Get a piece of schlock (?) at a foreclosure auction

387 Huntington Ave., the Bronx

The folks who conducted the auction of 54 units of Riverdale’s Solaria development have scheduled another event that will allow you to bid on any of five foreclosed New York City properties (and 178 others in the Northeast) in King of Prussia, Pa. on March 28 online or in person

The New York properties are: Continue reading

An online auction startup may be zaniest ever

“ is New York City’s only ‘name your own price’ Real Estate website.”

So begins the site’s description on its home page (never mind the upper case letters unnecessarily provided).  It continues:

“You decide what you would consider paying before you attend a showing and before you speak to the listing agent. At, we put you in control. works with a similar concept: Interested buyers or renters go to the website, browse the listings and make a bid or a “chirp.” If your chirp is accepted by the owner, you get to start negotiations.”

Am I missing something?

You haven’t seen the place and then you bid?  And the owner is supposed to take you seriously?  Yes, the site maintains: Continue reading

Have Manhattan rents reached their bottom?

Manhattan’s rental market continues to sit at what appears to be the bottom of its downturn, the Real Estate Group of New York speculates in its February report.

Rents remain virtually flat in month-to-month comparisons, “up” on average 0.19 percent.  But the gap between year-over-year figures is closing slightly, the brokerage says; rents were down only 2.99 percent vs. 2009.

Doorman vacancies were down 9.65 percent and overall inventories were down 3.02 percent.

Click to expand and check out different neighborhoods.

“Since February has historically been a slow month for the rental market, this decrease in inventories coupled with prices holding steady is a positive indicator that the market is gaining some strength,” the company said. Even though Manhattan rents have stopped falling, it added, “the rebound is likely to be a much slower process than landlords anticipated.”

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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
Web site

Question: How do you coach curling?

Photo by Lee LeFever on Flickr.

Answer: Veeerrrry slowly.

Th- th- th- th- that’s all, folks.

Subscribe by Email

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
Web site

On 1 hand and the other, Case-Shiller says again

Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Indices – which exclude apartment sales and include whole Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) – show that U.S. prices fell in the fourth quarter.  But the annual rate of return improved as compared with the third quarter.

“As measured by prices, the housing market is definitely in better shape than it was this time last year,” said David M. Blitzer, S&P’s chairman of the Index Committee.  “However, the rate of improvement seen during the summer of 2009 has not been sustained.

The chart above depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, the 10-City Composite and the 20-CityComposite Home Price Indices. Continue reading

7 co-ops, 11 homes to be auctioned off March 9

The office of the Queens County Public Administrator has scheduled the auction of seven co-ops with starting bids ranging between $56,000 and $176,000.

Google satellite view of the Malba, Queens home to be sold. Click to expand and, below, see a photo of the two-story brick house with garage.

Also on the block March 9 at 11 a.m. will be 10 single-family homes and a condo (from what I can tell) with bids starting between $162,000 to $950,000.  The high upset price is for a place at 141-42 11th Ave., Malba.

And if you’d like to buy a big bunch of properties all at once, there’s a significant auction of a foreclosed East Harlem complex scheduled for March 11 at 11 a.m.

For risk-takers, the co-ops are being sold subject to the approval of the buildings’ board of directors. The units are: Continue reading

Some firms seem to treat brokers like employees

As independent contractors, good real estate brokers work hard. (Flickr photo by Christolakis.)

A New York Times front-page article on the IRS cracking down on companies that blur the line between independent contractors and employees caught my eye.  Some brokerage firms nudge that line all the time. Continue reading

Sellers tamp down their irrational exuberance

In this graph from Miller Samuel for, the black line represents the listing discount from the last list price (the final asking price before the apartment went into contract). The higher the line, the greater the spread between the list price and sales price. The red line represents the listing discount from original list price as well as sellers' initial hopes for what their properties will bring. Click to expand.

The estimable Jonathan Miller was curious about  the difference between  asking prices and contract prices, the listing discount, measured as a percentage, from the end of 2002 to the end of last year for Manhattan condos and co-ops.

It is evident from the huge peak on the right side of the graph, created for, that sellers were grossly unrealistic about the value of their properties at the beginning of 2009.  Although that information is hardly news, it’s nice to see their irrationality documented. Continue reading

There is only one right time to buy

The Frank/Patterson's new penthouse apartment with huge skylights.

In an uncertain market, the question on every buyer’s mind is whether it is the right time to get off the fence.

One buyer recently answered that question in an e-mail quoted by the Observer.  His response is worth noting in part because of the credentials that he and his wife possess.

Robert Frank is the wealth reporter for the Wall Street Journal and author of the best-selling book, Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich.  His wife is Rebecca Patterson,  global head of foreign exchange at JPMorgan Private Bank.

Smart people, right? They recently spent $4.2 million on a penthouse loft at 73 Fifth Avenue.  Here’s why Continue reading

Have we reached light at the end of the tunnel?

The latest statistics indicate growing signs of a housing recovery, but mark any recovery as tentative.

Increasing  strength could be undercut in a number of ways.  Among the uncertainties are unemployment, mortgage rates, the condition of both the U.S. and global economies, and consumer confidence.  Also to be considered is the so-called “shadow inventory.”

Still, new information suggests that perhaps we are not only seeing the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, but possibly our journey through the tunnel has ended.

Trulia finds inventory plunging and percentage of price cuts trending down.

The news in the last day or two is, of course, conflicting.  There is evidence that the supply of housing has dropped dramatically (in the chart above); builder confidence is inching up; home construction of new homes jumped in January; the Conference Board said today that its index of leading indicators ticked up by 0.3 percent; today’s inflation measure shows an unexpected rise; it could take up to 33 more months to dispose of the supply of homes facing foreclosures; and some economists foresee another dip in the housing market.

Continue reading