Friday, June 3, 2016

I am featured in this article on and discussing challenges woman and minority home buyers face.

Women and Minorities Lag Behind in Homebuying Rates

Minorities and women are still lagging behind their counterparts on purchasing homes compared to Caucasians and men, according to a Trulia report.
The study by Trulia, a San Francisco-based real estate website, found that even when women and minorities are earning the same income as white men, their levels of homeownership have still not caught up. Compared to Caucasians, black Americans remain 56.9% less likely to own a home, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. Blacks have larger homeownership rates in California, Florida and Texas.
The Hispanic population fared slightly better: 50.9% are less likely than whites to have a mortgage. More Hispanics are likely to own with a mortgage at the same rate or better in the Southwest and West. In El Paso, Texas, Hispanics own homes at more than twice the rate of whites and make up more than 75% of all households.
Minorities are more likely to be homeowners in cities where the heads of households of that minority group comprised of a large share of the overall population. Trulia found that in the San Francisco Bay Area cities, Chinese-Americans are twice as likely to own homes as whites, but they are still 38.9% less likely to have a mortgage across the U.S.
A large contributing factor on why minorities have not made larger gains in homeownership compared to Caucasians is because their families are less likely to be able to contribute to funding part of a down payment, said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist for Trulia.
"If your parents owned a home, you are more likely to own one," he said. "For many minorities, they tend to earn less money and are less able to save up for a down payment compared to their white counterparts."
Another roadblock that minorities face is discrimination and a disparity in loan applications being approved, along with understanding how to buy a home, said Crystal Green, a real estate broker with Level Group, a New York real estate brokerage company.
"This can be remedied by neighborhood outreach groups educating women and minorities on the buying process and demystifying it," she said. "A lot of people are not aware of FHA loans which require minimal down payments or forgoing the bank route all together and going to your local credit unions that often have less stringent rules and flexibility to help buyers qualify for financing."
Women Making Gains
While women have not caught up with men and are still 10.5% less likely to have a mortgage, in cities such as Honolulu; Winston-Salem, N.C.; Seattle; Miami; and Tacoma, Wash., they fared better. One contributing factor is that there remains a gap of 6% more single women compared to single men. Out of the single women, 37.2% were parents compared to 11.7% men who were parents.
"Single parents are losing out on homeownership because they have to spend a higher share of their income towards child care," he said.
Despite having less earning power than men, many women are choosing to buy homes before they have a partner or get married to share their expenses, said Green.
"Women are starting to earn more money than they have historically, bringing more of them into the buying pool," she said. "Most women are marrying later in life and feel if they have to pay housing costs, they may as well invest in something."
Many women and minorities are faced with earning lower salaries than Caucasian men even though they are conducting the same type of work.
"They don't have the same earning power as white males and this results in being unable to accumulate enough of a nest egg to cover a down payment, closings costs and still have a rainy day fund," Green said.
The lower levels of homeownership could be attributed to overall views on real estate. Real estate is now seen more favorably as a good investment with 35% who agree to this sentiment, compared to only 19% in 2011, according to an April poll conducted by Gallup, a Washington, D.C.-based data analytics company. Americans find that stocks and mutual funds are the next best investment option with 22% who agree while 17% favor gold, 15% chose for savings accounts or CDs and 7% prefer bonds.
Millennials Prefer Renting
While Millennials have voiced the desire the own a home in the future, they are keen to keep renting since many of them switch jobs frequently, have not amassed the down payment or do not want the financial commitment. The zeal to pursue the "American dream" of owning a home has faded.
During the period of 2005 to 2015, the number of people under the age of 30 who rent grew by 11% while 34% more Gen X-ers ages 30 to 49 rented, according to a Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.
Renting is becoming widespread among income groups since 18% of the increase in renters during this decade earned $100,000 or more and the number of renters in the top income bracket grew by 61%, the report said.
A Gallup report in 2015 showed that 41% of non-homeowners who do not have plans to buy a house "the foreseeable future" and 34% of Americans renting their home. The number of people owning homes has fallen to 61%, the lowest amount in almost 15 years.
Renting has emerged as a norm for a third of the adults in the U.S., wrote Art Swift, a managing editor at Gallup. The data mirrors the U.S. Census Bureau's estimate in the fourth quarter of 2014 that 64% of Americans are renters.
Since many Millennials are more mobile and have experienced a slower start to their careers, they are not in a rush to purchase a home, said McLaughlin. Others are frustrated at the increasing prices of homes, which hinders their ability to save for a down payment as wages and income growth have been modest.

"They are buying homes at lower rates because they move around more than other generations," he said. "For many potential homeowners, it is not a lack of desire, but rather their financial circumstance such as flat wage growth which is inhibiting their ability to save up for a down payment."

Story link here:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The New York and Brooklyn Q2 2014 Market Report is out now!

Good Morning!

High prices and low supply continued to be the story of the Manhattan real estate market in the second quarter. Though things have slowed down quite a bit from the torrid pace of the last year, we still saw the number of sales rise for the seventh straight quarter.  A few key themes in the market over the past 90 days are:

·         Low Inventory – supply remains low, but is improving
·         Sales Slowed – primarily due to high prices but also lower supply means there are less properties to sell
·         Luxury Apartments and Condos are Driving Prices – the bulk of sales are not in this segment, but a $70 million 5th Ave apartment and a $26 million doorman-less co-op in SoHo will skew numbers

According to New York Magazine, inventory was still a problem despite the number of listings increasing by 18 percent as the real number remains a relatively low 5,659 properties.  There still plenty of activity in the market, but there has been a little bit of a slowdown as activity is not increasing at the same rate that it was over the last year.

Buyers reportedly continue to struggle with bidding wars as 45.9 percent of listings found takers at or above the asking price, the largest market share in the past six years. 

But sales do look promising as supply continues to rise.  As more people put their homes on the market looking to fetch peak prices, costs will begin to go down as that supply goes up.  There is also the expected increase of luxury condos hitting the market at the same time in Midtown with approximately 750 units headed that way. However, for the time being, with the average home price currently at a record $1.7 million, buyers are showing some resistance and restraint when making purchases, especially when we look at properties in the $5-$10 million range.  There, we are seeing properties more stagnant and on the market for longer periods of time.  All factors that will contribute to reining in prices.

Crain’s New York Business had similar reports showing the pace of sales in the second quarter slowing significantly due to the sharp price increase. The median sale price of a Manhattan condo was $910,000 this quarter - a 5.2% increase since last year.

The condos that are being built are commonly luxury or ultra-luxury, affording developers the ability to make their money back at a steep price point- essentially causing the median average prices to climb.

According to the Wall Street Journal, condo prices have dropped below the record prices set during Q1 possibly due to a lull in new development completions. Brokers and developers fear the likelihood that buyers are beginning to resist the sky-high prices.  Prudence on the part of buyers can be seen in other portions of the market as well as typically tepid co-op numbers far outpaced condos in terms of the growth of both median sale price—which was $725,000 for the second quarter—and sales volume.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

The New York City Real Estate market remains ultra-competitive due to low inventory and low interest rates

Prices are up, inventory is low and the market is ultra-competitive

Limited inventory is the theme in the sales market this spring, particularly for those who can’t afford to spend $3 million and up, experts said.
If you’re looking to buy new property for under $2 million, Manhattan won’t have it.
“It’s definitely competitive,” Gary Malin, president of real estate group Citi Habitats, said of the spring sales market. “There’s lots of bidding wars going on, lots of best-and-final [offers] going on.”
In other words, few apartment hunters are getting their first choice these days.
Inventory in Manhattan in the first quarter of 2014 declined by 17% from the first quarter of 2013, according to a Citi Habitats sales market report; apartments priced between $2 million and $5 million made up 16% of total sales in the first quarter of this year, up 2% from the year before.

Read the full story here:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

New York City Doorman Strike Averted

Union for New York City’s doormen, handymen gets contract, averts strike  

Service Employees International Union 32 BJ, or SEIU 32BJ, agreed to a tentative four-year deal that includes a 11.3% raise for doormen and handymen who work in residential buildings.

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014, 4:27 PM
Updated: Friday, April 11, 2014, 6:47 PM

NEW YORK - APRIL 14:  A doorman, who preferred not to be identified, stands outside of his building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on April 14, 2010 in New York City. New York City doormen, handymen, porters, and other apartment workers are threatening to strike next Wednesday unless they get to keep all their health benefits and sick days. The union representing the doormen, SEIU 32BJ, says 3,200 apartment buildings could be affected by a strike.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The union representing doormen and handymen reached a tentative agreement Friday with the Realty Advisory Board, averting a possible strike that would have affected thousands of city residents.
Service Employees International Union 32 BJ agreed to a four-year deal that includes a 11.3% raise for doormen, supers, handymen and porters who work in residential buildings.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

44 Manhattan and Brooklyn new developments slated for Spring 2014

Just like the temperatures heading into spring, the real estate market tends to warm up. But this year, the sheer amount of action is white-hot, way ahead of the mercury on the thermometer. Why? A whopping 44 new developments are launching this spring—that's condos and rentals—in neighborhoods from Inwood to Williamsburg. Get ready for some big names (and pricey properties) at the Woolworth Building, Stella Tower, and 30 Park Place's Four Seasons Private Residences. Park Avenue South's Fortress of Glassitude is also, at long last, ready to roll. Meanwhile, there's TF Cornerstone's massive rental tower, the last of six it has erected along the Long Island City waterfront, and tons of smaller buildings in Brooklyn, some with just a handful of units. Know of any building we've missed? Please share in the comments or with the tipline, and we'll add it to the map. Take a look at the whirlwind of activity below, which brings one word to mind: Brace.

Read the full story here:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

2013 New York Real Estate Year in Review

Good Morning and Happy New Year! 2013 roared to a close, with the Manhattan residential real estate market setting sales volume records, rising by 30 percent in the fourth quarter. Inventory dwindled to its lowest rate in 14 years, with approximately 4100 listings available at the close of the year. Observers agree that buyers both gained confidence in the economy and were spurred to action by the potential for continued rising interest rates. The median sales price for condos rose by a stunning 14.3 percent over 2012, reaching an all-time high of $1.32 million, according to Crain’s New York Business.

However, the condo median price increase was driven primarily by sharp rises for sales of luxury units, new developments, and larger units. In addition, foreign buyer interest continues to drive high-end condo sales. High-end condo sales represent only about five percent of the market, however. Co-op sales, about 60 percent of the market, had a modest median price increase of 4.6 percent in 2013, reaching approximately $680,000. A modest increase in the mid-range market is probably good news, according to some observers. It suggests there’s no market “bubble” and price increases are sustainable.

While the coming year looks good for sellers, they should nevertheless be wary of setting an unrealistically high price for their property just because prices overall are climbing. If you’re putting an older property on the market or a smaller or non-luxury unit, it’s probably not reasonable to expect it to fetch a double-digit price increase. Buyers are looking at continued tight inventory in 2014. They’ll probably have to spend more time looking for what suits their needs and should be ready to move quickly when a good option becomes available.

Overall, 2013 was a great year for Manhattan real estate and we expect 2014 to continue the upswing. I’d be happy to discuss Manhattan’s real estate picture in greater detail. Please email me to set up an appointment. I would also welcome the opportunity to discuss your real estate needs and plans.

Crain’s New York Business:
The Real Deal:
New York Times:

Friday, October 4, 2013

More and more New York Condo Boards are emulating Coop Boards

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Is Lease-to-Own a Good Way to Buy a House?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Lease-to-own is something you do with furniture, not a house, right? Not necessarily. Although most people who buy houses do it the old-fashioned way, with a down payment and a mortgage, lease-to-own deals are also common in residential real estate.
Leasing to own attracts buyers who can handle a monthly payment but lack a down payment. It can also be good for people with bad or no credit, as well as people who want to give a particular house, school system and neighborhood a test drive without committing to a big down payment and 30-year mortgage. And if you believe local home values are headed up, it can be a low-risk way to lock in a price now before it gets more expensive.
Lease-to-own, also known as a lease option, requires thinking outside the box. But it can make homeownership a reality today for people who might otherwise be paying rent for years. If the owner is willing, renters may even be able to lease-to-own the place they're staying in now, as well as any other rental. "Every for-rent sign you see potentially can be a lease option situation," says Eric Lloyd, a real estate coach with Salt Lake City-based Professional Education Institute.

Read the full story here:
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