The Real Deal New York

Feasting on information overload

November 27, 2007
By Melissa Dehncke-McGill

Information is money. But pulling together the right data can be difficult when you’re spoiled for choice.

The Internet has changed the face of real estate market research, but quantity isn’t the same thing as quality, and while resources are plentiful, they are also spread far and wide across the Web.

Over the last decade Internet sites featuring everything from market reports to industry gossip have popped up, bolstering and challenging the print publications that real estate professionals use to stay abreast of the market.

The Real Deal last month asked a dozen top commercial and residential brokers, execs, researchers and appraisers about their favorite sources of information.

In addition to the more obvious selections the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Crain’s were mentioned most, and propertyshark.com was the most cited Internet site their favorites were as follows:

Commercial

Robert Sammons
director of research, Colliers ABR

What major sources of market information do you use?
I depend on brokers here at Colliers for a lot of information on what’s going on in the market. Also, I speak with a lot of people including researchers at other firms, economists and people within government agencies. Economy.com is a good site for basic economic data located all in one place. I rely on costar.com I have a love/hate relationship with them but they remain the best for basic data on office buildings. Subscription-based reis.com gives good information on forecasting and ppr.info is a group that does forecasting and market research. A good site for company information is hoovers.com.

Faith Hope Consolo
chairman of retail leasing and sales, Prudential Douglas Elliman

What Web sites do you find useful that people might not know about?
Stylemaven.com has city shopping guides as well as tidbits about trendy designers and is a good forecasting tool. Fashionwiredaily. com and dailycandy.com give tidbits about emerging retailers in the cities they cover, which include New York. Daily Candy is a good source for up-and-coming potential clients as well as well-known ones. Nymetro. com is New York magazine online, but it gives amazing recommendations and detailed information about shops, restaurants and all that is New York.

What market reports do you rely on most?
The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, which comes out eight times a year. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on economic conditions in its district through interviews with business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources.

Chris Havens
director of leasing, Two Trees Management

What major sources of market information do you use?
We get reports from the big firms: both CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield do Brooklyn. There’s very little on the Brooklyn market, but the Manhattan market is important to us. We use the Internet for looking up tenants we can learn a lot about them, whether the company has four or 400 employees. If they have a bad Web site or don’t have one at all, it gives us information about the company and adds to the overall picture of them as tenants.

Marcus Rayner
principal, Cresa Partners

What major sources of market information do you use?
We get our market statistics from costar. com because it is the only independent provider of market statistics. The big firms [including Cushman & Wakefield and CBRE] say Costar is not as extensive as their in-house research, but it’s fine. The big firms represent landlords and tenants, so they may have a conflict of interest in representing their statistics a certain way. I read the Economist and the Financial Times because they have interesting perspectives.

Any useful Web sites that you use that people might not know about?
Vault.com tells you how employees feel about their employers, which helps us when we are researching a particular company.

Jeffrey Roseman
executive vice president and principal, Newmark Retail

What sources of market information do you use?
Women’s Wear Daily is the bible of the fashion world and Restaurant News is similar for restaurants. Hamptons and Gotham magazines are great for who’s advertising and what trends are in. They are good glossy fashion indicators of what retailers will be in this season and what lines will be hot.

Residential

Patrick Lilly
broker, Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy

Any useful Web sites that you use that people might not know about?
When I do a referral to another metro area and I have no personal connection, I can find a broker to send my client to at realtor. com. It’s also the best way to find out what’s available in metropolitan areas outside of New York. Mapquest.com is a great way to figure the closest route to take when scheduling appointments. Cityrealty.com is a good database for information on co-op and condo buildings. Nyc.gov has accurate tax records for townhouses, so I can see where bills are being sent and get a contact with an individual name.

Deanna Kory
senior vice president, Corcoran

Any Web sites that you use that are useful that people might not know about?
I use the nyc.gov sites for property taxes, but since it was recently changed around, it’s less user-friendly. Propertyshark.com is a good overall tool for condos and real property, but you can’t take it as gospel because there have been human errors. For co-ops, our internal database is the best, but when I have done an analysis I have used appraisers like Miller Samuel and Mitchell, Maxwell & Jackson. We also use yrpubs.com and rebny.com. I also use the reverse directory list at anywho.com.

Steven Rutter
senior managing director of Brooklyn development division, Corcoran

What major sources of market information do you use?
I use the city’s ACRIS database [at nyc.gov/dof] for hard data and compsny.com, which is a subscription service. Google has great mapping and satellite photos. I also use the city’s Department of Buildings for work permits. If you know how to navigate what the city has to offer, it can be pretty helpful.

What other sources of market information do you use?
There are good gossipy things at curbed.com. A lot of agents panic if one of their properties is mentioned in a negative way, but I believe that any press is good press, and it will benefit the property in the long run.

David Michonski
CEO, Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy

Are there any useful Web sites you use that people might not know about?
A new source is the mlsmanhattan.com. While it only comprises about 15 to 20 percent of the market, it is made up of about a dozen firms and that gives the data cross- firm relevance. Both Prudential Douglas Elliman and Corcoran only each have about 25 percent market share, so the MLS data will be able to mirror the market and start providing good statistical data. I use inman.com to keep abreast of what is going on the market outside New York City. Surprisingly, most of it is very relevant to what is going on here.

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