Thursday, January 31, 2008
$20 Million Library In LIC Gets Go Ahead? (Curbed)
City Council Looks To Cut Off Tax Break For MSG (NY Times)
New York's First Snow Free January In 75 Years (NY Sun)
Congestion Pricing Plan Takes A Beating In Albany (NY Times)
What Housing Crisis? (Newsweek)
Luxury Tower At Ground Zero Defies Soft Market (Reuters India)
Celebrity Real Estate Round Up (Luxist)
Courtesy: Crystal CG Renders
It has been reported in today's New York Times and various media sources that Major League Baseball is making a play for the yet to be approved Harlem Park office tower at Park Avenue and 125th Street. The 21 Story, 630,000 square foot tower would be Harlem's first Class A office building in more than 30 years. MLB would take about 1/5th of the proposed space. Vornado, the developer, is also negotiating with Inner City Broadcasting in hopes to move them from Midtown. The structure, about 40 feet above zoning restrictions, would require city approval of an exception to propsed zoning changes to the area. This is the 2nd attempt to develope this parcel which is currently a vacant lot. Mayor Bloomberg and then-Governor Pataki broke ground on the space 3 years ago on what was supposed to be a hotel, but that deal eventually collapsed.
So long as community impact of the retail space is strongly considered, approval of this plan should be a no-brainer. The parcel, which is directly along the Metro North tracks, has been hard to develope, and for years has been home to various people peddling used clothing, books, etc. on the street. A Class A office building would be a tremendous improvement.
An Office Tower To Rise In Harlem For Baseball TV Network (NY Times)
Vornado's Harlem Park Insanity Revealed (Curbed)
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
At this point I am starting to diverge from the conventional wisdom that we are heading for a recession. Durable goods orders reported the other day were strong, ADP payroll figures point to an increase of jobs in January on the order of 150,000, and the weak dollar is creating demand for US products. As a sum, these indicators seem to contradict the notion of an impending recession. Add to all this an exceptionally accommodating fed, a free spending congress (in an election year), and we have plenty of stimulus which makes the odds of a recession is significantly lower.
Back with more details shortly...
A Secession Plan Is Floated For NYC (NY Sun)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
MTA's $900 Million Boondoggle (NY Post)
A Seal Visits West 79th Street (CityRoom)
Solow's "Ground Zero North" Clears First Hurdle (NY Daily News)
WSJ Planning Move To Midtown (Observer)
Monday, January 28, 2008
Ratner Having Trouble Financing Atlantic Yards? (Curbed)
City To Vote On Zoning Changes For Solow's $4 Billion East Side Project (NY Sun)
Protest Over Pier 40 Plan (NY Post)
Presidential Candidates Sub-Prime Solutions (Forbes)
NYC, DC Top Paris, London For Foreign Real Estate Investment (Sun Herald/Mississippi)
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Celebrity Real Estate Wrap (NY Post)
The $400,000 House Makes A Comeback (East Hampton Star)
Prefab Green Houses Come To The Hamptons (NY Times)
Foreigners Gobbling Up NYC Properties (NY Daily News)
Lack Of Ultra-Expensive Apartments Irks Brokers (NY Times)
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
For the New York real estate market, this week has been a week of many pleasant surprises. First a change in the 80/20 tax law for coops (I'll get into this over the weekend), then a 3/4 rate cut, and now a change in the cap for conforming loans. For a stable market (in an unstable nation), I'm starting to smell major stimulus. I think the developments of the past week are pretty dramatic, and very bullish for our market.
Market Not Crazy About Stimulus, But Like Raising Loan Limit (CNBC)
Mortgage Rates Lowest Since March 2004 (Yahoo)
Analysts Predict Wave Of Refinancing (Financial Times)
U.S. Mortgage Rates Tumble (CBS Marketwatch)
Manhattan Luxury Market Up Big (Curbed)
Bloomberg Predicts Big Drop In Transfer Taxes (Observer)
Skeletal Remains Found In Washington Square Park (CityRoom)
Sliver Lux Lofts Hit LIC (Curbed)
National Existing Home Sales Drop (AP)
Fed Rate Cut Creates Boom In Refinancing (WSJ)
Amenities Keep Getting Better (The Real Deal)
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Back with links tonight.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
More on the implications soon...
Monday, January 21, 2008
The take here is that rates will be lower near term, and the dollar is likely to slide further. These two factors have driven the NYC real estate for the past year, and should continue to be positive contributors. Meanwhile, an aggressive fed could act to stimulate the economy to lessen the odds and or length of a recession.
Stocks Plunge In Europe And Asia On US Recession Fears (NY Times)
Coops Reap Unexpected Bonanza (NY Times)
NY Giants Shock Green Bay To Reach Super Bowl (NY Post)
Letter Grades For NYC Schools Raises Parents' Ire (Newsday)
Friday, January 18, 2008
3. How long ago and where was your last real vacation?
What is "vacation"?
5. Your most important political issue?
The problem of "front groups", like swiftboaters, corrupting the political process.
7. Your opinion of California's marijuana laws?
Really don't have one.
9. Starbucks lover or hater?
Mixed feelings. They do good stuff, but have done some unfriendly stuff regarding neighborhood coffee houses, etc.
10. Secrets to maintaining your good health?
11. All time least favorite domestic political figure?
Decline to state.
Refinancings Pick Up Steam As Rates Fall (WSJ Online)
Credit Crunch Hurts 2nd Home Market, Except Hamptons (Real Deal)
More For Curbed On 15 USW, Retail Tenants (Racked/Curbed)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Curbed Reveals 15 USW (Tiffany Building) Floorplans (Curbed)
Attended Bike Parking Lot Planned For Midtown (NY Times)
Bush's Mortgage Relief Bill Could Be A Windfall For Coops (NY Sun)
Far West Side (50's +60's) Movin On Up! (NY Post)
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Yankees Deflect Negative Attention With Shiny Gold Letters (Curbed)
Leona Helmsley's Belongings Auctioned For Charity (Bloomberg)
Macklowe Selling GM Building, Looks For Better Than A Double For 5 Years (Observer)
Queens Home Prices Falling (The Real Deal)
NYC Property Values Begin To Flatten Out (NY Times)
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I woke up this morning to catch the top of the news on Good Morning America. I had just woken up and there was still sand in my eyes. The top stories of the day took up 20 minutes and went in this order, more or less:
1- Big bold red letters reading RECESSION? The mortgage crisis was rehashed yet again with a segway into....
2- CITIGROUP LOSSES! A story about how Citi is writing off $18 Billion, cutting it's dividend, and has lost $180 Billion in market cap from it's peak (the story would lead the novice to perhaps believe that they actually lost that $180 Billion, when market cap has nothing to do with income gains or losses), then..
3- Bush's approval at all time low!!! Um, hasn't this been the case for the last number of years? Then...
4- Oil at an all time high!! Ok, we know, we know, and Bush from oil country hasn't done didly on that hence the aforementioned approval rating. And if all that doesn't get your heart palpitating...
5- Your Heart Medication Doesn't Work!!! Yes, it's alleged that Schering and Merck have delayed a report on Zetia for 2 years, and while they have collected $5 Billion per year, plaque in your arteries has actually been increasing rather than decreasing. Brilliant!
I think I finally understand why people don't "pay attention" to the news, or just sit around and watch ESPN all day. What does today's news prove? Both the media and special interests in our country are totally out of control. So, I'd take it all with a huge grain of salt, and perhaps mix in some ESPN, because it seems that if you watch too much news you'll end up being the perfect candidate for the depression medication that they'll be selling you at the next commercial break. Worse yet, it may be proven not to work after all.
1/18 UPDATE: NY Times Article Questions Anti-Depressants Effectiveness!
Sotheby's To Buy NY Headquarters For $370 Mil. (Bloomberg)
Trump Soho Accident Kills One, Work Stopped (NY Times)
Citigroup Takes $18 Bil. Mortgage Related Loss, Takes More Foreign Money (CBS Marketwatch)
Praise And Questions For $400 Mil. Affordable Housing Plan (NY Times)
Monday, January 14, 2008
"The 30 year jumbo mortgage rate is trending down. After a pop to 7.25% in August, the average rate now stands at 6.875%. While the spread between jumbo rates and the 10 year t-bill has narrowed, there is still a long way to go. The Libor rate has dropped by 1/2 of a point in the same time frame, and commercial paper yields backed by mortgages have dropped 1%. With another fed cut likely before the end of the year, and a slowing national economy, it looks like this trend will hold, and 30 year Jumbo rates should drop to 6.5% and possibly less by January."
At this point I would look for jumbo rates to drop to 6% by April, possibly a tad lower, and conventional rates will likely drop to 5.375% or less.
While the Manhattan market has held up remarkably well, there are still many challenges ahead in this election year. Fortunately, rates are not an issue, and this trend continues to drive the dollar lower and drive foreign investors into the Manhattan market. Additionally, such a trend in rates could help reduce the impact of the mortgage/foreclosure crisis nationally, as lower rates will increase refinancing activity and reduce the occurrence of foreclosure. Again, there are many challenges, but lower rates are a big help.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Saved this one for today, as I didn't want to p*** on the parade on day one! On my second visit to the pay potty yesterday, yes, with Times photog in tow, I experienced complete malfunction. I was happy to get out, and the 3 CEMUSA techs that were on scene were able to get it up and running quickly. But what happens when they dont have 3 techs on site and it breaks down? How are the people who are supposed to have sex in there gonna wash up?
Today, it has been reported by the New York Post and Fox News that the creator of "Weekend At Bernie's" is actually considering giving these guys a part in "Weekend At Bernie's 3". Stay tuned, as this story gets stranger by the hour! Only in New York!
Body Parts For Morons (NY Post)
Dead Man's Sister Worked At Check Cashing Store (City Room)
B of A Buys Countrywide For $4 Bil. (CBS Marketwatch)
Countrywide Gets Rescue Deal (WSJ)
Bank To Buy Troubled Loan Giant (NY Times)
Thursday, January 10, 2008
B of A In Talks To Aquire Countrywide (NY Times)
A Rescue Mission (CBS Marketwatch)
B of A Countrywide Deal Near (WSJ.com)
Countrywide Shares Soar (LA Times)
It's finally here- New York City's first official pay toilet! For a mere 25 cents you too can enjoy the luxury of a clean space, larger than what some kids in the East Village are living in. This could be the best deal in New York. Your 25 cents buys you 15 minutes of solitude, three 16" pieces of toilet paper, a seat cover, warm and soapy water to wash you hands with and a hand dryer. Most people seemed a little confused at first about which button to hit for various functions, and the buttons are labeled only in English, so unless you read English, you may think that you are trapped in the facility. A three minute warning buzzer goes off after 12 minutes which may be equally disconcerting if you are the tourist who thinks he's trapped. Finally, there is a weight limit- 550lbs. So, if you are over 550 pounds and really have to go you find yourself with a potentially humiliating choice...the door will not close if you are over limit!
N. Side of 47th Ave (Vernon+5th St.)
So, you want to be a real estate developer? You want to build from scratch in an area that is growing by leaps and bounds? Well friends, Hunters Point might just be the place for you! It seems, I'm not the only one thinking so. Prices for vacant lots or tear downs in the area have escalated over the past couple of years. Prices are generally based on dollar per buildable square foot, and those rates which were around $150 per builable square foot in 2006, are now offered between $200 and as high as $300 per buildable sq. ft.. The area north of 48th Avenue from Vernon Avenue West and North To the Anabel Basin (45th Road), is particularly intriguing. 5th Street, for instance, 1 block from the water, has seen virtually every property between 47th Road and the Basin turn over in the past 2 years. Many see 5th Street as the next upscale shopping/gallery strip in the area. Between 5th and Vernon, there is no shortage of lots for the developer in you, although they do seem to be getting snatched up quickly.
What will be built in the area? I think it will fall into 2 categories. First will be the luxury condo. Given that most of the properties in the area are zoned for 6 stories of residential with buildable ratios of 2 or 3 times the lots size, I think you will see an abundance of 6 story condos with ample outdoor space. I call this the "Casa Vizcaya" model, for a condo recently built in the area under these restrictions. Condo prices in the area have edged over the $800 per square foot mark, so if you can manage to get a building up for $300 per foot, profits are in your future. The more these lots fill up with luxury condos, the more desirable, presumably, the area becomes. The second use in the area will be "community use". Community use could be anything from a hotels to dorms, and depending on the use, the city may grant you a variance to build more than the zoning allows for. There is a full block on 5th Street between 47th Ave and 46th Road, that is rumored to be a 13 story dorm for CUNY graduate students (unconfirmed). Such a height would be above the zoning limit and require a variance.
If anything, it should be very interesting to see how the area is developed. As of now, it is a blank canvas. A couple of years from now, expect it to look dramatically different, and if you have the itch to try your hand at development, now is your time.
Goldman And BRP To Invest In Harlem, Bed Sty (Crain's)
Zillow Adopts Data Standard With Yahoo, Trulia (Tech Crunch)
Gentrification Ebbs In Red Hook (USA Today)
Council Passes Plastic Bag Recycling Bill (NY Times)
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Subway Ridership Hits New Record (NY Daily News)
Lack Of Cheap Housing Leads Couple To Live On Boat For $800/Month (NY Times)
Ralph Loren Store On Madison To Get Makeover (The Real Deal)
More Congestion Pricing Plans Unveiled Thursday (NY Daily News)
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
News Of The Day:
Mets Owner Wilpon Buys Devonshire House For $110 Mil. (NY Post)
Pataki Park? (Curbed)
Pricey Developments With Lousy Neighbors (NY Post)
Rents Expected To Increase 6.3% in 2008 (The Real Deal)
City Sees 33% Drop In Real Estate Revenues In 2008 (Observer)
Monday, January 7, 2008
Celebrity Real Estate Wrap Up: A-Rod, Howard Stern, And More(Curbed)
Vornado To Buy Macklowe Debt? (NY Times)
MSG May Lose Tax Break (NY Times)
Upper Middle Class Getting Squeezed Out Of Manhattan (Crain's)
Friday, January 4, 2008
Jobless Rate Jumps (CBS Marketwatch)
Other news of the day:
Noho Development Reaches For Classy Status (The Real Deal)
Robert A.M. Stern To Design 60 Stories At 99 Church (Curbed)
Bloomberg Will Limit Parking Perk (NY Times)
Thursday, January 3, 2008
The cheap dollar, relatively low rates, and low inventory have been major drivers for the New York market. While most brokers are calling for a flat year in 2008, this broker believes we will see 7-10% price appreciation. Looking forward, fed funds rate will likely fall another 1%-1.5% to aid an ailing US economy. This move in the fed funds rate will result in lower mortgage rates and an even cheaper dollar, which will in turn keep the positive trends in place for the New York market.
Manhattan Defies Slump (NY Post)
Apartment Prices Defy National Slide (NY Times)
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Looks Like LIC Will Be Crowned Neighborhood Of The Year (Curbed)
Coney Developer May Wait Out Bloomberg's Term (NY Post)
Existing Home Sales Up, Prices Down (NY Times)
Dottie Herman Shows Off Her Hamptons Getaway (Newsday)
NYC From A Montanan's View: NYers Are Nice (Flathead Beacon)
Just a quick note on the current market. At A. Fine Company, we have seen a dramatic increase in both web volume and sales volume over the past 2 weeks. From a web volume perspective, it was it's strongest since early October. From a sales volume perspective, the past week was one of our strongest of the year. It seems as if we have broken out of the traditionally slow season of November and December, and suddenly we are back in high gear. Time will tell, but the early returns look very good. Happy New Year, everyone!