Weekly Roundup: Broker titles, celebs on the move, growing supply, reverse mortgages, the American Dream, boarding houses, and more

Next week’s Weekly Roundup will be the last until Sept. 6

Offering plans afford glimpse into pluses, minuses of lavish lifestyle in luxe buildings

Buyers snapping up Manhattan apartments 38 percent faster than last year, with UWS tightest market

Brokers still wrestling with new state rules on titles

Prices of Williamsburg condos plummeted in spring

First-half volume of investment properties leaps 41.3 percent over same time last year

One Picasso forsaking his walls

Lord of the Rings actor drops $1.075 million for gingerbread Victorian in Texas

Former NBA player lists California home for $2.795 million

Onetime TV detective, also actor who originated role of Continue reading

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Blogger contends real estate is ‘The Great Lie’

(Source: The Buttonwood Tree)

Is real estate “The Great Lie?”

Writing as author of “Diary of a Financier,” a blogger on The Buttonwood Tree provocatively argues that costs beyond mortgage payments suggest that real estate and housing are “not terrific investments.”  Says the post:

Most suggestions otherwise are a huge lie, perhaps The Great Lie.  The Lie is perpetrated most in the commercialization of the “American Dream”: a white, picket fence for every man, woman, and family.  Non-income-producing, residential real estate is broadly a money pit.  For long-term holding periods (5-20 years), the value of this real estate is severely eroded by its cost of carry, including  Taxes + Insurance + Maintenance.

Although I have often expressed my own concerns about The American Dream, I have to wonder about Continue reading

Consensus erupts over trend toward renting

(Flickr photo by abrin523)

Beware the stampede of opinions about potential homebuyers.  Those views are trampling conventional wisdom by asserting that the American Dream is dead or dying.

Last week, momentum swelled around the idea that many folks are choosing to rent a home rather than buy one.  Such consumers fall into two groups: Those for whom it is their only option because of finances and those who lack enough confidence in real estate to risk a decline in the value of their property.

I don’t know that the herd of economists and analysts wiser than me is wrong, but the volume and consistency of reports about the decline of American Dream was remarkable.

(Most of the links below have appeared or will do so in my Weekly Roundup on Fridays, on the Service You Can Trust Facebook page, on Twitter or some combination.)

Just look at the drumbeat of evidence over the last couple of weeks — for example, what James Bullard, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis observed on Friday: Continue reading

Drumbeat intensifies against home subsidies

Finance Professor Viral V. Acharya of NYU's Stern School of Business

An op-ed piece in the New York Times this week drew a tweet from a broker friend of mine saying that the authors’ points were “inane.”

Even as a dedicated social and economic liberal, never mind real estate broker, I have to disagree with him.  In earlier posts, I have confessed to finding myself in the uncomfortable position of questioning why the American Dream has to consist of homeownership.

A roof over heads is a roof, whether owned or rented.  Shelter is shelter.

Since the contention that home ownership stabilizes neighborhoods has yet to be proved, what are the other justifications for homeownership?

Try to enumerate the advantages of homeownership, and I’ll bet Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Prices up, recovery iffy. More!

Here’s your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out the other of today’s posts and look for Out and About on Tuesday.  And have a very happy Independence Day!

Estate sale of Patricia Neal’s Yorkville co-op sells for $70,000 below asking price

Retired slugger’s Tribeca triplex finds buyer after three years

Model, actress, director’s ex cuts Manhattan link with sale of penthouse for $3.05 million

Terrace presumably enchants actress who buys $1.75 million penthouse in Greenwich Village

TV talk personality relists Greenwich home less $2.1 million, while TV wrestling star also tries again with huge discount

Right-winger turns left, leaving Manhattan to rent in Texas

Couple fulfills their California dreams with purchase of $6.5 million Los Angeles home

With sale of her Beverly Hills estate, actress just goes without it

Late crusty screen legend’s estate in Old Seabrook is listed again, this time for $28 million

Single-family home prices inch up in April but stay 31.8 percent below peak with an analyst’s take on what it all means

Pending home sales rise in May from prior month and prior year

Inventory of homes for sale Continue reading

Fannie, Freddie ideas could change our world

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may seem like distant galaxies, light years from our world as we know it.

But the proposals last week by the Obama administration to phase them out could have a profound affect on all buyers and sellers as early as this year.

To be sure, a proposal is a long, long way from congressional action, and self-interested parties such as the Mortgage Bankers Association already Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Clouds admit glimmers of hope

Depending on news volume, this Friday feature may not–but probably will–return before Jan. 7.  Please do check back between now and then for occasional posts.

Meantime, here’s your chance to catch up with real estate developments included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you. To read about The Big Apple, check out another of today’s three posts.

MAISONETTE OWNED BY LATE UPPER-CRUST FAMILY FINALLY FINDS BUYERS SLICED FROM THE SAME LOAF

AN ACTING COUPLE SLIPS AWAY IN THE CITY AFTER THEIR OFFER IS ACCEPTED

WRITER OF MONEY SPENDS A BUNCH OF IT TO BUY A BROWNSTONE IN BROOKLYN

PRIZE-WINNING IRISH NOVELIST WHO IS LOVED BY OPRAH MOVES UP IN THE WORLD

RATHER FAMOUS BARD’S HOME ON THE RANGE IS ON THE MARKET

DECADE ENDS WITH AVERAGE 58 PERCENT GAIN IN HOME PRICES

CONTINUING TO RISE, Continue reading