Co-op boards screw sellers, selves over price

(Flickr photo by striatic)

It is not a new phenomenon, but Jhonna Robledo of New York magazine has uncovered some troubling information about co-op boards.

The boards seem — there is no way of knowing for sure — to be turning down buyers at a growing rate if they think an apartment’s price is too low.  Says Robledo Continue reading

A day doesn’t go by without this question

Sleeping pills are the last thing this market needs, but some meds might prove to be useful to combat buyer and seller anxiety. (Flickr photo by Dean812)

How’s the market?

That a question I am asked daily.  I wish I had a better answer than this: It’s more or less stable, depending on the week.

Although my response seems to satisfy most questioners, it troubles me to be unable to provide a more precise take on the Manhattan housing market.  Appraisal executive Jonathan Miller has been saying for some time that the market has been “moving sideways,” and I guess that’s essentially the same thing phrased more elegantly than I do.

There are plenty of statistics, the best coming from my friend Noah Rosenblatt over at  He and others have documented a surge in the sales of high-priced properties, those in the millions.

But the numbers also show that Continue reading

The Big Apple: Luxury sales surge along with wages


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: Whither our housing market. More!


If you head to Edgewater, N.J. Nov. 17, you can start the bidding with $50,000 on a one-bedroom condo in Battery Park City.

Unit 333 at 21 South End Ave. is the only real estate in New York City among numerous other properties in New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to be auctioned by the Williams & Williams company.

The Regatta

Seventeen units in the Regatta are now on the market, including one with a signed contract, at prices ranging from $385,000 for another third-floor unit described as a junior one-bedroom to $2.7 million for a two-bedroom apartment on the sixth floor.


When it comes to the housing market, predictions are perilous business, notes the New York Times. A market that looked as if it was verging on a renaissance Continue reading

The Big Apple: Village townhouse is auctioned. More!


It took only three minutes, from 6:19 p.m. to 6:21 p.m., for the successful bidder to spend $6.634 million at a court-ordered auction yesterday of a Greenwich Village townhouse that had been listed at $9.95 million not long ago.

“I’m very happy with the price I paid,” said the affable bidder, 51, Continue reading

Finally, a new index tracks condo activity in Manhattan

Thank you,, for introducing a Condo Market Index (CMI) for sales in Manhattan. No longer do we have to contend with Case-Shiller’s imperfect index, which covers the entire city and surrounding suburbs while ignoring apartment sales.

In the chart above, the bottom line represents condo sales volume in all of Manhattan starting in January 1995. Click to expand and to link to a detailed table of prices by the downtown, midtown, Upper West Side and Upper East Side neighborhoods.

Unfortunately, the property-search Web site does not provide Continue reading

September may be cruelest month since August

This graph by UrbanDigs shows quarterly average sale price trends.

When I visited 14 open houses from Central Park to the Hudson River and 62nd to 93rd streets on Sunday, I came away with the impression that our housing market was beginning to develop some strength

Buyers were out there, and a couple of brokers said they already had offers in hand.

Given that there were 461 open houses scheduled on the entire Upper West Side that day and my observations had to be skewed, I decided to see what I could learn from OLR, a prime broker database that fails to be comprehensive or otherwise completely accurate as broker, numbers cruncher and blogger Noah Rosenblatt convincingly argues.

A chief reason: Many brokers fail to update their listings in a timely manner (as anyone who searches, and other databases knows).

It turns out that I was in for a surprise. Continue reading

What to make of a Times story on stalling sales?

An article in the New York Times today does little to inspire confidence in the Big Apple’s housing market.  In case you missed it, the long piece by Vivian Toy begins this way:

This year, the burst of real estate action that marks the spring season came early in New York. Manhattan saw a big sales spike in March, well before the market’s usual busy season in May and June. But now, instead of going into the expected overdrive, some brokers say, sales have started to stall.

That could simply mean that spring arrived and ended early, as buyers gained confidence in the market and began to shop. Or it could mark the beginning of a slide that will lead to another dip in prices and sales activity.

Although many brokers will tell clients that the market has already hit bottom, some economists and real estate experts predict that prices are still falling, and will drop 5 percent to 15 percent by the end of next year.

Frankly, I’m not sure what to make of the article, which is strong on anecdote, weak on numbers. That’s not to say Continue reading

Comparing sales just got harder, in a way

Six of one and . . . (Flickr photo by theilr)

Starting March 12, the city changed the way it displays property records in its online database, the Automated City Register Information System, or ACRIS.  The modification was little noticed until the Real Deal ran a piece on its Web site the other day.

For example, as the publication observed, the closed sale price of a unit at 10 West 66th St. that had shown a recorded sale price of $1 million jumped to $1.75 million. A studio at 61 Jane St. had a price tag of $87,900 when the deal closed in 2009, then $439,500 after the change in ACRIS, from which and draw data.

The change is meant to reflect virtually everything a buyer expends to purchase a co-op, Continue reading