Property Grunt

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Dead Cat Bounce Part 2: The Punisher

The Punisher is an avenging angel who goes after criminals and the scum of society that are beyond the reach of rules of law. With an uzi in his hand and a white skull on his chest, he doles out justice in a simpl straight forward manner er. If your guilty, your dead.
A man of violence, just like his origin. Frank Castle was going to Central Park with his family to have a picnic when they accidentally stumbled upon a mob hit. And as you can guess, the participants had no desire to leave witnesses and opened fire on Frank Castle and his family leaving Frank the sole survivor of the massacre.
After recovering from his wounds he discovered that the law would be of no help in bringing him justice. So he decided to take it upon himself exact punishment. Of course, being a decorated Vietnam Vet with special forces experience didn't hurt either. Enter the Punisher.
He is considred a favorite comic book character among fans because he is more relatable than Spider-Man and Batman. He is just an ordinary man who has an unquenchable desire to bring the hammer down on those who bring nothing but pain and suffering to the innocent. When you are a kid who got bullied alot, reading a Punisher comic was great way to kill the demons.
He was the everyman, the guy who just said enough and decided to do something permanent and violent against the scum of society.
I still read the Punisher and I still get a kick out of his adventures as he takes on all comers of the criminal and the super villian underworld. However, I am aware that the character is pretty much a psycho and somone that could only exist for this long in the comic book world. As for dealing with bullies. I am a big believer that success not firearms is the best revenge.
The reason why I am bringing up the Punisher is due to the article in the New York Times which has become the most emailed article of the New York Times. I am sure that many a broker have been mandated to email these it to all their buyers who have been sitting on the fence and their sellers who have been tearing into their cuticles.
I am not surprised about this development in the market. As I have stated before in previous entries, I could see Manhattn being able to weather the bubble burst. But it is also probably unlikely that Manhattan will walk unscathed. Even the experts are a little wary.
Real estate experts say they see no reason for the trend to not continue, with economists predicting stable mortgage rates and a continuing city budget surplus. However, other factors may alter New Yorkers’ renewed interest in buying real estate, including an expansion of the Iraq war, a changing employment picture or another terrorist attack.
Yet, there is “cautious exuberance,” according to Steven L. James, director of Manhattan sales for Prudential Douglas Elliman.
A week ago, one open house attracted 100 people to an Upper West Side one-bedroom; a $2.475 million house in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn sold in a day.
Across the board, the prices of Manhattan apartments are rising. Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, an appraisal firm, said the number of contracts signed this January was 19.4 percent higher than in January 2006. Prices were up 14.4 percent in the same time period. Inventory, which was mounting last summer, is shrinking fast.
Now, according to Mr. Miller, statistics showed that sales of studio and one-bedroom units, stagnant over the past year, were up 13.7 percent in January. “It’s not like a lot of huge sales at the high end skewed the average up.”
It is noticebale but it is not huge. Which is the reason why the shamans of the industry are not whooping it up.
Mr. Miller said New Yorkers had been reluctant to buy because of the feeling of an impending crash. “Last summer, a lot of information was being dumped on the consumer: stories about the glut of condos in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, exacerbated by the constant debate on the blogosphere about housing bubbles, mixed together with a barrage of negative predictions,” he said in a telephone interview.
I have to concur that the past several months the consumer has been bombarded with alot of information about the end of the market. WheneverI told people my background they would ask what the market was like and if they should buy. It seems consumers were looking for that big bang. The crescendo, that said "You're f**ked." That crescendo did come but it arrived for the rest of the nation.
Although no one can pinpoint the moment when New Yorkers started feverishly buying again, Kirk Henckels, the director of the private brokerage division of Stribling & Associates, said he thought the luxury market picked up after Labor Day.
He and others said the resurgence was partly fueled by the fall’s record-setting (and well-publicized) sales of a few multimillion-dollar apartments and town houses, like the Stanford White limestone palazzo at 25 East 78th Street bought by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for $45 million and the Harkness mansion at 4 East 75th Street sold in October for $53 million.
Then came this year’s stratospheric Wall Street bonuses, and the market exploded, real estate executives said.
“The plunger that freed up all the hesitation at all price levels was those bonuses,” said Diane Ramirez, the president of Halstead Property. “It cleaned the pipes and gave confidence to even small apartment buyers.”
Those damn bonuses. Every broker should give up their first born for the hype that Wall Street gave them. Along with some high profile sales, it looks as if happy days are here again.
Which brings me to the Punisher. Besides using it as an excuse to showcase some sweet Tim Bradstreet art, I think there is a Punisher awaiting this market.
Punisher is only one man but he has earned a reputation of taking down the biggest, baddest motherf**kers. One of the key reasons he is able to take on such bad motherf**kers is these villians thought they were the baddest motherf**kers on the planet. They thought they were untouchable, that not even God bring them to tears. Of course the Punisher proved them quite wrong. Also the Punisher is a tactical genius. I remember the first issue of the Garth Ennis MAX series of the Punisher where he led an army of wiseguys that were armed to the teeth into an ambush consisting of a mine field and an M-60. And all he had to do was get them really mad.
Now, I am not saying that there is a costumed vigilante with a pair of uzis who is going to wreck this market. What I am saying is that we should not be lulled into a false sense of security like those bad motherf**kers. There is a Punisher out there or a series of Punishers that will bring turbulence to this market. Whether it is inflation, interest rates, the economy and the expanding theatre in the Middle East, something is out there.
Of course, there will be others who think I should shut the f**k up and stick to playing with my comic books. Which is fine. But those of you who are listening, if your a seller, now is the time to liquidate. Run with this cycle of exuberance because it looks it might be the last call before closing time.