Quick Take – December 15, 2019

Welcome to another issue of Quick Takes.

Notorious TL;DR

Since we last did a Quick Take, here are the new posts up on Notorious.

Because ’tis the season, to be jolly of course, but also the season for a number of annual traditions here with enormous end-of-the-year posts, writing has been and will be a bit light.

So last week, I put up the annual Seven Predictions post with the traditional musical theme. The theme this year was The Rat Pack in honor of my new home city of Las Vegas, and the predictions are:

  1. Realogy files strategic bankruptcy
  2. Regulatory tsunami hits real estate
  3. Compass implodes
  4. The era of office exclusives begins
  5. Massive three way merger: Opendoor, Redfin, Move
  6. President Trump nominates Tracy Kasper as HUD Secretary
  7. Zillow ignites a revolution in mortgage

While I always say that these predictions are sure to be wrong, or your money back, I’m speaking of course to the public readers not to VIP subscribers. Your subscriptions are not part of the guarantee to be wrong, in case you’re wondering.

Quick Takes

So what happened this past week worth noting?

Subpoenas are headed to New York agents and brokers

Newsday reported from the NY State Senate hearing on racial discrimination in Long Island real estate and noted that only one of the 68 real estate agents and brokers who were asked to appear voluntarily came. Only Ryan Gorman, President of NRT, came.

So, the NY Senate is pissed off. From Inman’s story on the topic:

“The remaining 67 individuals either neglected to respond or outright refused to provide testimony,” Sen. James Skoufis said, according to Newsday. “There’s an easy way to go about things and a hard way. So following today subpoenas will be served to many of these individuals to compel their testimony.”

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that those 67 people screwed up. One of the things you definitely don’t want to do with politicians is to piss them off and embarrass them. Subpoenas are matter of course, but if LIBOR and NYSAR and NAR were hoping to soften whatever regulation or legislation comes down… this is not going to help.

So now, the brokers and agents who told Newsday “No comment” and chose not to appear at the hearing will be forced to appear and forced to testify, unless they choose to take the Fifth to avoid self-incrimination. Well, taking the Fifth can help you legally, but from a PR perspective, it’s pretty much a nightmare.

Good job, Long Island brokers and agents — you’ve made what would have been a difficult task into something more like an impossible task.

Jim Cramer Thinks Millennial Home Buying “Delay” Is Over

Over on CNBC, Jim Cramer waxed enthusiastic about Millennial homebuyers. He’s basing that on reports from Toll Brothers and Taylor Morrison. I hope he’s right. Experts have been predicting a boom in Millennial buyers for almost a decade now.

One note of caution:

On the call, Yearley said Toll Brothers is homing in on “affordable luxury communities” that attract move-up, active-adult and millennial buyers. Older and more affluent millennials have been a big catalyst for this business strategy, where a third of the homes cost up to $500,000, he said.

Wealthy Millennials will buy homes, of course, if they haven’t already bought one and are trading up, as the paragraph above seems to imply. The problem with Millennials has never been with wealthy high-income Millennials.

So let’s stay optimistic but watch the all-important marriage rate and household formation data. Because we’re still hovering near all-time lows as of 2017.

Housekeeping Notes

The website is undergoing a redesign along with some platform changes. I haven’t been all that happy with the platform I’ve had for over a year now. So watch for some changes in the coming weeks.

Also, please join the Notorious VIP Lounge on Mighty Networks if you haven’t done so already. This is an entirely free online community for VIP members, as I wanted to create a place for serious people to have serious conversations about real estate and industry issues.

If you like this, if you like the VIP experience, please recommend it to your friends and colleagues. I’d like to grow this community as much as possible.


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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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