Condos still unsold after Solaria auction debacle

It was on Nov.22, 2009 that the developer of Riverdale’s 20-story Solaria sought to unload 54 of the new development’s unsold apartments  at an auction that drew hundreds of hopefuls and plenty of press.

The results were not pretty, and Joseph Korff of ARC Development subsequently tried and tried to get rid of orphaned units that failed to find buyers.  I recently got to wondering whether he has succeeded after so much time.

The answer years later is, Continue reading

Out and About: Units occupying a nouveau niche

The Aldyn, 60 Riverside Blvd.

New developments possess an undeniable allure.

Those condos — invariably condos — seduce us with their gleam, their gloss, their glamor.

You can count on the windows being huge and the views from higher floors being incomparable.  In the more expensive ones, the style will be high; the amenities, impressive and comprehensive; and the service, white-glove.

To some folks, the idea that no one has lived in the new home of their choice is an attraction that can’t be beat.  A friend once confessed that she’d never buy a “used” house.  “Why,” she asked rhetorically, “would I want want to live in someone else’s place?”

If that’s the case, that pretty well rules out hotel rooms when traveling, no?

Although new developments lack Continue reading

The High Road: Brokers must not hide their ownership of properties they list and show

(Mark: Flickr photo by by Ben Fredericson)

Visiting the open house of an Upper West Side apartment listed at well over $1 million, I overheard a buyer asking whether the broker also was the owner.

After he responded in the affirmative, I looked closely at his marketing materials.  To my surprise, there was no mention of his ownership.

When I got to my computer, I look at the listing in the Online Real Estate (OLR) database, and the information wasn’t there either.

That was not only surprising, but it was a clear Continue reading

In the world of real estate, ‘stale’ is a dirty word

Nobody likes stale peanuts, pastry or bread (except perhaps cooks preparing croutons or turkey stuffing).

Nobody is a fan of stale listings either.  (You knew I was headed there, I’m sure.)

Unfortunately, those buyers seeking a tempting apartment that has been newly offered on the Upper West Side will encounter, instead, a collection of co-ops and condos turning grey and grubby with age.

Employing statistics from the OLR (Online Residential) database — which many brokers use, including me — I arbitrarily checked time on the market of listings offered at prices between $450,000 and $1 million.  Continue reading

Wall Street sneezed. Now what?

(Flickr photo by Mash Potato)

Few of you would disagree with the thought that the gyrations on Wall Street cannot be a good thing for the housing market in Manhattan.

After all, it is axiomatic that our market catches a cold when Wall Street sneezes.  And Wall Street suffered much worse than a fit of sneezing.  It briefly went into intensive care and, unfortunately, could be rushed there again.

I didn’t need the latest consumer confidence level, the latest statistics in the listing database or the following e-mail on Saturday from buyers with whom I have been working to know that the impact on Manhattan’s housing market has to be severe:

[We] have been discussing our outlook for NYC and we have come to the conclusion that we do not think that we want to spend approximately $500,000 for a 1/2 bath or 2nd bath.  We think that for a savings of $500,000, we can manage with 1 bathroom. . .  

This economy has made us more conservative. I thank you in advance for your understanding.

Indeed, how could I not understand, as I wrote in my response?

(Flicker photo by Diego da Silva)

I don’t see how the housing market can fail to freeze.

Consumer confidence plunged in early August, as the Wall Street Journal noted.  The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index for early August recorded a startling drop to 54.9 from 63.7 at the end of July and 63.8 in early July.

That is not a good, though unsurprising, sign of things to come.

The preliminary August current conditions index fell to 69.3 from 75.8 in late July, the Journal reported. The expectations index plummeted to 45.7 from 56.0.

Because it is August and little is happening anyway, I view with a grain of salt the numbers in the OLR (OnLine Residential) database.  But they may be worth a gander.

Compared with the month ended July 17, the time since then has registered what I take to be an insignificant 1.74 percent decline in the median listed price, to $811,400.  At the same time, the (lagging) number of signed contracts fell 6.14 percent, to 76.

To me, the most revealing statistic for this admittedly crude analysis is the number of listings with price cuts.  They actually plummeted by 220 to 969, an 18.5 percent change over the month.

Not so alarming, you might conclude.  But. . . but. . . fully 170 of the 220 — that is, 77 percent — of the reductions over that period occurred in the last seven days!

If you have the stomach for more numbers, consider, too, August’s angst compared with the especially accurate statistics that Noah Rosenblatt of UrbanDigs compiled for July.  He notes that only 1,168 new listings came on the market in July, the 10th consecutive monthly decline in new supply from the previous year.

Moreover, he finds a mere 713 contracts signed that month, down from 988 in June and also down from 760 one year earlier.

At the same time, pending sales — those at some stage after having gone to contract and before closing — have continued a steep downward trend that began in June.  They are down 8.7 percent as of now, though seasonal decreases are normal.

Seasonal or not, I’m wondering whether this won’t be the fall and winter of our discontent.

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
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Private ‘MLS’ permits statewide property search

Everyone selling real estate and most prospective purchasers realize that there is no Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in New York City.

That void results in brokers having to resort to their shared databases through systems such as OLR (OnLine Residential), though listings by many boutique firms never appear in them.

Still, the vast majority of listings are fed into StreetEasy.com, where many buyers check to see what’s available along with services such BuyFolio.com.  Both the New York Times and Craigslist can be sources of properties being sold by their owners without brokerage assistance.

It’s not a great system.

Little did I know until meeting Dawn Pfaff at a monthly dinner meeting of the Lucky Strikers Social Media Club that there exists something she has describes as a statewide MLS.  Sort of.  Continue reading

New property-search site falls short of complete

Source: NY1Residential.com

With little fanfare, a kinda new site for searching New York city properties for sale went live last week.  On its home page, the announcement was brief:

New Yorkers who are looking for a new home now have a new way to buy, rent or sell real estate, with the launch . . . of NY1Residential.com, a comprehensive real estate listings website from NY1 News and the Real Estate Board of New York.

The problem I have is that “comprehensive” overstates the usefulness of the site, which Continue reading