Category Archives: Luxury Housing

Manhattan Home Sales Tumble Most Since 2009 as Buyers Walk

Home sales in Manhattan plunged by the most since the recession as buyers at all price levels drove hard bargains and were in no rush to close deals.

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  • Haggling gets more aggressive for listings at all price points
  • ‘People are very anxious about overpaying,’ brokerage CEO says

Sales of all condos and co-ops fell 25 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 2,180, according to a report Tuesday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. It was the biggest annual decline since the second quarter of 2009, when Manhattan’s property market froze in the wake of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy filing and the global financial crisis that followed.

The drop in sales spanned from the highest reaches of the luxury market to workaday studios and one-bedrooms. Buyers, who have noticed that home prices are no longer climbing as sharply as they have been, are realizing they can afford to be picky. Rising borrowing costs and new federal limits on tax deductions for mortgage interest and state and local levies also are making homeownership more expensive, giving shoppers even more reasons to push back on a listing’s price — or walk away.

While just a few years ago, bidding wars were the norm, “there’s nothing out there today that points to prices going up, and in many buyers’ minds, they point to being flat,” said Pamela Liebman, chief executive officer of brokerage Corcoran Group. “They’re now aggressive in the opposite way: putting in very low offers and seeing what concessions they can get from the sellers.”

Corcoran Group released its own Manhattan market report Tuesday, showing an 11 percent decrease in completed purchases and a 10 percent drop in sales that are pending.

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For sellers, to reach a deal in the first quarter was to accept a lower offer. Fifty-two percent of all sales that closed in the period were for less than the last asking price, according to Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman. Buyers agreed to pay the asking price in 38 percent of deals, but often that figure had already been reduced. Combined, the share of deals without a premium was the biggest since the end of 2012.

“Even with New York real estate prices, you do hit a point in which resistance sets in,” said Frederick Peters, CEO of brokerage Warburg Realty. “People are very anxious about overpaying.”

Peters said that these days, he gets dozens of emails a day announcing price reductions for listings. And buyers are haggling over all deals, no matter how small. In a recent sale of a two-bedroom home handled by his firm, a buyer who agreed to pay $1.5 million — after the seller cut the asking price — suddenly demanded an extra $100,000 discount before signing the contract. They agreed to meet halfway, Peters said.

Buyers also are finding value in co-ops, which in Manhattan tend to be priced lower than condos. Resale co-ops were the only category to have an increase in sales in the quarter, rising 2 percent to 1,486 deals, according to Corcoran Group. Sales of previously owned condos, on the other hand, fell 12 percent as their owners clung to prices near their record highs, the brokerage said.

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The median price of all sales that closed in the quarter was $1.095 million, down 5.2 percent from a year earlier, brokerage Town Residential said in its own report. Three-bedroom apartments saw the biggest drop, with a decline of 7 percent to a median of $3.82 million, the firm said.

Prices fell the most in the lower Manhattan neighborhoods of Battery Park City and the Financial District, where the median slid 15 percent from a year earlier to $1.21 million, according to Corcoran Group. On the Upper West Side, the median dropped 8 percent to $1.1 million.

Neither new developments nor resales were spared from buyer apathy. Purchases of newly constructed condos, which continue to proliferate on the market, plummeted 54 percent in the quarter to 259, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman said. Sales of previously owned apartments dropped 18 percent to 1,921.

The plunge in transactions is actually a good thing, in that it may serve as a wake-up call for more sellers to scale back their price expectations, said Steven James, Douglas Elliman’s CEO for the New York City region.

“It sends the sellers a signal that you have to get more reasonable if you want my buy,” James said. “It’s like buyers said, ‘I’ve told you all along, but you wouldn’t listen! Now I have your attention, so let’s talk.”

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Source: By Oshrat Carmiel | Bloomberg

 

 

 

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Most Expensive Condo In The (leaning, sinking) Millennium Tower Just Sold For $4.66 Million

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The most expensive condo in the leaning, sinking Millennium Tower has just closed escrow at a selling price that is $1 million less than what it had been asking.

Originally priced at $5.99 million when it hit the market in March 2017, Unit 401 was then re-priced, then taken off the market, only to be re-listed at $4.99 million and finally sold for $4.66 million, SocketSite reports.

Two adjacent units on the fourth floor of the eleven-story mid-rise component of San Francisco’s leaning Millennium Tower development (a.k.a. the City Residences) were legally merged back in 2013 to create a single four-bedroom unit #401 which measures 3,814 square feet and sold for $5.3 million in May of 2014 … Keep in mind that the seller was offering financing “for qualified applicants” and Sterling Bank was offering loans with at least 50 percent down, according to the listing.

The Millennium Tower was a massive real estate success when it finally closed its new sales in 2013, raking in $750 million in revenue from properties. A penthouse initially sold for as much at $9.8 million and the average price tag was $1.8 million.

But the building was discovered to be both leaning and sinking two years ago. It has sunk 17 inches and leaned 14 inches to the northwest, sparking a rash of lawsuits and a flight of residents who claim they’ve sold their investments at a loss.

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The unit isn’t the first in the troubled tower to see a major dip in value during resale — in mid-December, the two-bedroom, three-bathroom unit #48B sold for a 30 percent loss, bringing in $2.99 million. It had previously sold for $4.25 million in November 2013.

“The seller took about a 30 percent loss over a period where the market appreciated rapidly,” Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst at brokerage Paragon, who wasn’t involved in the deal, told the Business Times at the time. “That’s got to be pretty painful.”

By Riley McDermid | San Francisco Times

“Granite Islands And Backsplashes”: Even Singlewide Trailers Are No Longer “Affordable”

 

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Since the early 1900s, millions of Americans have relied on trailers as a source of no-frills, affordable housing.  In fact, roughly 22 million Americans live in trailer parks today, but the industry is hardly the stable source of affordable housing that it used to be…a lesson that 73-year-old Judy Goff of Naples, Florida recently discovered the hard way after Hurricane Irma ripped through her park and destroyed her home, along with roughly 1.8 million others.

As Bloomberg points out, when Goff went to a local LeeCorp dealer lot to replace her $46,000, 1,200 square foot trailer with something of similar size and value, what she found instead was “manufactured homes” stuffed with high-end upgrades like granite counter-tops and vaulted ceilings that rendered them too expensive for her $23,000 per year of income.

Last month, Judy Goff, a 73-year-old hardware store clerk whose double-wide in Naples, Fla., was blown to bits, pulled into a LeeCorp Homes Inc. sales lot and wandered through models with kitchen islands and vaulted ceilings. In the salesman’s office, she got the total price, including a carport, taxes, and removal of her destroyed trailer: $140,000. “I don’t have that kind of money,” said Goff as she stood amid the wreckage of her old home, whose walls and ceiling were stripped away, leaving her leather furniture and a lifetime of possessions to bake in the sun. “That was all I had.”

Goff—who just wants to replace the wrecked 1,200-square-foot trailer that she bought 17 years ago for $46,000, including the cost of land—says she feels boxed in. Her mobile-home community won’t allow single-wide homes or older used models as replacements. And every home must have a carport. She’s willing to give up such upgrades as the higher-end countertops, but that probably won’t be enough. Between her Social Security check and income from her job at Ace Hardware Corp., she earns only about $23,000 a year. “I just want a home that’s equal to what I had,” she says. “My home was a beauty.”

“I get that higher-end countertops and kitchen islands are where the better margins are, but that’s also going to put homes out of reach for a lot of buyers,” says Doug Ryan, director of affordable homeownership at the Washington nonprofit Prosperity Now. “The storm is revealing a whole lot of problems in the low-cost housing market.”

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Meanwhile, as we note frequently, while the cost of manufactured homes has surged, the pay for the bottom fifth of American wage earners has been somewhat stagnant for nearly two decades now. Even after a modest uptick recently, the bottom 20% of households have seen their income fall 9% since 2000, in real terms.

But, as low-income households have found it increasingly difficult to rebuild after devastating hurricanes, the surge in manufacturing home pricing has been a boon for billionaire Warren Buffett who made a big financial bet on the largest manufactured housing builder, Clayton Homes, back in 2003.

The industry, led by Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes Inc., is peddling such pricey interior-designer touches as breakfast bars and his-and-her bathroom sinks. These extras, plus manufacturers’ increased costs for labor and materials, have pushed average prices for new double-wides up more than 20 percent in five years, putting them out of reach for many of the newly homeless.

Phil Lee, the 74-year-old founder of LeeCorp, has been riding a wave of retiring baby boomers who want affordable luxury. Driving a reporter in his black BMW SUV through Bayside Estates in Fort Myers Beach, where many of the fanciest homes he sells are installed, Lee points out units with pitched roofs that look almost indistinguishable from conventional homes, facing canals with boats tied outside. Their owners, former dentists, doctors, executives, and others, spent upwards of $150,000 to buy aging units just to clear the way for something more luxurious. On a palm-lined street flanked by ranks of 1970s-era trailers, Lee sees profit. “There’s no end to replacing these homes,” he says. “You get a hurricane in there and it really accelerates things.”

Terms such as “mobile home” or “trailer” are now verboten in an industry striving to break free of its downscale origins. Buffett’s Clayton Homes, which produces almost half of all new manufactured housing in the U.S. and competes with such companies as Cavco Industries Inc. and Champion Home Builders Inc., still builds lower-priced units, but there’s barely a sign of them on its website, which is mostly devoted to high-price models. The 2,000-square-foot Bordeaux features a separate tub and shower, a computer station, and a mud room, with prices starting at $121,000 and ranging as high as $238,000, not including delivery and installation costs. Clayton declined to comment.

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Of course, while mobile homes are becoming increasingly cost-prohibitive for low-income families in Florida and Texas, Silicon Valley’s future tech billionaires can’t seem to get enough of them.

Source: ZeroHedge

Pabst Mansion in Illinois Gets Another Price Cut

Sold in 1999 for $6.95 million the 14,000-square-foot home is now on the market for $3.9 million

It isn’t often that a historic estate with 21st-century features, finishes and amenities is available at a 20th century price, and yet that’s exactly what is on offer at the Pabst Mansion on Sheridan Road in Glencoe, Illinois.

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Sited on 2.2 acres, the 14,000-square-foot house was built in 1936 by architect Willian Pereira.

On the market for two years, the price was just reduced to $3.9 million, nearly $3 million less than what it sold for in 1999 at $6.95 million, according to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. The current owner, who bought the home in 2014, originally listed it for $6.3 million in June 2015. In May 2016 the asking price was lowered to $4.95 million and since then, has reduced the price several times before this latest drop.

Crain’s Chicago Business first reported the price reduction, noting how the house’s sale price has decreased from the 1999 price tag, in each of the mansion’s subsequent sales. It sold for $5.2 million in 2009 and $4.8 million in 2014, when it was bought by the current owner, an insurance executive, according to the public records.

Sited on 2.2 acres, the 14,000-square-foot house was built in 1936 by architect Willian Pereira, who became famous in later years for his work in California, including the Los Angeles International Airport’s space-age control tower and the Transamerica pyramid in San Francisco. The house is known as the Pabst Mansion because of its first owner, Harris Perlstein, who ran Milwaukee’s Pabst Brewing Co. after the merger with his company Premier Malt Products.

On the inside, the house’s details and amenities are extensive. There is a large oval dining room, a paneled library, a bar and entertainment room, a game room, an exercise room, and a party-sized screening room, according to the listing agent. Situated at the end of a long gated driveway, the grounds include a pool with water slide, a half basketball court and a hedge shaped like a maze.

“The new price is an extraordinary value,” said Coldwell Banker listing agent Wendy Friedlich.

| Mansion Global

Another Huge Foreclose Hits NYC Billionaire Row

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Meet The Money-Laundering, Nigerian Oil Magnate Behind New York’s $50MM Condo Foreclosure

Yet another luxury condo at Manhattan’s One57 tower, a member of “Billionaire’s Row,” a group of high-end towers clustered along the southern edge of Central Park, had gone into foreclosure – the second in the span of a month.  The 6,240-square-foot, full-floor penthouse in question, One57’s Apartment 79, sold for $50.9 million in December 2014, making it the eighth-priciest in the building and likely the largest residential foreclosure in Manhattan’s history.

According to Bloomberg, the owner of the apartment attempted to conceal his/her identity by using a shell company (you know how those kooky billionaires can be) but was able to obtain an ‘unusually large’ mortgage with an even more unusual term: one-year.

In September 2015, the company took out a $35.3 million mortgage from lender Banque Havilland SA, based in Luxembourg. The full payment of the loan was due one year later, according to court documents filed in connection with the foreclosure.

The borrower failed to repay, and now Banque Havilland is forcing a sale to recoup the funds, plus interest.

Of course, it was only a matter of time until the mystery man behind Manhattan’s most recent luxury real estate epic fail was exposed.  As such, meet Nigerian oil magnate, Kola Aluko.

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As it turns out, the world renowned, Nigerian-born, billionaire playboy is about $25,000 behind on his property taxes.  But, that is probably the least of his worries as the New York Post points out that he currently wanted by authorities in both Nigeria and Europe for defrauding the Nigerian government out of oil sale profits.

But Aluko has bigger problem, it seems. The 47-year-old tycoon is under investigation in Nigeria and in Europe for alleged money-laundering crimes.

A Nigerian court, according to various reports, tried to freeze Aluko’s assets, including his One57 unit, as part of the alleged scheme to defraud the government of oil sale profits.

Meanwhile, it seems that the only reason Aluko isn’t already in prison is because the Nigerian courts can’t seem to find him to serve papers.  Apparently he’s been hiding out on this 213-foot, $100 million yacht, the Galactica Star, for over a year.

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Over the past year, the boat has been spotted making port calls in Cancun, Mexico and Turkey.

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Of course, if you’re going to be an international playboy then you need to have rich and famous friends and, as it turns out, rappers Jay-Z and P. Diddy seemed to have fulfilled that role for Aluko.  Back in 2012 the rap duo apparently hosted Aluko’s birthday party in Beverly Hills.  Then, just a few years later in 2015, Jay-Z and wife Beyonce rented Aluko’s mega-yacht for the bargain basement price of just $900,000 per week to sail around the Mediterranean.

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Well, presumably it was fun while it lasted.

Source: ZeroHedge

 

Wild Swings in New Home Sales: Median Price Down, Average Price Up

New home sales shot up 6.1% in February aided by 39% jump in the mid-west but a 21.4% decline in the Northeast.

Sales came in just a bit below the top Econoday estimate.

New home sales shot 6.1 percent higher in February to a 592,000 annualized rate that easily beats the Econoday consensus for 565,000 and is near the top estimate of 600,000. Sales appeared to have gotten a boost from builder concessions as the median price fell a monthly 3.9 percent to $296,200 for a year-on-year rate that’s suddenly in the negative column at minus 4.9 percent.

Strength is centered in the Midwest where the sales rate surged 21,000 to 89,000 and easily surpassing 11,000 gains for the both the West, at 157,000, and the South at 313,000. Sales in the Northeast fell sharply in yesterday’s existing home sales report and are down 9,000 to a very low 33,000 annualized rate in today’s report.

Supply of new homes did rise slightly in the month, up 4,000 to 266,000 currently on the market, but relative to sales supply fell to 5.4 months from 5.6 months. Supply has been thin all cycle for new homes and was at 5.5 months in February last year.

Most of the news is good in this report underscored by the average price which, reflecting high-end properties, jumped 9.9 percent in the month for a yearly 11.7 percent gain at $390,400 and a new record. Today’s report helps offset weakness in existing home sales and keeps the housing sector on a moderately climbing slope.

New Home Sales Jump Second Month

Mortgage News Daily reports New Home Sales Build on January Strength.

New home sales posted a much better February than did existing home sales and, in fact, better than most analysts had expected.

It was the second consecutive month of strength for the indicator which had see-sawed between positive and negative results in the waning months of 2016.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, there were 49,000 new homes sold in February compared to 41,000 in January. Thirty-six-thousand of the homes sold were in the $200,000 to 299,000 price tier.

The median price of a new home sold in February was 296,200 compared to $311,300 a year earlier. The average price was $390,400 compared to $349,400.

There were strong geographic differences in the rate of sales. In the Northeast, sales were down 21.4 percent for the month while remaining 13.8 percent higher than the previous February. In contrast, the Midwest posted a 30.9 percent month-over-month improvement and the annual change was 50.8 percent.

Sales in the South rose 3.6 percent from January and 7.9 percent from February 2016 and sales in the West were up 7.5 percent and 6.8 percent from the two earlier periods.

At the end of February, there were an estimated 261,000 homes available for sale on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. This is an estimated 5.4-month supply at the current rate of sale. Sixty-three-thousand of the available homes are completed, construction had not started on 51,000.

Median vs Average Sale

It’s interesting to see the median price dropping with the average price soaring. It’s a tale of two economies and who is and isn’t gaining.

That said, these swings are so wild, I smell revisions.

For now, this should boost GDP estimates.

By Mike Shedlock | mishtalk.com