April 1, 2023

The 30-Minute Interview: The 30-Minute Interview: Pamela Liebman

Ms. Liebman joined Corcoran in 1985, became a partner in 1990 and in 2000 was elevated to the firm’s helm.

Interview conducted and condensed by


Q. So what’s new at Corcoran?

A. We’re about to launch our brand-new Corcoran.com. You’re the first person I’ve talked to about it.

Buyers are so much smarter today: they’re well armed with the many listing aggregation sites where people can search for homes. Brokers used to hold all the information.

But we are not a data company, so what we built is a “find” — not a search — site. Let’s say a woman is searching for a man on a dating site. Every guy says the same thing: they’re in great shape, have a wonderful head of hair and are financially well off. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a best friend who knows all these guys who can say, “Oh yeah, he’s financially well off because he lives with his mother and that great head of hair is a toupee.” Every apartment is going to be described as something great. What you really need is someone who’s going to navigate this for you.

Q. Exactly how will this new site differ from the old one?

A. The new site is going to be much easier to use on all mobile devices, but it also is going to have a lot more connections with social media. It’s not just about showing you the pretty pictures of the apartment or house. It’s about, what is the lifestyle experience of living there? We’ll have agents commenting on what’s happening in a neighborhood, what those neighborhoods are known for. We will continue to recommend restaurants, cultural activities. We try to bring this whole process to life. It’s not just about the apartment. So we don’t want to just send you 100 listings — and if it’s the West Village, four listings.

If you had searched for a three-bedroom on the Upper West Side, next time you come back to the site it’s going to remember you and say, ‘Hi, here’s what we think you might like.’ So it’s going to be more intuitive.

Q. Will the site include listings from other brokerages?

A. Nope.

Q. How would you describe business right now?

A. We are very busy. It’s a tough market again because we are severely lacking in inventory — we’re at a seven-year low — which is causing frustration on the part of buyers. They can’t find what they want and it’s leading to bidding wars or buyers being unsatisfied.

This lack of inventory, of course, is mostly on the higher end of the market. There are certain apartments that are not suffering: if you want a postwar one-bedroom in certain parts of New York City, we can show you lots of apartments. But if you want a larger four-bedroom on the Upper West Side, it’s going to be a struggle.

Q. Is this scarcity because of the influx of wealthy foreign buyers?

A. Well, the foreign investors are certainly having a big impact on the condominium market. But yes. What’s happening this year is we’ve seen buyers come from areas that weren’t as represented in the past, particularly from the Middle East. And, of course, everybody’s talking about the Chinese and their buying power.

Q. What percentage of your buyers are foreigners?

A. It’s not an exact science, but we look at our buildings that we are representing, and typically it’s about 30 percent. In some buildings, where it’s catering mostly to investors, the percentage can go well above 75 percent.

In 2007-8 we had a real big influx of foreign buyers and a lot of people coming in to flip apartments, but the characterization of the buyer today is different. It’s more of a buy and hold.

One57, interestingly, is half and half. Brazil, Venezuela, a lot of Latin America. [A week after this interview was conducted, a crane partly collapsed atop One57 as Hurricane Sandy approached the region.]

Q. Let’s talk more about One57, the “it building” for billionaires.

A. My favorite building! It’s not just for billionaires. There are a lot of apartments that have been sold to multimillionaires.

One57, since its launch, it’s become the hot building. Gary Barnett listened to what the sophisticated high-end buyer wanted and then he delivered it. Views of Central Park are probably No. 1, and they want large-scale rooms with high ceilings, exclusivity, fantastic amenities. They want to feel as though they’re living the way they deserve to live.

It’s a little over 60 percent sold — at an average price of $6,500 per square foot. And I just got word that we signed another contract on the way over.

Q. To whom?

A. That’s probably the most popular question I am asked. It’s an American buyer. It’s for about 4,400 square feet and it was just under $30 million. I can’t say any more.

Q. Do you see apartments being sold over the $100 million mark in New York?

A. There’s currently nothing on the market that’s worthy of it.

Q. What about more new developments for the middle class?

A. People want to maximize their returns when they build. The acquisition costs have become so high that it’s simply not financially viable to build a building that doesn’t sell for a very high dollar per foot.

Unfortunately, Manhattan is not an inexpensive place to live, and we struggle with that in a lot of the markets that we are in, like Palm Beach, the Hamptons and now Brooklyn, too. The average price this month of Corcoran Group sales was over $1.6 million. At the same time last year it was just under $1.4 million.

Q. You yourself live in New Jersey.

A. Somerset County. I also have a home in Miami. I do not have a pied-à-terre in New York. My family doesn’t want to make it too easy for me not to come home.

Q. You’ve had a pretty meteoric rise at Corcoran.

A. The funniest part of my story is that when I first interviewed with Barbara Corcoran she said to me, “You know, Pam, I really like you, but you don’t seem like the type that’s going to stick around very long.” So here I am some 27 years later.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/31/realestate/commercial/the-30-minute-interview-pamela-liebman.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Facebook’s New Strategy to Turn Eyeballs Into Influence

The company announced new features here on Thursday that could unleash a torrent of updates about what you and your Facebook friends are doing online: Frank is watching “The Hangover,” Jane is listening to Jay-Z, Mark is running a race wearing Nike sneakers, and so forth. That in turn, Facebook and its dozens of partner companies hope, will influence what Frank and Jane and Mark’s friends consume.

Facebook, in short, aims not to be a Web site you spend a lot of time on, but something that defines your online — and increasingly offline — life.

“We think it’s an important next step to help tell the story of your life,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, who introduced the new features at the company’s annual conference for developers. He called what Facebook was doing an effort to “rethink some industries.”

Facebook’s moves sharpen the battle lines between the social networking giant and Google, the search giant, because Facebook is trying to change the way people find what they want online. Searching the Web is still the way most people discover content — whether it is news, information about wedding photographers or Swiss chard recipes. Facebook is trying to change that: in effect, friends will direct other friends to content. Google has its own social network product in Google+, but it is far behind Facebook.

“This is two big rivals getting into each others’ backyards,” said Sean Corcoran, an analyst with Forrester Research. “It changes the game for what social networks have been doing. What Facebook is saying is, we are your life online, and also how you discover and share.”

Facebook is not becoming a purveyor of media products, like Apple or Amazon.com. Rather, it is teaming up with companies that distribute music, movies, information and games in positioning itself to become the conduit where news and entertainment is found and consumed. Its new partners include Netflix and Hulu for video, Spotify for music, The Washington Post and Yahoo for news, Ticketmaster for concert tickets and a host of food, travel and consumer brands.

For companies that distribute news and entertainment, a partnership with Facebook can draw eyeballs and subscribers, though it still remains unclear exactly how much more revenue a Facebook friend recommendation can generate. Music industry analysts said the new Facebook offerings stand to improve the prospects of new media companies like the music service Spotify, which already has two million users worldwide. But they also pose a challenge to the biggest music seller of all: iTunes from Apple, which has added social features that have gained little traction.

For Facebook, the potential payoff is huge, especially as it seeks to make itself more valuable in advance of a possible public offering. A new feature called Timeline lets users post information about their past, like weddings and big vacations. And everywhere on the site, users will be able to more precisely signal what they are reading, watching, hearing or eating. This will let Facebook reap even more valuable data than it does now about its users’ habits and desires, which in turn can be used to sell more fine-tuned advertising.

How users will react to the new features remains to be seen. The site’s evolution could make it easier for them to decide how to spend their time and money. But it could also potentially allow them to shut out alternative viewpoints and information that is not being shared among their set of friends.

And not everyone wants to rely on their friends to shape their cultural discoveries. “Some of my friends have pretty awful taste in music,” said Alexander White, whose Colorado-based Next Big Sound tracks social media responses for artists and record labels. “It’s one filter. Its not the be-all, end-all.”

Brooks Barnes contributed reporting from Los Angeles and Nick Bilton from San Francisco.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=ba5f9f36fcab8284313ca2a4414b0e21