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Saturday, February 17, 2007

the news real: this week's jumplist

id_news.gifWow, what a very busy week it has been. No complaints, but its left me with a few posts half-finished— my apologies to subscribers and visitors who've been left hanging in suspense since Tuesday :-) Permit me to direct your attention to a few of the original news items which caught my attention this week, while I tie up some loose ends. I'd like to highlight one of the running features of comitini.com today. My personal reading list is compiled on the fly under the heading "the news real℠", in the right column. It is an outbound jumplist which includes the top five real estate headlines on NY Times.com, plus an aggregation of real estate news items, pretty much bookmarked as I read them, in no particular order. The links will direct you to the original source of the news, without commentary. You'll find a copy of this week's "the news real℠" jumplist below.

Rather than posting and archiving daily 'link-o-ramas'. I decided to publish the news real as a focused resource list feature; thereby leaving the main blog's center column as a place where you'll find more original content. Trust that I'm hitting the keyboard as my day job permits, and that the news real is being updated frequently, even if a new blog post hasn't appeared. Any value to the writing here is informed by my professional engagement with the marketplace, so that comes first. My available time may be uneven some weeks (it is the one resource we cannot create more of); but my hope is that the content I produce is worthy of your attention. Recent site traffic stats show readership to be about doubling each month since launch in November, and subscriber feeds are being hit regularly; so I hope that you are finding it interesting too. Subscribers to our RSS feeds will find the news real links are embedded in the feed, along with main blog content, and flickr photo blog content, whenever new items are added.


There has been a mixed bag of market news including economic indicators like new housing construction (except in the northeast) and resale home prices, dipping nationally. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke indicated that interest rates could rise, if inflation does. Chrysler announced the layoff of 13,000 workers and a merger is possible, which would likely lead to further contraction. Not great news for the already hard hit auto industry. Will the effect of Detroit's woes ripple through the supply chain, and throughout the economy? All happening while Wall Street hit another new record high. The news was positive for New York City real estate this January, with sales metrics indicating the number of deals are up, inventory is being absorbed and trending down, with prices stable or gently on the rise— still bucking the national trend. Can we continue to be insulated from the market forces that seem to be affecting the national market? Have we already seen the bottom? The New York Times also ran two consecutive real estate cover packages on marketing and pricing property, on which you'll see some new posts coming soon.

here are the stories that made it onto news real this week

Developers hold back prime properties to pique buyer interest— The Real Deal
Warehousing, a term used to describe the practice of developers and marketers making only a few units available for sale in a new building project to create a sense of urgency among buyers

In post-boom, who's best and worst— The Real Deal
Harlem, Washington Heights top list of areas with largest gains.

The Money’s Still Good, But Selling Today Is a Long Haul— NYObserver
It now takes 162 days—or nearly half a year—from the last listing price to the signed sales contract.

Forget Gimmicks: Buyers Want Numbers— NYTimes
...detailed information — be it local home values, neighborhood amenities or broader market conditions — is part of a trend to attract consumers by offering data they cannot find easily elsewhere.

Where Floor Plans Are Sought After, and Why— NYTimes

Floor plans are important when an apartment goes on the market and a listing goes on the Web, real estate agents say, because buyers in New York depend so heavily on them.

Making Every Pixel Count— NYTimes
When selling properties online, agents and Web designers say that the pictures buyers see of houses and apartments for sale are often the first — and sometimes the only — chance for a seller to make a good impression.

How Good Are Zillow's Estimates?— WSJ
In the year since its launch, Zillow Inc. has made millions of Americans familiar with computer-generated estimates of home values, created a new online addiction and become a staple of dinner-party chatter.

Freedom Rings— NYPost
Fresh off its acquisition of the largest collection of office towers in the nation, the Blackstone Group has set its sights on the Freedom Tower.

Cuomo Raises New Objection to Starrett City Sale - NYTimes
The investment group that touched off a political storm with its plan to buy Starrett City — the sprawling low- and moderate-income housing project on Jamaica Bay — for $1.3 billion has been banned from converting rental buildings in New York to condo.

Schumer calls for Starrett re-bid— The Real Deal
Sen. Chuck Schumer called for the sale of Brooklyn's Starrett City to be reopened. Starrett Associates sold the 5,881-unit affordable housing complex to Clipper Equity on Feb. 8 for $1.3 billion.

Fed Chief Sees a Rate Rise if Inflation Rears Its Head— NYTimes
The Federal Reserve would raise interest rates if inflation moved higher, the Fed’s chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, said on Thursday, noting that the economy might be stronger than it appears.

Home Prices Fall in More Than Half of Nation’s Biggest Markets— NYTimes
Prices for single-family homes fell in more than half of the nation’s 149 biggest metropolitan areas in the last three months of 2006, according to data released yesterday by a trade group for real estate agents.

Home Construction Dropped in January— NYTimes
The Commerce Department reported Friday that its seasonally adjusted annual rate of new construction fell 14.3 percent from December and 37.8 percent from a year earlier.