Live from LA ... it’s TRD!

Feb.February 01, 2016 11:00 AM
Stuart Eliiot

Stuart Elliott

Westward ho! We at The Real Deal have heeded the call to “Go West” and just launched our new Los Angeles website.

We’re more than excited to be bringing our combination of breaking news and in-depth analysis to one of the largest markets in the U.S.

And we’re thrilled to announce that Hannah Miet, who led real estate coverage for the Los Angeles Business Journal and has written for a slew of other prominent publications including the New York Times and the Washington Post, has joined us as managing editor of the new site, which you can find at

We definitely have our work cut out for us. Downtown LA is in the midst of a transformation, with a massive amount of capital flowing into the area and big new players entering the real estate game, including major developers from Asia. And the endlessly sprawling LA submarkets from Malibu down to Long Beach are each their own real estate microcosms, constantly evolving and changing.

The need for more real estate coverage in LA is unquestionable. One source we recently quoted told us that foreign buyers “like New York because of the transparency and liquidity in the market. In New York, you have every deal being reported. If you’re investing in LA, it’s much more difficult to find out details [on specific properties].”

Of course, it’s going to be fun to cover all the celebs and high-end houses up in the hills, too. LA currently lays claim to the country’s priciest residential listing. The Playboy Mansion — which we feature in a story on page 69 about the most expensive sales and listings around the world — just hit the market for $200 million. There is one creepy catch: The octogenarian Playboy founder Hugh Hefner wants to continue living there (hopefully he’ll at least be wearing his bathrobe). As we’ve already reported on the LA site, some brokers think the estate won’t fetch north of $90 million.

Whether it’s New York or LA, the relationship between government and real estate is crucial, and hugely influential in how a city gets shaped.

Our cover story this month makes that clear. Reporter Konrad Putzier writes about the relationship between the NYC real estate industry and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

While de Blasio has taken many squarely pro-development stances — from fighting to restore 421a tax incentives to supporting large-scale developments in exchange for affordable housing — he is not getting a lot of love from the industry.

Putzier writes that although the situation isn’t as bad as many predicted when de Blasio took office, the industry’s relationship with the mayor is “mixed at best.” We look at why the two sides have had such a hard time coming together.

Meanwhile, as the market appears ready for a possible downshift, we also tally up the biggest flips in the last five years to see who best capitalized on the booming market. At the top of the list is a building sale that netted the sellers $1.3 billion in profit. “Flip” to page 90 to find out who that savvy investor was.

And if you can’t afford to spend a billion to make a billion, we also ranked the New York-focused REITs that have seen the biggest returns for shareholders. How much would you have made if you invested $1,000 five years ago?

Meanwhile, with the prospect of price appreciation for NYC real estate in 2016 unclear, residential brokers are struggling to price properties. Of course, adding to the uncertainty are new rules unveiled by the Treasury Department last month that will require all-cash buyers of high-priced homes through LLCs (i.e., everyone) to reveal themselves. What’s behind the crackdown? See page 32

And also check out our ranking of the top investment sales brokerages on page 64. The top firm, Eastdil, sold a staggering $22 billion worth of real estate in 2015. That’s greater than the GDP of 82 countries around the world.

Finally, included with this issue you’ll find our 11th annual Data Book. Clocking in at 132 pages, it is the most comprehensive collection of information and statistics about the market put out by any publication — the Farmers’ Almanac of New York City real estate. It’s designed to sit on your desk and serve as a resource for you to turn to while doing deals throughout the year. It’s also available online at, as part of our new greatly expanded research site.

Dig in and enjoy the issue!

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