Property Grunt

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Go Big or Go Home

This is Obama's Final Battle.

Tueday night Obama gave his Living on a Prayer Speech and laid it all out. It is quite an ambitious agenda he has set for himself and the country. His critics state that he is asking for the impossible. I say he has no choice but to go for broke.

However it is not going to be easy for any of us particularly with this housing market.

Effort Takes Shape to Support Families Facing Foreclosure

As resistance to foreclosure evictions grows among homeowners, community leaders and some law enforcement officials, a broad civil disobedience campaign is starting in New York and other cities to support families who refuse orders to vacate their homes.

Temporary halt to foreclosures urged for NY

A coalition of 143 New York nonprofits called for a moratorium on foreclosures to give a $275 billion mortgage relief plan unveiled Wednesday by President Barack Obama a chance to work.

New Yorkers for Responsible Lending wants mortgage lenders and servicers to halt foreclosure actions on all primary residences in the state until at least eight weeks after the Obama administration’s proposal takes effect early next month.

“Even if Obama’s plan is put into place quickly, it’s going to take time for lenders to do modifications,” said Josh Zinner, co-director of the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project. “It’s absolutely critical that there be a foreclosure freeze to give this plan a chance to work.”

More than 32% of all subprime adjustable rate mortgages were seriously delinquent or in foreclosure in New York at the end of 2008, according to Mr. Zinner’s organization, meaning thousands of residents are in jeopardy of losing their homes.

What usually happens is that the banks forecloses on the property then sells it off to specialists in distressed properties. This is how the real estate food chain works and it results in lenders cutting their losses and investors getting great deals. Unfortunately, the former owners of these properties are left traumatized, physically, psychologically and financially.

It's harsh but that is how it works.

However with these developments, there is no incentive for people who specialize in distressed properties to get involved because they will be dealing with this type of resistance.

Does that mean one should not buy or invest in real estate? Absolutely not. There are some great deals out there. However I should urge that people should exercise due diligence to the point of paranoia. You need to know if the property you are interested in qualifies for the Obama housing plan, if the owner is distressed or underwater, how flexible the lenders are and by all means make sure if the property you want to own is the in the cross hairs of community activists.

Then there is Obama's Housing plan

Bailout Likely to Focus on Most Afflicted Homeowners

The first group is made up of people who cannot afford their mortgages and have fallen behind on their monthly payments. Many took out loans they were never going to be able to afford, while others have since lost their jobs. About three million households — and rising — fall into this category. Without help, they will lose their homes.

The second group is far larger. It is made up of the more than 10 million households that can afford their monthly payments but whose houses are worth less than what is owed on their mortgages. In real estate parlance, they are underwater. If they want to stay in their homes, they will have no trouble doing so. But some may choose to walk away voluntarily, rather than continue to make payments on an investment that may never pay off.

Scratch beneath the details of any housing bailout proposal, and the fundamental issue is whether it tries to help the second group or just the first.

Mr. Obama has evidently decided to focus on the first group, based on the previews of his speech that aides have offered. In coming weeks, his administration will begin spending $50 billion to entice banks to reduce the monthly payments of people who otherwise couldn’t afford to stay in their houses. In effect, the government will split the losses on these mortgages with banks.

The $50 billion will come from the money Congress has already allocated for the bailout of the financial system. It is likely to be aimed at people who need a significant, but not an enormous, amount of help to meet their mortgage payments.

There are some big advantages to this approach. Bailing out all underwater homeowners would be tremendously expensive. All told, about $500 billion in mortgage debt is already underwater, and it’s impossible to know in advance who is likely to walk away. So the government would have to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to help millions of people who don’t need help staying in their homes.

I empathize with the people who are on the verge of losing their homes or have lost their homes. More than you will know. I understand their outrage and anxieties. A lot of these people were put in a situation by lenders where they were completely over their heads but did not realize it until it was too late.

I am also a believer of the philosophy that if s**t in your bed you should sleep in it.

In real estate appraisal there are 4 stages of a property which are Growth, Equilibrium, Decline and Revitalization. These stages also apply to a neighborhood. Suffice to say we are in the decline phase.

What usually occurs in this period is that the distressed investors come out in droves to cherry pick for the best deals that are out there. And despite the fact that the credit markets are pretty much in suspended animation, all you need to do is type in distressed properties sales.

However I am unsure if Obama's plan and stopping foreclosures will help. In fact I think it will just prolong inevitable.

Just because help is available does not mean people will take it. It all comes down to whether the aggravation is worth it. Owners who are underwater may realize they are overpaying for a home that has plummeted in value. Banks and lenders may also realize that after doing the numbers that restructuring does not make any sense for them to get involved with the Obama plan and resist any actions to be part of it.

What I see here is a messy convergence of forces that involve the government, distressed owners, community activism and lenders. Which is why I do not see any resolution to the housing crisis expedited in 2009. In fact it would not surprise me if we are still at square one in 2010.

As for President Obama's lofty ambitions, he really does not have a choice. I highly doubt Bernanke's assessment that the recession could end by 2009 and in fact it is possible that this could go on for more than 4 years. It is possible that Obama will be a one term wonder and no one is more aware of that than President Obama himself. So he has to push and he has to push hard.

Will this work? I have no clue. Maybe this will be all for naught. But the people are wailing for action and he is giving them a show.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Obama Speech

Watching the Obama speech. The only thing I am thinking is why is Pelosi wearing a mumu?

Age of indecision

Housing not low enough.

Neither are stocks.

And change is not temporary.

Last fall when the market began to drop faster than Hilary Clinton's presidential hope, I got the itch to buy stock since it was cheaper than ever. I held back, because of what I read and my intuition telling me to hold off.

When the market would kick up, I felt like I lost out. Then the market would plummet and I wouldn't feel so bad. Right now the stock market is at 1997 levels, and the time warp looks like it is going to continue for awhile.

In terms of my real estate ambitions. Well, it just does not make sense for me to invest right now. I know people who are far more successful than I am in this field and they are barely holding onto to what they have let alone looking at other deals.

Honestly, I do not think I would want to invest in real estate, let alone be a landlord. Which is ironic since that is why I got into real estate in the first place.

The mantra was always "When real estate goes down, stocks go up and vice versa." The whole model has been turned upside down. It appears that is why everything is at a standstill because there is no definitive path to take because standard operational procedure does not apply anymore. What was once considered shelter maybe now be a death trap.

So what to do? Where do you put your money? Where do you go? What are your options?
I have no clue. What I do know is I am going to maintain current lifestyle of frugality which is basically living below my means and I am going to watch and wait.
That's all I can do. That is all anyone can do for now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Heath Ledger just won best supporting actor!

Heath is smiling down on all of us.

I want this


This is on Ebay

Caves kick ass! Whether it is the Bat Cave or the Cave where the Ark crash landed in the Transformers, they are all awesome.I spotted this bad boy from this blog.

Who would not want this place?

Friday, February 20, 2009

The few at NYU: Final Words

Other than some entertaining 3 days, none of the demands that were made were ever met. Now the students who decided to stick it out have now been suspended and kicked out of the dorms Which means these kids have lost a ton of cash for tuition and housing.

So this was pretty futile gesture in civil disobedience. Right?

I am not so sure. First of all this event has demonstrated how utterly unprepared NYU is able to deal with civil disobedience amongst its students.

As you can see Protective Services is on the defensive in these two clips. But do not make the mistake that they are not trained for to deal with these types of situations. I know a bunch of them who train in martial arts, fighting or just have a life time of experience surviving in the roughest parts of New York City. They are far from wussies. The students should consider themselves lucky, even the ones who are suspended and lose their housing because those guards could have seriously f**ked them up.

The reason they are restraining themselves is because they are dealing with students not civilians. It is a whole different ball game if a member of the university engages in some type of physical action against a student because it becomes a legal and PR nightmare.

That is why these students were treated with kid gloves. This is not a good thing for NYU. Even though this entire event was a failure, it serves as an excellent teaching tool for the next wave.

If a group is large enough and they are able to mobilize in a quick and efficient manner and do not take any actions to destroy property or hurt others, they have a huge grace period to pretty much do what they want.

Now imagine multiple groups who take over key areas of NYU. From the library, admissions, to the film school, the business school and those lovely brownstones that line up outside of Washington Square Park that serve as offices for the university.

It would paralyze the entire university and it would require the use of police force. Which is something that no one, especially the Trustees of NYU want.

So what would cause students to stage an uprising of that level? It would not be the lack of financial transparency nor would it be about tuition freezes. It would have to deal the very lives of students themselves being placed in harms way without their permission.

In my memory that type of student uprising occurred 40 years ago. If you need specifics, go google it.

Could a situation like that occur in our lifetime? Look around us, look at the world.

The few at NYU: Endgame

Now there are none.

The few at NYU part 4

Y'know. I did some thinking. F**k it. This group now has NYU by the balls. Because NYU will now be associated with riots and be part of a every clip reel of every reality disaster show that is on Spike and Tru Tv.

All the goodwill that John Sexton has gathered by spending copious amounts of money on is now pretty much gone. This is a PR nightmare for NYU.

And with the Obama administration demanding more transparency from banks and other institutions, I think that NYU will also be dragged into the harsh spotlight to reveal their finances and how they spend students money.

It is a different world now because people are pissed and they want accountability, particularly with where there money is going.

The media will be definitely focusing on NYU's finances, particularly since NYU got ass raped by Madoff. People who pay for that school want to know what is going on.

That is why even if NYU destroys this group, these individuals have accomplished their mission by bringing everyone's attention in how this school operates.

Perhaps they can prove my theory that the higher tuition and hiring freeze is just a ploy to make NYU an ATM machine for Wall Street.

The few at NYU part 3

It just went FUBAR. I hope they take the deal.

The few at NYU part 2

Now this is a good start.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The few at NYU

Greetings folks. You will see that there has been a lack of posts since Monday. The reason is simple. I have been fighting off the flu since last Friday. I am not entirely 100% but I am much better now.

Anyways I have glued to CNBC all week watching the markets and hearing all the back forth regarding the economy, Obama's stimulus plan, Rick Santelli's invitation for tea for a and learning why it is a bad idea to have a Chimpanzee for a pet. Didn't these people ever watch Project X? Those animals can vicious.

I will be talking about that in the very near future. Yes, even about the Chimpanzee.

However I would like to discuss a current event that is happening locally which is about a group of students who have taken over their cafeteria at NYU.

Savor the victory because pain is coming around the corner.

I am too tired to explain what the situation is so go to this Gothamist link that will
give you the run down.

This act of defiance by these students is quite admirable yet completely futile. NYU does not respond well to these type so actions. It is just an annoyance that is not worth their time. If you want change to occur with NYU, it has to be with money.

As I stated before in a previous entry, my theory behind NYU's enacting a hiring freeze and hiking tuition is to lend more money to their Wall Street comrades. If you can control that money, you control everything.

How does one do that? Simple. Take over the board. Put in your own president. Is it easy to do? Hells no. But that is probably the most realistic option to get students' demands met.

If you want to take the protest route then it must done in the scarle of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. That means all students boycott going to class and paying tuition. That would be severe.

Of course being a little flashy doesn't hurt. NSFW.

I was actually in the area tonight and I took a couple of pictures.

There was a crowd of guys across the street watching the whole thing and were loudly discussing how the police would end the protest. They were alumni that actually, their words not mine, see some "skulls crushed." I responded by saying that was an interesting thought.

I discussed the protesters demands with one of the guy who stated that they were demanding 8 different things that had nothing to do with each other. We both shared a laugh when I said it sounds just like Obama's stimulus package.

Then I left because it was getting cold.

However, I also believe that this will not be last time we will see protests at NYU. In fact if a new wind blows into town you are going to see a lot pissed off students. But that is story for another time.

Monday, February 16, 2009



Upon reading reading this article, I wanted to run over to Gold Street, kick open the doors and scream "What the f**k are you doing?"

I mean this is probably the stupidest thing you can do right now.

“I’m coming into this thing like nothing’s going to stop me,” said Kendra Elise Tomas, 27, who started work at Urban Sanctuary, a downtown-focused brokerage firm, late last month.

On Jan. 20, the day Ms. Tomas took her licensing exam, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 330 points.

Aspiring sales agents convey a can-do-it-ness that combines ambition, hunger and a necessary pinch of delusion. They shrug off ominous reports of double-digit price declines and slowing sales and insist there’s plenty of cash out there.

“They say the business is cyclical,” Kyle Wolhers, a 22-year-old student, said last month after a seminar at the Real Estate Institute that attracted about 75 people. “I can gain experience now, cut my teeth in this kind of market, and when there’s an upswing, I can be an established agent.”

Yes. This business is cyclical and right now we are in the downturn. How long will that downturn last for? 2009? Think again. It might 2010. You are going to be at it for a very long time.

Like many newly licensed agents, Ms. Tomas is coming from a different line of work: she has sold items from her clothing line, Elise MIA Vibe, in boutiques in NoHo and the Village; and also worked as a buyer at H&M. But retailing has slowed considerably, and, encouraged by two friends in the business, she enrolled at the Real Estate Institute, where the basic 75-hour licensing course starts at $395.

Ease of entry was a factor for Ms. Tomas. Sales agents are effectively independent contractors who use a broker’s listings and resources in exchange for a slice of their commissions. Ms. Tomas completed her classes in nine days, sat for the 90-minute multiple choice test, and paid the required $65 fee. (A score of 70 percent merits a pass. In December, about half succeeded.)

She had toured seven buildings by the end of her first day on the job.

“I’m a very self-sufficient person,” she said. “I did my clothing line because it’s my passion, my creativity, how I express myself. I’m doing real estate for money. To fuel my passion, I need money.”

Ms. Tomas made $47,000 a year at H&M; as an agent, she said, “I’m looking to make twice that, if not more.”

Ms. Tomas comes from a sales background. And right now sales sucks ass, particularly in the clothing industry. If she thinks things will be different for her because she will it so, I have to disagree. This is something that is beyond her control.

This is the new reality.

“I see it happen all the time,” Mr. Love continued. “People come in without enough money behind them. They find themselves in a situation where they become highly anxious and it can be a downward spiral. It affects you mentally. Your bills are coming due every 30 days and you’re not making any money.”

Many agents start off in rentals, where commissions are small but volume is high. But most newcomers must surrender at least 50 percent of their earnings to the brokerage firm; top performers can negotiate more favorable splits. Many brokerage firms require new sales agents to share their first 10 deals with a more experienced agent.

Even before they start closing deals, newly licensed agents are usually required to shell out more than $500 for business cards; an annual membership in the Real Estate Board of New York, the industry trade group; and a digital camera — wide-angle lens required.

To make ends meet, Jeffrey Gratton, 48, an agent with Bond, works part-time at a Banana Republic store. For Mr. Gratton, who said he had been a hotel butler and concierge, the retail job alleviates anxieties about living expenses. “If I were worrying about that,” he added, “I would be horribly preoccupied.”

Talk to experienced brokers and you’ll hear a common refrain: even in boom times, 8 out of 10 new agents will be gone in a year.

“Some people are very capable and have the skills and are serious and thoroughly research the career prior to coming in,” Mr. Love said. “And then you have other people — and I would say it’s most of them — who just sort of say, ‘O.K., let me take the course and go into real estate,’ without even considering what that means.”

So we shouldn't even bother right. Save your money and invest in plastics.

Remember that video that I told all of you to watch? There is a way to make money in this environment.

“The market, it makes me nervous a little bit,” said Mr. Badalamenti, 30, a former bartender. “But there are deals getting done. It’s entirely up to you if you can make money. Better to get in while the market’s slow anyway.”

Bartending, he said, was “nice and social,” but he is looking for a more substantial career. He hopes to make $50,000 in his first year as an agent, but has saved up six months of income as a cushion.

Misty Rice, 37, a photographer, was sitting a few feet away. She said she had no intention of becoming an agent; she was hoping the class would help her as an investor. "I’m looking for three great deals this year," she said. “The photography industry is like, ‘Where’s the money there?’ Right now, it does not provide me with the financial income for the lifestyle I want to lead."

We are going into a major transition with this market. It is not just the market itself but there are more forces that exist that seeks to replace the real estate broker. From FSBOs to online no fee services.

One of the cliches that is often heard in the business is to "put blinders on"
which measn to simply to focus on the work at hand. It is a principle that all brokers aspire unfortunately it can lead to one "spinning their wheels" which means going nowhere.

For those of you who go forward in this endeavor, be aware the market conditions, determine what direction to take and pursue it with all your heart. But make the effort to pull back and evaluate to see if you are achieving your benchmarks.

Also learn Mandarin. I am not joking. Once things start to implode , there is going to be an exodus of rich Chinese people coming droves. They are going to need a place to hand their hats.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Film this

Not one scene from A Rumble in the Bronx was filmed in the Bronx. It was filmed in Vancouver. In fact in certain scenes, you can see mountains in the background. Expect to see more of this in the near future.

I love movies. I really love movies. I am a movie freak to the point that I have this uncanny ability to identify a number of films from one scene, even if I haven't seen the whole movie. Apart from LA, New York City is the place for film.

However things do not appear very sunny for the Big Apple film wise.

Film/TV Productions In City Stall As Tax Credit Fund Used Up

A state tax credit program for the film making industry in New York state that has enabled both the industry and the state to prosper has run out of money and there are fears producers will desert New York City for other film locations.

Funding totaling $685 million that was supposed to last through 2013 was used up by February 1, 10 days ago, according to a source. New allocations must come from the state legislature as an emergency allocation or be included in next year's budget, which is supposed to be approved by April 1.

However, with the huge deficit facing state budget makers and the expectation that federal stimulus money may come to the state, there have been no indications from state officials regarding the future of the successful program.

This is bad. Really bad. In terms of film, New York City is insanely expensive, especially if you want to do a Union production. These tax credit make it quite appealing to film in New York. Roger Corman once stated that if you make a movie cheap enough, you will always make a profit. These tax credits allow studios to be able to purse that model since it lowers their expenses.

This is really not good for Silvercup studios.

Silvercup, Kaufman sweat end of tax break

Western Queens studio heads said they hope to keep the cameras rolling after a tax credit that has brought movies and television productions back to New York City in droves recently ran out of money.

Two of the city’s largest film and television studios are located in western Queens, including Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Astoria Studios.

Alan Suna, chief executive officer of Silvercup, said two shows — “Gossip Girl” and “Ugly Betty” — are covered through their next season, which will begin shooting at the studio this spring. But the studio has not signed any new TV shows or movies, which could prevent Silvercup from moving forward on its massive $1 billion expansion project that would include eight soundstages, a waterfront pavilion and 1,000 apartment units.

“It’s a big concern,” he said. “Right now, we have not signed a single pilot. And there’s no guarantee that shows we already have will stay if we do not have the tax credit.”

I wonder how they feel about their development plan now.

Silvercup Studios Sets $1 Billion Complex

With New York City suddenly awash in film and television productions, Silvercup Studios has unveiled plans for a version of Hollywood on the East River, a $1 billion complex with soundstages, commercial space and housing on the Queens waterfront south of the Queensboro Bridge.

The six-acre project in Long Island City, which formally began wending its way through the city's land use review process yesterday, is called Silvercup West, an expansion of Silvercup's existing operation six blocks to the east, the home studio for television shows like "The Sopranos" and "Hope & Faith" and where many movies have been filmed.

If it is approved, the expansion would include eight soundstages, production and studio support space, offices for media and entertainment companies, stores, 1,000 apartments in high-rise towers, a catering hall and a yet-to-be-named cultural institution. Silvercup would easily be the largest production house on the East Coast, although Steiner Studios in Brooklyn has the largest single soundstage.

It is not just Silvercup that is in jeopardy.

A Big New York City Movie Studio Is Getting Bigger

Kaufman Astoria Studios, one of New York City’s three largest movie studios, is moving ahead with a major expansion plan, nine years after it was announced.

The studio, in the Astoria section of Queens, will break ground this fall on a $20 million building, with an 18,000-square-foot soundstage and 22,000 square feet of support space, on a plot of land diagonally across 36th Street from its current building, which is between 34th and 35th Avenues.

Eventually, the studio intends to shut off 36th Street and erect a gate to create a studio lot — a compound with indoor and outdoor sets — and to construct a tower that would combine a hotel and office space directly behind the new soundstage.

Astoria Studios is not the only New York movie studio that is expanding: Two years ago, Silvercup Studios, in Long Island City, Queens, announced that it would build a $1 billion complex on the East River waterfront, south of the Queensboro Bridge. It is to have eight new soundstages, production and support space, two towers with 1,000 apartments, an office tower and stores.

Construction has been delayed, however, by problems involving the removal of generators, owned by the New York Power Authority, on the site. Stuart Match Suna, Silvercup Studios’ president, said he hoped this matter would be resolved in time for work to begin next year.

The newest of the big three studios, the four-year-old Steiner Studios, is renovating a 289,000-square-foot building adjacent to its current soundstages in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, for use as production and office space. It also announced last November that it had joined forces with the Navy Yard to transform a 20-acre segment of the yard into a media and entertainment center that would also contain a studio lot.

All the development is intended to take advantage of tax incentives offered by the city and state governments.

To lure film production away from other states and Canada, the New York State Legislature four years ago approved a 10 percent tax credit on certain production costs, primarily for blue-collar technicians and crew members, and a 5 percent credit from New York City. These tax breaks — which are applied toward state and city income taxes — were sweetened in April, when the Legislature tripled the state tax incentive to 30 percent.

All these parties are in need of a clean pair of shorts.

In my opinion even if they bring back the tax credit program, I do not see the film industry beating down the doors into New York City. It is for a very simple reason. The film and television industry is getting hammered right now, just like the rest of the world. Steven Spielberg, of all people, had so much trouble getting funding for his projects he had to go to India.

Iron Man 2
will most not likely feature Samuel Jackson because does not have the money for him.

Despite the success of the Dark Knight, the Brothers Warner decided to put the kibosh on their DC comics properties.

Despite all of these issues, I think we are at the dawn of a golden age for film in New York City.

First of all New York City is a bastion of creativity. Throw a rock in a crowd and you will hit an actor, writer, director, artist or a person who has some expertise in the arts. These people are not going to simply stand by and wait for a recovery. They are going to pursue their endeavors and move heaven and earth to create greatness.

Film making is going to be huge in Manhattan because of the affordability of digital video and the internet. Before digital video, if you wanted to make a movie you needed money because the equipment, the man power and film stock were quite expensive.

These you don't need film to make film. There is a new generation of cheaper and user friendly DV cameras out there that produce video that looks just like film.

You don't need Sundance, you don't need Telluride, you don't need any of those film festivals to look for a distribution deal. You have the internet where you can show your work to an audience of billions.

The world is falling apart but we will go on.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sara Clemence: A force to be reckoned with

Conde Naste can suck ass.

The first time I ever met Sara Clemence was at a party 3 years ago.

That is her in the middle between Joyce Cohen of the Hunt and Lisa from the NYT.

The Property Grunt revealed! Sort of.

Since then we have kept in touch and I have alerted the blogging world about this young upstart who began making a name for herself in Forbes. Then she really started rip things up when she was selected to join Conde Naste's Portfolio.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know that print is dead. Back in November Sara confided in me that Portfolio, like many other publications, was facing an ax although she was given a stay of execution she would be gone by December. However, she did hint to me that was not the end but a new beginning for her.

Well she's back and with a vengeance.

A Site Chronicles Ways to Adapt in the Downturn

Two editors who were laid off from Condé Nast Portfolio could rage against the recession, but instead they hitched their wagon to the downturn by starting up a Web site,

Laura Rich and Sara Clemence, former assistant managing editor and lifestyle editor, respectively, for Portfolio’s Web site, teamed up with Lynn Parramore, an author and academic, to created a “user’s guide to the recession.”

The site links to economics articles and has regular features like Lemonade Makers, on adapting to the financial crisis; Redux, essays by Ms. Parramore on how other downturns influenced art and fashion; and Love in the Time of Layoff, in which Deborah Siegel, a freelancer, chronicles how she and her husband adjust to his recently getting a pink slip.

The media game has become a bloodbath in this economy and honestly it was a long time coming. There are now only two options. Fight or flight. Sara Clemence has thrown the gauntlet down. She is not going to run with the teeming masses looking for a job. By aligning herself with Lynn "The Predator" Parramore and Laura "Lightning Strike" Rich, this trio is ready to f**king roll.

When all is said and done, whatever is left of Conde Naste will one day be absorbed in Sara Clemence's empire.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This has nothing to do with real estate.

I usually get some emails that break though the spam barrier that have nothing to do with real estate. Usually they are Nigerian money scams but now and then I get something that is really surprising.

Hurley Bikini Bombshell Bar Refaeli

Scores Sports Illustrated 2009 Swimsuit Issue Cover

Los Angeles, February 10, 2009 – Hurley model and spokesperson Bar Refaeli is gracing the cover of the highly anticipated Sports Illustrated 2009 Swimsuit Issue. This is Refaeli’s first Swimsuit Issue cover and her third consecutive appearance in the annual celebration of sun, sand and swimsuits.

“We are thrilled for Bar,” said Hurley Vice President of Marketing Lyndsey Roach. “SI is celebrated for its exceptional sport and swimwear coverage, and Bar’s inclusion in this iconic publication just underscores why she is such a great fit with Hurley.”

Refaeli joined the Hurley family in July 2008 as a face, voice and spirit of the brand. In addition to appearing in national campaigns, she hosted the 2nd annual Hurley Art Chest fundraiser for Boarding for Breast Cancer in Los Angeles in October 2008, and will judge the upcoming Hurley Walk the Walk high school fashion competition in Orange County on February 24, 2009. A design collaboration is also in the works.

For more images and information about what Bar and Hurley are up to next, visit Images of Refaeli wearing Hurley at the SI shoot can be found at

I think I am on some sort of PR email list for bikini models which suits me fine.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

I am sure many of you watched Obama's address last night. I have to admit the man talks a very good game. However I have to be honest that from what I have read about the opinions about the stimulus plan and how TARP has played, I am unsure of whether this will help.

Perhaps that is the point. There is so much uncertainty that we need to take action in a direction to get back on our feet.

I also think that it is in the best interests of the Republicans to go along with the plan because they really have nothing to lose. If it succeeds, everyone is happy. If it fails, the Republicans can blame Obama and the Democrats for bullying them into passing the stimulus bill. If they keep resisting, Obama will keep branding the Republicans as the reason why the country is still in economic free fall since they continue to resist.

This all reminds me of the George W. Bush pushing for the war on Iraq and finding and destroying the WMDS. Republicans had the majority and a high number of Democrats threw their support in. When it turned out that there were no WMDs, the Democrats immediately blamed Bush for the SNAFU.

So here we are again. This time the roles are reversed and we are now focusing on the economy instead of the war. Different objectives, different players, but the dynamic is still the same.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Trump Speaks

From the Donald.

"THE real-estate market is such these days that one thing has become apparent: If some one is selling in this market, it's usually because of the 3 D's: death, divorce or debt" - Donald Trump on his blog.

No truer words have ever been said.

I told you so.

They are just two, but soon there will be many.

Way back in the day I did two entries on the outsourcing of rental brokers.

Outsourcing rental brokers

Outsourcing brokers: It's here

Well it appears it is starting to kick into over drive.

Getting the Agent Without the Fee

YOU’VE heard of no-fee apartments, but no-fee brokers?

It’s a counterintuitive idea for New York real estate, but then again, these are counterintuitive times. And Lee Lin and Lawrence Zhou, young Wall Street types with degrees from M.I.T. and Wharton School on their walls, think they can make it work.

Last August, the pair founded, a Web site that provides free access to no-fee apartment listings throughout New York City. Each listing includes the name, telephone number and Web address of the landlord or management company — all the information an apartment hunter needs to sidestep brokers and their usual 15 percent fee of the annual rent.

But the site will also allow users to schedule an appointment with an agent — namely, Mr. Lin, 28, or Mr. Zhou, 26. (Mr. Lin recently received his sales license; Mr. Zhou plans to take his real estate exam this month.) They plan on showing apartments on weekends, in between their day jobs at hedge funds.

“If people use our site and directly contact landlords, more power to them,” Mr. Lin said the other day in Mr. Zhou’s 500-square-foot Midtown studio, where the two friends logged about 200 hours over evenings and weekends designing the site. (A beta version is online, but several features, including the ability to schedule a showing with the brokers, have yet to be completed.)

Rental agents are starving right now and to see these two meat heads providing a more enticing option for renters in this market is going make them very sore. Honestly, if I were these guys, I would never have revealed my face because there are a lot of psychos in the ranks of the real estate brokers who will make make their grievances known.

As for showing apartments on the weekends, these two are going to find out very quickly that it might be in their best interests to hire some agents because if they are successful, the traffic will be unbelievable.

But this is a good back up when, not if, they lose their hedge fund jobs.

This business model of using no-fee listings to draw advertisers is not new, I know this because I thought of a similar model myself and was considering doing something like this myself. Why have I not done it? Because there is no barrier to entry for this type of business. What makes this particular model valuable is the content which is the listings. Those can be easily acquired through online searches, cold calls or good old fashion shoe leather. Apartment Ratings is a version of this already

That is why even if these guys fail, there will be others right behind them. That is why I have chosen not to pursue this direction because eventually there will be millions of these types of sites popping up online.

Rental deals will eventually close online if they haven't started already. This is not far fetched. We can get a mortgage online, buy products and services through paypal. Renting an apartment is no different. In fact Craigslist could probably wipe out the entire New York City rental broker industry simply by offering to do these transactions through Craigslist for free or for a fraction of the cost of using a rental broker.

Right now these guys are publishing no-fee apartments, but any rental broker worth their salt knows that the better listings are the ones that require a fee. Whether it is these guys or another party, someone will throw the gauntlet down and start publishing online all the rental listings in Manhattan. And if a broker has an exclusive listing they lose because of this site or others it will be all out war. I am not joking about. Brokers will go bats**t crazy if this happens and will use every means, legal or otherwise to get restitution.

Buckle up boys. You are in for a wild ride.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Frakking NY Comicon

Yeah. I was there.

The last time I have ever been to a comic book convention was back in the mid 90’s. I have stopped going conventions because although I still follow the comic book scene, I do not collect anymore and unless it is Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis or an artist that I follow closely, I rarely go out of my way to get my books signed.

Last night I go an IM from a buddy who got a weekend pass for the NY Comicon but wasn’t planning on going for Sunday and offered which I was more than happy to accept. Especially after having such a crappy Saturday, which I will discuss at a later time. My plan for that Sunday was simply go early in the afternoon then leave before closing time. Those of you who have never been to a comic book convention at the Javitts center, well they can be rather draining. Even in a huge space like the Javitts center it can be very claustrophbic with the insane amount of people that enter as you will see.

My soiree to the NY Comicon was almost put to a dead halt because the doorman claimed that the pass was not left with them. After some frantic phone calls and wasted time, it turned out my amigo did leave the pass with them however; the doorman was looking for an apartment number and not my name, even though I told it to him.

At that point it 3:21 and the convention would be over at 5pm. Whenever I am in a rush to get somewhere, time seems slow down and I feel as if the whole world is out to get me. What was more aggraravint was that I was behind schedule because of some dumbass that could not read.

By the time I got there all was well with the world as I was amongst a gathering of my own kind.

When you enter a convention of this scope it is complete sensory over load as you will see.

This is the first thing I saw coming in.

Sunday in the comic book convention world is considered to be the day that is least attended because the best stuff usually happens on a Saturday and the majority of the people that attend are ones who are looking for bargains from the selling tables. However, the pictures below will show that the NY Comicon was the exception rather than the rule.

This is a map.

As you can see there are sections for artists, autographs, sellers and even video game distributors.

Here some pictures of individuals of note in the comic book world.

This is Danny Fingeroth, he was a writer for Web of Spiderman and was the creator of Darkhawk which Marvel is bringing back without Danny which I think is a damn shame.

The smiling gentleman is Chris Claremont who was famous for his writing on the X-Men. He also had a cameo in X-Men: Last Stand. I will give you a hint. He is in the scene with the floating lawnmower.

I believe this is the team behind air. I said they had a good book. Her response was "Awesome." What I really wanted to say that it was a good book but I did not understand it. But it was good nonetheless.

I believe this is Goeff Johns. He is really cool. Right after I took this picture some fanboy tried to cut in line and shoved a comic book in his face to sign. He responded in a polite but firm tone that the fan should get in line.

Now here is the story of the ages.

The gentleman here is Jim Lee.

I first discovered Jim Lee when I picked up the Punisher WarJournal and I was hooked on his art since then and I have the entire Jim Lee run of that series. After hte X-Men boom , he eventually broke off to with a bunch of other artists to do Image and now he runs Wildstorm Comics.

It was a complete accident that I ran into his booth and holy crap did my fanboy tendencies come back with a vengeance. I am not a fanboy all the time. In fact I have been pretty good about it and only occurs on rare occasions. The last two times when I became a fanboy was when I met Garth Ennis and Larry Hamma .

But the last time I got on line at a convention to get an artist or writer's signature was back in junior high school. I saw that the line for Jim Lee was very short, so I jumped on.

Now I have nothing against New Zealand. You gave us Peter Jackson and Bruce Campbell but I realized the guy I was behind was going to be trouble. He was a polite lad who was probably still in high school. He asked me if I could take a picture with him and Jim Lee and I responded I would be more than happy too if he reciprocated.

Now here's where the trouble began. The NZ fan stated that Jim Lee was big as Jack Jack Kirby. Listen, I love Jim Lee and he is definitely in a class by himself. But Kirby is a comic book monarch. That is why he is called the King. I jokingly told him to keep that to himself.

Then he said the Dark Knight was not that good of a movie except for Heath Ledger. I told him again jokingly to keep that to himself.

When it was finally our turn in line, Jim Lee was relaxed and composed and asked the NZ fans to cool his jets while he talked to some industry comrades who had stopped by to say hello. So I took the NZ fan's pictures. Then he took mine. While he was taking them, I exchanged pleasantries about his family.

After thanking him, I looked over the pictures and realized I just got hosed. THERE WERE NO PICTURES! THE FRAKKING NEW ZEALAND DOUCHEBAG DID NOT TAKE THEM. I was pissed. All of a sudden my fanboy defenses kicked in and I was determined to get my pictures with Jim Lee. I had no choice but to get back on line which luckily I did since they were about to close it down. Jim Lee was more than gracious to take more pictures with me.



And of course what is a comic book convention without people in costume.


Winter Solider Captain America.

Cobra Commander indoctrinating today's youth.


Lara Croft, Raven and the Black Cat.

Here are some kids learning about LARP combat

From the looks of these ATM lines, it looks like Obama's stimulus plan doing well.

Convention is still going on and they are not wasting time to advertise for next year.

Some photos of Javitts.

Making a break for it after the Convention ends.

As you can see, it is a mob scene as everyone leaves the con. This is a process that requires volunteers screaming at the top of their lungs for everyone to get the frak out. I am not kidding about that. They actually do that. My take is that since they are not paid and they have to deal rabid fanboys, their only joy is to kick people out in the most dramatic fashion. Which I think is a fair trade.

One place that was doing brisk business was Fedex.

Below is why I like to leave Javitts early.

Forget about trying to catch the M34 bus because there is going to be a line from here to eternity and as you can tell from those vans that are parked and the traffic, finding a parking space is near impossible and you are better off not bringing your car or hailing a cab.

So your only option at this point is to hoof it for a couple of blocks. Javitts is by the water which makes it cold and very windy even on a day like Sunday when the weather was mild. When it rains or snows, that trek feels like you are in Valley Forge.

Even though I stayed for an hour and 10 minutes, I was happy with the experience. In fact it worked out for the best. Like I said, these cons can be very draining and even if I had gotten there earlier, I probably would have stayed for the same amount of time.

See you next year!

Friday, February 06, 2009 gets called out by Trulia

The following is a message from Trulia to

Thank you.

I got this email from Rudy "Rudeman" Bachraty about the Trulia Challenge where Trulia is compared to Honestly, I would love Trulia go toe to toe with Zillow. That would be a fight.

Now if Trulia is telling to step up, well then better get up or get out.

Damn. I love cliches.

From what I see hear, it looks like Trulia has a better deal then what do you expcet since they the Great Jonathan Miller is part of their crew.

And unless offers free hookers and blow with their subscription, they better do something with their prices.

Sneak preview of the Property Shark January 2009 Foreclosure Report

The current foreclosure market.

Those wild and crazy guys from Propertyshark gave me a sneak preview of their next foreclosure report and it is does not suck. It is a god damn black hole.




According to Grandmaster B, this is how it breaks down:

New foreclosures in New York City (all five boroughs) increased 64% from December 2008 (170) and were up 5% from January 2008 (266).

At least we are not in Seattle. According to the Sharkmen foreclosures went up 300% in Decemeber 2008.

Yeah, we're f**ked.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the entire report this Monday.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Madoff List

If you have a lot of time on your hands click onto this link for the Madoff victim list. It is a doozy.

UPDATE! Here is a more specific version.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Things get NAR-LY for Kelly Kreth

Why is this man so confident? Because he is represented by Kelly Kreth.

The grand dame of real estate PR is now representing the Manhattan branch of NAR and Kelly Kreth Communications has released the following Press Release.

Manhattan association of reators ® [MANAR]




New York City , February 3, 2009 - The Manhattan Association of REALTORS® (MANAR) has announced the election of the 2009 Board of Directors and Officers. Philip Kiracofe will serve as President of the Association.

Kiracofe has been a member of MANAR since 2006, and has served on the Board of Directors for both the Manhattan MLS and The Manhattan Association of REALTORS®.

“There are 1.2 Million REALTORS® nationwide, so to be elected President of the REALTOR association here in Manhattan is both a tremendous honor and a humbling responsibility. Our industry is facing unprecedented challenges, and this is a unique opportunity to look at radical, innovative ways for brokers, buyers, sellers, and all related parties to work together,” says Kiracofe.

Kiracofe continues “We are incredibly fortunate to have a Board of Directors consisting of some of the most dedicated, motivated, and accomplished leaders in the industry, all volunteering their time and diverse talents to guide us to the next tier.” The 2009 Board of Directors includes:

Vice President – Jeff Wolk (Fenwick Keats Goodstein)

Treasurer – Steve Nardoni (Nardoni Realty)

Directors – Fanny Montalvo (Fenwick Keats Goodstein), William Clark II (Weichert REALTORS® Mazzeo Agency), Maria Goris (City Sites), Stephen Maycock (DJK Residential), and Phyllis Pezenik (DJK Residential)

The 2009 initiatives are bold in nature and audacious in scope, and are reflective of today’s market conditions – widespread access to accurate real estate data, the broadest possible marketing and distribution of listings, and the most seamless transactions possible between all parties.

Kiracofe was elected President based on his diverse skill set and broad experience leading companies in the real estate, technology, and venture capital industries. His role as Chief Technologist at Coldwell Bank Previews International makes him a natural fit for spearheading the pervasive technology initiatives as the organization leads the industry into a new era defined by transparency, collaboration, and disintermediation.

This year, recognizing the economic environment, the annual installation dinner was moved from the traditional January timeframe to March 12th in anticipation of a warming climate.

I asked Kelly if there was any conflict involving REBNY, Kelly assured that you can belong to both organizations without any problems. The key advantage of joining MANAR is that your listings will get more exposure through the NAR national site. From what I understand, the required REBNY membership does not offer that. So it wouldn't hurt to take a look at Manhattan Association of REALTORS®

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Jews with Chopsticks

This trouble is coming here. But it is trouble you can make money on.

This is in today's NYT.

In Shift, Chinese Move More Money Overseas

Below are points of interest.

Some Chinese are so eager to turn their yuan into other assets that when an online real estate brokerage organized a tour of foreclosure auctions in the United States, it received so many applications that it had to turn away nearly 400 people.

In Shanghai, cash-rich Chinese companies are buying high-yield bonds issued by distressed American companies at a time when many Western investors are steering clear of bonds even from solid companies.

All over the world, Chinese companies are sending home fewer of the billions of dollars they earn from exports, parking them in overseas bank and brokerage accounts instead.

And in Hong Kong, wealthy mainlanders are turning up at jewelry stores in growing numbers seeking diamonds, big ones.

“They’re looking for five-carat diamond rings and six-carat diamond earrings — three carats for each ear,” said Yollanda Lam, the marketing manager for the King Fook jewelry store chain here.

Together, these trends represent a potentially tectonic shift. As Chinese citizens are starting to send more money out of the country, foreign investors are pulling money out too, and slowing the pace of new investment.

“There is a recognition for sure that China is slowing down, so why keep your money there?” said Henry Lee, a Hong Kong fund manager.

Nobody knows how long this trend will last. If China’s series of economic stimulus measures are successful, then the Chinese economy could rebound later this year and start drawing back money on the same scale that it did over the last decade.

Chinese people with money know that the party is over. The question now is what to do with their party favors. And it looks like they have to go overseas to protect their money. How much?

Total outflows in the fourth quarter were as much as $240 billion, but this is using the broadest possible definition and includes everything from capital flight to a slowdown in repatriation of overseas profits by Chinese companies. There is no good data assessing the motives of those moving money out of China.

$240 Billion!

Awhile back I did two entries on Chinese and real estate.

Peasants with money
This was about my perspective on the development boom in Chinatown and how
the Chinese are playing a central role.

A Better Tomorrow

This is my take on how take advantage of the Chinese market which included shelling
a 100 grand to attract Chinese customers.

Below is proof by entries were, no pun intended. on the money., an online real estate brokerage, is offering a tour for at least 40 people to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York City, starting on Feb. 24, and found that demand outstripped the spaces available. “The people in the group are obviously interested in diversifying their investments, and the United States certainly is a very attractive location since real estate prices there have dropped drastically,” said Zhao Xingyu, a manager organizing the tour.

Chinese real estate industry executives say that there was considerable speculation here in recent years by overseas investors, especially overseas Chinese. Those purchases contributed to a bubble that peaked last spring and has gradually deflated since, removing the incentive for further real estate investments here.

The rich Chinese see the writing on the wall. They realize this situation can only go down.

Most troubling for China would be if a sizable portion of these disparate streams represented capital flight — people taking their money out because they worry about the stability of the country.

Though there are myriad reasons to move capital around, there is also cause for concern: Chinese authorities announced Monday that 20 million migrant workers had lost their jobs. If they do not find new work, these workers could form a volatile class of unemployed.

Even more crucial, Chinese individuals and companies placing more of their money outside China could affect one of the constants of international finance over the last five years: China’s central role in bankrolling American trade and budget deficits.

Rich Chinese people have been here before. It was called the Cultural Revolution. So they know that this time to engage in a flight to quality. And what is more safe than the good old USA?

Real estate brokers I urge you to go forward and embrace the Chinese community. If you don't know Mandarin, hire someone who does. Reach out to this community because they are looking for a place to stash their cash. They will see you through the downturn.

If you can't harbor the thought of listening Chinese people talk because it sounds like two cats in an alley fighting over a chicken bone or you feel like you are being overwhelmed by their numbers or you just can't stand Chinese people. Too bad.

Think of them as Jews with Chopsticks because they are the ones with the money now. And if you want to eat, you have to go to them.

So suck it up and be nice. It's just a job. Piss them off and you could find
yourself hitting the bricks.

This applies to you to Miley Cyrus.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Wackness: Why the rental market is going to hurt the sales market

Yeah we are getting there.

A Month Free? Rents Are Falling Fast

About frakking time.

Below are points of interest.

Although it is notoriously difficult to quantify the state of the rental market, rents fell in almost every sector of the Manhattan market last year, according to the Real Estate Group, a New York brokerage. The steepest drop was in one-bedrooms, down 5.7 percent in buildings with doormen and 6.53 percent in buildings without. The only category that rose: rents for two-bedroom apartments in doorman buildings, up just a bit, by 0.61 percent. But these numbers, like most available data, represent asking rents rather than the final price. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some people are negotiating rents as much as 20 percent lower than the original prices asked by landlords. These figures also leave out incentives, like a month of free rent or a landlord’s paying the broker fee, which can add up to real savings.

This is not a really big surprise to me considering there is a huge surplus of residential new development inventory, there are more opportunities for renters out there.

Tom Botts and his wife, Libbie Rice, found all kinds of deals from landlords when they went apartment hunting this winter, and they were able to negotiate a reduction in the rent on the Upper West Side three-bedroom that they finally chose. They also encountered a symptom of the market that was simply unheard of in recent years: their previous landlord offered to lower their rent if they renewed their lease.

“We had a truly un-New York experience with our old landlord begging us to stay,” Mr. Botts, 39, said in an e-mail message. The owner offered a rent reduction of more than 10 percent, but the couple had already found an apartment they preferred and were committed to moving.

It’s impossible to say how often owners are lowering rents to encourage tenants to stay put, but anecdotes are starting to surface. “It’s not a common occurrence,” said Mr. Circosta of Citi Habitats, “but it is happening.”

This is not the time for landlords to f**k around. They need to do their numbers and determine how low they can go in their comfort zone in order to keep their tenants.

While prices have started to slide in Manhattan, they are steadier in Brooklyn. Increasingly, however, there are deals to be found, especially in neighborhoods like Williamsburg that have seen a lot of new construction.

The rental market in Queens, meanwhile, is relatively stable.

“The prices are not going up,” said Donna Reardon, Queens divisional manager for Prudential Douglas Elliman. “They’re staying the same.” Concessions are still an exception rather than the rule in that borough.

It is understandable that Brooklyn and Manhattan are backsliding since they were the hot areas to live in. Despite the fact that Queens has a very high number of foreclosures, rental wise is still stable because it is Queens. Demand in that particular market did not start to heat up later in during the real estate bubble, so rents did not climb as high.

Some landlords hope that adjusting leases to expire in summer 2010 will get a better price next time around.

Amy Baglan, 26, and her boyfriend, Johnny Muñoz, 28, found a one-bedroom apartment in a prewar building on the Upper West Side at the end of last year. They negotiated a cut of $200 per month in the rent and received a free month. (They connected with the owner on Craigslist and did not use a broker.) But they signed a 16-month lease, which will expire at the end of April 2010.

Mr. Muñoz wondered why his landlady was not offering a standard one- or two-year lease. “Do you want to make sure this is open and available during the prime season of rentals?” he said he asked. She chuckled and said yes, Mr. Muñoz said.

Mr. Muñoz’s landlady may get a boost from the warm weather, but no one knows where the market will be in 2010.

It is understandable why landlords are doing this. They are hedging their bets for the next rental season and want to build some leverage in case of a rental rebound. There is a risk with this strategy

“My assumption would be over the next year that you’re going to see effective rents drop because of the increase in concessions,” said Andy Joynt, a real estate economist at Property and Portfolio Research, an independent research and advisory firm. “We’re forecasting that asking rents are also going to drop,” he added. “We’ll see if that ends up being reflected in the numbers.”

“My assumption would be over the next year that you’re going to see effective rents drop because of the increase in concessions,” said Andy Joynt, a real estate economist at Property and Portfolio Research, an independent research and advisory firm. “We’re forecasting that asking rents are also going to drop,” he added. “We’ll see if that ends up being reflected in the numbers.”

There more evidence to indicate that there will be more a downturn than a recovery. If that is the case, then renters will once again be playing a game of hopscotch looking for the better deals that are out there.

Marc Lewis, the president of Century 21 New York, has seen several recessions in his many years in the business, most recently after Sept. 11, 2001. “But in the past,” he said, “it always felt like it would be a few months and then it would be over. This one, we don’t have an answer yet.”

I remember after 9/11 I thought rents in Manhattan would drop and I would be able to find the same type of deal that I once had which was an $800 dollar month apartment. No dice. Rents stayed strong.

Many people — including President Barack Obama — are suggesting that the economy is likely to get worse before it gets better. And the rental market is unlikely to strengthen until the economy, and the job market in particular, turns around.

According to the Independent Budget Office of New York City, the outlook is bleak. The agency expects the city to lose 243,000 jobs from the peak of early 2008.

“Let’s hope this is a short-term problem,” said Vicki Been, the director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy of New York University. “You know, we prefer more affordable housing, until there’s a downturn. And then we panic.”

“People assume when sale slows down, rental will pick up, but that depends on what the source of this is,” said Gregory J. Heym, the chief economist at Terra Holdings, which owns Halstead and Brown Harris Stevens. “When you’re losing jobs, the rental market is also going to suffer.”

Back in 2005 there was a huge shortage of sales inventory which many brokers to believe that buyers would be come renters and would look to rent. They were correct. Buyers did become renters. But they did not look for rentals, they simply resigned their own leases.

This impacted the rental market because it led to a drought in rental inventory which made it extremely difficult for newcomers coming into Manhattan.

The irony now is that we are facing a surplus in rental and sales inventory. The people who are losing out are not the landlords. It is the sellers who are losing out. There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty in our world right now. Everyday we are getting pounded with more bad news about the economy and according to President Obama we are going to be living like this for quite awhile. Neil "Dr.Doom" Roubini has stated the following:

While the U.S. government is resisting nationalizing its biggest banks, Roubini says it will have no choice because they are now “effectively insolvent.” And the outcome may be even worse than even he anticipates if governments fail to take aggressive steps to recapitalize banks and revive their economies, he says: “The risk of a near-depression shouldn’t be underestimated.”

Roubini, who’s now working on a book about the crisis, says he takes no particular pleasure in his role as Dr. Doom or the attention it brings him.

“I’m not a permanent bear,” he says. “I’ll be the first to call a recovery, but I just don’t see it yet, and it’s getting uglier

There is a tremendous amount insecurity in New York City. People who have been laid off do not know what to do and people who still have jobs aren't sure how long they will have them. Along with this uncertainty, prices in the sales market have begun to drop and it is more and more expensive to get a mortgage these days.

When you buy an apartment in New York City or anywhere else you are making a commitment to live there for an extended period of time. In this environment that does not seem feasible because no one knows if they have the resources to stay for that long

It would make more sense to rent for now in order to have the option to stage a tactical retreat. Right now we are living in an age where people need to go where the jobs are. With landlords offering unheard of incentives and the rising levels of rental inventory, right now it makes more sense to rent.