Property Grunt

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stating the obvious

This was on Curbed.

One York Sales Team Chases Foreign Buyers All The Way Home

A tipster forwarded a recent article from the South China Morning Post with the news that One York's brokers have traveled to Shanghai and Beijing to chat up potential buyers. They even -- here's the biggie -- have hopes of one taking that $34 million penthouse.

This is an instance where I will say "I told you so." since I wrote about this back in 2007.

A Better Tomorrow

The question is are these brokers a day late and a dollar short? There is still much debate whether the Manhattan real estate market has even begun to recover and there is debate whether the other shoe has already dropped for the commercial market.

The Chinese are flush with cash right now so they need to park it somewhere. But they are not stupid. If they see a blizzard of falling knives, there is no way in hell they are going to drop some coin on a rapidly depreciating asset. They are going to wait till the smoke clears.

Apparently some passive aggressive behavior was exhibited when Obama had a sit down with the banks.

Putting Obama on Hold, in a Hint of Who’s Boss

President Obama didn’t exactly look thrilled as he stared at the Polycom speakerphone in front of him. “Well, I appreciate you guys calling in,” he began the meeting at the White House with Wall Street’s top brass on Monday.

He was, of course, referring to the three conspicuously absent attendees who were being piped in by telephone: Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; John J. Mack, chairman of Morgan Stanley; and Richard D. Parsons, chairman of Citigroup.

Their excuse? “Inclement weather,” according to the White House. More precisely, fog delayed flights into Reagan National Airport. (In the “no good deed goes unpunished” category, the absent bankers were at least self-aware enough to try to fly commercial.)

That awkward moment on speakerphone in the White House, for better or worse, spoke volumes about how the balance of power between Wall Street and Washington has shifted again, back in Wall Street’s favor.

Now that Citigroup has given back its bailout money — and Wells Fargo announced late on Monday that it would, too — whatever leverage Washington had over the financial services industry seems to be quickly eroding.

Executive compensation, leverage limits and lending standards were all issues that Washington said it planned to change — and when the taxpayers were the shareholders of these firms, it probably could have done so. But now the White House has been left in the position of extending invitations, rather than exercising its clout. And in the figurative and literal sense, it is getting stood up.

Those who attended the meeting — Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan flew down on a private jet and didn’t take any heat for it — seemed to talk a good game, but even President Obama acknowledged they might have been just toying with him.

“The problem is there’s a big gap between what I’m hearing here in the White House and the activities of lobbyists on behalf of these institutions or associations of which they’re a member up on Capitol Hill,” he said after the discussion.

I would like to present the following message to Wall Street.

Even though your paying back the TARP people are still pissed at all of you for hellstorm that came down on the economy.

Whether you like it or not, Wall Street is considered to be the primary cause of everyone's troubles and whether you have the leverage or not, this is not the time to bite the hand that feeds you.

I don't care how much you make, I don't care that your watch is worth 3 villages in Turkey. Whatever swagger you have is a joke or worse a slap in the face to the people who really got f**ked over because of the economy. Show some humility.

You are not Gangsta Rappers. So please do not act that way.