"Fewer Americans signed contracts to purchase previously owned homes in February as limited inventory and access to credit held back a more robust recovery in housing." —Are $950,000 fixers and impossible lending standards and the need for quarter-million down payments with no-contingency bidding-war offers possibly slowing the current idiotic real estate frenzy? Perhaps! But here is a proven fact: Whenever people are acting super stupid-crazy about any market, it is wise to stay the hell away from said market.
Photo by Jeremiahsb.
Dublin was busy with construction and slick with rain. I tried to recognize landmarks through the taxi windows—mossy stone gate here, mossy stone church there—while the cab driver told me how the Irish were all getting rich and he had finally been able to move back home from the impossible hell of Scotland. It was the end of 1999, I had just flown from Washington to interview for a magazine called International Living, the new hotel-pub where I was staying was owned by someone from the band U2, in 24 hours I would be back at the airport, and life felt like a Thomas Friedman column.
The registration desk [...]
Europe is back in recession, there's some kind of fiscal cliff people are worried about, and WalMart reported dismal earnings today as poor people continue to not have money. But on the elite urban coasts, things are looking pretty good! California real estate prices jumped 19% last month, and New Yorkers are back to their main form of recreation, which is gasping in aspirational horror over the cost of apartments. The time is right for a new kind of architecture—an architecture that is not so much "architecture" as it is "a mix of interior design pieces and pet costumes," an architecture not so much [...]
Thar she blows! How much would you pay for an apartment in Carroll Gardens that is basically two unattractive low-ceilinged rooms on a "ground floor" plus a walk-in closet (or cozy "home office"), with a (truly) big backyard and 16 by 11 feet of storage in the basement? If you said $1,095,000, then you are 1. correct and 2. INSANE.
If you put 30% down (and WHY WOULD YOU, THAT IS MORE THAN $300K), then your mortgage and maintenance and taxes are a grand total of $5000 a month, because, oh yes, the taxes are $700 a month.
This is it. This is Peak Apartment. It's all over. [...]
New thing for yuppie grup kidults to worry about: turns out your $3.5 million townhouse can just
Last night on Court Street I overheard a man and a pregnant lady bemoan the bazillion hours they've spent looking for something decent to buy in Brooklyn (at least, in white people Brooklyn). They just can't give up their Manhattan place until they find that magical Brooklyn apartment!
They will be waiting a while. Or perhaps they'll panic when the deadline of their second baby comes, and just buy something cruddy. But it's not any better for renters, according to this week's figures from the hilariously named RentJuice (ew). The average rent in the East Village is $3,859, now almost exactly tied with the average rent [...]
Over the last three years, everyone bought everything in South Brooklyn. Now, the dregs are being dumped onto the market, for surprising—some would say shocking!—prices. Obviously the big palatial townhouses of Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens still get listed at $2 and $3+ million. (Also, haha, here is an awful one-bedroom for $760K.) 71 3rd Street, which is two tiny, tiny stories and a basement, recently sold for $1.2 million. 339 Hoyt Street, which was harrowing, if largely untouched—the stairs were made of plywood, held together by little brackets—sold for $1.47 million a few months ago. And now it gets worse.
"'Asking prices' are not that at all. They are 'marketing prices.' Buyers should never reflexively assign any validity to the price advertised on any particular property. Listing agents purposely under price their properties for sale and set an offer date. 'Why?' individuals may ask. They do it because it works." —Are you in the market for buying a home in the San Francisco Bay Area? Sorry to hear about that.
"During Dr. Sexton’s tenure, N.Y.U. has earned a reputation for lavishly rewarding its star faculty members. It bought a $6.5 million Upper East Side apartment for the head of its medical center, and it paid more than $4 million to help a former Columbia law professor stay in her turreted Upper West Side home when she joined the N.Y.U. law faculty. It gave the dean of N.Y.U.'s law school a $5.7 million loan to buy an apartment." —Turns out that perks for New York University's star faculty are as ridiculous as the very worst fiction has suggested.
Here is a concise history of the Atlantic Yards and the development—or lack thereof!—of that side of downtown Brooklyn. Don't worry, you have plenty of time to read it, this garbage will be going on until 2037, at which time, one hopes, the seas will have risen enough that we'll have had to move on to making canals down on Wall Street.
What horrors await the startup that doesn't have a frothy loft in TriBeCa or a shared workspace in North Williamsburg? For those who "condescend" to work in the horrors of Midtown, you'll find actually more than one subway, and what's more, hubs to venture out of the City, as well as plentiful food choices. Also a mall.
Good news! I ran into a bunch of married Brooklyn dads last night (in Manhattan, of course), who weren't so happy about our thoughts on how the real estate needs of their upcoming divorces are going to destroy whole swaths of gentrified Brooklyn.
But the disgruntled dads did bring up something obvious I hadn't considered. What do you think the likely behavior of a bunch of 40-something dadvorcé's will be? That's right: dadcaves. They're not going to live on their own when they get divorced, thereby hogging all the apartments. They're going to all be roomies! They'll form packs of bro households, with a high-up wet bar that [...]
One day, after my Sunday shopping excursion, walking south, I suddenly really had to pee. I raced home, dropped my groceries at my door, and ran to the bathroom to relieve myself. Two minutes, that was all it took. In two minutes I went to retrieve my groceries in the hall, and they were gone. Someone had stolen them. In fury I took out a sheet of paper and wrote in black marker, “Whoever just stole my groceries from my front door, that was my food for the week. Please return them. #5A”. I taped the sign next to my door and waited. Surely, some family member would [...]
"It helps that the buying public has no long-term memory." —This sentence is about real estate in Brooklyn, but, really, it could be about anything.
"Most of my buyers are averaging four offers before they have one accepted," my new real estate agent in the Bay Area said yesterday. "It can be an emotional and stressful time."
Probably! And especially if you're moving from a still-depressed housing market, which is roughly the area between the Eastern Seaboard and San Francisco. But, as NPR is reporting as I type these words, the American housing market (in the coastal elite cities) is "fast changing." From causing the collapse of the Earth's economy just five years ago to a breezy NPR feature about an insane couple putting in offers at 2 a.m. after driving by a new [...]
Here is the kind of space math that is completely appropriate for 2012: SpaceX founder Elon Musk says he's preparing for a permanent Mars colony stocked with 80,000 wealthy humans in their 40s. Are you in your 40s right now? Too late! This won't happen for another decade, or more. Are you poor and 30? Well maybe you've got a shot, but probably not. Do you have a degree from a good school and maybe a new job at Facebook or Twitter or Google? You might get to be a "new pilgrim," on Mars! You'll even get to enjoy gardening, the latest craze for people who build APIs [...]
The Plaza District—essentially 42nd Street to basically Central Park South, from Third Avenue to Seventh Avenue—is officially Not Cool and also Highly Expensive and so therefore is Highly Vacant, because Bros Don't Want Their Offices there. "The people who come to our buildings, they use words like ‘dude’ and ‘totally.’ They pound you, they don’t shake your hand. And right now, those are the ones making the space decisions," is how the president of Trinity Real Estate, Jason Pizer, put it. Sure thing, brah! The dudes want to be closer to the L train. JK, they want to be down by The Startups. Um, also, they don't want [...]
To blame the High Line for overgentrification of WChelsea is like saying the federal deficit is caused by arts funding nytimes.com/2012/08/22/opi…
— Matthew Gallaway (@matthewgallaway) August 22, 2012
Today's Times brings one of our old favorites, Jeremiah Moss, on the radical changes in West Chelsea in the age of the High Line. The High Line, only open since summer of 2009, he writes, is overcrowded (uh, yes!) and "quickly became a tool for the Bloomberg administration’s creation of a new, upscale, corporatized stretch along the West Side." He predicts a chain-mall future for the ground level of West Chelsea. Well, as someone [...]
So the Brooklyn baby boom for the white hipster crowd is in full amazing swing. Saturday in Carroll Gardens is Dadurday! So many bearded tattooed dads in cool kicks. And this crowd (ages 26 to 35, essentially) is relentlessly nuclear. These couples live alone with their one-and-a-half kids. So many scooters with matching helmets. And they are split between renters and owners.
Now, what I can tell you about this amazingly traditional set is that, as they approach 40, about half of them will be getting divorced. I'm sorry! But yes.
The stages of urban young adult life are: marriage boom, baby boom, divorce boom, believe it. It happens [...]