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

Wallstreeters must hope that past isn’t precedent

I’ve been reading a justly lauded book about Bear Stearns and the shenanigans that led to the firm’s collapse, House of Cards by William D. Cohan.

In his dissection of the firm and his evisceration of its executives, the author periodically brings us up to date on their compensation, a pittance in contrast to most of the mammoth packages handed on Wall Street today.

For example, Cohan writes that top executives, especially Ace Greenberg and Jimmy Cayne, were making “eye-popping” amounts of money in the fiscal year ended June 1991.  He notes that:

. . . the thirteen top Bear Stearns executives received an average compensation of $2.8 million, up 25 percent from the year before.

Greenberg’s cash compensation for the year increased to $5.3 million, from $4.2 million the year before.”

Who among us wouldn’t be thrilled to collect that much money in a single year?  Answer: the folks toiling on the Street these days. Continue reading