This Week in Comments

Should brokerages take a ‘VOW’ of privacy?
1. This is just plain dumb. What “private” information is being released? I want a two-bedroom, two-bath [unit] in Manhattan and I want to pay no more than $2 million — how is that “private”? If buyers are going to brokers and truly disclosing their desires there is no difference than verbally telling the broker. Everyone uses “range” searches. Everyone looks at units significantly higher than their price range when looking online for two reasons — they’re aspiring to higher prices and they want to see if some crazy seller (or seller’s broker) has priced an interesting listing too high. And every buyer I know trolls around the site to see lots and lots of stuff — neighborhoods, listings, price ranges, etc. There is no way to know the difference between looking and searching.
2. VOWs require personal information in order to access properties that can be accessed without this compromise on many, many Web sites.

TRD reporter weighs in on “negative press”
The industry doesn’t want to hear about negative press. They only want to read reports that help them sell properties, but it doesn’t help their clients, buyers, [and] investors in the long run. I work for Elliman and all day long we are told not to talk to press that could expose the market for what it really is.
Do you agree with Douglas Durst’s assertion that commercial real estate investors have learned “nothing” from the recession?
He is correct that many investors have not yet learned any specific lessons as it relates to the downturn in commercial real estate. However, the dust has not yet settled and therefore when that takes place, investors will have the ability to draw conclusions and lessons.

Closings to begin at Trump Soho following Friday hotel opening
Real estate experts predict Trump Soho will flounder for years and then foreclose.

Columbus Square leasing moves in-house
That’s going to be a tough one for Elliman. They should’ve put their hooks on this. I promise this will be in Corcoran’s hands in less than 60 days.

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How credible is Case-Shiller?
I think Professor Case made the correct argument that the stated trends are fundamentally based on an index and as such should be viewed as an index and not a valuation of a type of property in New York City or even worse, an individual property. The index measures the overall trend of the housing market. It’s valuable in that respect. It is like any other index, a general overview. The issue I find with other sources is that they analyze the New York City housing market via comparables. Comparables are not the best measure as they don’t account for future expectations.

The Closing: Alice F. Mason
She shouldn’t be allowed to stay in that apartment. Period.

With new name, former GM building gets uglier
The writer neglected to mention this building was not landmarked. If the facade had so much historical value, how come Landmarks Preservation [Commission] did not protect the building?

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