Weekly Roundup: Broker titles, celebs on the move, growing supply, reverse mortgages, the American Dream, boarding houses, and more

Next week’s Weekly Roundup will be the last until Sept. 6

Offering plans afford glimpse into pluses, minuses of lavish lifestyle in luxe buildings

Buyers snapping up Manhattan apartments 38 percent faster than last year, with UWS tightest market

Brokers still wrestling with new state rules on titles

Prices of Williamsburg condos plummeted in spring

First-half volume of investment properties leaps 41.3 percent over same time last year

One Picasso forsaking his walls

Lord of the Rings actor drops $1.075 million for gingerbread Victorian in Texas

Former NBA player lists California home for $2.795 million

Onetime TV detective, also actor who originated role of Continue reading

Suburbs aren’t, and won’t be, what they were

Welcome home–not so much! (Flickr photo by Pierre Metivier)

When it comes to the suburbs and especially the exurbs, look back to the cities.  Consider these facts:

  • Three quarters of recent college graduates and young professionals say they plan to live in an urban core even if it costs them more money than elsewhere and their living space is smaller;
  • Baby Boomers are listing their suburban homes to live near urban amenities;
  • Household size continues to diminish along with household formation;
  • The housing crisis has caused plunging building permits, undeveloped subdivisions and price increases that lag the cities;
  • The flagging economy has pushed up unemployment rates and poverty in the exurbs;
  • Real estate investors have no interest in suburban office parks and commercial real estate in more distant suburbs.

Those are not my observations, but Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Supply in U.S. and NYC dwindles, rates keep falling, Oprah takes bath, hell is hoarder at home, Shiller’s glass half empty

Obama slept here, and so can you for $2,400 a month

Median price of new condos up 15.4 percent from year ago, inventory down 19.1 percent

Q2 prices in Brooklyn, Queens edge up as inventory plunges

With prices falling in the Hamptons, sales pick up

Boards only set policies and six other surprises that rookie members may confront

New rental units in the city undergoing shrinkage

New handful of properties set to come on market at $90 million or more

Retired detective names safest, riskiest units in apartment building

Sales volume, property values remain well below peak levels, says NYU’s Furman Center

Number of residential building permits skyrockets, especially in Manhattan

Super rich Continue reading

A bombshell calling ‘the bottom’ lands online

Housing starts (Click to expand via Calculated Risk)

Bill McBride, who is a highly respected blogger on finance and economics, lobbed a bombshell the other day that has been predictably controversial.

On CalculatedRisk.com — which I check two or three times a day for his latest news, information and insights on real estate — the full-time blogger declared the following:

The Housing Bottom Is Here

He contended that Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: New mortgage caps irk sellers

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 early next week.

Actor seeks to trade visual poetry for pied-à-terre and pâté de foie gras

Live buyer catches mystery writer’s lair on W. 67th St. for $745,000

Celebrity photographer who was a Warhol protégée sells his two-bedroom apartment

He puts Telluride spread on the market for $18.3 million, not that there’s anything wrong with that

Average effective rent rises $23 to $997/month, but NYC at $2,826

New Zestimates give rise to Continue reading

Weekly Roundup: Prices down, rates up, Shiller upbeat

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 early next week.

HE’S SLIDING INTO MANHATTAN FROM NEW JERSEY

FASHION DESIGNER TURNS NOSE UP AT GRAMERCY PAD IN WHICH HE NEVER LIVED

HIS DESIGNS ON A SECOND FIFTH AVENUE PENTHOUSE ACROSS THE HALL FINALLY BEAR FRUIT

HAS ANYONE TOLD KERMIT THAT HIS ORIGINAL HOME IS GOING ON THE MARKET?

KATIE’S PAMPERED PAD SELLS AT A DISCOUNT FROM $12.9 MILLION ASKING PRICE A YEAR AGO

SPORTS EXEC SCORES A NEW $4.2 MILLION HOME ON UPPER EAST SIDE

IS SEXY VILLAGE PENTHOUSE REALLY HERS?

CONTRACT PRICE OF BROOKE’S HOME TRICKLES WAY DOWN FROM ORIGINAL $46 MILLION ASK

PRICES DROP 1.8 PERCENT FROM NOVEMBER TO DECEMBER

BUT TRADE GROUP REPORTS GAINS IN PRICE AND VOLUME FOR RE-SALES DURING FOURTH QUARTER

ALL-CASH PURCHASES LIFT HOUSING

RESPECTED MOODY’S ECONOMIST SAYS Continue reading

The Times’ David Leonhardt keeps making sense

Graphic from The New York Times

Prescient and perceptive, David Leonhardt has earned my respect and admiration over the years.  Most recently, his column last week–headlined “The Bears and the State of Housing,” about which more below–got me thinking.  Which is the point.

A dummy, Leonhardt isn’t.

According to a Times bio, he is a New York native who studied applied math at Yale and then worked for Business Week and the Washington Post.  Since 2000, he has written for the Times and has been a columnist there since 2006.  He was one of the writers who produced the paper’s 2005 series on social class in the United States.

His “Economic Scene” column on Aug. 15, 2007 provided rare early warning, which I unfortunately failed to heed, about the Wall Street’s euphoria.  Said Leonhardt:

Going forward, one possibility is Continue reading

Shiller isn’t sure about a double dip in housing

In an interview with the Motley Fool, Robert Shiller of Case-Shiller fame, weighs in on the state of the housing recovery.  It is, says the Yale economist, “hard to quote probability because people who do that rely on statistical analysis and past data.”  Here’s what else he disclosed: Continue reading

Is it not true that economists like it both ways?

Wolves, not bears. (Flickr photo by Tambako the Jaguar)

There is a basic problem with economic forecasting, and that problem is insuperable.

Here is the problem: Economics is only a behavioral science, and human behavior is famously impossible to predict.

(If it weren’t, you undoubtedly can think of numerous examples of the failure of economists to tell the future as in–oh, I don’t know–the Wall Street debacle.  An example in a different context: the numerous mistakes that parole boards make on something as seemingly foreseeable as the propensity of a prisoner to commit another crime?)

As a result, economists always seem to be talking out of both sides of their mouths, having it both ways, being two-faced–pick your favorite cliché.

What got me thinking about this concern in the past week has been several articles that quoted economists, starting with one of my favorite punching bags, Robert Shiller.  Continue reading

He’s the gift that doesn’t stop giving

If you predict that the time will be 6 p.m., you’ll be right twice a day.

If you forecast rain, you’ll be correct – eventually.

There had to be a time when Prof. Shiller was called "Bobby."

Robert Shiller was right eventually, too, when he projected a bursting of the housing bubble.  He had to be right – eventually.  Yet it was years before his doomsaying came true.

At the same time, the Case-Shiller Indices, which the Yale economics professor and his pal, Karl E. Case issue monthly, also can be right – but only if you put them in the following perspective: Continue reading