The Housing Market Learned That "V-Shaped" Recovery Stands For "Vaccine"

The Housing Market Learned That “V-Shaped” Recovery Stands For “Vaccine”

Also “V-Shaped”…How Venn Pie-agrams can solve all our holiday needs (important note: swap out blackberry for pumpkin):


I wanted to give my shoutout to my excellent Columbia Grad students who participated in this week’s Zoom lecture on the nuances of market analysis. Here’s that same tip: you don’t need to concern yourself with the “Appraiserville” section down below where I bring transparency to the appraisal industry, especially with the larger institutions that influence it. But by all means, feel free to read at your leisure.

To my students who missed yesterday’s class, this first slide set the class mood:

But I digress…

NYC Townhouses, Much Like Suburban Single Families, Have Demonstrated The COVID Bump

Candace Taylor at WSJ does a super cool dive into the townhouse market in NYC. As New York Real Estate Emerges From Covid Crisis, Townhouses Come Out on Top

And this quote:

Townhouses have long been the unwanted stepchild of the Manhattan luxury market, as wealthy buyers snatched up condos in the newly built high-rises increasingly crowding the skyline.

In markets like Manhattan and Brooklyn, single family activity is outperforming multi-family types based on new signed contract activity. Our research in the recent Douglas Elliman’s New Signed Contracts Report I author shows the empirical evidence:

The Justice Department Files Antitrust Case Against NAR With A Simultaneous Settlement

Yesterday’s announcement by the Justice Department hasn’t received the media attention it deserves.

Justice Department Files Antitrust Case and Simultaneous Settlement Requiring National Association of Realtors® To Repeal and Modify Certain Anticompetitive Rules

There are a lot of downloads in the press release.

The Antitrust Division simultaneously filed a proposed settlement that requires NAR to repeal and modify its rules to provide greater transparency to home buyers about the commissions of brokers representing home buyers (buyer brokers), cease misrepresenting that buyer broker services are free, eliminate rules that prohibit filtering multiple listing services (MLS) listings based on the level of buyer broker commissions, and change its rules and policy which limit access to lockboxes to only NAR-affiliated real estate brokers. If approved, the settlement will enhance competition in the real estate market, resulting in more choice and better service for consumers.

As I write further down in these Housing Notes within Appraiserville, more actions of this kind are needed across the real estate industry. So much of this behavior has been baked-in for decades.

Bloomberg addresses it in Realtors Apologize for Role in Housing Racial Discrimination

When A Rendering Doesn’t Sell A Listing In A Booming Market, Try An Auction In A Weak Market?

A Long Island real estate broker has a listing to sell the rights to create a penthouse under the huge mansard roof at 150 Central Park South. The WSJ explains: In Rare Turn, Penthouse on New York’s Billionaires’ Row to Hit Auction Block

This listing has been floating around for a few years. I’m not pitching here but I am a fan of the rendering – insanity. Those with vertigo might not want to watch it:

For the record, I’ve been told the iconic roof is NOT copper even though everyone seems to describe it this way. Apparently, the developers ran out of money during The Great Depression and after sitting unfinished, the roof was painted green. That’s what it looked like to me when I saw it first hand.

Only 15-Years And You Get The World’s Most Profitable Condo

Over at The Real Deal, Hiten Samtani and E.B. Solomont pen an epic tale about the development of 220 Central Park South

It is the clear heir to 15 Central Park West as the city’s new alpha residence. It holds the record for the country’s priciest residential transaction. And with $1 billion of realized profits, it’s arguably the world’s most successful condo.

This story is not just for real estate industry types. It is the story of taking a long view in real estate development. I highly encourage you to read every word.

I get to share my data in some TRD’ed chart styling.

And of course, I get put in my place by one of the authors in good fun. 😉


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

FOD: TAF’s Self-Destructive Circular Feedback Loop Explained

I and others saw this announcement the other day: Promoting Trust for Fair and Affordable Housing Symposium and cringed at the hypocrisy. Not about the topic specifically, but who is leading the event: The Appraisal Foundation and The Appraisal Institute. These are two of the least diverse organizations in the appraisal industry.

[click to register]

At the risk of sounding jaded, I believe this event is merely one item in a checklist of tasks to allow these two organizations to be able to say “I did something” and then move on with the status quo.

This week I’ll focus on The Appraisal Foundation and explore how they got to this point.

The Appraisal Foundation is run by FODs (Friends of Dave Bunton). This is a circular feedback loop because it has not introduced any kind of new thinking to the organization over the past three decades. It comes down to this:

It is important to remember that TAF’s Appraisal Qualifications Board went three straight decades without African-American representation and during that time has had only three women. That’s astonishing.

That simple fact indicates that TAF represents 30-Years of accumulated systemic racism and no longer acknowledges that anyone has any oversight over them. I’m not faulting those individuals that join and proudly serve – I appreciate and respect their service. I was one of them. But now that there is a growing awareness of TAF’s flawed ethics, volunteer members of the organization should insist, no, DEMAND, change immediately. If they don’t do that now, there will be potential damage to these volunteers’ personal credentials by participating in going forward. And the “I’m working the system from the inside” no longer cuts it now that the story is out.

Demand. Change. Overtly. Right. Now.

Here’s a very small sampling of how TAF’s insulated judgment has manifested into a self-destructive circular feedback loop:

Executive Staff

– President Dave Bunton has been at the helm of TAF for more than three decades (the only president TAF has ever had).

– Lisa Desmarais, Vice President, Appraisal Issues is the replacement for John Brenan. Lisa served on the 2018 and 2019 ASB and was appointed without public vetting despite the fact that TAF exists today because of public funds. The loss of institutional experience to TAF has been devastating, along with the sudden departures of more than a half dozen decades-long staff is severely problematic to the future of TAF.

Volunteers (no criticisms are being cast towards these people, just pointing out the way the TAF isn’t incentivized to look for new insights outside the vision of its 3-decade long president.

– The same small appraisal firm has been on AQB for 15 of past 17 years :
— Scott Seely (Business Partner of Mark Lewis) AQB 2004-2011
— Mark Lewis (Business Partner of Scott Seely) AQB 2014-2020 (’18 Vice Chair, ’19-’20 Chair)

– Joseph Traynor AQB 2014-2019 (’15 Vice Chair, ’16-’17 Chair), BOT 2006-2011 (’10 Vice Chair, ’11 Chair)

– John Ryan ?-2006 BOT (BOT historical only public-facing since 2006) AQB 2016-2019 (’20 Vice Chair)

– Richard Baumgardner AQB 2006-2012 (’10, ’11, ’12 Chair), BOT prior to recordings on web site

– Carl Schultz ASB 2009-2016 (’11, ’12 Chair, ’09, ’10, ’14, ’16 Vice Chair) BOT prior to recordings on web site

Again, this is just a tiny sampling of the feedback loop created when members of these boards jump around between boards afer long stays. Again, I am not disparaging the service of these individuals but I am being critical of the institution that seems to depend on people being FODs.

This feedback loop structure causes an institution in the appraisal industry to become disconnected from the appraisal industry.

TAF Rumor Mill: Someone Will Be Named TAF ‘Acting President’ in 2021

This gossip item has been circulating appraiser industry water coolers during 2020:

Someone will be named ‘Acting President’ of The Appraisal Foundation in 2021. The strategy enables Dave Bunton to go on auto-pilot for the remaining three years of his contract. Dave effectively denied this to me directly when he criticized me for saying that he only had two years left on his contract last summer. Let’s see if he is a man of his word. Fingers-crossed.

Voice of Appraisal: Jonathan Miller Breaks down A.I. and T.A F.!

OFT (One Final Thought)

Never give up.

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 looking at townhouses;
– You’ll be all about super luxury;
– And I’ll wish you a (safe and) Happy Thanksgiving.

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
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