Let's Argue About The State Of The Housing Market

Let’s Argue About The State Of The Housing Market

Monty Python was a big part of my media consumption as a kid. (No, it wasn’t. Yes, it was!)

But I digress…

How’s NYC Housing Doing? Sort Of Ok, Relative To Other U.S..

While I regularly chronicle the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens markets in our Douglas Elliman market report series, we also track Staten Island, and The Bronx and provide an NYC aggregate result.

Here’s a borough-by-borough breakout that compares against pre-pandemic conditions. As a whole, NYC prices are up, sales are up, and listing inventory is down slightly. The sales and listing inventory changes vary by borough with the pre-pandemic (2019) comparisons.

And this series of charts provide some additional context for pre-pandemic, post-lockdown, and current.

My Interview on Crosstown with Pat Kiernan – What can we do about NYC’s housing crisis?

I’m a big fan of Pat Kiernan, the star anchor for Spectrum News NY1. I especially like his “in the papers” spots and I’ve been on his morning show a few times. He interviewed me virtually to set the stage to describe NYC’s housing challenge.

Check it out!

Mortgage Rates Are Falling, But Freddie Mac Changed The Methodology

With four consecutive 0.75 increases in the federal funds rate, mortgage rates seem to be trying to fall.

On the other hand, Freddie Mac changed the methodology and stopped tracking the 5/1 rate.

Given how many consumers have been pivoting to hybrid rates and away from the 30-year fixed, I find their decision bizarre. I wish I understand the actual reason for that decision.

The Brick Underground Podcast: Making sense of the NYC real estate market with Jonathan Miller

I always enjoy my conversations with Emily Myers of Brick Underground, a must-read NYC housing market resource.

[click on image to play episode]

Check it out.

Those Ion Batteries Are A Hazard In Residential Buildings

There was a fascinating article in The City (a publication I hope thrives) about the fire in NYC caused by ebikes and legislation seeking to ban them from inside NYCHA buildings. Here’s a lawyer’s take.

In 2020, the FDNY tracked 94 e-bike battery related fires, and 104 in 2021. But this year the number of incidents have skyrocketed, with 188 of these fires as of last week. These fires, which accelerate quickly, have done serious damage, causing six deaths and 139 injuries, including 38 at 429 E. 52nd St.

Look Where The Mortgage-Free Homes Are!

There was a great Bloomberg piece using ATTOM data on homes that are mortgage-free.

The results really correlate with higher priced houses by NYC borough…

And largely coastal cities in the U.S.

Doubling Down On The Anti-Pie Chart Movement To Clean Your Palate Before Thanksgiving

These are pulled from a hilarious pie chart thread started by Conrad Hackett. He starts with an awful chart…

We’ve got this old chestnut…

And its alternative versions…

And these cartoon versions…

Getting Graphic

My favorite HOUSING/ECONOMIC MARKET CHARTS of the week made by others

[NY Fed]

My favorite RANDOM CHARTS of the week made by others


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

Ryan Lundquist Drops Some Market Knowledge On Us

My friend Ryan of the Sacramento Appraisal Blog shows why he’s the trusted appraiser in his market (and elsewhere as well). Appraisers have the data and are more neutral in the home buying process than agents who are working for a commission. I’ve always wondered why our profession doesn’t have more “Ryans’ that share market insights with consumers in their local markets. Our industry was made for this position!

Take a listen…

AI CEO Unexpectedly Resigns Immediately After The New President Is Sworn In

The following announcement was shared with the membership of the Appraisal Institute on Thursday. Myself and my colleagues nationwide who have had hoped for this moment for years, were ecstatic. It was an early Christmas.

And covered in The Real Deal, a national real estate trade magazine: Appraisal Institute CEO Resigns which linked out to many of my writings that have been closely read and followed by the Appraisal Institute Board of Directors over the years.

All the FOJ sycophants who went after my colleagues and me, even threatened me personally, will now be without their Dear Leader. All those plummy teaching assignments to a handful of regulars who toe the FOJ line, baskets full of first-class airfare to Europe and China with their emotional support spouses paid for by hard-working members, plus a laundry list of other mindless perks will hopefully be brought under control. He’s still in place until mid-February, but at least there is an end date and a potential return of relevance of this once-great organization. I’m excited about the future of AI, even though this is only one person. In reality, the removal of this person matters to enable real change.

But I ask myself: Why has CEO Jim Amorin mysteriously resigned one and a half years before the end of an incredibly lucrative self-dealt contract?

– I assume he will say he wants to pursue other opportunities, spend more time with his family, move back to Austin after becoming tired of living in Chicago.
– But Jim Amorin has been the master of this organizational taking for years – he’s one of the best I’ve ever observed – I can’t believe he would quit like this, especially after manipulating the rules for the last three years of sham petition elections to make sure the C-suite was loaded with FOJs and would not be a threat. He just secured Paula K, so he was set to continue running amok with the organization.
– Why would he leave immediately after Craig Steinley, NOT an FOJ, got installed as the next President?

I can only speculate that there was a significant and sudden reason for his departure, possibly bad behavior that was documented, and I wonder if it has to do with the audit committee. And there is precedent for this, as seen in the recent RICS scandal, where information from the executive team was not forthcoming to the audit committee. I’m just spitballing here, but the math for his leaving doesn’t make sense otherwise.

The Real Deal article quoted the local NYC chapter head as saying:

the organization under Amorin is representing residential appraisers well

and a recent post on an appraisal forum that said:

Jim’s tenure as CEO hasn’t been all bad. In fact, the AI has made a conscious and concrete effort at expanding its service and outreach to residential appraisers.

The first quote was about someone politically afraid to cross anyone in Chicago, and the second was about someone who only shared the common talking points that aren’t grounded in reality.

To be clear, the main leadership criticism by the outside world has been largely around AI’s lack of effort toward growing residential membership. Remember that residential committee that Jim formed circa 2017? They’ve never produced anything. It was created to slow the rage building over the plan to take all local chapter funds and put them in control of HQ. Forming a residential committee with good residential appraisers but not doing anything to advance them in the organization or industry doesn’t qualify as doing something for residential membership.

Final thoughts:

– Jim Amorin will be a lame duck until February 14th, which doesn’t mean he can’t further damage the organization’s reputation.
– How Golden will his parachute be? I can only imagine that it’s huge considering his 1.5 to 2x salary over the industry “comps.”
– How will his FOJs fair in this post-FOJ era? People like the Sellers’ already lost key chairmanships (more on that later) in the Steinley era.
– The FOJs should not have control of executive search because they’ll install a current board member to keep the sham going. Although even if they are able to do this, I highly doubt that anyone would be as adept at Jim Amorin was in destroying accountable governance.
– It would be exciting to see AI revamp their course offerings and extract the deep-seated politics that keep new, younger people out of teaching them. McKissock is very generic and AI has not invested in the future but instead, rested on its laurels for several decades.

I am very excited about the future of the Appraisal Institute and the potential to return to its former position as an institution with credibility to be relied on by stakeholders in the real estate industry.

OFT (One Final Thought)

This is the key principle the old guard thinks about remote work. I remember seeing this old FedEx commercial years ago.

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 be more argumentative;
– You’ll be more arguable;
– And I’ll argue.

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 following week’s Housing Note.

See you next week.

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

Reads, Listens and Visuals I Enjoyed

My New Content, Research and Mentions

Recently Published Elliman Market Reports

Appraisal Related Reads

Extra Curricular Reads