Appraiser values below-grade space as amenity

Apartment at grade on Upper West Side is typical of units in other buildings.

Apartment at grade on Upper West Side is typical of units in other buildings.

One of the hardest components when trying to price an apartment going on the market is space at ground level or below it.

Jonathan Miller, the inimitable CEO of the Miller Samuel appraisal firm, has published a blog post that makes the challenging task understandable.

Inside of the same co-op shown at right.

Inside view of the same co-op at front of the building in photo at left.

He writes convincingly about the definition of spaces ranging from “at grade” (ground level) to “sub-cellar” (below the cellar, which itself is below the basement) and approaches for considering square footage as well as value.  Continue reading

Our housing market is undergoing major change

Inventory has nowhere to go but up, but don’t expect a surge. Click to expand. (Source: Miller Samuel Inc.)

The word all of us have been using to describe the housing market in Manhattan is “stable.”

Well, as any prospective buyer of a well-priced apartment will tell you, much of the market has changed in a big way.  Open houses of new listings are jammed, and that is just part of the evidence.

The chief reason is inventory that is sharply down from previous years.

Respected appraiser/data hound Jonathan Miller has pulled together some astounding numbers.  Continue reading

Don’t try this at home: analyzing comparables

The field-emission environmental scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a state-of-the-art instrument at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) that scientists use to examine aerosols and other samples. The samples can be studied using a field-emission source electron beam both in standard SEM and environmental modes of operation. (Flickr photo by EMSL)

Any seller can wish for a high price for the property about to be listed.

And any broker can guess at the right offering price.

That’s asking for trouble.

The truth is, Continue reading

Homeowners who bought in 2007 should be celebrating, not crying over spilled milk

Condo and co-op sales (source: Prudential Douglas Elliman via the Real Deal)

Note: With my break drawing to a close, alas, normal frequency of posts resumes Monday.

Let’s say you bought a new home five years ago, a year before Manhattan’s residential market nosedived.

And let’s assume you coughed up $1 million for the privilege of living in your modest 870-sf apartment with two small bedrooms plus one and a half baths on the Upper West Side.

The third set of assumptions might be monthly mortgage payments of $3,500, maintenance of $1,400 and other ownership expenses such as insurance and maintenance of $100 a month.

Do you wish that you had waited until now to have made the purchase?

If you are like many other former homebuyers, Continue reading

Crystal balls consulted on Manhattan real estate

Panel on the Future of Residential Real Estate at New York Law School

Manhattan’s residential real estate market will continue to elude the magnitude of the problems of the rest of the nation during 2012, panelists assembled by New York Law School concurred this week.

But the participants — who included Curbed founder Lockhart Steele and brokerage executive Diane Ramirez — grappled with the question of why our housing market isn’t booming.

Noting limited inventory, real estate attorney Stuart Saft of the Dewey & LeBoeuf firm the told room full of lawyers and real estate professionals Continue reading

Jonathan Miller worried about falling inventory

Jonathan Miller

You can count on appraisal executive Jonathan Miller to provide an informed perspective on both the U.S. and local housing markets.

A post of his this week on an abnormally low number of listings in the U.S. was no exception.  (We’re down in Manhattan, too.)

Although others have maintained that declining inventory has been a positive development that was sure to result in stabilizing and then rising prices, Miller contends that the opposite is true.  Says he: Continue reading

A bombshell calling ‘the bottom’ lands online

Housing starts (Click to expand via Calculated Risk)

Bill McBride, who is a highly respected blogger on finance and economics, lobbed a bombshell the other day that has been predictably controversial.

On CalculatedRisk.com — which I check two or three times a day for his latest news, information and insights on real estate — the full-time blogger declared the following:

The Housing Bottom Is Here

He contended that Continue reading