It’s Not Thanksgiving Without Pumpkin-Something

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner?  What is even harder to imagine is a Thanksgiving without a pumpkin-something…With all of the delicious Thanksgiving dishes, it is a hard to believe that anyone has room for dessert, but everyone should have a little something sweet.  Here are some of our favorite pumpkin dessert recipes for your Thanksgiving holiday.


The Margolis Team, New York City (NYC) Real Estate

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

This quick and easy pumpkin pie recipe perfect for any holiday party.


2 large eggs beaten, 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1 can evaporated milk


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. In a small bowl mix sugars, spice and salt.
  3. In a large bowl mix together eggs and pumpkin puree.
  4. Add in sugar mixture and stir until smooth.
  5. Slowly pour in evaporated milk and stir until incorporated.
  6. Pour into pie shell and bake on small cookie tray at 400° for 15 minutes; reduce heat to 375° and bake until set, about 35 to 45 minutes.
  7. Cool and top with fresh whipped cream.


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

Pumpkin Chocolate Scones

Are you hosting a house full of family and friends for Thanksgiving?  If so, this is the perfect way to get the day started.


2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons white sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 6 tablespoons cold butter (cut into 1-inch cubes), 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, 3 tablespoons heavy cream, 1 large egg, 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (can easily substitute dark chocolate)


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Mix together with a fork.
  3. Add the cubed butter into the flour mixture and, using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is slightly broken down into the size of small pebbles.
  4. Add the pumpkin, heavy cream and egg to the dry mixture and combine together with a fork. When it’s almost completely incorporated, add the 2/3 cups of chocolate chips and combine, being careful not to over-mix. The batter should just hold together.
  5. Using a 1/2-cup scoop, form mounds out of the dough. Place the mounds of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes before baking.
  6. Place the baking sheet into your preheated oven and bake for 13-15 minutes.
  7. Remove the baking sheet and let the scones cool before serving.


Pumpkin Pie Martini

Or, Drink Your  Pumpkin Pie!

Recreate the classic pie, complete with graham cracker crust, in a martini glass — a favorite holiday cocktail.

Single Serve


1/2 oz. Stoli Vanilla (optional to give it kick), 1 oz. pumpkin spice liqueur (such as Hiram Walker), 1/2 oz. Kahlua, 1/2 oz. Butterscotch Schnapps, 1/2 oz. half-and-half crushed graham crackers cinnamon stick (garnish)


Add all liquids in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into large martini glass rimmed with crushed graham crackers. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

At The Core | The Single Greatest Risk for Sellers

Although things have become slightly more normal in terms of real estate activity over the last few months, make no mistake:  it is still a seller’s market out there.  Demand outpaces supply and transactions are still taking place at a rapid pace.  In such a market, a seller can do no wrong, right?  Not at all.  This is perhaps one of the trickiest times for sellers, especially if they think the market gives them a carte blanche to price wherever they want.

The greatest risk for sellers in this market is overpricing.  Never has it been more important to do extensive due diligence on comps from every angle: location, amenities, size and condition.  How do you, as a seller, know if you’ve overpriced your property?  If you’re not in contract 3 weeks into the listing’s life, or have multiple competing offers, then you’re above the market.  It used to be that properties would become stale after 3-5 months on the market.  Based on the robust activity over the last few years, “stale” is now defined as any property not swooped up after a mere month on the market.  That’s right folks: a one month old apartment raises major read flags for buyers and their brokers, alike.

Just a quick look over on StreetEasy, tells a similar story.  Here you see lackluster properties with over 100+ people tracking each.  They’re just waiting for the right price to pounce on these babies, and have a set price in mind for what that “right” level might be.  And these properties are scrutinized far more carefully once they become stagnant, paying what we think of as a “price of aging” penalty; buyers will often look for that extra compensation for the staleness factor, thinking something must be wrong with it on some level, making the property less desirable than the average.

Bottom line to sellers:  yes, this is your time, but don’t mess it up.  Price correctly and you will celebrate; over-price and your bank account will most certainly feel it.

Brooklyn vs. Manhattan Prices

“Is Brooklyn still a deal or should I just stick to Manhattan?”  That is the perpetual question on buyer’s minds these days.  Yes, Brooklyn prices have surged over the last few years.  And yes, the rock bottom deals are gone.  But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater; instead make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.  We think that, like us, you will see that Brooklyn isn’t yet on par with Manhattan pricing.

Let’s start with some comparisons.  We took the liberty of comparing the most popular Brooklyn to Manhattan neighborhoods, in the hopes of shedding light on borough to borough pricing.


**This study is largely skewed by condos, as they are the ones to accurately measure square footage.  Many Brooklyn properties benefit from tax abatements lacking in their Manhattan equivalents…perhaps an unfair comparison. 

The first thing you’ll note is that median prices in Brooklyn are lower.  Crazy must-buy-now kind of lower?  No, but lower nonetheless.  The second thing you’ll note is that the average price per square foot across all Brooklyn neighborhoods is also lower, with the greatest difference existing between Dumbo and Tribeca (double the price) and the slightest difference between Brooklyn Heights and the Upper West Side.  Lastly, the carrying costs in Brooklyn are almost half what they are in Manhattan.  Nowhere does this play out more than in the Williamsburg and East Village/LES comparison.  And this is where the real story is told.  Yes, prices have climbed, but the underlying cost of living in Brooklyn has lagged behind and those costs, can not be financed over the term of the mortgage.

Therefore, this shows that Brooklyn continues to offer great value for discerning buyers and the “truth” often lives a layer or two below the surface.  Don’t just look at the top line price picture, but include carrying costs in your equation to help you find the right property for you, in whichever borough you choose.

[Source:  StreetEasy]


Q & A

In our line of work, we hear and happily answer the same questions dozens of times in a month.  So we thought we’d share some of those questions, along with their respective answers, to our readers, in hopes of shedding more light on this market.

Why is there so little inventory?

We believe there are three primary reasons for the very tight inventory that still plagues this market:

  • First, people can’t trade up.  Prices have climbed to such an extent that people who need more space or quality feel priced out of their next upgrade.  Even though they can get a pretty penny for selling their current home, the next step up is out of their reach, so they stay put and make do with what they have.
  • Second, financing remains very tight.  Down-payment requirements haven’t fallen, nor have credit standards.  Therefore, the 50% of buyers who look to financing have an uphill, laborious and rigorous battle in attaining the funds to get to that upgrade.  One more reason they are staying put.
  • Lastly, many sellers still incorrectly believe that real estate prices will continue to climb higher, making it worthwhile to them to hold on to their properties and squeeze an extra penny from a future sale.

What about new developments? Aren’t they coming to the rescue?

Let’s put to rest the “new developments will help inventory” myth right now.  No, they’re not going to make any dent on current inventory levels.  They represent the top segment of the property market.  The price-points of most are very high for your average buyer, driven by rising land and construction prices.  New developments fall far outside both the average and median prices of NYC properties, where the current demand actually thrives.  Buyers who are waiting for inventory borne of new developments shouldn’t hold their breath.  Instead, they should create a realistic property search strategy based on the inventory we have, not the inventory we wish we had.


Monthly Gem | The Upper West Side

It’s all too easy to look at averages and high level real estate stats in NYC and miss the real picture.  Yet, as we know, real estate is local, local and well…local.  City-wide data rarely provides the numbers you need to truly understand what’s happening on the ground.  That’s the intention behind this “featured neighborhood” post today!

Per StreetEasy’s description:

The Upper West Side encompasses Lincoln Center, Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, Verdi Square, Columbia University, American Museum of Natural History, Julliard School of Music, The Collegiate School and many other academic and religious institutions.  This neighborhood is not only a cultural hub, but also an academic center.  A pastiche of students and tourists animate Upper West Side, which is forever bustling with life and activity.  Green spaces landscape the area providing not only refreshing recreational sports but also an appealing facet to its geography.  The most loved parks include Central Park, Riverside Park and Straus Park.  The Subway trains A, B, C, D, 1, 2, 3 run through the area.

The stats:

The price to purchase properties on the Upper West Side hovers around a median of $1,885/sq. ft. with the median sales price of $1.9 million.  The price of rental properties is about $63/sq. ft., with the median rental price of $3,642 for 900 square feet.  New development pricing, as you might expect, hovers around $2,200/sq. ft. and a median sales prices of a whopping $5 million.

The supply (inventory):

Inventory on the Upper West Side is down 13.5% from last year in condos and 7.6% in co-ops.  That said, townhouse inventory is up 4.3% though still a tiny segment of the market.  As of our writing, 288 condos were available (up to 52% since the beginning of the year), 318 co-ops (up to 48%) and 24 townhouses.


The demand (pending sales):

Signed contracts in the area jumped materially in the middle part of the year for condos, settling a bit over the last few months (down 2% year to date) but up a healthy 23.4% from last year.  Co-op sales have continued their descent (down 23% year to date and 16.6% from this time last year).  This is despite them outselling condos by a 3:1 ratio, both historically and this year.  You can clearly see that seasonality is alive and well in this sub-market.


[Source: Urban Digs and StreetEasy]