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Monday, September 3, 2007

Facing the Fall? Seasons change in NYC real estate

"It may just turn out that co-op boards provided exactly the kind of greater oversight that was needed, and mitigated the risks better, than the gate keepers in the banking industry"

fall_ripples.jpgopinionAs the post Labor Day summer turns into Fall, will we see a fall in the NYC housing market too? I returned from vacation in mid-August to stories of impending doom in the housing market because of a spreading crisis in the sub-prime lending market. That very same week the New York Times ran The Manhattan Real Estate Slump That Wasn’t, which told a story I knew to be true. During the first half of the year, Manhattan was selling strongly. Any real effect of the credit crisis has been unobserved, it's all perception so far. Is the glass that seemed half full at the beginning of summer, suddenly looking half empty now? Can Manhattan continue to be insulated from the market forces affecting the nation?


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

How are disclosures different for co-ops and condos?

Q&AIn Manhattan about 80% of the owned residential housing market is co-op. Condominiums are probably less than 20%, with townhomes as a small group of select, boutique properties. Purchasing any of them involves some sort of application process. It can be as simple as a request for information between principals in a townhouse transaction, to a full financial disclosure, co-op board package; with a rigorous process requiring an interview with a Board of Directors.

"I've noticed some condominiums now asking for more elaborate applications on resales"

It's a practical requirement for any serious offer on co-op apartment to have pretty complete financial disclosure upfront, before going to contract with a customary 10% deposit. Before the end of the board approval process you will have backed up your statement with documentation and letters of recomendation anyway, or risk a board turndown. The REBNY standard financial disclosure statement (pdf 188kb) will give you an outline of the kinds of information that sellers and co-op boards need to know. Sellers who already have been through the process will appreciate a professional level presentation for it.


Friday, August 24, 2007

The SmartMoney TV interview on buying a home

Peter Comitini's interview on SmartMoney.commediaThe folks at SmartMoney TV asked me to comment on camera about common mistakes when buying a home. I'm captured here talking business, and speaking with my hands, in this video titled Avoiding Mistakes Homebuyers Make. Their focus is national, so it opens with shots of suburban looking homes. We actually taped in a loft at my much more urban exclusive at 9 West 19th Street; but the ideas apply in any location.

play video »

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Subprime skittishness settling down?

I'm back from vacation and hit the ground running this week. I'm catching my breath and catching up on my reading about the credit crisis and it's effect on the Manhattan real estate market. I'll have more to say about that in an upcoming post, but for now I want to share with you an article from our friends at the Wharton School of Business about the recent volatility in the capital markets. The New York City real estate market is inevitably tied to the fortunes of Wall Street, and the availability of mortgage money.

wharton_stocks.jpgmarket reportWhat's Ahead for the Stock Market— and Quant Funds?

After weeks of skittishness and fear, investors showed signs on Tuesday of settling down. "Yesterday was one of the dullest days in the market that we've had in a while, and that's good in many ways," says Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel.

Around the world, investors have been reeling from widespread problems in the subprime sector of the U.S. mortgage business. Stocks have fallen, especially among financial firms. Yields on Treasury securities have dropped, as people pile into an investment that's seen as a safe harbor in times of tumult. And companies – lumped together with the big crowd of homeowners who have defaulted on their loans – are finding it hard to borrow money.

Yet Siegel remains upbeat. "It's my belief that the basic economy is strong and that credits outside of the subprime mortgage industry are also strong," Siegel says. "The economy will weather this and equity markets will recover nicely. So I'm optimistic but chastened because I didn't think this hysteria would become as widespread as it did."


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