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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chelsea new development tour is an industry hit

200 11th AvedowntownIn West Chelsea on Wednesday, the new residential developments, close to the High line, opened their doors to the brokerage community for an extra long, 4 hour, open house tour. It was a big hit with the brokers, hundreds of whom were seen brushing shoulders with gallery hoppers, and making the rounds at all of the sales presentation centers. It was like an open air mall for some of the most luxurious & priciest homes on the planet.

It demonstrated great cooperation among these competing projects to gain mind share, as it recognized the contribution that the agents make to the business of selling real estate in Manhattan everyday too. A full afternoon and then some, was spent by the staffers coddling, feeding and kibitzing with the agents. Most of them that I spoke with really liked the leisurely pace, which at the same time was a very efficient use of their time in learning about the offerings.

The tour was designed to peak interest for seven buildings, some brandishing architectural pedigrees like Nouvel and Selldorf, going up in the area from 19th Street to 25th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues; creating a district of glass curtain walled modernism, rising up around Frank Gehry's iconic IAC headquarters. With the transformation of the High line finally underway, and a concentration of architecturally significant, luxury residences rising, a glossy new neighborhood is beginning to form. It is characterized by these typically smaller boutique buildings that offer large spaces and design style as standard equipment. Each one has to offer something special to draw people to this far west enclave, blocks away from subway lines and with an emerging infrastructure of parks an amenities that are still a couple of years away.


Monday, October 15, 2007

newsreal gets a gut rennovation

newsreal_fade.gifheadroomWhen I launched this blog a little less than a year ago, I decided to publish my bookmarks on real estate news as I read the stuff. It created a visible trail that readers could follow, or visit at specific points, then jump to the original material on the Web. I discovered that the first version of newsreal, which was a simple list of bookmarks published from my account, was indeed popular. I'm happy to announce that newsreal has now grown up and, leads the redesigned third column of The bookmarks are still hand selected, in a point and shoot style blog on real estate, the economy, and New York City news.

I've been adding stories to newsreal for a couple of months— blogging the site out of front page view; subscribers may have noticed the merging of newsreal content in our feed several weeks ago. It's now live with a robust, new design; and still just one click to get to the original news source. The main blog's center column will continue to feature more original editorial, reports and opinion pieces. Subscribers to our RSS feed can look forward to seeing both main blog and newsreal content being delivered in one feed. The right column has been getting other finishing touches which include enhancements of my bookmarks, newsfeeds and bigger selections at the bookshop in support of corcoran cares charities. I hope you like the renovations.


Friday, October 5, 2007

Podcast: a lesson in investing from Sam Zell

"I would tell you whatever business I've been in— real estate, barges, rail cars— it's all about supply and demand."

Sam Zell is ranked by Forbes this year as the 52nd wealthiest American. He sold his flagship company Office Equity Holdings for $39 billion to the Blackstone Group last February, which was a record breaking private equity transaction. He continues to be invested in residential housing, media and technology eqipment companies. We can all learn a few things from his success as he comments about his career and investment strategies in our latest podcast from Knowledge@Wharton.

Sam Zellprofessionaldownload play
Sam Zell, the master real estate investor, has built a fortune on the cycles that shape his industry. These days, he believes the current turmoil in financial markets is more an emotional reaction to yet another period of excess rather than a true credit collapse.

In a wide-ranging lecture at Wharton moderated by real estate professor Peter Linneman, the Chicago-based investor said markets currently are spooked by problems with U.S. subprime lending. However, they still have capital to deploy, unlike during other real estate busts when financing could not be arranged at any price.

"We're not really in a quote 'credit crunch.' I think what we are in is a 'confidence crunch,'" said Zell, funder of the Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center at Wharton. "I would argue the excess liquidity that existed eight weeks ago still exists today. It has a different risk premium on it, but the actual amount of liquidity has not changed."


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Tribeca homes jump 36% in third quarter 2007

tribecaThird quarter 2007 sales numbers were released a couple of days ago by all of the major NYC brokerages including The Corcoran Group, and the results showed very clearly that the Manhattan real estate market was still red hot. The news was released almost simultaneously as the Stock Market peaked at a new all time high, shaking off the uncertainty caused by the sub-prime mortgage jitters, as the damage is increasingly seen on Wall Street as being manageable. I'll be posting the entire Q3 Corcoran Report on the market as soon as the downloadable versions are ready, but I'd like to take a moment to look at the downtown numbers and particularly those of my own neighborhood of Tribeca.

third quarter sales 2007 vs. 2006

average sale
median sale
per sq. ft.
closed deals

figures shown are for co-ops and condos combined

Corcoran reported that the median selling price of a home in Tribeca, that's the price most people paid for a home, was $2.3 million, up 36% over Q3 2006; the average sale price was $2.286 million, up 25% over Q3 2006. Price per square foot was down by -8% indicating that the deals closed were on larger homes. Manhattan-wide, the number of deals closed was up by 20%, however fewer deals were done with -54% closed when compared with a year earlier. I believe that this actually reflects a shortage of inventory downtown as prices have risen, indicating increased competition for whatever is available.


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