The American people don’t stand united on very many causes these days, but the recovery of the housing market is one of them. After all, failure was tied to the unhappy fate of so many households that most of us would like to think that its good fortune would signal similarly widespread prosperity.
Well, the housing market is now limping again, although the signs of a total return to health are a good deal more promising in the upper than the lower echelons. The Wall Street Journal reports that jumbo loans—larger, higher-cost loans used to purchase luxury properties—are doing really, really well. A lot better than the rest of the housing market, which is still bogged down by foreclosures and underwater mortgages in many parts of the country.
Our City Since
As usual, the $4 million+ housing market in Manhattan stands strong—thanks in part to the record-setting $88 million dollar purchase a few months ago—but the rest of Manhattan continues to slump.
“For the first time since the recovery, the U.S. is growing at a quicker pace than New York City,” Greg Heym, an economist at Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead, told the Journal.
One winter evening in 2006, host Martin Bashir’s voice intoned over the opening of Nightline: “Meet the brash, young real estate assassin, selling lavish dream apartments to clients with money to burn.”
The TV screen bled to an earnest-looking Michael Shvo. “When you see a photo of the New York skyline,” the 32-year-old informed us, “these are buildings I made happen.”
And what made Mr. Shvo happen?
This Old House
On Feb. 8, the city’s biggest building-sales brokerage, Massey Knakal, blasted a press release announcing the sale of a narrow, four-story, red-brick building along First Avenue, a block southwest of Stuyvesant Town. The walk-up rested snugly between a larger building cloaked in mesh and fronted by scaffolding and a similar-sized, white building. A chicken joint Read More
The heartwarming stories of people who are avoiding dubious foreclosures carry with them a perverse downside: Legal wrangling over foreclosure filings will prolong the time it takes for U.S. home prices to find a bottom, Bloomberg reports.
Former General Motors subsidiary GMAC has lately drawn attention as lawyers charged that the Read More
A long time ago
In my last column, I reviewed the profound implications employment data has on the fundamentals of the real estate market. While no other metric has more of a direct impact on both commercial and residential market dynamics, there are several other indicators that we keep a close eye on, each of which provides insight into Read More
The cover of this week’s Time, the Sept. 6 issue that says “Rethinking Homeownership” in very big letters, shows a nice yellow suburban American house against a deep blue sky. If you’re the type to spend a lot of time in the magazine’s nifty cover archives, it will remind you of Read More
This Old House
On Sunday, in honor of the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Obama stopped in for a chat with NBC News’ Brian Williams. And after some Katrina-related patter (Williams: Is the BP spill your Katrina? — Obama: Nope!), Brian Williams popped a question about the U.S. economy: “Do you have anything new on Read More
This Old House
Following last week’s dismal reports on the U.S. housing market’s July performance, the Obama administration indicated over the weekend it’s ready to pour additional money into the hole of debt and unemployment where many homeowners currently find themselves. In the offing: emergency loans for the jobless and government assistance in home refinancing. Read More
In a reversal of recent trends, the number of people who let their mortgage payments slide for a month past the due date jumped to 3.5 percent in the second quarter, according to a survey by the Mortgage Bankers of America.
That’s down from a high of 3.77 percent reached in the economically Read More