Welcome to the Real Estate Law weblog. Here you'll find items pertaining to real estate from a lawyer's perspective.
Sun Aug 27, 2006
NYC Coop Sales Price Now Public InformationIt's an old axiom that, despite increasing numbers of condos, coops still account for around 80% of NYC's apartment inventory.
Yet, until recently, the sales figures were shrowded in mystery. No more. A recently passed law allows access to these figures through use of the City's ACRIS system. While the link may not be up for long, you can find a pdf guide to how the system works at NYC.gov/html/dof/html/jump/acris.shtm.
Thu Aug 03, 2006
Noah's Ark 2006In the year 2006, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States, and said, "Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me.
Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a Few good humans."
He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, "You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights."
Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in His yard - but no Ark.
"Noah!" He roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?"
"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah, "but things have changed. I Needed a building permit. I've been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbors claim that I've Violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision.
Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted For the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea.
I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.
Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls - but No go!
When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me.
They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their Will.
They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was Cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.
Then the EPA ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood.
I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew.
Immigration and Naturalization is checking the green-card status Of most of the people who want to work.
The trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience.
To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.
So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me To finish this Ark."
Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, "You mean you're not going to destroy the world?"
"No," said the Lord. "The government beat me to it."
Tue Jul 25, 2006
Commercial Rent Prices Up - Square Footage Down?A recent article in Business Week suggests that the open space model of the dot com era may, actually be a paradigm to enable businesses to reduce one of their largest expenses, namely, commercial office rent.
Yet, the position of the author is hardly universally shared, eliciting a number of rejections and criticisms in the posted comments following the article.
From my own experience, there is no doubt that, technologically, more and more things can be done in more and more places. The real question concerns what happens when people do come in to the office to work? If they don't have a private space, my own anecdotal experience is that productivity declines simply due to distractions.
True, people in offices that don't close their doors and look up every time someone passes by suffer the same problem. But you can't close the door on a cubicle.
Read more and draw your own insights from the pros and cons at http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_27/b3991073.htm?campaign_id=search
Thu Jul 13, 2006
Bubble MetricsI came across a very interesting website, that of the Center for Economic Policy Research, an organization that's done alot of looking into the housing bubble issue and that has alot of articles that you'll find interesting and informative.
What's really noteworthy, though, is a unique bubble calculator that seeks to measure whether you'd be better off renting or buying by plugging in the price, mortgage terms, location and projected hold time into the fields, which then takes into account projected changes in home price in that area over the projected hold period. The results may frighten you.
Fri Jul 07, 2006
Expected Report of Year Over Year 2nd Qtr Condo Price DeclinesToday's NY Sun reports that an expected industry report on condo prices will show softening on a year over year basis for the second quarter.
As the article recites, industry analysts opine on whether they foresee a repeat of the coop collapse of the late 1980's when oversupply combined with softening demand and tax reform to cause a sharp drop in prices.
Some, according to the article, feel the City's overall healthy economy will prevent this recurrence in the case of condos.
Wed Jun 28, 2006
Worried about Interest Rates? Tell that to the Rent Guidelines BoardIn an unusually raucus session of the Rent Guidelines Board's annual spectacle on guidlines increases for rent stabilized apartments in NYC, the Board members could hardly hear themselves over incessant drum beats from Tenant activists, yet still managed to outrage them, while disappointing landlords in the process.
Read about the meeting and the increases at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/28/nyregion/28rents.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
Tue Jun 27, 2006
Problems When the 1031 Tail Wags the DogHere's an interesting article about what happens when investors, in their zeal to meet the stringent time requirements of a 1031 exchange, invest in properties in areas they're unfamiliar with and do so without their usual degree of due diligence.
Mon Jun 26, 2006
Everybody into the Pool!When it comes to Terrorism Insurance, the government's days as a reinsurer of last resort are numbered, ending in 2007 following one extension of a temporary act intended to restore confidence among the Nation's insurers and reinsurers following the huge losses suffered as a result of the 9/11 attacks.
A lobbying group called the Real Estate Roundtable, http://www.rer.org/, recently proposed modeling a future system after that created in Europe, where insurers pay into a pool in exchange for a goverment promise to cover losses after the pool is exhausted.
You can read more about the plan at the lobbying group's website, http://www.rer.org/roundtable/currentissue/index.cfm
Wed Jun 21, 2006
Taxes and Commercial Real Estate Activity in NYToday's NY Sun has an interesting article sure to reinvigorate the timeless intellectual arm wrestling about whether booms and busts in real estate are primarily driven by tax policy or the business cycle.
This article focuses on the infamous "Cuomo Tax", formally known as the Real Property Gains Tax, enacted in the '80's by then Governor Mario Cuomo. In short, the tax that excluded townhouses and one and two family houses, surcharged capital gains on most other commercial property transactions above $1,000,000 by 10%, preceded a slowdown in the NY marketplace.
Its repeal by Cuomo's successor, George Pataki, either coincided with or caused the beginning of the most recent boom in New York commercial real estate, depending on your philosophy.
Read about both sides of the issue in David Lombino's piece at http://www.nysun.com/article/34784?page_no=1
Another View on the Bubble-No Bubble Coin TossGlenn Roberts, Jr. of Inman News today quotes from findings of the Anderson Forecast, an economic report out of UCLA.
According to the report, housing is more likely to head for a crash rather than the gradually deflating balloon we've all be hearing about lately.
For more, check out the article ( subscription required) at http://www.inman.com/hstory.aspx?ID=53488
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