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.
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.
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
Experts cannot agree on how long housing’s crisis will continue or how to fix the problem.
You may have noticed my characterization of the situation as a “crisis,” and certainly everything that has happened in housing in the last three years has been tragically dislocating to millions of families and profoundly harmful to the economy. No one knows when it all will end or even how bad things will be when it’s finally over.
The effects of the bursting bubble have thrown lives into chaos and helped make a shamble of the economy, and that’s where the word “crisis” comes in. Whether ameliorating the crisis means that the nation will–or should–return to 68-69 percent home ownership is another matter on which I have written and will consider again below
Morgan Stanley housing strategist Oliver Chang:
Whether it’s the sidelined, shadow or current inventory, the issue is Continue reading
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
Buyers seem not only to be looking again, but they are starting to make offers. And the offers are less likely to be insulting than they were just a couple of months ago. Much of the activity appears to be centered on properties listed below $1 million, though buyers at higher levels clearly are less gun-shy than they were in the recent past.
If you doubt the foregoing information, have a look at Sunday’s New York Times, which leads the Real Estate section with a long piece that has the following headline:
Bidding Wars Resume
Regular readers of this blog and my e-newsletter won’t be surprised by the news: I have been warning that such wars would reappear once there occurred a perception that the bottom was here or approaching. (However, my timing was a bit off; I didn’t expect that change until sometime next year. In any case, I doubt the trend is widespread yet.)
Ask buyers about their renewed interest, and the answers are almost the same: Continue reading