On September 15, 2014, I participated in a panel discussion with REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York) where I spoke with Michael Vargas, the Director of Vanderbilt Appraisal, a division of Terra Holdings. The panel was moderated by Greg Heym, the Chief Economist for Terra Holdings and its operating companies: Brown Harris Stevens and Halstead Property.
The panel discussion focused on both the macro-economic and micro-economic trends of the market place, mainly focusing on the residential sector but also discussing the commercial sector as well.
All of us agreed on the strength of the residential market and highlighted the lack of inventory of available apartments for sale in New York City which has led to a dramatic increase in prices over the past 18 months.
This lack of inventory has also led to a slight decrease in transaction volume for 2014 to date, when compared to the volume in 2013. This, I suggest, is a result of increased pricing as well as fewer choices of apartments for buyers which has led to a certain amount of frustration of the part of the buyers. As a result, some buyers have become so discouraged that they have actually removed themselves from the market place and have stopped their searches for new apartments.
Also of note, currently, there are approximately 400 apartment/town house listings that are priced over $10 million. This is interesting to note, especially when considering that prior to 1996, there were fewer than 10 apartments that ever sold over $10 million in the history of New York City!
Another briefing that was held for the Israel Bond delegation occurred with Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin, which took place in the President’s residence in Jerusalem. The President spoke of his family’s history in Jerusalem which goes back for over 5 generations. The President also thanked us for all of our efforts and hard work, as well as for our various successes on behalf of Israel and its citizens.
On June 11, 2014, I attended the annual gala dinner for the Municipal Art Society (MAS), on whose Board of Directors I serve. The gala dinner honored two good friends of mine: Bruce Ratner, Executive Chairman, and Maryann Gilmartin, President and CEO, both of Forest City Ratner Companies. Both shared the honor of receivng the prestigious Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis Medal Award. The evening for a great success for MAS, raising over $1 million for the organization!
For more than 120 year, MAS has made New York City a more livable city by advocating for excellence in urban planning and design, a commitment to historic preservation and the arts, and the empowerment of local communities to affect change in their neighborhoods. From saving Grand Central Terminal and the lights of Times Square to establishing groundbreaking land-use and preservation laws that have become national models, MAS is at the forefront of our City’s economic vitality, cultural vibrancy, environmental sustainability, and social diversity.