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

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

The Big Apple: Luxury sales surge along with wages

COLUMNIST RAILS AGAINST HOUSING DISCRIMINATION BY RACE

Mayor Bloomberg’s Commission on Human Rights is a “nearly invisible joke,” contends Errol Louis in the New York Daily News. Says he:

The agency’s 2009 annual report included a single paragraph on housing discrimination with no information on Continue reading

The Big Apple: Is the housing market stabilizing?

THE TIMES SUGGESTS STABILITY IS RETURNING TO OUR HOUSING MARKET

New York City’s largest brokerage firms are reporting something of a rebound and, with a sense of relief, even a possible state of stability, according to the New York Times.

“It is too soon to tell about a return to normalcy,” said Noah Rosenblatt, an independent broker who publishes real estate data on his Web site, UrbanDigs, and has been analyzing recent property listings, new contracts and sales. “It looks to me that we hit the bottom” in the sales slump that drove home prices down, he said, and that “activity is starting to really pick up.”

The major brokerages agree that: prices, while low, are holding steady; inventory over all appears to be at a relatively healthy level; and sales have risen substantially over the last six months.

The exception was a slightly slower-than-normal summer, but it came after a slightly better bonus season earlier in the year, and there are now reports of a more typical post-Labor Day upswing.

The prospect of a return to seasons in real estate — a busy spring and fall, slow summer months and a sleepy market during the holidays, followed by bonus-driven sales from the start of the year to spring — is itself cause for some muted celebration, the Times opined.

FORECLOSURE ACTIVITY JUMPS IN THE CITY

The number of New York City residences entering the foreclosure process surged by nearly 38 percent in August, reversing a six-month trend and suggesting that the foreclosure cycle has yet to fully run its course in the Big Apple, reports RealtyTrac, according to the Real Deal. Continue reading