Monthly Archives: May 2011

South Salem NY real estate prices are down more than in the depression | South Salem NY Homes for sale

Home prices began double-dipping months ago, but now that S&P/Case Shiller has chimed in, it really must be so.


 This report is the most widely-followed home price index, equally quoted in bank boardrooms, Treasury Department back rooms, and Congressional Committees.

 The report finds home prices in Q1 of this year are now 2.9 percent below the previous quarterly bottom in Q1 of 2009, effectively giving up all the gains of the past few years, which were of course fueled by the home buyer tax credit.



“Just about everybody agrees we’re going to miss the seasonally strong period in 2011, which we should be at the very beginning of right now with May, but nobody thinks that will make any difference,” says S&P’s David Blitzer. “Everybody’s now keeping their fingers crossed for 2012 and wondering whether people just don’t want to own homes anymore.”

 Keeping your fingers crossed for the housing market is just the tip of the iceberg. Prices have now fallen, on this index, more than they did during the Great Depression. “On that occasion, the peak in prices was not regained until 19 years after they first fell,” notes Paul Dales at Capital Economics.

So what about the banks? Sure, they took huge write-downs already, but there is clearly more pain to come, especially given that this report out today is actually a three month running average based on home sale closings in March, so really you could say the whole thing is based on sales contracts signed around six months ago. We’ve seen considerably more housing weakness since then.

“All will have to take new markdowns if these price pressures continue, which everything points to the fact that it will,” says Peter Boockvar at Miller Tabak. “Bank balance sheets are still cluttered with mortgage loans, and they are still being asked to take back bad mortgages from those that bought them, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so the lower home prices go, the risk rises that another round of balance sheet write downs may be necessary.”

And speaking of Fannie and Freddie (and I’ll throw in private label and FHA), when you consider the enormous volume of bank-owned (REO) inventory of foreclosed properties they’re holding….

CNBC Chart

…you have to also consider what a drop in home values means to all that. The chart we have shows al

l the REO without the banks included, as we don’t know that, but if you take additional data from RealtyTrac showing total REO inventory at 872,990 in May and multiply it by the latest median home price from the National Association of Realtors ($163,700 in April), you get around $142.9 billion in value at risk minus at least a 25 percent discount because it’s a foreclosure already.

“With each subsequent dip in home prices, the portfolio is worth less and the banks will suffer increasing losses,” notes RealtyTrac’s Rick Sharga.

It’s impossible to sa

y what the bank losses are right now, especially when you have to add in more potential put backs, where Fannie and Freddie force the banks to buy back bad loans. All we know is that the more home prices fall, the more the banks stand to suffer, and we all know what happened the last time they suffered.

Katonah NY real estate uses Groupon and Foursquare | Find a Katonah NY home



According to a post early this morning on the Wall Street Journal’s influential AllThingsD blog, flash couponing/daily deals behemoth Groupon is in talks with location-based services (LBS) innovator Foursquare, in which nearby coupons would be integrated with everyone’s new favorite pastime of checking in.

In an article I wrote f

or late last year, LBS and flash couponing were two of the trends I advised marketers to watch out for in 2011.  A tie-up between the two biggest names in the business would only provide value for marketers (‘one-stop shopping’) and can drive innovation in the industry.

But the value would be for marketers of small- to medium-sized businesses – which need all the help they can get.  National retail, service, and hospitality chains have largely shunned Groupon (or perhaps, it’s the other way around), but perhaps this new alliance may change the game a bit.

Both companies have attractive, funky, irreverent branding – Groupon specifically employs 425 editors, most of t

hem journalists, to craft its cheeky pitch emails — and Foursquare’s ‘Mayor’ concept and points system, and integration with social media, can definitely benefit Groupon. 

Let’s face it:  Groupon, while calling itself a social media play, only uses social media to partially market the coupon and nothing else (the good ole’ eblitz is still its core marketing weapon).  Competitor LivingSocial lives up more to its name, as you can get your coupon free if three of your friends decide to purchase the same special.

At issue is the recently announced – last Friday, to be exact – alliance between Groupon and LBS competitor Loopt, to offer Groupon Now!, or real-time alerts that flash across the smartphone screen when a u

ser is in the vicinity.  Groupon Now! is currently only available in Chicago.

How a Groupon-Foursquare tie-up will differ from a Groupon-Loopt alliance remains to be seen.  It is also unclear if there is any exclusivity, and/or if Groupon will also be approaching the other LBS providers, including Gowalla or even Facebook Places.  (Facebook launched its own daily deals service on Tuesday, April 26, 2011).

Oddly enough, Foursquare already approaches merchants for deals, known as Specials, and highlighted in orange on a user’s screen.  An alliance with the largest provider of such deals can only accelerate this effort.


Full story


Katonah NY homes for sale

Pound Ridge NY Real Estate looks at the Top 10 real estate websites in April | Inman News for Pound Ridge NY homes for sale

Top 10 real estate websites in April

Hitwise: AOL Real Estate growing market share

AOL Real Estate continued its steady upward climb during April in rankings of the Internet’s most popular real estate websites compiled by Web metrics firms Experian Hitwise.

After rising from 16th to eighth position to break into the Hitwise top 10 in March, AOL Real Estate continued to boost its audience in April, rising to fifth place with a 2.91 percent market share in the real estate category, Hitwise said.

The rankings of the top four real estate sites were unchanged from March.

The latest numbers from Hitwise show was the most popular real estate site on the Internet in April, with a 6.5 percent market share, followed by Yahoo Real Estate (6.1 percent), Zillow (5.52 percent), and (4.75 percent). operator Move Inc. announced an agreement with AOL Real Estate in January, in which Move is powering the site’s homes-for-sale search and coordinating ad sales to real estate agents, brokers and other advertisers.

Zillow and Yahoo Real Estate have a similar alliance, with Zillow managing a common set of for-sale listings on both sites, and ads agents and brokers purchase from Zillow appearing on both sites.

Hitwise’s numbers show Yahoo Real Estate and Zillow with a combined market share of 11.62 percent, compared with a combined market share of 9.41 percent for and AOL Real Estate.

Hitwise rankings take into account a number of metrics, including visits, page views, and average visit time.

AOL Real Estate’s move up in April bumped (2.41 percent market share), (2.18 percent) and MSN Real Estate (1.74 percent) down one place in the rankings, to sixth, seventh and eighth places, respectively.

ZipRealty (1.53 percent) hung on to ninth place in the Hitwise top 10, while (1.51 percent) bounced back from 57th to 10th place. HGTV’s began the year riding high on traffic from a sweepstakes competition, which propelled the site into second place on the Hitwise list in January.

Sites on the Hitwise top 10 list captured 35.1 percent of all visits in the real estate category in April, compared to just under 11 percent for the next 10 most popular sites.

Rounding out the Hitwise top 20, Apartment Guide (1.49 percent) fell one position to 11th in April, followed by MyNewPlace (1.19 percent) in 12th. (1.15 percent) picked up two places in the rankings in April, reaching 13th as it moved past Re/Max Real Estate (1.13 percent), 16th place (1.1 percent), and 17th place (1.03 percent). (1.11 percent) moved up one position, to 15th, while LoopNet (0.94 percent) and Listingbook Services (0.92 percent) maintained their 18th and 19th place positions on the Hitwise top 20 in April.

HomeAway (0.87 percent) fell three positions to the bottom of the Hitwise top 20 list. Brokerage site Redfin — which claimed the last spot on the Hitwise top 20 in March — did not make the list in April.

Three sites entered the Hitwise top 100 in April — (57th), (93rd) and California Association of Realtors (100). Dropping off the Hitwise top 100 were, Neighborhood Assistance Corp. of America, and

The top 10 ranked search terms were, zillow, trulia, realtor, remax,, century 21, real estate, homes for rent, and apartments for rent.

Fast-moving websites included Real Tour Vision (up 171 places to 123rd); RE Technology (up 210 places to 237th); Century 21 Town and Country (up 273 places to 421st); (up 113 places to 182); Bridlegate-Ranch (up 859 places to 1,322); Walk Score (up 114 places to 216); (up 29 places to 70th); NNY Homes (up 581 places to 1,504); Arizona Multiple Listing Service (up 160 places to 469); and Johnson City Real Estate (up 831 places to 2,008).

Armonk NY Homes wants to know what makes real estate ‘prime’? | Inman News for the Armonk NY Real Estate market

What makes real estate ‘prime’?

Mood of the Market

Flickr image courtesy of <a href=.

I’m fascinated by the concept of “prime real estate.” In fact, I apply it in all areas of life — some of which would cause quizzical looks in a crowd of real estate professionals. When dealing with difficult people and relationships, I’ve been known to evict them from my prime mental real estate.

What my mother might call tailgating, I call the highest and best use of prime, rush-hour, freeway real estate. I’ve taught my son that the whole foods I want him to eat — mostly produce and proteins — occupy the prime real estate in the grocery store.

(In turn, he has informed me that the processed foods he wants to eat — mostly hot Cheetos and Mountain Dew — are just a few aisles in.)

The subject of prime real estate jolted into mind for me, recently, after someone invaded my freeway real estate, rear-ending me in a (blessedly) minor fender bender. Bizarrely enough, I was rear-ended, also at very low speed, in virtually the identical spot on the freeway almost exactly a year ago.

I thought … that is a “bad” piece of real estate in this interchange, which is otherwise probably one of the highest-utility-per-square-foot spots in town. My hypertext mind then clicked to the question of whether what is considered prime vs. “bad” real estate has changed over this past four years of real estate market recession, reset and reformation that we’ve experienced.

In some ways, it most certainly, obviously has. The exclusivity, newness, vast, high-ceiling, remote, “conclave-y” feel of many suburbs folded in on itself when all the subprime adjustable-rate mortgages that financed the original purchase of those homes reset at the same time and foreclosed en masse.

This foreclosure wave, happening at the same time as gas prices skyrocketed and frugality became en vogue, caused a triple-time change in the definition of many newly developed suburban communities, from the prime real estate of the suburbs, to the burdensome-for-commuters exurbs, to the down-and-out “slumburbs.”

Another new set of elements that has been added into the mix of what constitutes prime real estate, post-recession, is how well the area has withstood the recession. Just last week, I read this frightening factoid: 78 percent of today’s foreclosure sales are taking place in 10 states.

Now, as you might suspect from my conception of the supermarket boundaries, nothing in real estate is more hyperlocal, to use an overused phrase, than which areas are “prime” and which are less desirable. So, while some of these states have areas where foreclosure rates are sky-high, home values have been decimated, and the vast majority of the homes are burdened with mortgage balances greater than their market value, most also have “prime” real estate districts.

These prime areas in otherwise subprime states are the counties, cities or even neighborhoods where these conditions do not prevail, often because of a thriving local job market or some unique limitation on supply, like tight building regulations or a simple lack of space for new construction in a coastal area.

Of course, I also recently saw an online news outlet feature a slide show on the healthiest housing markets in America, which featured a number of states where more than 30 percent of the homes are upside-down, meaning that their owners owe more on their mortgages than their homes are currently worth.

The fact that these markets are accurately deemed relatively healthy does show a tide change in what prime real estate is, at least by that definition.

So, with the addition of recession-resistance to the list of qualifying criteria, what is and isn’t prime real estate has changed somewhat over the real estate recession. But I wouldn’t say it has changed much otherwise. The same things that my parents and grandparents thought made a neighborhood desirable for living and homeownership 20, 40 and 60 years ago still make for prime real estate today.

Established neighborhoods, with high rates of homeownership and relatively low turnover (possibly two sides of the same coin), tend to be desirable, as the residents invest more in their homes and the supply of homes for sale is scarce, which positions them to sell at a good value.

Walkability or other convenient access to jobs, shopping, amenities and activities also characterize districts we think of as prime real estate. And let’s not forget plain old aesthetic beauty — whether it’s natural beauty of tree-lined streets, water views, mountains, or the beautiful sleek, modern, artisanal or vintage architecture of the homes.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder — and the real estate consumer.

Some would automatically throw good schools on the list, but I’d beg to differ, proposing instead that locally valued comforts might be what we’re really referring to. Last year, the National Association of Realtors’ 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers found that a shockingly low minority of homebuyers actually have children under 18 at home.

Of course, homeowners without children certainly don’t mind living in a good school district. But neither is it necessary to be in one for the real estate to be prime, if most people in an area are childless or, as in my area, send their children to private schools.

But “prime” is a synonym for desirable, which, in real estate, is driven by what buyers want — and that differs in different areas. If you’re in Manhattan, for example, this might be having a Whole Foods or a YMCA on your building’s ground floor. If you’re in an urban area, this might be parking. If you’re on the coast, this could be ocean views. If you’re in the suburbs, this could mean a five-car garage with air conditioning and a pool.

Whatever floats your (and your neighbors’) boats, if possessed by a home, building or community, and renders it prime real estate — like, for example, having a boat lift in Miami, where no boat should have to lift itself, as I always say.

And the opposite is also true: What is considered “bad” is relative to what people in your area value or dislike; train tracks might be seen as a noisy eyesore in some suburbs, while proximity to a subway station is considered a vast benefit in some cities.

Which leads us to the last, most unsung ingredient of prime real estate: the absence of bad stuff. Again, what is “bad” varies by area, but there are some general things buyers want to avoid. Lots of foreclosures, tons of homes for sale, or vacant homes. Graffiti. Train tracks. Crime. Blighted homes or other eyesores.

If the way we talk about real estate reflects the way we think about real estate, then there are certainly degrees of value we place on homes and their locations, with an upper echelon reserved for homes with physical characteristics and surroundings and lifestyle amenities that are desirable to local buyers.

That desirability empowers these homes to sustain their economic value over time; yet another way — in the mold of consumer confidence — what we want and think and believe creates our individual and collective economic real estate realities.

Tara-Nicholle Nelson is author of “The Savvy Woman’s Homebuying Handbook” and “Trillion Dollar Women: Use Your Power to Make Buying and Remodeling Decisions.” Tara is also the Consumer Ambassador and Educator for real estate listings search site Ask her a real estate question online or visit her website,

Seth’s Blog: Agency for the Pound Ridge realtor | Pound Rodge homes for sale

A door is not responsible if it swings and hits you in the nose. Neither is the hand of the guy who punched you.

Philosphers and lawyers talk about agency. Responsibility comes with the capacity to act in the world. If you can decide, if you can act, you have agency.

Life without agency would be a nightmare. Trapped in a box, unable to do anything by choice, nothing but a puppet…

Why then, do organizations and individuals struggle so intently to avoid the responsibility that comes with agency? "It's not my job, my boss won't let me, there's a federal regulation, we're prohibited, it's our supplier, that's our policy…"

It's not something you can turn on or off. Either you have the capacity to act in the world. Or you don't.

Facebook Analytics presentation at Blogworld | Email Marketing Strategy for Bedford Corners NY real estate

Last week, I had the opportunity and privilege to present a Facebook Analytics session to a standing-room-only crowd at Blogworld NYC. For those that asked, here are the slides from that presentation. It will be (re)made into a webinar in the days and weeks to come for those who could not attend.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Strategy and Innovation

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This entry was posted on Monday, May 30th, 2011 at 8:05 am and is filed under Conferences, facebook, Metrics, Strategy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.