Saturday, August 20, 2011

In New York, a Sprinkling of Higher Prices

Great article about how different and ahead of rest of the Country the Real Estate market in New York City is. Prices going up... Multiple offers... Yap! It is real here!!

In New York, a Sprinkling of Higher Prices

In New York, a Sprinkling of Higher Prices

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
BEFORE the financial markets’ most recent drubbing, New York City’s real estate prices had been flat for the better part of a year. But over the spring and summer, prices in certain pockets of property sprinkled around Manhattan and Brooklyn had rebounded to or beyond pre-recession levels.

Read the article: In New York, a Sprinkling of Higher Prices

Monday, August 15, 2011

Brazil, Fourth Largest Holder Of U.S. Treasuries, Will Maintain Foreign Reserves In Dollar

Brazil has no plans to sell U.S. Treasuries or change its foreign currency reserves holdings as a result of Standard & Poor’s downgraded U.S.’s credit rating,according to Bloomberg.
As of August 4th, Brazil holds $348 billion in foreign currency reserves, 35% more than in the same period in 2010. About 60% of this total, or $211 billion, is held in U.S. treasuries. Hence, Brazil is the US’s fourth largest creditor, only behind China, Japan, and the U.K.
Since Brazil is such a large creditor, it is in Brazil’s interest to enforce the idea that even though U.S. treasuries are no longer “risk free”, they are and will still be perceived as safe havens. Therefore, Brazil will try to send the following message to the market: Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the US.’s credit rating is only an additional dramatic element but it doesn’t really have a large influence in the current global crisis.
Guido Mantega is Brazil’s finance minister. Following the US's credit rating downgrade, I am expecting polemic declarations from the author of the term "currency war." (Image by Reuters)
On the other hand, some believe that the downgrade marks the symbolic act of the beginning of a new cycle of further uncertainty without the existence of totally “risk free” assets- those that remain classified as such do not provide sufficient liquidity to attend everyone’s needs of safe havens. According to a July report, S&P gives 18 independent entities its highest ranking; examples are Hong Kong, Australia, and the Isle of Man.
Scholarships, jobs and industrial production fell in virtually all countries, a scenario that shows no signs of change in the coming months. Nonetheless, Brazil, according to The Economist, was one of the latest countries to get in the global crisis of 2008 and one of the quickest to bounce back, remains confident it has strong defenses against external crisis. Brazil was upgraded another notch on the investment grade scale this year, disparity between rich and poor is shrinking, and it holds reserves of $ 348 billion.  These factors represent strong defenses against external shocks, at least theoretically. For practical reality, however, Brazil is very exposed. In fact, last Friday Brazil’s stock index plummet, registering the worst performance among the world’s 20 largest equity markets.
Source: Forbes

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Building permits see increase, construction resumes in city

Though still below 2008 levels, new construction permits in New York City are on the rise, an indication that developments may be back on track, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Permits for new buildings, alterations and demolition rose by approximately 12 percent during the first half of 2011 compared with the same period last year, according to new data from the Department of Buildings. Demolitions -- normally a firm indicator of brand new projects -- jumped by 14 percent. 

"More construction permits mean more people are going to work," Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri said. 

Private developers are still experiencing difficulty when it comes to financing big projects, said Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, as lenders tighten their restrictions. 

The increase in construction permits is "certainly a positive sign," he said, but the improvement has been undercut by the number of stalled sites in the city[WSJ]

Monday, August 8, 2011

New development condo sales increase in Manhattan, Brooklyn

New development condominium sales are up year-over-year in both Manhattan and Brooklyn for the second quarter of 2011, according to a second-quarter new development report released today by residential real estate firm MNS. 

In Manhattan, condo sales prices were up 18 percent on an average compared to the second quarter of 2010, the report says.  

Compared with the first quarter of 2011, the average Manhattan new development price was virtually flat. Even though some condo sales are seeing strong sales, several real estate professionals told The Real Deal earlier this spring that many challenges lie ahead. 

The Flatiron District saw the most positive change in the second quarter, with the closings at 15 Union Square West  and the $13 million sale of the Cupola apartment at 141 Fifth Avenue forcing the neighborhood average up over 50 percent from the first quarter of 2011. 

On the Lower East Side, the Karl Fischer-designed seven-unit 263 Bowery condominium brought the neighborhood quarterly average price per square foot over the $1,000 benchmark. The neighborhood had a 19 percent increase from the first three months of the year on a price per square foot basis and also had the highest concentration of two-bedroom units sold as compared to other supply within the neighborhood with 78 percent. 

While Greenwich Village and Chelsea condo sales were at a high point between January and March, the slow pace of closings at the Devonshire and Loft 25 brought those neighborhood averages down about 50 percent between April and June.  

In May, several real estate professionals also identified other trouble spots. "Our analysis shows about 5,500 unsold new development units in Manhattan, including all of the "shadow" inventory that's not yet listed. 

Rae Gilson, director of sales at Classic Marketing, said at the time that the "disparity between obtaining a mortgage for a resale and a new development sale is the largest it's been in my 25 years of following the market." 

In Brooklyn, the average new development sales price was up 10 percent year-over-year and 7 percent quarter-over-quarter. 

Bushwick was up from zero new development participation in the second quarter with the addition of six closings from the Knick, and sales averaging $460 per square foot. 

Sales in Prospect Heights almost doubled, primarily due to Richard Meier's 114-unit On Prospect Park, the report says. The $3.3 million penthouse sale was the highest new development sale in the borough in the second quarter. 

Boerum-Cobble Hill saw an over 20 percent jump in sales prices over the first quarter of the year. In the Cobble Hill historic district, closings at the converted church, called Landmark at Strong Place, began, averaging over $1.5 million. In Williamsburg, closings at the Edge made up a quarter of all second-quarter of 2011 transactions in Williamsburg and boosted the neighborhood average to $710 per foot. 

Greenpoint had both a quarterly and an annual decline sales price of about 5 percent. In addition, the number of closings dropped by 50. Even without the final sale of the penthouses at 50 Bayard the neighborhood remains flat.

Source: The Real Deal by By Miranda Neubauer

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Despite improved quarterly figures, home prices still struggle to recover

Though national home prices posted 4.1 percent quarter-over-quarter gains on improved summer numbers, year-over-year declines reveal that markets are still trying to find their footing, according to July 2011 Home Data Index from Clear Capital, released today. 

The gains of 4.1 percent, the second consecutive month of positive price gains, represent an improvement over June's 0.9 percent rolling quarter uptick but they have not been enough to alter the broader housing picture, Alex Villacorta, director of research and analytics at Clear Capital, said. 

"Building off last month's minimal quarterly gains," he said, "prices continue to correct from winter's extended declines. Although this is encouraging, many markets are still near, or at record lows as [real estate-owned] saturation remains a significant proportion of all sales activity." 

Northeast markets bucked the trend of year-over-year price declines, the report shows, with the broader New York City area posting positive growth year-over-year. Orlando, Fla. and New York, N.Y. both made it onto a list of top performing U.S. markets, ranking 14th and 15th respectively, both displaying quarterly growth of 6.7 percent. 

All four U.S. regions are still experiencing yearly declines, the report shows. The Midwest was hit the hardest, experiencing a decline in price of 13.1 percent. 

The national REO saturation rate, now at 28 percent, is improving, down 5.7 percent from last quarter. 

--The Real Deal by Katherine Clarke

Friday, August 5, 2011

Onsite: Early Look at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

With the 10 year anniversary of September 11, 2011, less than six weeks away, we took a trip downtown to see how things are coming together at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Entering the WTC site from Greenwich and Liberty Streets, below the rising tower of 4 WTC where glass is going in, the scope of the rebuilding is ever apparent. From beyond the fence and along downtown sidewalks the WTC site still seems somewhat remote, but once inside the construction zone the sheer amount of glass, steel and stone is awe-inspiring. Everywhere the eye roams workers are busy lifting massive beams and raising curtain wall panels into place. The changes over the past 3 years are profound, ascan be seen in our WTC Construction Watch Special from September 2008.
Masons are laying stone pavers across the 8-acre Memorial Plaza, now planted with swamp oak trees rising 30 feet into the air, their leaves and branches offering cover from the hot summer sun. Waterfalls in the South Poolbuilt at "a scale that is unmatched" and moving 24,000 gallons of water per minute, cascade over 30-foot walls of granite, flowing down to a center pool where the water disappears below. At bottom an access door is tucked into the stone and shows massive hardware reminiscent of a submarine. We made our way along the parapet of the South Pool where names of those lost will be displayed in bronze. We passed through the workers and trees towards the center of the Memorial Plaza, then slipped inside theMemorial Pavilion, now nearly glassed and clad, and made our way into the Museum.
The Pavilion, set to open in 2012 and designed by Snohetta so that it "provides a sense of intimacy in an otherwise capacious urban space," gives a whole other perspective, both historically and architecturally. Once inside the gridded framework, a wide set of stairs leads up to rooms overlooking the Memorial, the arches of the Santiago Calatrava transportation hub and tower sites nearby. Descending the stairs, two steel tridents from the original twin towers stand tall. Through the gridded glass the new 1 World Trade Center tower is seen rising skyward. A ramp takes us through the interior of the museum space, between the structure of the two pools marking the original tower foundations. The exposed slurry wall, the edge of the WTC bathtub holding back the waters of the Hudson River, can be seen from an overlook where the ribbon-like pathway leads down to the Museum's main level at bedrock. There artifacts will be stark reminders of that morning ten years ago, including FDNY vehicles that were recently lowered into place, now sitting covered and silent.
Returning to the Memorial plaza above, two concrete vent structures bordering the western perimeter have been clad in steel mesh, rendering the buildings diaphanous. The Memorial Glade at the southwest corner of the site, near whereLiberty and West Streets meet, is now encircled by trees, an open space for gatherings and the perfect spot for taking in the towers rising just beyond. 4 WTC to the east is up above the 35th floor, eventually climbing to nearly 975 feet and 72 stories. 1 WTC to the north has now reached nearly 900 feet on the way to its full height of 1776 feet. From points all over NYC, this tapering tower is filling the hole we've seen in our sky for the past decade, a new monument to our city of commerce.
A full batch of shots from our 9/11 Memorial and Museum tour can be found in ourFlickr Gallery
Source: The Real Deal by Pete Davies

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ForSalebyOwner.Com Founder Gives Up On Own Listing, Hires Real Estate Broker

forsalebyowner founder gives up on own listing, hires real estate broker

Former FSBO CEO Sells Home The Traditional Way

Founder and former CEO of, Colby Sambrotto listed his 2,000 square foot New York condominium on his own through online classified ads and FSBO sites, but after six months, he opted to hire a New York Realtor  who immediately advised a price change as the listing was not attracting the right buyer.
After giving up on the DIY route, Sambrotto’s decision to hire a broker led to attracting multiple offers, closing for $150,000 over the original asking price. The reports show the listing sold for $2.15 million including a 6% commission.

Many FSBOs Turn To Realtors

The news stands as an enormous validation of the real estate profession and while some may tease, it is no laughing matter and the former FSBO CEO made a good financial decision.
AGBeat columnist Herman Chan said, “If people want to take a stab at For Sale By Owner (ie FSBO), go for it. But well over 80% of FSBO’s eventually have to list with an real estate agent to get their house sold. It’s harder than it looks!”

Not A New Dilemma

Marlow Harris, Seattle Residential and Investment Consultant at Coldwell Banker Bain Associates told AGBeat, “The founder’s dilemma is one we see quite often and is not unusual. Trying to sell your own property yourself or using a discount brokerage, is not the solution for everyone. Unusual properties, properties in the higher price range, these are more difficult to sell and often require specialization.”
Harris continues, “We see these choices across the board, from single family homes to huge housing developments. For instance, Vulcan, one of Paul Allen’s companies which has invested heavily in Redfin, does not use Redfin to market their many condominium projects. They use traditional real estate firms such as John L. Scott, Williams Marketing and Matrix Real Estate, finding that the do-it-yourself approach to real estate just doesn’t work for these types of sales.”
Source: AGBeat News | August 3, 2011