthony Mozillo, who recently passed away. In the House investigation of the housing bubble, the “Friends of Angelo (FOA)” VIP program was investigated. If you’re curious, here’s the result of the FOA investigation.

In June 2008, Conde Nast Portfolio reported that several influential lawmakers and politicians, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, and former Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson, received favorable mortgage financing from Countrywide by virtue of being “Friends of Angelo.”

I applied that FOA label to the AI and TAF sycophants who placed their status and grift above those they served as FOJs and FODs. To be fair, some are oblivious of the inherent conflicts with their current positions, no matter how well-intentioned they claim to be. When you sit in a silo, you get no outside doses of reality.

The “FO_” label represents selfishness and awful personal ethics made even worse by an industry that needs authentic leadership in the current crisis, essentially furthered by the long time absenteeism in leadership by the organizations Jim and Dave had/currently run. The Appraisal Institute is moving to the light. Lets hope we can get TAF to do the same.

OFT (One Final Thought)


Brilliant Idea #1

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Brilliant Idea #2

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See you next week!

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