Dead Rats Provide Empirical Evidence That The NYC Housing Market Will Continue To Recover

You can now forget Pizza Rat as a prognosticator of our NYC future…this is an amazing article.

But I digress…

The NYC Rental Market Remained Strong But Was Weakened By The Delta Variant

I’ve been writing the expanding Elliman Repot series since 1994 for real estate firm Douglas Elliman. While most of our research is released quarterly, our new signed contract and NYC rental reports are published monthly. This week’s August 2021 Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens Rental Report showed a lot of volume as we have seen since the spring, but not as much as expected. As you can see below, August tends to be the highest month of the year for new leasing volume across all three markets as illustrated from these charts:

Elliman Report: August 2021 Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens Rentals

Bloomberg looked at the greater price growth of the market is found in the higher end, as illustrated by our comparison between doorman and non-doorman rentals, which roughly show a 50/50 market split in transactions. Interest in the NYC rental market results made it the 8th most read article by the 350K Bloomberg Terminal subscribers.

Here is the chart in 2 different color formats:

And the drop in listing inventory as new lease signings remained high:

There were lots of other good articles on the August rental market – refer to the links down at the bottom of these Housing Notes.


“New lease signings rose to their highest level for the month of August since at least 2008.”

– The most new lease signings for an August since at least 2008
– Listing inventory continued to fall precipitously, down by more than half since January
– Net effective median rent fell annually by its lowest rate in fifteen months
– Doorman median rent rose year over year as non-doorman median rent declined
– New development median rent continued to expand annually as existing median rent fell
– Luxury concession market share was lower than non-luxury concession market share
– Luxury median rent rose annually as non-luxury median rent slipped
– Downtown was the only region of the four main regions not to see an annual decline in the median rent


“New lease signings climbed to their highest level for the month of August in at least thirteen years.”

– The most new lease signings for an August since at least 2008
– The fourteenth straight month with an annual decline in the net effective median rent
– The lowest amount of landlord concessions in a year


[Northwest Region] “New lease signings surged to their second-highest level since 2008.”

– The second-highest number of new leases signed in more than a decade
– Net effective median rent slipped year over year as listing inventory rose for the sixteenth straight month
– The market share of apartments with landlord concessions fell by nearly a third since peaking late last fall

LA’s ‘The One’ $500 Million Price Tag Was Never Achieved (nor Likely Achievable)

This CNBC video provided an early look at the project 4-5 years ago.

Now it looks like a sale will be attempted for a lot less:

…the plan under the listing agreement had been to market the property for $288 million, but the ultimate listing price has not been set.

This seems to be more of a pricing issue. The U.S. market for super luxury properties seems to be just fine.

Calculated Risk: Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Huge Wave of Foreclosures

Calculated Risk is always a tremendous voice of reason to check in on. His substack mailing list is definitely worth signing up for too.

With house prices up sharply year-over-year … very few borrowers will have negative equity, and most seriously delinquent borrowers will be able to sell their house, as a last resort, and avoid foreclosure.

The Return To Work Venn Diagram Says It All

The Counselors of Real Estate Present: What’s Next for Real Estate and the Life Experience

As someone with the CRE designation, I was drawn to the organization because it always looks forward.

[click on image to learn more, or register]

Lower Manhattan Transformed Towards A Residential Neighborhood After 9/11

The rub with lower Manhattan residential real estate development was that the sidewalks rolled up at 5pm during the week and there were few residential support services like grocery stores. Sure there were plenty of residential rental developments but that was part of the challenge, causing the area to have a transitory feel to it.

After 9/11 that focus changed as liberty bonds and other incentives to build were created and lower Manhattan saw some of the highest residential price growth rates on the island. While the conversion to more full-time residential occupancy continues to occur, it has already come a long way since 9/11.

Tomorrow Marks The Twentieth Anniversary of 9/11

I remember feeling a sense of relief on the fifth anniversary of 9/11 thinking, if NYC could just hang on for five years, it would be fine. And it thrived. Two decades have passed since the tragedy of 9/11 hit us hard. I get annoyed at short-sighted prognosticators back then, and just like those who spewed their SEO-savy garbage now during this pandemic.

The 9/11 anniversary is one of those things in life (and in death) that I mark the calendar by, pausing to reflect and try to incorporate something into my daily life to honor and remember those who perished. Here are a few pictures.

I have many random thoughts about that day so I’ll just let them pour out:

– After the first plane hit, I began to get emails from colleagues all over the U.S. essentially checking in to confirm whether I was alive or not.
– My wife called me when the first tower fell, sobbing that there was now only one World Trade Tower, and then the second tower fell.
– I walked outside of my office building and saw dozens of people crowded around the two appliance stores with flat-screen TVs playing news outlet coverage and watching a video of the first plane hit the tower over and over – and then the second plane.
– I walked from my then-office on West 45th street in Manhattan to the end of each block. From both my Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas vantage point looking south, I saw the towers on fire.
– I was worried about our appraisers who were downtown performing inspections at that moment – one was my dad.
– Cell service became almost impossible as one of the towers hosted significant equipment cell service and I was unable to update the family of my whereabouts.
– All public transportation was shut down so my commuter rail ride home was no longer an option.
– Everyone in our office gathered and discussed plans to get out of the city and go home.
– One of our appraisers had a mom that lived on the Upper West Side so we walked north to her apartment to borrow her car.
– There were no vehicles on the streets of Manhattan so throngs of people including me, just walked north away from ground zero.
– I remember thinking about how odd it was I was walking north up Avenue of the Americas, full of people who seemed calm like this was just another day in the city and I felt strangely proud about that.
– After we got the car, we drove north along the Hudson River still numbed by what happened.
– We dropped people off along the way and then when we reached my friend’s home in Westchester, he gave me his mom’s car and I drove east to Fairfield County to my home.
– I stood outside of our house with my wife talking to all of our neighborhoods, sharing stories of the day, and learned that at least 6 people from my town died in the towers and two were the parents of classmates of my children.
– My neighbor was talking to a colleague on the phone who was in the tower and the line went dead when the plane hit.
– My wife’s friend’s husband was fleeing the plaza area, dodging bodies that were falling out of the towers, and couldn’t get the image of the falling man’s face out of his head.
– One of my friends was working in one of the smaller buildings adjacent to the towers and had to scream at my other friend to get out because “something must have happened” and as they did, bodies were coming down around them with my friends swearing that one had an airline pilot shirt on.
– My good friend who worked at Bear Stearns was in their offices in New Jersey on the Hudson and literally watched both planes hit the towers.
– A friend ran from the area after the towers collapsed fully covered in white dust from the debris.
– A friend was a volunteer during the cleanup and saw body parts everywhere.
– Walking by firehouses with notices of who lost their lives from that particular crew
– Every day as I came into Grand Central, seeing the kiosk with hundreds of photos of people with notes that said “Have you seen this person?”
– I ran into someone years later who was in the Windows on the World restaurant for a breakfast meeting and went down to the lobby to try to find the speaker and the first plane hit and all the people he left at the meeting would perish.
– When I think of that day, I think of my dinner with my wife and our college friends who were in town, at Windows on the World years before.
– When I think of the World Trade Center, I remember the purple lobby carpet (was it purple?), all the elevator banks, and all the interiors of all the client offices I had been in over the years.
– I remember regularly stopping by the Ben & Jerry’s on the way back from appraisals in Battery Park City, sampling flavors like Wavy Gravy and marveling at the monstrosity of the building thinking “how cool is this?” as I headed back to the “2” train to go uptown.
– A few months after the event, I went to a meeting in a building close to the NYSE on Wall Street and the air felt like rough sandpaper and could only imagine how brutal the air was for the first responders.

That’s enough commentary for now.

And here’s an amazing timeline from Visual Capitalist. Click on the image to expand.

Getting Graphic

My favorite charts of the week made by others


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

RAC’s Annual Conference Is Here! Mastering Disasters

It’s a spectacular opportunity for appraisers to attend one of the best conferences for appraisers offered. Click on the image below to find out more!

OFT (One Final Thought)

A reminder that most future insights don’t sound as good (or cool) as an accordian.

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
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