Imprisoned fraudster’s condo heads to auction

Kenneth Starr purchased a lavish new triplex at the bottom of this building for $7.6 million in 2010.

When Kenneth Starr pleaded guilty last March to stealing more than $33 million from his celebrity clients, he already had turned over to the United States government the luxurious condo that he had purchased for $7.6 million on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

With five bedrooms, five and a half baths, 1,543-sf rear terrace that has an outdoor kitchen, an indoor lap pool and a 340-sf second terrace upstairs, the 6,550-sf triplex goes to auction 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

Weekly Roundup: Wallstreeters retreat, actor is defiant, affordability spreads, predictions vary

Financial services sector is producing fewer buyers and renters

Some neighborhoods are much tighter than others

Not much relief anticipated for renters in tough market

You have options for a neighbor who drives you nuts

Foreclosures fall citywide, despite more co-ops for 4th straight month

Long Island City way past the tipping point

Grammy winner and wife buy Greenwich Village penthouse

Presidential relationship hardly helps sale of former Avedon townhouse

Actor makes no friends Continue reading

Brooklyn residents learn hard lesson about trust

Brooklyn House of Detention (via Gothamist)

Some brokers think they know it all.

Others may simply pretend out of ignorance, arrogance or avarice that they know what the future holds.

Some residents of Brooklyn learned that lesson the hard way, 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

I purchased my UWS co-op close to market’s peak

My living room.  (That’s sorely missed Sophie near the table.)

Looking at the recent 10-year report prepared by appraisal heavy Jonathan Miller, I once again considered whether buying my apartment in 2007 was a mistake.

As you can see from glancing at Miller’s charts below, I purchased my co-op on Manhattan’s Upper West Side close to the decade’s price peak in 2008.  Of course, after Lehman Brothers imploded on Sept. 15, 2008, prices plummeted along with sales activity.

Click to expand. (Charts via Prudential Douglas Elliman)

There’s little point in providing the purchase price, but Continue reading

Out and About: Now you do finally see it

Apartment in search of a buyer

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t come across advice about staging.

Although this post doesn’t include any advice, I think the essentially before-and-after photos show why it’s normally harder to tempt a buyer with a vacant apartment than one that has been staged.

The condo shown in the photo is in a new development in West Harlem.  It is on the fifth floor of the building, which is across from Morningside Park, and prospective buyers could not be faulted for failing to envision its possibilities.

But show them the same apartment Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: SO much local and U.S. news

Prices up, sales volume almost flat measured against 2002

Condo prices edge up during last year as sales and inventory slip

And sales and supply Continue reading

Eight reasons that apartments don’t find buyers

Alan May

Alan May, an Illinois Realtor I know and respect from a distance, recently published a post that made a lot of sense to me.

He titled it “8 Reasons why your house won’t sell,” and I’m going to crib shamelessly from and expand on the wise observations that he shares to focus just on apartments. Here goes: Continue reading

Who died and left you. . . the buyer?

Flickr photo by Shaheer Shahid

When it comes to purchasing a property in which someone died, good luck easily finding out that was the case. One reason for secrecy: Such a property generally takes longer to sell.

It doesn’t matter whether there even is a suspicion that someone perished from natural causes, accidental ones, murder or suicide, but state law protects brokers, owners and mere occupants from having to disclose that information.

Nor must they disclose Continue reading