Monthly Archives: September 2014

REALTOR.COM bought out by Fox | Bedford Corners NY Realtor

To all of our customers, partners and colleagues –

Early today, the announcement of a definitive agreement for Move, Inc. to be acquired by the global media and information services company News Corp was made in New York. This is a historic moment for our company, which began its public life in 1999 as, Inc. and today accounts for more than 3.7 million homes listed for sale on our websites and apps and attracts nearly 35 million unique monthly visitors.

We have been in discussions with News Corp for some time now about the unique value and potential of® and our leading brand assets, including ListHub™, TopProducer®, TigerLead® and FiveStreetSM, as well as our leading online destinations in the moving and rentals spaces. News Corp sees the same potential we do – and we could not be more pleased to consummate today’s agreement, which carries the full support of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

The significance of this acquisition for the industry is embodied in the specific and tangible benefits to Move and its constituents, in the shared values between Move and News Corp, and in the continuation of the mission that has led to our success thus far and will continue to drive us in the months and years ahead.

Substantial benefits

Combining the assets of Move and News Corp will result in broad and substantial benefits for home buyers and home sellers, agents and brokers, and organized real estate in general. Specifically, the combination will deliver:

  • Broadened reach for Move through News Corp’s robust media platform, including the WSJ Digital Network (which accounts for approximately 500 million average monthly page views) and News America Marketing (which reaches nearly 74 million U.S. households)
  • Increased sales and marketing support to drive higher brand awareness and traffic
  • Cross-platform promotional opportunities
  • Improved product innovation that leverages News Corp’s real estate and digital expertise
  • Increased traffic and time on site with high quality News Corp content

In 2013, News Corporation separated into two distinct, publicly traded companies – News Corp and 21st Century Fox (which is home to Twentieth Century Fox Film, Fox Television, Fox News Channel and other broadcasting and entertainment businesses).

Shared values

The “new” News Corp is today one of the world’s leading media and information services companies, comprised of news, book publishing, digital real estate, digital education and integrated marketing businesses. It is home to such iconic brands as Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, the New York Post, The Australian and HarperCollins Publishing, as well as The Times, Sunday Times and The Sun in the UK. News Corp also has a 61.6% stake in the REA Group Limited (REA), which operates the leading Australian residential property website, REA plans to hold a 20% stake in Move, with 80% held by News Corp.

Many of the companies in the online real estate space have a demonstrated interest in participating in the fee and commission structure of real estate transactions. In contrast, News Corp’s focus on media and information services provides consumers and real estate professionals with accurate and timely information. Additionally, News Corp knows real estate. They have strong and long-standing relationships with the industry and enter into this agreement with a deep commitment to partnering with the NAR and Realtors. News Corp believes that real estate professionals – the more than one million Realtors, brokers, agents and MLS operators who form the backbone of our industry – remain vital to a great real estate experience.

News Corp also believes that Move’s standing in the marketplace – as the source of the biggest, best and most accurate inventory of homes for sale and rent – as well as our partnership with the NAR differentiate our business and uniquely position us to lead the industry.

Continuing the mission

Most companies launch Internet strategies to disrupt conventional business practices – sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Recognizing the impact the Internet might have on real estate information, the NAR had the foresight some 16 years ago to reinvent how consumers gain access to property information. The belief was that if consumers sought real estate information online, it should come from the best source of information – Realtors – versus others who would simply add cost and complexity to real estate transactions.

Through® the NAR and Move wrote the book on how online real estate should function. Now, as part of News Corp, we will have access to resources, content and media assets that will enable us to more rapidly achieve our potential.

As we leverage these considerable new assets, our mission and our focus remain constant. Today and in the future, we will provide people with the content, tools and professional expertise they need to find their perfect home and work tirelessly to ensure that the real estate professional remains indispensably connected to the process of buying and selling homes.

That means promoting the REALTOR® brand. Generating the best quality leads. Powering syndication through broker choice and control. And creating equal opportunity for all participants in the business. As part of News Corp, we will ensure that Move and all of our assets have the right tools, resources and reach to compete vigorously – and to lead.

We know we speak for all of us at Move in saying how enthusiastic we are to join News Corp – and in thanking you for your continued support of our people, products and services. Continued success and best wishes.

San Francisco Real Estate is Down | Chappaqua Real Estate

Here’s one sign that the cooling off for housing appreciation has become widespread: The hot San Francisco housing market actually saw home prices drop in July, marking the city’s weakest result since early 2012, according to data released Tuesday morning.

Looking at a broader gauge of prices in 20 cities, July saw overall growth of 0.6% in July, slower than the 1% rise in June, according to S&P/Case-Shiller’s 20-city composite index.

After seasonal adjustments, home prices among the 20 cities fell 0.5% in July — the biggest drop since October 2011 — compared with a 0.3% decline in June.

Slower appreciation could encourage more buyers, though prices are still outpacing inflation. A larger number of homes on the market has helped cool down home-price growth. At the same time, demand has been somewhat curbed by increasingly pricey properties and mortgage loans.

Meanwhile, annual growth slowed down, with year-over-year home prices rising 6.7% in July — the slowest pace since late 2012 — compared with annual growth of 8.1% in June. Among the 20 tracked cities, 19 saw slower annual growth in July.

“The geographic breadth of the pullback in prices is noteworthy,” Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities, wrote in a research note. “Apologies if you are looking to sell your home, but perhaps a bit of relief on the price side will help to bolster housing demand, which has been disappointing lately.”



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Housing is biggest expense for retirees | Armonk Real Estate

It’s become fashionable these days for advisers to warn retirees and pre-retirees to set aside enough money to pay for health care in their golden years.

Folks might be better served if they were told to make sure they first have enough income and assets to pay for housing and home-related expenses after age 65.

That’s because those expenses — mortgages, property taxes, insurance, utilities, home maintenance, and the like — comprise the largest spending category for older Americans, according to a new report published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit research institute based in Washington, D.C.

Yes, health-care expenses increase steadily with age, and remain a big cause of concern, but the cost of maintaining a home is typically the biggest expense for older people. EBRI said.

Women typically live longer than men, often have less saved for retirement and interact differently with financial planners, says Eve Kaplan of Kaplan Financial Advisors in Berkeley Heights, N.J.

To be fair, the dollar amount spent on housing and home-related expenses decreases with age. But the share of these costs in household budgets remain stable at between 40% to 45%, depending on age group, EBRI said in a release.

Consider: Households age 60-64 spent on average $18,720 or 43% of total expenses on housing in 2011, adjusted for 2013 dollars; households age 65-74 spent $14,732 or 42%; and households age 75-plus spent $13,111 or 44%. Or put another way: you’ll need roughly $250,000 set aside at age 65 to pay for 20 years of housing expenses.

To be fair, EBRI found in its analysis that health expenses increase steadily with age. In 2011, for instance, households with at least one member between ages 50‒64 spent 8% of their total budget (or $4,176) on health items, compared with 19% (or $6,603) for those age 85 or over. And health-related expenses do occupy the second-largest share of total expenditure for those over age 75, EBRI noted.

But housing is the cost no one is really talking about.

Of course, health care can be a budget buster, too. For instance, EBRI also found a large increase in spending at the 95th percentile for those age 90 or older, which can be attributed to very high health-care expenses.

But much of that expense is associated with end-of-life care. “For some, health-care expenses can be heavily skewed toward the end of life,” Sudipto Banerjee, EBRI research associate and author of the report, said in a release.

For example, Banerjee said, in 2011, the (midpoint, half above and half below) health-care expenditure for households with at least one member 85 and above was $2,814, while the average was much higher at $6,603.

And costs can be especially troublesome for households that fall in the 95th percentile, the worst-case folks. In that percentile, health-care expenses ranged from $13,918 for those households age 65-79 to $28,339 for those ages 90 and above. “If withdrawals are not well managed then by that time many (retirees) may have little left in their nest eggs,” said Banerjee.



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11 Ridiculous Facts About Your New Dream Job: Estate Manager | North Salem Real Estate


Attention, earnest young strivers whose skillsets have yet to find practical application in “the real world” and whose applications have yet to catch the eye of the casting directors of The Real World: The Wall Street Journal has found the perfect job for you and it is sooo Downton Abbey. You, yes you, could rake in as much as $200K a year as an estate manager, and all you would need to do is cater to homeowners with “a lot of home to handle,” many of whom only live in their palatial mansions for a few months a year. Use the following steps as a sort of job description, and before you know it you could be managing an L.A. estate for members of a Saudi royal family with a staff of 75:

1. Be ready to perform duties including “everything from patrolling the tennis court to stretching the owner’s Manolo Blahnik heels.” (Maybe try putting water-filled Ziplocs in the toe and setting them in the freezer?)

2. Going off the experience of one estate manager who lives in the guest quarters on his client’s Beverly Hills estate, an average 12-hour shift involves entering the house 10-20 times a day for “regular security sweeps, meetings with the housekeepers and landscaper, and a maintenance inspection of all nine refrigerators, eight air conditioners and 12 bathrooms.”

3. It’s important to know where to draw the line, though: “I don’t fold people’s laundry or underwear, but I am an accommodator.”

4. You could also draw the line at taking care of tropical fish. “When they die and the owner cries for a week,” says one manager, “I’m not going to be responsible.”

5. Still, you can expect to find the following on a list of chores: “Check the salinity level of the indoor saltwater pool; polish about 15 bronze statues, including a giraffe and a mermaid; tidy up the meditation room with the large Buddha statue; regularly flush all seven toilets and run the steam showers.” Between tidying up around the Buddha and accommodating your clients’ lack of toilet use, remember your mantra, “I am not an accommodator.” Repeat it often.

6. Other duties may include taking the boat out on the lake “to warm up the engine,” and spending five years nurturing a pair of prized bonsai trees “that needed to be treated like children.”

7. Absolute discretion is key: “My children don’t know who I work for—my parents don’t know who I work for.”

8. Other helpful attributes include “reliability” and “moxie.” Positions go to everyone from ex security professionals to former fashion models, though for one estate manager, being from a “big Italian family” was qualification enough.

9. Colorful duties said backgrounds would make you perfect for include scouring the country “for a manufacturer of a specialty tile imported from Italy,” finding a “voodoo priest to bless the owner’s new house,” and carrying “non-FDA approved drugs” for clients. These kinds of responsibilities are why “trust is so important.”

10. Think of it this way: You are, In the words of an L.A. estate manager, “running a company, and the company just happens to be a family of five.” Be sure to inquire about stock options.



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For $2M, Buy an Uncompromising Bastion of ’80s Terribleness | Mt Kisco Real Estate

The brokerbabble for this slice of L.A. county real estate calls the structure a “custom neoclassical estate,” but one peek at the listing photos reveals it’s much more likely to be, say, the set of an L.A.-based Wolf of Wall Street and American Psycho crossover. The listing text touts the 4,444-square-foot house’s “historical statues and carvings,” but that’s just scuffing the surface. The foyer is a shiny marbled expanse with no less than 12 white columns and a sculptural centerpiece of one Greco-Roman figure or another. (Mercury? Hard to tell.) There’s also an art gallery, several million-pound crystal chandeliers, bedrooms double dipped in ’70s-ish patterns, and, in the stunning prose of Curbed LA, “four glittery-disco baths.” The six-bedroom listed and re-listed a lot in the last decade (at one time asking as much as $9M!) though now it could all be yours for just $1.995M.



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Live Like a Robber Baron in this $13M Lakeside Tudor Manse | South Salem Real Estate

Location: Lake George, N.Y.
Price: $12,900,000
The Skinny: Built as only Gilded Age captains of industry could build ’em, this magnificent $12.9M Tudor Revival home on New York’s Lake George is a beautifully preserved example of the opulent mansions of the early 20th-century elite. Dubbed Wikiosco after the Algonquin for “Home on Beautiful Waters,” the house was built by Brooklyn Con Edison founder (and excellent name-haver) Royal C. Peabody based on a design by his son, architect Charles S. Peabody, whose firm also designed such landmarks as NYC’s Mercantile Building and portions of Vanderbilt University. The 20,000-square-foot mansion sits on almost seven acres of rolling waterfront land, with 545 feet of lake-frontage, and, per the listing, features original “carved oak doors, decorative carved built-ins, oak beams, stain-glassed windows, crown moldings and wainscoting.”



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10 most distressed properties in NYC | Waccabuc Real Estate

Savvy real estate investors made a killing on distressed properties in the wake of the financial crisis. But as the market continues to get stronger — and as distressed assets continue to be worked out — the well has dried up.

“Last August, we had $4 billion in loans delinquent for more than 60 days in New York City, now we’re down to $3.5 billion,” said Joseph McBride, a research analyst at commercial mortgage analytics website Trepp. “There were 35 loans on the list last year, now there are 25.” The overall delinquency rate for properties in the city also fell, to 5.43 percent from 6.5 percent.

“It’s a good sign for the city, obviously,” added McBride, noting that he expected the overall amount of delinquent loans to drop even further next year. Despite an outlier like the $3 billion outstanding loan on Stuyvesant Town – Peter Cooper Village, McBride said lower-balance loans are getting resolved in a far timelier manner.

“Once that thing [Stuy Town] gets resolved,” he said, “it’s a huge rock in the pipe that’s cleared out.”

The majority of delinquent loans are for multifamily properties with pro-forma underwriting, Trepp analysts said, meaning that the borrower was betting on rents to appreciate.

Here are the 10 largest delinquent loans on New York City real estate assets, according to Trepp data from August.

1) Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village (Manhattan)
Outstanding balance: $3 billion

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village

Stuy Town’s financial troubles started after a disastrous $5.4 billion takeover led by Tishman Speyer and BlackRock at the very height of the property boom in 2006. The buyers turned over the keys to the complex in 2010, making it one of the largest casualties of the real estate downturn.

Senior bond holders represented by CWCapital Asset Management now control the sprawling, 11,000-apartment, 110-building complex, which a recent deed transfer valued at just over $4.4 billion. Last month, CWCapital, which is angling to sell the complex, agreed to extend a deadline on talks to keep it affordable. Private equity giant Fortress Investment Group, which owns CW Capital, is said to be readying a $4.7 billion bid for the complex.

An estimated 5,000 apartments in the complex are now market-rate.

2) Riverton Apartments at 2156 Madison Avenue (Manhattan)
Outstanding balance: $225 million

The Riverton apartments in Harlem

Stellar Management’s Larry Gluck and private equity giant the Rockpoint Group paid a hefty $135 million for this Harlem rent-stabilized complex in 2005, which has 1,228 apartments in seven buildings, and counts Mayor David Dinkins and the jazz pianist Billy Taylor among its former residents.

A year later, Gluck refinanced Riverton for $250 million, a move that allowed him to recoup his $44 million initial investment and make a hefty profit on the deal, according to the New York Times.

In 2009, Gluck defaulted on the debt and offered to turn over the deed in lieu of foreclosure. The delinquent loan currently stands at $225 million, Trepp’s data show.

3) The Shoreham Hotel at 33 West 55th Street (Manhattan)
Outstanding balance: $33.8 million

The 50,000-square-foot, 11-story hotel was owned by ARK Partners, whose principals are Brad Reiss and John Yoon. The loan, which was originated by Column Financial in 2006, was recently moved to special servicer C-III Asset Management, which is pursuing a deed in lieu of foreclosure, according to Trepp.

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3 Ways the Boomer Housing Crisis Benefits Millennials | Bedford Hills Real Estate

As baby boomers grudgingly age into their sunset years, they may find it increasingly difficult to find or afford housing that meets their needs.

In particular, younger boomers who are now in their 50s are poorer and have more debt than previous generations (in addition to lower home ownership rates). They may be unable to cover the cost of housing or long-term care in their retirement years, according to a recent report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The youngest of the 76 million boomers have begun turning 50 this year – and 10,000 boomers a day will turn 65 from now through 2030.

The vast majority want to stay in their homes, but those homes often lack accessibility features, such as single-level living and wider hallways and doors, that would allow them to operate a wheelchair, for example. Furthermore, suburban or rural areas with inadequate public transportation can isolate them from family and friends as well as health care providers.

“The housing stock of America is pretty inflexible,” says David Eckerdt, director of the Gerontology Center and a sociology at the University of Kansas. “You can’t resize it or move it, and the ‘build’ environment can’t quickly acquire the necessary transit or parks or supermarkets.”

There may be a silver lining here, though: a real estate market that’s more welcoming to millennials. Here are four boomer-led housing trends that may help the younger generation in the long term.

ONE: A Housing Swap. For financial reasons and because they’re healthier than previous generations, boomers are staying in suburban single-family homes far longer than their parents did. That’s OK, because thanks to college loans and a tough job market, it’s taking millennials longer to gain the financial independence they need to buy a house. Despite witnessing one of the worst housing busts in American history, two-thirds of millennials recently polled by Zillow agreed with the statement that owning a home is necessary to living the “good life” and is central to the American dream.



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Housing’s Share of GDP: 15.5% for the Second Quarter | Cross River Real Estate

Housing is an important source of economic growth. As of the second quarter of 2014, housing’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) was 15.5%, with home building and remodeling yielding 3.1 percentage points of that total.

housing gdp_2q14

Housing-related activities contribute to GDP in two basic ways.

The first is through residential fixed investment (RFI). RFI is effectively the measure of the home building and remodeling contribution to GDP. It includes construction of new single-family and multifamily structures, residential remodeling, production of manufactured homes and brokers’ fees. For the second quarter, RFI was 3.1% of the economy.

The RFI component reached a $496 annualized pace during the second quarter. This is the second highest quarterly total for RFI since the middle of 2008. Overall GDP expanded by 4.6% (annualized) for the quarter, with RFI adding 0.27 points of that total.

The second impact of housing on GDP is the measure of housing services, which includes gross rents (including utilities) paid by renters, and owners’ imputed rent (an estimate of how much it would cost to rent owner-occupied units) and utility payments. The inclusion of owners’ imputed rent is necessary from a national income accounting approach because without this measure increases in homeownership would result in declines for GDP. For the second quarter, housing services was 12.4% of the economy.

Historically, RFI has averaged roughly 5% of GDP while housing services have averaged between 12% and 13%, for a combined 17% to 18% of GDP. These shares tend to vary over the business cycle.

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Trump executive allegedly drugged rival in GM Building bid | Katonah Real Estate

The GM Building and Donald Trump The General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street — one of the priciest office buildings in America – has had its share of landlords over the years from Bill Zeckendorf to Harry Macklowe. But according to a new book, Donald Trump was its most notorious. When Donald Trump was in the midst of negotiations for the building, his head of acquisitions, Abe Wallach, allegedly drugged a rival with sleeping pills on a flight. While the man was out, Wallach went through the man’s valise in search of sensitive documents, Vicky Ward told the New York Post. Ward’s new book “The Liar’s Ball: The Extraordinary Saga of How One Building Broke the World’s Toughest Tycoons,” chronicles the history of the building. Wallach told Ward that at the time he worried that he gave his rival too big a dose and that his victim might die. “This is an exposé of the kill-or-be-killed world of these real-estate tycoons — the dark side of capitalism,” Ward told the Post




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