Be Curious About Housing, Not Judgmental

I have watched this clip a half dozen times, and the Walt Whitman quote it shares, “Be curious, not judgmental,” resonated.


It’s Veteran’s Day, which always meant a lot to my Dad – he was an M.P. in the Army during the Korean War. I miss him.

Did you miss last Friday’s Housing Notes?

November 3, 2023: The Housing Market Can’t Defeat The Laws Of Physics


But I digress…

The NYC Rental Market Is Past Peak

I’ve been the author of an expanding series of market reports for Douglas Elliman Real Estate since 1994. Our monthly New York City rental report series has been closely followed during the pandemic, given how much more immediately responsive the rental market is to economic change than the for-sale market.

Bloomberg posted a nifty chart in their coverage of our rental research.

NYC Rents Retreat From Record Highs as Market Starts to Cool [Bloomberg]

Elliman Report: October 2023 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals


“The median rent continued to fall short of the August record.”

– Median rent has peaked as it hasn’t increased monthly since July
– New lease signings fell annually for the fourth straight month as landlords emphasized renewals
– The vacancy rate fell back below three percent after one month above the threshold
– Doorman new lease signings declined annually but remained well above pre-pandemic levels, while those from non-doorman buildings were slightly less than the prior year
– Rental price per square foot for new developments increased year over year for the seventh time
– Luxury price trend indicators declined year over year but remained sharply above pre-pandemic levels
– Luxury listing inventory declined annually for the second time in three quarters
– The luxury market share of bidding wars remained higher than the overall market


“The median rent has fallen monthly since reaching a new high in July.”

– Median rent slipped annually for the first time in two years
– New lease signings expanded year over year for the first time in five months
– Listing inventory jumped annually for the second straight month


[Northwest Region] “The median rent has fallen monthly since reaching a new high in August.”

– Median rent fell well short of August record for the second consecutive month
– New lease signings expanded year over year for the first time in seven months
– Listing inventory rose sharply year over year for the second straight month

Bad Bunny Rents A Manhattan Apartment for a Modest $150,000 Per month

Since the Manhattan rental market is slipping from peak pricing, I thought I would share last month’s rental to confuse the issue. Bad Bunny is spending $150,000 per month on a rental in Chelsea. In my experience, I’ve never observed a monthly rental above $125,000, and I’m not counting a one-month rental at the Waldorf-Astoria for $250,000 a while back because that shouldn’t count (hey, I make the rules here.)

The listing photos are great, but the best part is the outdoor space – you almost forget you are on the roof of a building.

Frances Katzen, a super broker with Douglas Elliman, takes us on a tour…

The Economist Thrashes NAR On The Commission Fiasco (Even With Free Tacos!)

The ordinarily staid Economist magazine seems quite angry about the U.S. real estate commission practices in the U.S. in their recent story: Time to take a wrecking ball to realtors’ fees in America: A court case is a first step to ending a racket

How can I tell?

There’s a “Free Tacos!” notice on the for sale sign, and they didn’t mention it in the story’s opening paragraphs!

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FOUND NY: Exploring The Hamptons Middle – Its Softening

The former Curbed guys have a new sandbox to play in FOUND. They reach out to me when there’s real estate data involved, like they did back in the old Curbed days.

In the current issue, they explore the softening ‘Hamptons middle’ and more.

…with appreciation for both the Post’s poetry and Miller’s cold, hard facts…

Listing Inventory Remains The Key Housing Metric To Rely On

The lack of listings is distorting everything we know about housing trends. Sales are down, yet listing inventory is not up, so prices are not correcting. Calculated Risk has a good piece: Inventory will Tell the Tale. I mapped NAR EHS listing data by month and year – the lack of supply is a national housing condition.

Since at least 2008, U.S. listing inventory has never been lower.

NYC Slice Of Life, Illustrated

The following graphic is a fave and illustrates a skill that all New Yorkers must have. I just had this image framed for my home office as a reminder of the nuances of navigating the Big Apple. This book from my friend Nathan Pyle, NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette, came out about a decade ago but is still essential to those who move to NYC. He is also the author of the popular series Strange Planet. I once suggested a series on real estate appraisers to him, but he wasn’t interested. Ha.

Highest & Best Newsletter: The $60 Million Penthouse Issue

I continue to love this new Florida newsletter: Highest & Best from Oshrat Carmiel, formerly of Bloomberg News…

The $60 Million Penthouse Issue
One never-lived in resale, the other coming in 2027

Lots of resales being attempted at Estates at Acqualina in Miami. The fleet of Rolls Royce for residents’ use was enough to get my attention.

Speaking of attention, notice Michael Shvo’s view on existing Miami Beach office products. That’s why everyone seems to be building some.

That Corner Drawer In The Kitchen

We had one of these in a prior home we owned. It’s a constant reminder about a lack of future planning.

Speaking Events

This event occurred yesterday, and it was so oversubscribed they had to move it from the penthouse to the larger raw street-level retail space of this nearly sold-out new development. I shared it only because everyone is trying to do the math on the future of rates, supply, and demand.

Getting Graphic

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

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

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Insights On Objective Appraisals

Scott Reuter, the Single-Family Chief Appraisal Officer at Freddie Mac, is among the nicest and most knowledgeable in the appraisal profession. His insight article, is a good refresher on how we communicate our results.

The key advice here is not to speak like a salesperson – be objective in conveying the results. While the appraiser is tasked with presenting a credible report, selling the results does not mean “selling” the results.

OFT (One Final Thought)

As a twelve-year-old, I watched these roller derby matches after school when there was nothing to do. Something about wheels on a track hooked me in.

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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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