August 19th, 2014

urban-compassPosted by Leonard Steinberg on August 19th, 2014

There can be no doubt that technology has become a key driving force and growth sector for the New York economy (and the world in general). A city that was once almost entirely reliant on the financial sector for high paying jobs is seeing tech catch up and play a significant role in revenue generation for New York. Our company, URBAN COMPASS, a real estate brokerage driven by intelligent, innovative and effective technology is a perfect example of this phenomena having added over 100 jobs in a year, and signed on almost 30,000sf of office space. Many ask what is the ‘tech magic’ at the company: My answer is thing about UBER. There have been limo services in New York for decades. There have been cell phones, computers, reservation desks, etc. Then along comes UBER and streamlines and simplifies the entire process through technology. A perfect example of technology revolutionizing an existing industry. Similar effects can and will happen in real estate. Here are some interesting points that emerged from a recently release report:

  • New York City is catching up to Silicon Valley as a TECH CENTER, the boosting the city’s economy. Over the past decade Tech firms directly generated almost 300,000 jobs.
  • Tech is a growing sector in New York as it continues to develop AN INNOVATION ECONOMY. Part of the success of technology in New York are some areas and buildings that provide relatively affordable office rents for startups. Silicon Valley is feeling the heat and some firms believe they should have a presence here.
  • The New York tech ecosystem is larger than that of San Francisco and fell only 56,000 jobs short of Silicon Valley.
  • The “tech ecosystem,” (jobs that are produced by technology or use technology) has become a major component. urban Compass could be considered one of those companies.
  • Tech now rivals the city’s other major employment sectors — health care, retail, legal and finance.
  • Between 2003 to 2013, the New York City tech ecosystem added 45,000 jobs, growing faster than both total New York City employment and total US employment.
  • The New York City tech ecosystem grew from 246,000 jobs, to 291,000, an increase of 18%, (Employment increased by 12% overall in New York City and 4% nationally), generating 541,000 out of the city’s some 4.27 million jobs….about 12.6%.
  • The tech sector has become essential to the city’s economy for meaningful middle-class salary — earning an average of $40 an hour or 49% more than the average hourly rate. Tech may just save the middle class!
  • The tech sector is also paying for more of the city’s basic services, generating over $5.6 billion in annual tax revenues, or about 12.3% of the city’s 2013 tax revenue.

I am certainly not a tech geek, and my personal tech abilities are somewhat limited. One thing I am certain of: the future of real estate lies in technology and any professional in real estate needs to embrace this change quickly to stay abreast in a rapidly changing world.



New York Observer | All is Not Loft: Open-Plan Layouts Loose Their Appeal

August 18th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 1.25.37 PM















Link to full article here:

THE 24/7/365 WORLD

August 16th, 2014
Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on August 16th, 2014
In my role as President of URBAN COMPASS, I post some of my thoughts and observations to the company. I thought I would share this one as it highlights the new world we live in: THE 24/7/365 WORLD.
Seasons are a magical way of reminding us how time passes by. In New York we are reminded vividly of the four seasons, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer, as the temperature fluctuations are extreme. Seasonal change is an outstanding wake-up call to anyone who thinks time is stagnant…..time never stops. Especially in real estate land.
Years ago, real estate markets would wake up around 9am and quiet down by 7pm. Saturdays were generally quiet and Sundays became busy after Noon. These days, this has all blurred and we truly live in a 24/7 world. Winter and Summer markets were always generally slower (in the sales market), with Spring and Fall being super-busy. This has changed. Speak to any real estate broker and they will tell you just how busy they have been throughout the Summer of 2014. Traditionally Summer was super-slow: not so anymore. Now we can officially say we also live in a ’24/7/365 WORLD’. Consumers have begun to ignore nature just the way they are ignoring time. But we shouldn’t.
Seasons can be very helpful to us as brokers: now as there are clear signs of a season change we can benchmark this moment are reminded to take inventory of the calendar…..there are now only just a few months left till the end of the year. With sales deals taking 60 days on average to close, this leaves us a little over 2 months in the year to achieve our sales goals. It also reminds us to think about a Fall wardrobe. Maybe one last Summer weekend? A Fall advertising schedule? Holiday plans for around Christmas/New Year’s? End-of-year gifts for clients? A Holiday Party? Maybe time to update your contact lists? While much of fashion has become season-less to a degree, the joy of celebrating each season should not be lost as each one represents a thematic marketing and branding opportunity.
Life has seasons too: this is nature we cannot fight although 100 years ago the average life expectancy was close to half of what it is today. We do have the ability to fight nature to a degree! So extending a Summer or Spring is not impossible anymore. Just the way the web has allowed us to showcase properties at all times of the day and night: in the ‘old days’ this was not possible…..and that was just a few years ago!
The dawn of each season brings along with it a series of checklist items that can be extremely useful to us as professionals. It also allows us to do a re-fresh, to re-evaluate, to time our planning and goal-making. Seasons afford us different opportunities.
There is only one certainty about seasons: none of them last forever.

Have you seen the newly completed model unit at 7 Harrison St?

August 15th, 2014

Click here to see more: 7 Harrison St #3S

SFrances_140728_0895_A_8bit copy


August 14th, 2014

Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on August 14th, 2014

The volume of New York residential construction planned over the course of the next three years keeps growing: We are now approaching $50 BILLION worth of new rental and condominium buildings. Here are some recently released statistics:

  • Spending on residential construction will hit a new record high in 2014 of $10.2 billion, up 50% from 2013. 2013′s total was $6.8 billion. When adjusted for inflation, the value of construction in 2013 was about 13% below the peak of 2007.
  • Construction will yield fewer units—20,000—than the 30,000 per annum pace that was hit several times in the last real estate cycles much more money will be spent on luxury properties designed for the wealthy.
  • With so much concentration on super-luxury properties, is it possible this area may experience an over-supply of too-similar properties? Those that are diversifying the product mix will be rewarded for going against the grain.
  • A rise in construction costs contributed to the decline in the number of new residential units built compared to the last boom.
  • New York City is trailing behind most other growing cities in terms of the percent change in total housing units between 2000 and 2012, with a gain of under 10% in that 12-year span.  New York City came in 19th out of 22 large cities in the country. More limited supply will keep pricing high.
  • The good news is the current boom in residential construction has created thousands of new construction industry jobs and increased economic activity and tax revenues. The residential sector will lift total construction spending across all sectors by 10% this year over 2013. More revenue for the City means a healthier balance sheet, fewer unemployed and fewer reliant on government assistance.
  • Total construction spending is estimated to increase from $28.5 billion in 2013 to $31.5 billion by the end of 2014 and increase of over 10% in one year.
  • Spending on commercial buildings is expected to dip slightly from 2013′s $8 billion figure.  Hudson Yards and World Trade Center area construction should boost these figures dramatically in 2015.


147 West 22nd Street Featured on 6SFT!

August 13th, 2014

Retractable Garage-Style Door Transforms This Chelsea Apartment in an Innovative Way

140611_EJ_147_W_22_2Fl__0004 copy



August 7th, 2014

Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on August 7th, 2014

“In what could be a real estate record for New York City, the nation of Qatar is in contract to buy an Upper East Side townhouse for $100 million, The New York Post reported earlier this week.”

This week it was revealed that the headlines that resonated around the globe about the sale of the first residential $100 million property in New York to the Qatar Government was not only misleading, but also will not happen as the reports addressed a signed contract, not a closed sale.

I am not defending the actions of Tal and Oren Alexander: they are young, less experienced brokers who have learned a very painful lesson, not only in the potential damage to their credibility (the signed contract was supposedly $90 million, not $100 million as reported) but also a huge loss of income. Worse than what happened here are those very experienced brokers throwing stones while they are the perpetrators of similar (or worse) crimes on a regular basis. I have witnessed some truly outrageous “distortions of the truth” in my 18 years in New York real estate, and those with the experience actually know that they are doing bad things….and do them intentionally. The Alexanders in their over-exuberant youth may have mis-judged…….the experienced brokers are willfully misleading and distorting facts, breaching confidentiality commitments and worse. Experienced brokers know to be careful with the press….who knows if what was said to the press was mis-interpreted?

So to those brokers who are hurling insults and passing judgement at the Alexanders, please apply the same strict rules to all other brokers who have done similar or worse things, and maybe take a hard look in the mirror while you’re at it. We as real estate brokers should assume a responsibility to our profession to call out bad behavior…..but not just selectively!


August 6th, 2014

00-edvard-munch-the-scream-1893-1c6w6zlPosted by Leonard Steinberg of Urban Compass on August 6th, 2014

Its annoying to me how some people in our industry are fueling a bubble when a bubble could easily be avoided: I am calling it BUBBLINGO…..the language that causes bubbles. One example: “So a very similar building next door to ours sold units for $ 2,500/sf last week? Great! Lets price OUR units at $ 3,500/sf!” That is BUBBLINGO and those who speak that language may regret doing so.


August 5th, 2014

1e0f9409d3c11d24f0f8785c49809cc7.428x285Posted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS on August 4th, 2014

Far West Chelsea residents like myself love living here, but certainly miss one component: good food.  Now there is news that HUDSON MARKET is coming to 303 Tenth Avenue, a few doors down from Avenue’s School! The gourmet-style marketplace/eatery will have a mix of products and services, including organic grocery and produce, coffee bar, carvery area and a restaurant featuring vegetarian dishes. Best addition to WEST CHELSEA by far!


August 2nd, 2014

UnknownPosted by Leonard Steinberg of URBAN COMPASS, August 2nd, 2014

Zillow will be buying out Trulia and their combined might in the real estate world has sent shudders down the spines of real estate brokers everywhere: will this machine replace brokers just the way travel agents were made virtually extinct? Hardly.

The bulk of Zillow and Trulia’s revenues come from real estate brokers, as does much of its data. These sites want consumers to believe that they are their direct link to broker elimination, but I seriously doubt it. What will happen now is the costs to brokers will rise, and I have already heard how these companies are raising their rates. Huge is not necessarily best. I suspect other company’s will enter to compete for broker-dollars. Chances are the real estate transaction sans broker is a long, long way away, and may possibly never happen, especially on the higher end of the market where attentive service and intelligent insights are tough to replicate with simplistic technology. The biggest problem brokers face by a huge entity such as this is that they could get lost in it. Consumers are already over-loaded with information. Most consumers are not that stupid to believe that a machine that proposes a broker specialist has not been paid for that proposal…..more consumers are catching onto this and they do not like being deceived. Just because someone pays the highest price for placement does not mean they are the best for the job. The property that is highlighted as FEATURED may be seen by more people faster, but does that provide an un-biased representation?

Now, more so than ever, brokers need to up the ante on their professional and customer-service skills. Those that evolve into advisors rather than the traditional transaction-obsessed pariah’s, will soar… my humble opinion.