January 17th, 2014

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The 2013 NYC Celebrity Star Map

February 21st, 2013
The 2013 NYC Celebrity Star Map

The 2013 NYC Celebrity Star Map

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RARE 1BR, 1.5Baths – The Colonnade Condo – $915K

January 28th, 2013

347 West 57th Stret, 22F – This magnificent, large one bedroom apartment is just steps to Central Park and most major transportation. It has been completely renovated. Brand new windowed kitchen with new quality cabinetry, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances including stainless steel backsplash. Marble bathroom with glass enclosed tub in addition to a powder room for all your guests. Excellent closet space. This corner apartment faces south and west and is very bright and sunny. You have open city views from this high floor apartment with balcony. Located in The Colonnade – a full service, luxury doorman building, this unit is just what you’ve been looking for. Call me for a private showing.
Common Charges: $913.35
Real Estate Tax: $612.52
Financing: 90%

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3rd Quarter Market Report

October 23rd, 2012

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Florida – Palm Beach Real Estate Market

July 16th, 2012

Florida Market update provided by Jeff Lichtenstein of Jeff Realty

1. Overall Market
The market is improving as of spring 2012 in Palm Beach County. We are seeing a slight increase in supply because of economic conditions, but a bigger jump in sales because of a 6-year slow drip of investment and must-sell inventory that has dried up.

2. Prices: This Year versus Last
In January of 2012 the average price was $296,000. The average sold price in February 2012 was $318,000. However, the average sold price in February of 2011 was $348,000, so prices are lower today than they were a year ago at this time.

3. Sales Volume
February 2012 home sales are up compared to last month. There were 797 sales in February 2012 versus 749 sales in January 2012. 752 sales took place in February 2011, so more sales are happening now than last year at this time as well.

4. Who is Purchasing?
Snowbirds, some first timers, and downsizers are purchasing. We are also seeing a trend of people selling their northern and small Florida home and then purchasing a medium-sized permanent Florida home. A few foreign buyers, but mostly from Canada. There are not as many Canadian purchasers as the last few years because many Canadians purchased from 2009-2011. Not much activity from Europe because their economy is weak.

5. Distressed properties:
163 short sales sold in February of 2012, which is more than the 128 that sold in February of 2011. There are currently 2621 short sales out of the 9593 homes available on the market. The Palm Beach County MLS has never kept exact track of foreclosures. Some lenders had their agents hide this for fear that agents would not show the property. However, that has changed in the past month, and going forward those properties must be marked in Palm Beach County MLS. Overall it has been reported that Florida, which takes a whopping 3-year time-span to foreclose on the average property, is starting to see that number go down. Banks are foreclosing faster as the overall inventory has diminished.

6. Can Buyers still get loans?
The people who want loans are not having trouble getting them. There is much more verification. I haven’t had problems myself with buyers finding financing. The problem lies more within the appraisal process of homes not appraising. Many times it is because the appraisal is not done well. Some of the appraisers hired are from out of the area, traveling from Miami or Orlando and don’t know the property well.

Natural Laws of Supply & Demand at Work in the Housing Market
For the past six years, economists and politicians have argued about what to do with the housing market. We’ve heard all sorts of solutions, from bulldozing homes to giving huge reductions in principal to homeowners upside down on their mortgages. President Obama blamed President Bush, Republicans blamed Barney Frank, and everyone blamed Wall Street.Quietly, though, as we start 2012 in Palm Beach County, overall inventory is significantly down. There were 9,593 homes available in February of 2012 versus 10,883 in 2011, almost a 12% drop in inventory. I attribute the drop to a change in supply, not so much to a surge in demand. As evidenced by the amount of sales staying the same, there has been a slow drop in supply since 2006. In 2006 we had a perfect storm of excess inventory:

1) Investor purchases of new construction
2) Builder speculation homes
3) Over-confident Sellers who purchased first without selling
4) Sellers who were in a must-sell situation

While we still have many Sellers in the 4th category of ‘Must Sell’, due to a loss of income or loss of job, 80-90% of the first three categories that I outlined have sold since 2006.

Picture a slow dripping faucet as a sale. One drip doesn’t amount to much, but drips from 2006 to 2012 add up to an overflowing bathtub! That is what has happened in real estate over the last 6 years, and 2012 is the year the bathtub overflowed. The investor, builder, and over-confident Seller who got stuck with their good-looking homes have taken their 35% loss and moved on. These Sellers have gone though denial, trying to wait it out by renting their home, got angry at Wall Street, switched to 4 different real estate agents before they stopped blaming everyone and accepted reality. Finally, they have sold and moved on.

Now we are left with a just a bad economy and a lousy market. This market is stronger, though, because the one-time Investor/Builder Spec/Over-Confident inventory has dissipated. I’ve personally had 2 Buyers lose out on homes ranging from $500,000 to $4,000,000 in the past two weeks. Buyers are in disbelief thinking they can wait forever only to lose out. Pending sales for March and April are going to be way up and buyers need to recognize the bottom is here, not because the economy is strong, but because there are no more investors investing, spec buildings being built, and over-confident Sellers buying first without selling first.

The turnaround in housing has begun because of the natural laws of Supply & Demand. In 2007, I explained to my 7-year-old son Sam, to picture a town with 100 homes and 100 people. If one person moves to the town each year, then one new home needs to be built. What happened in housing is that builders constructed 7 homes in one year, giving the town an excess of 6 extra homes. After a 6-year-long wait with no homes being built we have hit equilibrium. We now have 107 homes and 107 homeowners. Supply and demand are smoothing out. Watch for the Republicans and Democrats to fight over who gets credit. Sam, now 13, can tell you that the credit really goes to the free market principals of supply and demand.

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East Village Rentals – Getting ready for Spring

March 29th, 2012

If you are moving and looking for an apartment – this immaculately maintained building in the East Village is a must see. Come by our Open House this Saturday March 31st for the unofficial start of Spring market and check out 3 available units we have. These are fully renovated one bedroom apartments with granite kitchens and marble bathrooms. One of the apartments has a private roof deck while others share a common roof deck area.

73 East 3rd Street – off of second Avenue is in the heart of East Village. See you there between 12-2pm. Call me at 917.523.7987 with any questions.
1Br w/ outdoor space – $2750
1BR with Fireplace – $2400
1BR w/ French Doors – $2400

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Halstead Second Half 2011 Manhattan Townhouse Report

January 31st, 2012

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The Sticker Shock of Living in New York City

January 25th, 2012

There have been many people who have dreamed about living in New York City, unquestionably one of the most exciting cities in the world. With over eight million inhabitants, New York City is teeming with energy and life. Whether you want to see an original Mark Rothko at the Museum of Modern Art, ice skate at Rockefeller Plaza or walk around the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir in Central Park, there is always something to do in “The Big Apple.”

With so many dining, entertainment and cultural options available, it's no wonder why many people continue to move to the biggest city in the United States. However, a lot of people fail to appreciate the differences between visiting New York City and actually living there; it is fair to say that the two experiences are quite different.

For one thing, it is hard to comprehend exactly how expensive it is to live in New York City, especially when you have never lived in a big city before. The average rent on an apartment is New York City is more than $3,000 a month, which is three times as much as other cities like Houston, Seattle and Hartford. In addition, taxes in New York City are among the highest in the nation with 8.875 percent sales tax and a special city income tax, which is paid in addition to state and federal income taxes.

This is why you see many young people in New York City living in tiny apartments that are little more than glorified closets; you are paying a massive premium to live in such a fun place. Of course, rents get cheaper if you are willing to leave Manhattan and head out to Flushing or across the Hudson River into New Jersey, and this is definitely a viable option given the wonderful public transportation system in New York City. However, this does mean that you will be away from the center of action and excitement, a major negative for people wanting to move to New York City.

Regardless of where you choose to live, it is smart to consider purchasing renters insurance, especially in a city where more than half the residents rent their living spaces. Unfortunately, it is a fact of life that property can be damaged or stolen; without proper renters insurance, you will not be able to protect yourself from this potential liability. If you are interested in obtaining renters insurance, RentersInsurance.com has all the information you could possibly need in order to make a smart decision.

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Halstead’s 4th Quarter ’11 – Manhattan Market Report

January 4th, 2012

A sharp decline in condo sales brought the overall average and median Manhattan apartment sales price lower over the past year. The number of condo closings fell 24% from the fourth quarter of 2010, which meant condos accounted for only 40% of all apartment sales. A year ago, condos were 46% of sales, and since condos are generally more expensive than co-ops, a decline in their share of the market can bring the overall average apartment price lower.
At $1,391,745, the average price for a Manhattan apartment was 3% lower than during 2010’s fourth quarter, while the median price fell 7% to $785,000. However, looking at co-op and condo prices separately shows us that much of this decline was due to the lower percentage of condo sales.
The average co-op price of $1,149,203 in the fourth quarter was just 1% lower than a year ago, helped by an 18% increase in the average price for three-bedroom and larger units. For condos, the average price rose 4% over the past year to $1,825,728 despite the decline in closings, which were led by an 8% gain in the average price of studio apartments.
The economic and financial turmoil that began in the late summer led to fewer transactions than a year ago. Overall, there were 13% fewer closings than in the fourth quarter of 2010, when the threatened expiration of the Bush tax cuts led many high-end owners to sell before the year ended. While condo sales fell 24% during this time, co-op sales fell by just 4%.
Job growth slowed in both the U.S. and New York City in the second half of 2011. Through November, 49,300 jobs were added in NYC in 2011, down from 52,700 in the first 11 months of 2010. The city’s unemployment rate in November was 8.9%, the same level as the beginning of 2011. While there has been stagnation in hiring recently, New York’s recovery remains well ahead of schedule. This combined with a relatively low rate of available apartments has led the Manhattan market to continue to outperform the rest of the nation.

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November ’11 – The Heym Report

November 30th, 2011

Unemployment Up Slightly in New York City
• New York City’s unemployment rate rose to 8.8% in October, from 8.7% the prior month.
• After falling over 1% last year, the unemployment rate has barely moved in 2011.
• The national rate fell to 9.0%, although it remained above the NYC rate for the eighth consecutive month.

New York City Adds 43,000 Jobs Through October
• During the first 10 months of 2011, employment in NYC rose by 43,000 jobs.
• Gains were led by professional and business services (+18,500), trade, transportation and utilities (+12,300) and leisure and hospitality (+10,700).
• Despite concerns of Wall Street layoffs, employment in the financial activities sector has risen by 6,100 so far in 2011.
• The largest declines in jobs were in manufacturing (-3,400), information (-3,200) and construction (-2,100).

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