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Michael Stoler Report Newsletter

04/08/2013

Greetings!

This week join Michael Stoler on the television productions of New York Real Estate TV, LLC.

Monday, April 8th, Michael Stoler's guest on "Building New York-New York Life Stories" is Mark Russ Federman.

On Tuesday evening, April 9th, the topic of the Stoler Report-New York' Business Report  is "What's Happening in Newark?"

My guests on the broadcasts include Miles Berger, Kevin Cummings, Frank Giantomasi and Steven Pozycki.

The Stoler Report-New York's Business Report now airs a total of 15 times a week on CUNY TV in New York City and PBS in the region.

Every Monday morning  you will receive the latest real estate article by Michael Stoler on the state of the market an information about the upcoming guests on the productions of New York Real Estate TV, LLC
Sincerely
Michael Stoler

More than 50 percent of affluent Internet users made their purchases on line.

It may come to you as a surprise that affluent consumers are making more and more on their purchases on line.

According to data from comScore and Martini Media, more than half of affluent Internet users made an online purchase during he past holiday season.

"Affluent consumers shop online across all categories, including luxury goods, "said Michele Madansky, a media and market research consultant.

According to the Martini Media report, in December 2012, affluent shoppers, consumers who have a household income (of more than $100,000,) were more then 31 percent more likely to make an ecommerce purchase than those in less than the $100,000 household income range. This resulted in 56 percent of affluent Internet users making an online purchase in December.

Affluent consumers were 47 percent more likely to make a purchase on a luxury Web site in December. The affluent group was 30 percent more likely to purchase products in the apparel, accessories and jewelry category.

The Affluent Online Shopper Index uncovered that affluent consumers are 40 percent more likely to make a purchase on a luxury retail Web site compared to non-affluent consumers. Therefore, luxury retailers should ensure that their ecommerce Web sites are easily accessible to wealthy customers.

Affluent consumers are 15 percent more likely to make an online purchase than non-affluent consumers.

These affluent consumes are 15 percent more likely to make an online purchase than non-affluent consumers.

Lenders Offering Lowest Rates for Multifamily

It seems like the perfect storm: investors are paying record prices to acquire residential rental apartments in metropolitan areas. And at the same time, financial institutions-especially regional and local commercial and savings banks-are offering the lowest rates for long term financing for this asset class. Ramping up the competition, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, insurance companies, CMBS and conduits are all offering borrowers low rates, with terms we have not experienced in decades.

People in the commercial real estate finance world are left scratching their heads, intrigued as to why lenders are offering such amazing loan rates for financing.

Ronnie Levine, a managing director at Meridian Capital Group, told The Mortgage Observer that doing the math helps make the low rates make sense for lenders.

"Even though the rates for financing are low, the banks are earning considerable higher returns based upon the cost of funds," Mr. Levine said.

Mr. Levine's assertion was echoed by the executive vice president of a commercial bank, who, preferring to remain anonymous, pointed out that spreads to comparable Treasuries are above 200 basis points. "Several years ago lenders were lending at spreads to Treasuries of less than one hundred basis points," this person said. "They are making considerable higher returns in 2013."

While rates are at record lows, industry leaders are worried that banks might be under pressure to meet budgets for loan production, while reducing the level of due diligence and underwriting. This was the concern of a chief lending officer for a local financial institution who also requested anonymity.

"Way back in 2007-first interest rates went to record lows," this executive told The Mortgage Observer. "Now borrowers are trying to gain on the structure of the loan, which includes interest only, lack of covenants and underwriting at lower criteria."

Nevertheless lenders are being offered the opportunity to finance high quality multifamily residential real estate with very low loan-to-value and in certain instances debt service coverage of nearly two to one. For example, an owner of a prominent residential rental property near the Metropolitan Museum on Fifth Avenue secured a ten year fixed rate financing, interest only at a rate of 2.95 percent.

Banks are fiercely competing for business, lowering rates for prime properties. Many of the leading lenders in the arena are offering five-year fixed rate financing ranging as low as 2.75 to 3 percent. Some regional banks that are interested in gaining market exposure are offering interest only for one to two years and capping legal and appraisal fees.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are competing with the local banks offering attractive rates and terms. Fannie Mae is actively marketing a twelve-year loan with a current rate of about 4.5 percent. Insurance companies are offering long term rates and are in competition with CMBS and conduit lenders.

No one wants to lose market share, especially the established leading multifamily lenders, which include New York Community Bank, Capital One, Signature Bank, Investors Bank, Sovereign Bank, Chase Commercial Term Lending, M&T Bank and TD Bank.

Accordingly, regional savings and commercial banks that have been active in this arena for a number of years are also lowering rates to meet the competition. These include Astoria Federal, Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh, Ridgewood Savings Bank, Flushing Bank, Oritani Bank, Intervest National Bank and Amalgamated Bank.

Adding to the competitive landscape are the new players, or lenders that have become active in the market. These include Apple Bank for Savings, People's United Bank, Bank Leumi, Popular Community Bank, Mercantil Commercebank, First Republic Bank, BankUnited (formerly Herald National Bank), Provident Bank of New York, Provident Bank of New Jersey, 1st Constitutional Bank and Customers Bank of Pennsylvania.

Because rates are so low and the market is so packed with lenders offering unbelievable rates, borrowers are busily negotiating pre-payment rates with their existing lenders to refinance at lower rates. And this is causing banks to accept lower pre-payment rates in order to keep loans on their balance sheets.

It is definitely a borrower's market today, with borrowers clamoring to seize the opportunity to lock in long term financing, ranging from five to ten years.

Urban American CEO Philip Eisenberg, perhaps summed it up best, adding his own words of advice on the trend.

"In the two generations that my family has been in business we have never, nor do expect to see, rates at these record lows," Mr. Eisenberg said. "Therefore take advantage and refinance your properties."

Newest entrant to NYC retail-Vein Centers & Clinics

New York City is the home of hundreds of Duane Reade, CVS, Walgreen and Rite Aid health and beauty aid and pharmacies. A number of these locations are the homes of Walk in Medical Care facilities, requiring no appointment and a number of insurance companies accepted for payment.

During the past year a new entrant to the retail health scene is the opening of Vein Centers and Clinics. While many of the city's leading hospitals and medical centers are the home of top vein treatment centers, local physicians as well a national organizations are search for retail locations. In the fall, USA Vein Clinics NYC opened its first location in Manhattan at 1153 First Avenue, at the corner of East 63rd Street. The company currently has a location on Ocean Avenue, near Avenue U in Brooklyn as well as on Queens Boulevard in the Forest Hills, section of Queens.

The business of treatment for varicose veins, spider veins and related venous disorders seems to be a big business on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Just two blocks from the USA Vein Clinics is The Vein Treatment Center, which according to the its website was established in 1982, while at 400 East 56th Street is the New York Vein Treatment Center at 400 East 56th Street.

Retail healthcare is a big business, especially with the passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Industry leaders expect a growing number of urgent care and specialty centers to open in the metropolitan area and around the nation.

Tax advantage of long term health care insurance especially in New York State

With the growing baby boomers expected to reach nearly 70 million, many of these individuals may need long term health care. Long term care is a range of services and supports you may need to meet your health or personal needs over a long period of time. An individual may need long term care when he/she is not able to complete personal care or other daily activities on your own.

The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care reported that about 70 percent of people over age 65 will require some type of long term care services during their lifetime. Long term care insurance helps pay for the care you need when you can no longer care for yourself. It may protect your family's financial future and your own investments and savings. Many people who are interested in this coverage find it difficult to commit to years of premium payments toward an uncertain future for something they may never need.

In order to take advantage of paying for the costs of this insurance, federal and state governments are offering tax incentives to those who purchase coverage, hoping to lessen the potential drain on Medicaid resources.

For individuals, the IRS considers tax qualified long term care premiums a medical expense, subject to certain limitations. The tax advantages of a long term policy ramp us for self-employed. If one owns or belongs to a C corporation, there are also tax benefits.

In addition to possible tax savings on New York State provides a tax credit for Long term Care premiums. Rick Lehrer, principal at Cambridge Organization, said, "If you own qualified LTD insurance a file a NY State tax return, are entitled to this tax credit as there are no restrictions on age of income. New York State provides a 20% tax credit for all LTC premiums paid. If you have not taken the tax credit in previous years, please speak with your tax advisor."

Survey reports Nordstrom as the most favored retail chain

  New York City is the home of hundreds of fabulous retail stores from around the world. While we have a Nordstrom Rack in Union Square, construction has not begun for the planned 285,000 square foot, seven stories Nordstrom that will open at Broadway and West 57th Street, near Columbus Circle. Until the store opens in a few years, residents and visitors from around the world lack the presence of the nation's favorite fashion retail chain, according to an annual consumer study conducted by Market Force Information. Seattle based Nordstrom, edged out Kohl's (no stores are located in New York City, while a few stores are located in the suburbs), which had ranked first in the three previous studies. This year, Kohl's moved to the number 2 spot, followed by Macy's, Dillard's and JC Penney.

Nordstrom is the nation's favorite fashion retail chain, according to an annual consumer study conducted by Market Force Information. The upscale department store edged out Kohl's, which had ranked first in the three previous studies. This year, Kohl's moved to the No. 2 spot overall, followed by Macy's, Dillard's and JC Penney.

The survey also ranked the top retailers in five different fashion sub-categories, where Nordstrom emerged as the favorite for business wear and evening wear, Kohl's for casual wear and children's clothes, and Dick's Sporting Goods for sports apparel.

Market Force also looked at how the favorite fashion retailers compared in various attributes. Nordstrom led in six of the eight attributes, from great service to merchandise selection. Banana Republic ranked second in the influential customer service category, followed by American Eagle Outfitters. Off-price retailers Ross, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls earned the highest marks for their value, while Kohl's was lauded for its loyalty program.

"While all of these attributes combined provide a structure for an excellent customer experience, we discovered that a liberal return policy is the attribute that matters most to consumers," said Eden-Harris. "Retailers that recognize customer service doesn't end once a purchase is made have the ability to build a longstanding, trusting relationship with their customers."

04/08/2013 - 08:13

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Stoler Report

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