Weekly Roundup: Market reports out, interest rates never lower, a music man moves and more!

Third quarter reports may imply continuing market stability

Former IRS agent says developers evade substantial taxes annually

Can’t we all just get along: How to be a good neighbor

Faced with white brick, buildings face mighty big expenses now

Six in Queens, including two brokers, accused of participating in $25 million mortgage fraud

Rat’s not the only island in the city, but the others — e.g. Manhattan — are not exactly for sale

Open House New York gives let’s you inside this weekend

Cool interactive map shows 3Q sales data by buildings’ price range

Foreclosure actions continue downward trend

City official, six developers charged with racketeering, bribery

Cow heads could be yours at Landmarks Preservation Commission auction

17 questions to ask before buying an apartment

He adds even more windows to his world

Music man Continue reading

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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

The Big Apple: Rents up, condo owners sinking

Luxury markets pulls up Q2 average price, though volume declines

Overall sales volume of condominiums and cooperative apartments in Manhattan has been off about 11 percent so far in the second quarter compared with same period last year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the city’s data.

A year ago, the market was bouncing back strongly from the after-effects of the financial crisis.

Prices have remained flat. Data on closings show that median prices in the second quarter were 1.2 percent below prices during the year-earlier period, while average prices rose by 1.5 percent.

The average price for a Manhattan apartment was about $1.39 million in the latest period. The figures are based on closings filed with the city as of 15 days before the end of each quarter.

Russians are invading Continue reading

Reported research results rarely tell a true story

Way back in the dark ages, when I was in graduate school getting a master’s in communication, the subject of opinion research so interested me that I developed and conducted a survey for my master’s project.

The result of that intense effort has been my enduring interest and unmitigated skepticism about polls and other studies that are disseminated by the news media.

Although the news media have grown more sophisticated, especially about political polls, I find myself to be continually astonished by how much evidently shoddy research finds validation on the Internet, in newspapers and magazines, and on radio and television.

Regular readers no doubt recall my recurring rants about research on the nation’s housing market, none of which is entirely — or, for that matter — even mostly accurate. Case-Shiller is my favorite target, a great example being in Sunday’s New York Times, when Shiller cited his research based on 407 and 296 respondents in different years as if they represented a national sample of home buyers.  Impossible!

For that matter, how could 407 and 296 responses each reflect national sentiment?  If 296 is sufficient, why poll 407?  Conversely– you get the idea.

If only Shiller were alone.  But none of the others — not Trulia, not Zillow, not RealtyTrac, not CoreLogic, not Radar logic, not the federal government, not one — reveals the true story.

Findings may be out of date, Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Price indices are down, or up

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, which I postponed to bloviate on pressing news, early next week.

Scraping up cash, convict’s brother puts his Long Island mansion on the market

He directs that his Los Angeles home be sold for $10.9 million

Case-Shiller has single-family house prices dropping to mid-2002 levels, a new  low since then

A Wall Street Journal writer puts the numbers in perspective

Monthly index of home prices increases 0.7 percent in April

30-year mortgage dips to new low of Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: The Big Apple and Beyond

This holiday-weekend combined post is your chance to catch up with news included to inform, enlighten and perhaps even entertain you.  You’ll find Out and About early next week and additional posts every day except President’s Day as usual.

COMMON DISPUTE ABOUT SQUARE FOOTAGE MAKES RARE COURT APPEARANCE

Four years ago, Rishi Bhandari and his fiancée put down a deposit on a condo in Downtown Brooklyn. The price was $795,000, for a two-bedroom two-bathroom apartment, reports the New York Times.

But just before they were to close, Continue reading

The Big Apple: Median price grew most here

My coverage of New York City news likely will be sporadic over the next couple of weeks, but please do check here to catch up with important developments or perhaps my idle musings.

BANKS STRUGGLE TO SEIZE HOMES, MORE SO IN NEW YORK THAN ANYWHERE ELSE

It takes longer to foreclose on homes in New York than in any other state—and it’s getting longer every month.

Two years ago, the state began requiring that banks and borrowers attend settlement conferences before a foreclosure takes place.

While the conferences are popular with borrowers and have succeeded in helping some families keep their homes, banks have been reluctant to participate. That, and recent revelations that some lenders have improperly submitted foreclosure documents, has prompted judges to take a harsher stance with lenders.

CUOMO IS UNRELENTING ON PLEDGE TO CAP PROPERTY TAXES

Gov.-elect Andrew M. Cuomo is making clear to legislative leaders that one of his priorities is to cap local property taxes, a notion that would have large consequences statewide for homeowners and school districts.

Take my refrigerator, please, as the eighth item below suggests. No, not YOU! (Flickr photo by Tammy Green)

Cuomo is proposing a limit on the total amount of property tax dollars that can be collected annually by a school district, municipality or special district by capping the increase in the local tax levy at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, according to his campaign literature.  Schools traditionally receive the largest share of property taxes.

A cap would not directly affect New York City, where property taxes are relatively low because of revenue from the city’s personal income tax and where the schools are financed through the general city budget. But outside the city, New York is among the most heavily taxed states in the country.

D’YA THINK THIS NOMAD MIGHT HAVE A BOOK OR MOVIE DEAL IN THE BACK OF HIS MIND OR HIGHEST OF HIS HOPES?

Ed Casabian’s nomadic existence Continue reading