NAR sees promise, but hold off on fireworks for now

Pending home sales in the U.S. rose again in November, with the broad trend over the past five months indicating a gradual recovery into 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

The Pending Home Sales Index rose 3.5 percent to 92.2 based on contracts signed in November from 89.1 in October, the NAR said.

The index is 5.0 percent below a reading of 97.0 in November 2009.  The data reflect contracts and not closings, which normally occur with a lag time of one or two months.  (That’s why the NAR mis-characterizes the index as “forward looking.”)  Commented NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun:

In addition to exceptional affordability conditions, steady improvements in the economy are helping bring buyers into the market.  But further gains are needed to reach normal levels of sales activity.

If we add 2 million jobs as expected in 2011, and mortgage rates rise only moderately, we should see existing-home sales rise to a higher, sustainable volume

If, if. . .  If, indeed!

Let’s hope he’s right and expect that he’s not.

I’d rather be pleasantly surprised than depressingly disappointed.  Wouldn’t you?

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

U.S. house prices, months of supply, predictions

Calculated Risk muses about the future, and it ain’t pretty for the nation as a whole.

As you read what the Calculated Risk blog has to say, please do remember that Case-Shiller’s indices contain nothing meaningful about Manhattan in particular and even New York City in general.

The data cover the whole region as far as Pennsylvania and include sales of only single-family houses.

Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

Delta has a heap to learn about customer service

Notice what the old logo says: Book with confidence.

The only confidence I now have about Delta is how incompetent the airline is.

I have been trying since Sunday morning to book a replacement flight to Miami.  Not only has that proved impossible online, but it’s equally frustrating several other ways.

Try doing it online and all flights for the next two days  show as unavailable or the Web site says it cannot now help and to go back and try again. At one point, the site actually declared it was experiencing “turbulence,” and I should repeat my query “in a short while.”

I’ve had the same infuriating result for 27 hours as I write this post.

Other advice is to call Delta.  Tell me if you find the message as astonishing as do I: Continue reading

A hawk’s Christmas feast is not one to envy

My doorman excitedly told me late this afternoon that there was a hawk perched on a tree diagonally across from our building on the Upper West Side.

I had to have a look, and now you can see the best that I could manage with my little camera.

The raptor was dining on a pigeon, the lower half of which had fallen to the ground beneath the tree limb.

What made this afternoon different from all other afternoons was that the (white-tailed?) hawk had changed trees from the next one down the street, according to a nearby resident.  Apparently, it has been hanging around the neighborhood for a couple of months.

As for my dinner, you can be sure it won’t be any kind of fowl.  Not tonight.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Malcolm@ServiceYouCanTrust.com
Web site

Roundup of news about the Big Apple and beyond

NEWLY COMPILED DATA LETS YOU COMPARE MAINTENANCE FEES AND MORE IN DIFFERENT NEIGHBORHOODS

CONDOMINIUM TAKES ON SENIORS AND LEARNS A LESSON

WHAT DO STEEP PARK AVENUE DISCOUNTS MEAN FOR THE LUXURY MARKET, TROPHY HOMES?

BROOKLYN WOMAN DIES, MAN STEALS HER BUILDINGS, SO MAN HEADS UP RIVER TO NEW RESIDENCE FOR A LONG, LONG TIME

UNWANTED TENANTS COLLECT $1.3 MILLION AND MORE TO LEAVE CENTRAL PARK SOUTH BUILDING

ZECKENDORF TOWERS DEMONSTRATES HOW A GREEN A ROOF CAN BE

LATE PHILANTHROPIST’S APARTMENT SELLS AT A STEEP DISCOUNT

SELLER DRAGS IN Continue reading

The cost of borrowing discourages a friend from buying

Joe and I have been disagreeing lately about home ownership.

It is his view that owning makes no sense because of the amount of money a borrower pays in interest, about which a bit more later.

Although I would never urge anyone to buy rather than rent, he and I disagree on the issue of monthly housing costs.

He doesn’t accept Continue reading

Gee, no one knows that square footage is an issue

(Flickr photo by Biking Nikon PDX)

Every now and then, I’m surprised by the New York Times.

Last weekend’s Real Estate section caught me off balance as well.  The newspaper of record hauled out a dried up chestnut to devote its lead story and more than a full page to the matter of calculating square footage.

If you don’t know by now Continue reading