Seven Years of Housing Notes Seems Like Seven Minutes (Under Water)

This week marks the seventh anniversary of these Housing Notes. I began them on Friday March 6, 2015, not quite sure how it would evolve but I was committed to sticking with it after years of blogging and podcasting in their respective “early days.”

I’ve never missed a week of Housing Notes although a few times I settled for a pretty picture when I was on vacation or traveling internationally and once I accidentally lost an early post through my own clumsiness.

Two years ago I was at a Knicks game with my son in courtside seats just before the pandemic, watching this player, who shortly after, caught COVID and shut down the NBA. Sitting at that game, a lockdown felt inevitable – it was definitely coming soon.

And now consumers in Russia are queuing up to get their last McDonald’s meal in Russia after international sanctions began to take hold and international corporations were headed towards the exists.

I’ve also shared my love of quirky movies and good music.

As well as all the housing insights I could muster. So, thanks for having fun with me on this journey (that has no apparent end).

But I digress…

The Manhattan Rental Market Sets New Records

I’ve been the author of the expanding Elliman market report series since 1994. The Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens rental report has morphed into one of the most covered in the series. We introduced bidding wars into our rental data set, which is quite a thing in the current market as you can see in the following breakdown by borough:

Manhattan Rental Bidding Wars

Brooklyn Rental Bidding Wars

NW Queens Rental Bidding Wars

Bloomberg created a great chart (2 versions) that illustrated the new record price.

Elliman Report: February 2022 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals


“Price trend indicators rose to record levels by record rates as listing inventory continued to collapse.”

– The market share of rental bidding wars rose year over year from nominal levels to nearly one out of five new lease signings
– Net effective median rent and all the face rent price trend indicators rose to their highest levels on record
– The vacancy rate fell to its lowest level for the month of February since 2008
– Listing inventory fell year over year by its fastest rate on record
– Doorman net median rent surged year over year for the seventh straight month by a record rate
– Non-doorman rent jumped annually at a record rate for the second straight month for the fifth consecutive month of gains
– All luxury price trend indicators reached new records after more than a decade of tracking
– Luxury listing inventory fell to a record low for the third straight month


“All price trend indicators rose annually but fell short of pre-pandemic levels.”

– Net effective median reached the third-highest level for a February in a dozen years
– New lease signings rose to the second-highest February since tracking began in 2008
– Listing inventory fell year over year by the second-highest rate on record


[Northwest Region] “Price trend indicators rose annually as listing inventory continued to plunge.”

– Net effective median rent rose to its second-highest level for the month of February
– The number of new leases increased to the second-highest on record
– Listing inventory fell year over year by the second-highest rate on record

Inflation Is The Hot Topic And New York Seems To Have Less Of It

Largely because a key metric within inflation is Housing and NYC housing prices, while rising…

The main reason for the inflation gap is New York’s housing market isn’t quite as scorching-hot as its peers in much of the U.S.

And a lot of that has to do with the 6-9 month lag in Manhattan housing prices relative to much of the U.S. and the surrounding suburbs.

Why? Manhattan was late to the party – it needed rapid vaccine adoption in early 2021 to get going again since it was depicted as the “global hotspot” during the pandemic lockdown in 2020.

Bloomberg has been all over the inflation story this week:

NYC Inflation at 5.1% Is Lowest Among U.S. Cities

Rents Rise Most in 30 Years, Signaling More Pain for Americans

What Will Be the Inflation Hit to Come From Ukraine?

U.S. Inflation Broadens as Two-Thirds of Index Jumps 4% or More

Fun in the Real Estate Lexicon: Median

“Median” is the official price metric of real estate, yet many consumers don’t actually understand it. It is preferred by the industry because it removes the outliers from the mix, over or understating the results. This was proven essential to reporting Manhattan real estate results in early 2019 when that record $239 million condo closed at 220 Central Park South.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week of our own making

My favorite charts of the week made by others

Len Kiefer‘s Chart Handiwork


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

The ASC Just Wrote A Letter To TAF To Justify Their Flawed 7-Hour USPAP Course

I am a dull and boring guy so I like to pursue the TAF and ASC websites for new insights our appraisal industry. My favorite find was that bat-shit crazy letter. This week I stumbled upon this amazing March 9th letter from ASC to TAF [pdf]:

Let me emphasize the key point made by ASC (bold my emphasis):

The fair housing training module in the current 2022-2023 7-hour
USPAP continuing education course for credentialed appraisers should be
revised immediately and developed with the participation of fair housing
experts to ensure the training is comprehensive and contains important
elements needed to educate professionals about how to comply with the
letter and spirit of applicable federal, state, and local fair housing laws.

Now that you’ve read it, here is how I interpret it:

The ASC board asked TAF to explain what they are doing about their new 7-hour USPAP update course which NFHA said was harmful to appraisers.

– This is the new 7-hour USPAP course that was introduced even though there were no changes made to USPAP, TAF saw this as a pure revenue opportunity. It’s hard to think otherwise since TAF refused the grant money from ASC that would cover all USPAP related costs for appraisers. TAF wants appraisers to shell out their money for this course because it helps them achieve one of their primary stated goals: financial independence (for a not-for-profit without oversight). TAF has gone rogue.

– This 7-hour updated course was put together by staff and all the FOD (Friends of Dave Bunton) lackeys that have run all the committees and dominated the boards for the last decade or more.

– This is the same 7-hour USPAP update course that got no input from fair housing experts.

– The only thing Dave has continued to talk about as it pertains to the new course was how “excited” he was to offer it. But the reality here is this was yet another revenue opportunity for a rogue institution that has no real oversight, plenty of free labor (those FOD lackeys) nary a legal or fair housing review in plain sight.

Conclusion? TAF could care less about fair housing issues and real estate appraiser’s legal exposure in relying on the flawed content of this course. What happens when the next appraiser gets sued for fair housing violations and they say they “took the course” that fair housing experts literally say is wrong!

To date, TAF has never once, that I am aware of, disclosed tangible evidence they have done anything to address fair housing issues in the appraisal profession.

What an awful mess for our industry.

The AI President Answers That Racist Post By Giving Us Legalgobblygoop

Well, it has been 6 and a half weeks since that outrageous racially charged MAI letter was shared on Twitter:

…and we finally get a response from the president of AI (Super Duper). It is a “notwithstanding the foregoing smorgasbord of legal jujitsu” letter that basically says they’re not kicking him out of this organization because they are afraid of getting sued and that will be costly and they need the revenue. AI has officially pronounced that they are unwilling to stand up for the branding of the MAI designation, essentially screwing all of their members that hold the designation.

Lawyers are there to protect you from entering legal jeopardy but not there to run the organization, right? This is a truly embarrassing response designed to avoid a simple solution.

By the way, this cowardice signals to all MAIs to ignore the Appraisal Institute’s Code of Professional Ethics and do whatever the hell they want because AI has now told the world that nearly everything in their code is not enforceable or at the very least, they are terrified to enforce it. That very public racist rant by one of their members on a national stage wasn’t enough to immediately sever all ties with the offender, what else could be?

The designation is owned by the organization, not the individual. The organization seems to be confused about property rights. Its just a hop, skip and a jump before we start seeing people who don’t have the designation, start to use it anyway due to the lower than expected legal risk.

Just like the incredibly lame social media post, inaction means the racist rant by their member is not that big of a deal and the organization will never take action. Someone once said “actions speak louder than words” and AI seems to be in the business of only sharing words.

Understanding Fannie Mae’s Latest Attempt To Marginalize Appraisers: Unsigned Complaints To The State

Phil Crawford’s Voice of Appraisal and his guest Danielle Marie Evans goes through a new flavor of harassment from Fannie Mae: an onslaught of unsigned state complaints to state appraisal boards from Fannie Mae. A must listen.

John Russell of ASA: Policy and Congress – How are Appraisers Impacted

John Russell, Strategic Partnership Officer of the American Society of Appraisers (ASA) has always been a voice of reason for appraisers. He breaks it all down for The Appraisal Buzzcast:

“We’re Not That Good” Dave Towne Opines On Ludicrous $5 Adjustment Increments

Dave looks out for all of us and this is a good example. I could keep up with all his “bolds” and “underlines” but even without them, he makes a solid case.

I ‘came in contact with’ two 1004 reports TODAY. Image of these reports is below.

These reports were done by different appraisers widely separated geographically from one another. But both have some “adjustments” stated in as low as $5 increments, while the other adjustments (in the same report) are rounded to $100…..and the resulting Opinion of Value is ‘rounded’ to the nearest $1,000 – in these cases. Most often I see OMV’s rounded to $500.

Are we appraisers “really that good” that we can divine $5.00 differences?? I don’t think so.

Can you see why readers of our reports scratch their heads? (And why there is a push to eliminate appraisers from the mortgage lending process?)

I realize I’m just one “goofy” appraiser with only nearly 21 years in this biz, but in my view, the inconsistent application of ‘rounding’ adjustments in the grid looks incredibly stupid.

All appraisal software allows for the ‘rounding’ of adjustments in the form fields. Pick the rounding value you think is appropriate, and then apply it consistently to adjustments through the report.

If you don’t know how to do this, talk with a peer who uses your ‘brand’ of software….or call the software tech support and have them explain how to do it.

(I have my ‘rounding’ set to $100 …. because my crystal ball says that is more acceptable than $5! Research shows me most home selling prices are in $100 increments, not $5.)

Let’s end the adjustment ‘goofiness!’

OFT (One Final Thought)

Here’s a palate cleanser after the intensity of today’s content:

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 have a seven year itch;
– You’ll have a seven year itch;
– And I’ll tell you I’ve been scratching mine since 2015.

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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