Weekly Roundup: Lawsuits, rising sales, falling foreclosures, ghostly cities, rosier forecasts

Everywhere in the city, brown sandstone is a fading commodity

Having tried a $500,000 two-week Hamptons rental to snag a man, Cheryl Mercuris buys $13.72 million UWS condo

Good investment property must first of all be in — duh — right location

Record 33 contracts signed for luxury properties last week

To track down pre-construction bargains, start with city’s Web site, then negotiate hard

Priciest zip isn’t on the Upper East Side after all

Median price of lower-end homes swoons in the Hamptons

Agents have reasons stemming from mid 90s lawsuit for withholding square footage

Mauritian national seeks more than $1 million on claim that co-op board broke anti-discrimination law

Rise recorded in foreclosure, delinquency rates in metro region

Stigmatized Kennedy property in Connecticut finds buyer in week

Acting couple rid themselves of Mediterranean-style mansion in Los Angeles for $6.7 million

Moving four blocks away, funny man and wife add a room

Ex-wife of billionaire financier/philanthropist Continue reading

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The Economist asks why commissions are so high

“Why is it so expensive to buy or sell a house in America?” the Economist magazine recently asked.

According to the magazine in its unsigned piece, the short answer is greed.

It reports that my British counterparts charge just 2-3 percent of the sale price to “list the property, find a buyer, help you negotiate a deal and guide you through the transaction.”

Forget that here, the Economist says in its article, titled “The great realtor rip-off:”

The demise of the 6% commission may still be inevitable. But for now, it seems a long way off.

According to the magazine, one theory Continue reading

The days are numbered for dinosaur brokerages

The hulking real estate brokerages whose names leap to mind will cease to exist in their current form five years from now.

That’s my prediction based on changes in the industry that have moved from evolutionary to revolutionary.

In the last few years, Continue reading

Pimps are not the only procurers in town

(Flickr photo by RedMorris)

There’s a phrase in the real estate industry that you hear in most housing markets outside of New York City.  It is “procuring cause,” and so arrested is my development that the words make me want to giggle.

But procuring cause is no laughing matter.

Nor is it as arcane as you might imagine.  Yet the only reference I could find in my 390-page text on New York real estate was its definition in the glossary:

The basis for a direct action that results in successfully completing an objective.

In common parlance relating to real estate, the phrase implies Continue reading

The Big Apple: Sales, prices were up at one point

WITH FEW AFFORDABLE NEIGHBORHOODS, MANY ARTISTS ARE FLEEING NEW YORK CITY

Artists have long struggled in New York, moving into rough areas, gentrifying them and then getting forced out, Crain’s observes.

But as the city has gotten increasingly expensive, there are few such neighborhoods left to move to, forcing a growing number of artists to abandon the city.

Although there are no official numbers, a survey of 1,000 artists conducted in 2009 by the New York Foundation for the Arts found that more than 43 percent expected their annual income to drop by 26-50 percent over the next six months, and 11 percent believed they would have to leave New York within six months.

Even more troubling, cultural boosters say, is that for the first time, artists fresh out of art schools around the country are choosing to live in nascent artist communities in regional cities such as Detroit and Cleveland–which are dangling incentives to attract this group–and bypassing New York altogether.

PURCHASE MORTGAGES POSTED Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: The Fed’s actions could lower rates

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 another of today’s three posts.

BILLY’S EX STANDS TO CLEAN UP IN MORE WAYS THAN A SPIC-AND-SPAN KITCHEN

LATE MERGER MAVEN’S FIFTH AVENUE APARTMENT IS LISTED FOR $26 MILLION

SHE’S NOW GETTING HER LETTERS AT DEVONSHIRE HOUSE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE

AUTHOR OF GREED AND GLORY ON WALL STREET BUYS SECOND MULTI-MILLION-DOLLAR APARTMENT

PALIN DOPPELGANGER DISPOSES OF AN UWS STUDIO SHE USED AS AN OFFICE NEAR HER $3.4 MILLION CO-OP

NOVELIST AND PAINTER WIFE SELL GRAMERCY PARK TOWNHOUSE FOR A GREAT PRICE

ACTOR IS TREATED TO SALE OF HIS BROOKLYN TOWNHOUSE OVER THE ASKING PRICE

AND AN ACADEMY-AWARD WINNER’S MAISON BLANCHE IS FOR SALE ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE


HOME OWNERSHIP IS AT Continue reading

Commissions cause cheating, confusion, contempt

Let me rant first about a client whose name I’d love to publish. But I refrain from stooping to his level. (Then I’ll to try clear up some misconceptions.)

There's nothing like a knife in the back.

Call him “Judas,” a retiree who is returning to Manhattan from the Southwest. Referred to me by friends of friends well more than a year ago, he originally wanted to purchase a one- or two-bedroom apartment for no more than $750,000 cash.

Judas was pretty much computer illiterate when we first spoke, and I spent literally hours teaching him long distance how to open attachments and navigate the listings I sent him. Then I spent countless hours–I don’t know, maybe 40 or so over the months–listening to him muse out loud about the state of the market, the names he persisted in dropping, neighborhoods, his relatives and his vast store of knowledge about New York real estate. Continue reading