It has come to my attention that the principals of two firms have advised their brokers not to cooperate with The Real Deal’s reporters and have pulled the magazine from some of their offices. We always knew we had a tremendous impact on the city’s real estate industry, but this came as a surprise even to us.
When we talked to the principals, they essentially said they didn’t like that we weren’t sugarcoating what’s going on in the market. So let me set the record straight: The Real Deal covers the New York City real estate market more thoroughly and accurately than any other media outlet in the five boroughs. Maybe these principals would prefer if we wrote about how many Girl Scout cookies brokers are buying and how great the market has been this month. But that wouldn’t be fair to our readers, because we have a responsibility to report what’s actually happening in the market — even when it gets ugly.
All you have to do is look back at our last few issues to realize that we are not simplistically writing the-market-is-down-and-everything-is-falling-apart stories. We are reporting on how business is getting done now, whether it’s through aggressive price cuts, condo auctions or a more intense focus on rentals. These tactics are all being employed by smart, creative brokers who know how to work a down market.
The strategy these principals prefer — ducking the press and keeping the news out of the hands of their brokers — is irresponsible on so many different levels, not to mention that it’s a poor business decision.
But either way, The Real Deal will continue to give you thoughtful, unbiased reporting both in print and online daily, at www.TheRealDeal.com. So if your office has pulled the magazine, go get it online or buy it at one of the 270 newsstands that sell it around the city.
With that out of the way, I can finally move on to this month’s very exciting issue.
Last month, Bernie Madoff was hauled off to prison. While that ordeal attracted international attention, what hasn’t been written about is the concentration of Manhattan buildings that have been hit by the scam. Check out our map in
Mapping Madoff victims by building to see which ones have the highest number of Madoff victims.
On the flip side, we looked at who was doing well this month, despite the economic situation. We compiled the top 25 residential sales for the beginning of 2009. The data show that top prices are down sharply, and only seven of the top 100 sales closed above $10 million citywide. Still, the top is the top. So be sure to look at our list in Ceiling gets lower for top sales.
We also bring you a story about brokerages increasing fees for agents. Some brokers say the fees sting especially hard now that the economy has turned, but others say the power behind a firm with a big name is well worth the fee. Read Firms upping fees for brokers and decide for yourself.
On the developer front, we look at Yair Levy and all of the financial trouble he’s facing. Until recently, Levy made a string of good deals. But now the man whom some media outlets dubbed the “condo king” is facing foreclosure at Rector Square, and contractors are claiming he hasn’t paid them in months.
And as lawsuits pile up between developers and lenders, we look behind the scenes at three current cases, including one between real estate mogul Sheldon Solow and his embattled lender, Citibank.
On a personal note, I want to acknowledge the tragic death of New York Post reporter Braden Keil, who died of cancer last month. Braden never wrote for The Real Deal, but we followed his stories closely and loved when he called to protest in his charming way if we hadn’t linked to one of them on our Web site. His sudden death was a shock, and we are all incredibly saddened. He was one of the finest real estate journalists in the city. His loss is already being felt in the industry.
Finally, we’d like to wish ourselves a happy anniversary. We are proud to report that it’s been six years since The Real Deal launched, and we are still evolving and striving to do better. For all of you Twitter and Facebook junkies, you’ll be happy to know that you can now watch for updates from us there, too. And a lot of you have been asking when our biggest residential brokerage firm spread is coming out. Watch for it next month. We’re already getting it ready.
Enjoy our sixth anniversary issue.