At Some Point You Just Expect Housing To Hit From Half Court Every Time

But I digress…

Listing Inventory Has Collapsed And A Very Limited Amount of New Inventory Is Taking Its Place

I’ve been the author of an expanding series of market reports for Douglas Elliman since 1994. The new signed contract series was the latest monthly addition and began during the Q2-2020 lockdown. The narrative of chronically low inventory has continued, with limited new supply being added to the market.

Sorry about the excessive number of charts!!!

California New Signed Contracts Report
– The California report contains the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego.

Elliman Report: February 2022 California New Signed Contracts Report

Los Angeles County
New listings and newly signed contracts have fallen over the past three months, illustrating that constrained supply cannot meet demand. However, both single family and condo newly signed contracts were higher than pre-pandemic levels for the first time in eleven months.

Orange County
Both new listings and newly signed contracts for both property types have fallen over the past nine months showing that supply cannot meet demand. Overall, newly signed contracts remained below pre-pandemic levels as supply continued to collapse.

San Diego County
Single family new listings rose year over year for the first time since tracking began in May 2020. However, newly signed contracts remained below pre-pandemic levels as supply continued to collapse.

Colorado New Signed Contracts Report
– The Colorado report covers Aspen and Snowmass Village.

Elliman Report: February 2022 Colorado New Signed Contracts Report

Both new listings and newly signed contracts for both property types have continued to fall year over year since last spring. However, newly signed contracts have been higher than pre-pandemic levels since September.

Snowmass Village
Newly signed contracts for both property types have continued to fall year over year since June. However, newly signed contracts of single families have been higher than pre-pandemic levels since July.

Florida New Signed Contracts Report
– The Florida report includes the counties of Duval (New), St. Johns (New), Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Collier (New).

Elliman Report: February 2022 Florida New Signed Contracts Report

Duval County
Condo newly signed contracts have not seen an annual decline tracking began in August, yet single family newly signed contracts have been declining since November. In addition, overall new listings have seen significant year over year declines since August.

St. Johns County
Single family and condo newly signed contracts have fallen sharply year over year at a rising rate since the summer, held back by the collapse in new listings.

Palm Beach County
Single family and condo newly signed contracts fell sharply year over year, restrained by the collapse in new listings. However, newly signed contracts are roughly double pre-pandemic levels.

Broward County
While newly signed contracts have declined year over year, they have remained sharply higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Miami-Dade County
Condo’s newly signed contracts are more than triple the number in the same period before the pandemic and have seen significant annual gains for the past thirteen months.

Pinellas County
Overall new listings have fallen annually for sixteen straight months, causing newly signed contracts to decline year over year each month since May.

Hillsborough County
Overall new listings rose annually for the first time since May as newly signed contracts fell each month over the same period.

Collier County
Single family newly signed contracts rose annually for the second straight month despite the fourth consecutive month of year over year declines in new listings.

New York New Signed Contracts Report

– The New York report attached covers Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Hamptons, North Fork, Westchester County, Fairfield County, and Greenwich, CT.

Elliman Report: February 2022 New York New Signed Contracts Report

Co-ops and 1-3 family new signed contracts are rough double pre-pandemic levels, and condos are up sharply over the same period. On an annual basis, co-op sales are the only property type above the same period last year.

In aggregate, all three property types are seeing nearly triple the new signed contract levels of the pre-pandemic era. Moreover, on an annual basis, new listings are up annually for the first time since October.

Long Island (excluding H/NF)
New listings rose annually for the first time since May, resulting in eight consecutive months of year over year declines in newly signed contracts.

New listings did not decline annually for the first time since May, resulting in nine consecutive months of year over year declines in newly signed contracts.

North Fork
New listings rose year over year for the first time since June, which had prevented any annual gains in newly signed contracts since May.

New listings have declined year over year since April, which had prevented any annual gains in newly signed contracts since June.

Despite the persistent monthly annual decline in new inventory, the number of newly signed contracts has surged annually since July. Moreover, it remains substantially higher than the same period before the pandemic.

Since August, new inventory has been falling sharply, severely holding back newly signed contract levels since the summer.

CNBC TV/Zelman: 70% of Homeowners Have A Mortgage Rate of 4% Or Less

My friend and housing analysis Ivy Zelman breaks down the state of the housing market.

The Counselors of Real Estate Consulting Corps in Paradise, CA

One of the professional organizations I am proud to be a part of are the Counselors of Real Estate. Here was a fascinating drone video that gives you a sense of the wildfire damage this town was subjected to that has raised many questions, like where do you begin?

“The One” Just Sold With Nary An Oligarch In Sight

[Source: Dirt]

The most over-the-top, overly media-covered house in America just sold at auction for $141 million (including the 12% commission). Once priced at $500 million eight years ago, the house became something that wasn’t a house, but more of a spa or party place. It’s a classic case of a developer with an unlimited pocketbook, losing touch with the market.

L.A.’s most extravagant mansion sells for less than half its list price [LA Times]

Los Angeles Mega-Mansion Sells for $141 Million at Auction [Bloomberg]

As noted from the news coverage, we can only speculate that a few Russian Oligarchs might have been potential bidders before Putin’s assault on Ukraine. Now Oligarchs are under financial siege in the U.S.

As Russians seek a haven for assets, access to U.S. real estate won’t be easy [The Real Deal]

And this:

And this:

Sanctions on Russian Oligarchs Won’t Have A Meaningful Impact on Manhattan and Miami

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, I received a flurry of calls and emails from media outlets wondering if the sanctions would have a significant impact on housing markets like Manhattan and Miami.

Short answer? No, it won’t.

I remember the same type of questions coming up when Russia invaded Crimea (Ukraine) back in 2014. The assumption was created by the high visibility of a few big purchases by Russian Oligarchs causing many to assume these buyers were propping up the market. So I wrote about it and use this scenario every year in my market analysis class at Columbia:

May 4, 2014: Stories on Chinese Overtaking Russian Home Buyers in Manhattan is Purely Anecdotal [Matrix Blog]

This is a good clip on the situation: “We Should Fight Them In The Banks, If Not With Tanks.”

[Click to play video]

Housingwire: When Sales Pitches Meet Reality (By Softbank Unicorns)

Big data and big money can yield big BS when it comes down to actually making a profit. I took notice of these two recent HousingWire stories, the latter I was quoted in.


Opendoor loses more money than Zillow in 2021 – this is hard to imagine, yet it is true.

With Zillow’s $528 million misstep causing them to withdraw from iBuying, Opendoor was seen as the company that was getting it right (incidentally, any journalist that uses “OG” in a story has achieved the highest level of credibility ever).

Zillow has been pilloried for diving headfirst into iBuying only to announce the money-losing enterprise’s demise in November. Meanwhile, Opendoor, the OG of an iBuying company with a national presence and patina of technological prowess, was upheld as doing things right.

Yet Opendoor, a Softbank unicorn, lost $662 million in 2021!


We read Compass’s 10K so you don’t have to

The article points out that Compass does some financial gymnastics in their adjustments to EBITDA.

No less than 16 times during its February earnings call, Reffkin and CFO Kristen Ankerbrandt mentioned “adjusted EBITDA” or adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Though Compass had lost $494 million in net income, they made a $2 million profit through adjusted EBITDA.

I closed the article saying:

“I’m clearly biased, but I just don’t understand their business plan,” Miller said. “They were in one of the biggest housing booms ever and didn’t make money. It’s hard not to be cynical.”

I said I’m biased to HousingWire because I have been affiliated with a Compass competitor, Douglas Elliman, writing their market reports independently since 1994. My ongoing criticism of the Compass business model began late in the first year of their existence (2012) when they were a rental company known as Urban Compass. My criticism has never had anything to do with the agents themselves. It’s all about the BS business model coming from the C-suite. Being a “disruptor by capital” doesn’t guarantee a viable business model when the capital runs out.

Crains Asked & Answered Column: Real estate analyst on why the housing market won’t improve for buyers anytime soon

I got a nice picture and mention in Crain’s in their “Asked & Answered” column today.

[click image to open article]

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 Appraisal Institute Cowers In Fear Of Making Any Decision Of Importance

A do nothing, don’t rock the boat, only listen to the lawyers, action plan makes this organization weak and damaging to our appraisal industry. They simply don’t have the ability to read the room which is closing in on us right now. The FOJs in control are cowards!

A racist appraiser rant became the centerpiece of the House Financial Committees, eventual take down of the Appraisal Foundation, and gives the Appraisal Insitute a brand-damaging black eye that will not go away. The value of an appraisal designation fades over time if the supporting organization is not proactive in branding it to the public.

Here’s how the story goes. An MAI in North Carolina sends a racist email (that’s some serious unconscious bias) to a researcher who tweets it at the Appraisal Institute and the Appraisal Foundation on January 26th.

The Appraisal Institute responds on twitter more than 24 hours later by saying that its “that is not who we are as a profession” yet that’s all they do. No overt action was announced.

There were a few responses but the outrageous tweet didn’t attract attention. It looks very much like the Appraisal Institute hoped that this controversy would blow over so they did NOTHING.

I learned of this Twitter interaction a month later (I didn’t follow AI or the researcher until now) on February 26th and posted:

So consider this:

Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit

(He who is silent, when he ought to have spoken and was able to, is taken to agree)

The Appraisal Institute’s silence on the shocking racism of a member means they approve of the racism. Plain. Simple.

If the designations are, as it stated, the property of the Appraisal Institute, then it should take back its property. If a designation is a lifetime sinecure, then the protection being offered to this racist is seen for what it is: protect their own, and stuff the “public interest”.

In other words, why have a code of conduct with all those canons at all if it’s not enforceable? AI has scrubbed their entire site of any enforcement actions except for one in 2020. Does this sound like an organization that is proactive on protecting their designation branding?

The Appraisal Institute’s flaccid response has exposed themselves to the world that they have a lot of naked shortcomings. All this goes away with the removal of the CEO and redirecting the CYA C-Suite culture.

Here is the most recent version of AI’s Code of Professional Ethics and Explanatory Comments.

Canons 1 & 3 make it very clear that something needs to be done right away. Good grief. Don’t hide behind “property rights” of the designation. This guy doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

TAF Conflates Real Estate Appraisers with Appraisers

Why do I take the time to mention “real estate appraisers” and “real estate appraisals?” instead of just “appraisers” and “appraisals”? Personal property appraisers and business appraisers aren’t required by any state to follow USPAP, don’t pay anything for licensing and certification fees to any state, and are not subject matter experts on anything to do with real estate at all, ever. But…the Appraisal Standards Board and Appraisal Standards Board are chock a block full of non-real estate appraisers. Didn’t TAF/ASC arise from problems in the real estate profession? Was it ever the intent of the original remit for ASC/TAF to include non-real estate appraisal? Remember, personal property appraisers and business appraisers are non-licensed &/or non-certified.

As the only one of these professions mandated to have licensing and certification, TAF, ASC & USPAP should be governed for and by a core of real estate subject matter experts. Period.

Yes, there are standards in USPAP addressing personal property (“PP”) and business valuation (“BV”) – but there are numerous trade organizations devoted to these professions. . PP and BV appraisers deserve to have the sections of USPAP pertaining to their profession gifted to them with all the good wishes of TAF. Those Standards once handed off, will de-clutter the core mission of TAF: real estate solutions, real estate professionals, real estate standards, real estate appraisal requirements.

Think of how much more money there will be for the core mission of TAF (this not-for-profit is led by someone who sent this bat-shit crazy letter), once the need to cater to two unrelated professions is removed. That $40 per real estate appraiser suddenly goes to real estate appraisers.

Meanwhile, not only do personal property (“PP”) and business valuation (“BV”) professionals seat themselves as part of the Appraisal Standards Board and Appraiser Qualifications Board, each of them has a separate (funded) panel. So, personal property (“PP”) and business valuation (“BV”) are each represented twice.

No wonder there is such a muddle here. We have non-lawyers of all valuation professions pretending to be lawyers and writing standards that can and will land appraisers in hot and deep water. We have non-real estate professionals having a hand in writing standards and qualifications for real estate appraisers; there are no qualifications, or state licensing required for either of these two professions. Non-real estate appraisers are over-represented and frankly have been getting a free ride on the backs of real estate appraisers for decades now. Decades. Meanwhile, real estate appraisers are getting hammered on all sides while the PP and BV appraisers can just opt out of any responsibility for their own input into the standards that they helped write.

OFT (One Final Thought)

Years ago, I was walking back to the office after an appraisal inspection in the East 60s and a potted plant fell from a third floor window and smashed about 10 feet in front of me. I just shrugged it off as a risk “feature” of urban living. This video was a reminder and its why I love NYC so much.

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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