Michael Douglas sells Bedford mansion | Bedford NY

Buys home in Irvington

17VIEW GALLERYLocation: Irvington, N.Y.Price: $4.5 millionSize: 11,653 square feet, 8 bedrooms, 10 full and 2 half bathrooms

Though it barely qualifies as what most financial mortals might consider downsizing, Hollywood veterans Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have slightly reduced their considerable residential footprint in New York State’s fancy-pants Bedford. Selling a more than 15,000 sq. ft. Bedford Corners mansion for almost $20.5 million and concurrently snapping up a not quite 12,000 sq. ft. Gatsby-esque manor house about 20 miles away, in Irvington, for exactly $4.5 million.

Douglas and Zeta-Jones bought the more than 13-acre Bedford Corners spread about five years ago for $11.25 million. They sold it in what appears to have been a clandestine, off-market deal to a mysterious corporate entity. It links back to the impossibly posh Sherry Netherland building on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Situated in the coveted Guard Hill area, the palatial estate is anchored by a stately 26-room residence that dates to the late 1800s. At the time of their purchase, it offered eight bedrooms and 18 bathrooms plus an extensive spa facility with not just one but two indoor swimming pools. The property additionally included a two-unit cottage for guests or staff, a car collector’s garage and a full array of equestrian facilities.

The lavish living couple’s only somewhat smaller but far less expensive new digs, dubbed Long Meadow, meanders over 12 bucolic and largely wooded acres that roll down to the Hudson River. Just 25 miles outside Manhattan and built in the early 1930s, the 22-room stone-accented red brick Georgian mansion sits at the head of a long, gated driveway with eight bedrooms and 10 full and two half bathrooms. Listing details disclose the baronial three-story behemoth also has a total of seven fireplaces, an 11-zone heating and cooling system, a four-car garage and annual taxes that top $150,000.

An elegant columned portico leads to gracefully proportioned and intricately detailed living spaces that include a formal and living and dining rooms, both with an antique limestone fireplace and the latter sporting candy apple red lacquered walls that reflect light tossed off from a delicate crystal chandelier. There’s also double-height wood-paneled library flooded with natural light through massive arched windows, a casual lounge with wet bar and a fully updated center island kitchen with commercial-grade appliances and marble countertops. A stone-floored loggia opens to a massive stone-paved terrace that is partly shaded by a black and white striped awning and offers a stunning tree-framed view across the Hudson River, while the mansion’s eight bedrooms include a two-bedroom guest suite and a spacious owners suite that comprises a large bedroom and separate sitting room, a dressing room and a glitzy bathroom with a jetted tub next to a white marble fireplace.

The mansion’s lowest level opens the estate’s rolling grounds and contains an indoor swimming pool, fitness room, recreation/games lounge and, outside, a summer kitchen. Marketing materials indicate the estate offers “enormous untapped potential” to add an outdoor swimming pool and cabana, tennis court and guest cottage. As noted by The Hudson IndependentHoulihan Lawrence Realtors had both sides of the deal.

The Douglas-Zeta-Joneses have long and famously presided over an international portfolio of luxury homes that have made them regular fodder for property gossip columns around the globe. In addition to a sprawling co-operative apartment in a prestigious apartment house overlooking Central Park on New York City’s Central Park West and a large house in Zeta-Jones’ hometown of Swansea, Wales, the couple have long owned a walled compound in Bermuda that came up for sale earlier this year at $19 million but is no longer listed on the open market, although it’s unclear if it’s been sold. The couple’s 10-bedroom compound on the Spanish island of Majorca, which is co-owned by Douglas’s ex-wife Diandra Douglas, was also set out for sale earlier this year and is still available at a whopping $32.5 million.

read more…

Moving to Irvington

Will robots construct homes? | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Construction worker on beams

“New York will be a great place, if they ever finish it.”
O. Henry, 1872 CREDIT: PXHERE.COM

It’s no secret that the world is rapidly urbanizing. People are flocking to cities around the globe that do not have enough buildings or infrastructure to support them. Builders can’t keep up. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, construction productivity has fallen by half since the 1960s. While there are many factors at play, one of the biggest threats to this labor-driven industry is the growing shortage of workers.

Unlearning by doing

Source: McKinsey Global Institute CREDIT: ECONOMIST.COMToday In: Leadership

When the recession hit in 2008, 600,000 workers left construction jobs never to return. Today workers avoid construction jobs, perceiving them as dangerous, difficult, and dirty. Millennials of all income backgrounds entering the workforce would prefer to go to a four-year college or take on jobs in retail or transportation. In the US alone, there are 434,000 vacant construction jobs as of April 2019, according to the US Labor Bureau. It’s important to note that this isn’t just an existential threat. Over the past few months, I’ve interviewed several construction managers who say that the shortage is felt on site daily. Contractors have been forced to pay subcontractors higher wages, often waiting for talent to become available – ultimately slowing down jobs across the country. Many attribute the 5.86% construction cost increase in 2018, cited by the Turner Building Cost Index, to this labor shortage.

Startups are racing to fix the construction productivity problem at large. VCs poured $3.1 billion into Construction Tech in 2018. Most of this money went towards modular housing companies or software that promises to optimize current processes such as project management and communication. Yet neither of these buckets addresses the labor shortage head-on. Many startups claim that robots might.

Over the last year, I have been looking into the startups trying to plug this gap with construction robotics.

With such an acute labor shortage, felt deeply by contractors and developers, are robots really the next best thing? What tasks can they accomplish on site today? Most importantly, will the customer— real-life, historically risk-averse contractors and developers—adopt robotics with open arms? If so, when?

The Construction Robotic Landscape

The robotics companies that currently exist take on the shape of a subcontractor. They use robotics to accomplish a vertical task on site like excavation, drywall installation, painting, and roofing. Some companies are inserting their autonomous software into pre-existing construction machinery. While other start-ups are adapting manufacturing robotics and small self-driving vehicles to do construction tasks.

Most construction robotics companies promise to reduce construction costs by 1) cutting down on labor expenses, 2) taking less time to accomplish a task by working longer shifts and into the night, and 3) performing tasks faster—not by actually working faster than a human, but by shortening downtime between sub-tasks.

It’s important to note that many of the companies I spoke to are in their pilot phase. They are testing their technologies on live construction sites for the first time and require additional engineering oversight to get the job done. If these pilots (which may take six-plus months) run successfully, these construction robotics companies will most likely be ready for commercial use in one-and-a-half to two years. The biggest technological hurdles for robotic construction technology at the moment are 1) seamlessly integrating into an already-complicated construction site, 2) working off of plans and maps that evolve as they work, 3) being able to execute the task as well as a contractor.

However, the biggest challenge of all remains whether developers and contractors will adopt the technology at large.

The Customer: Curious, Risk-averse, & Cost-aware

Even though the labor shortage is real, one can’t help but wonder: if the construction industry has been hesitant to adopt technology in the past, will they adopt robotics today?

Unlike in manufacturing, where a single owner is incentivized to operate as efficiently as possible and invests in large capital expenditure projects that pay off over time, construction managers are motivated to turn around a single project as cost-effectively as possible while delivering to the architect’s specifications. They only work on a handful of projects each year, so they have a low willingness to experiment.

From speaking to contractors, I found that they would be willing to adopt technology or hire a robotics sub-contractor if there was proof that the robotic option could drastically reduce costs on their project.

To understand the biggest opportunity for cost savings, I set out to understand what costs the most on a construction site. While this data is challenging to obtain and costs are extremely variable site-to-site, through conversations with contractors, I have seen some patterns emerge, which I plot in the accompanying graph. Costs tend to be held up in a few key verticals, and then widely distributed across most other tasks.

% of Overall Cost

% of Overall Cost CREDIT: JULIETTE CILIA

Of the verticals that tend to cost the most today (structural support [i.e., concrete and steel] and mechanical and plumbing), not many can be automated because of the complexity of the task or we have yet to uncover companies in those verticals. Some verticals that proportionally cost less but still incur significant costs and are deployed across asset types, like drywall and bricklaying, are appealing, but it is unclear how quickly a large-scale contractor would rush to adopt them.

Construction at Sunset

In the near future we will see more companies tackling the cost-consuming tasks on big development projects. CREDIT: PXHERE.COM

The space is still evolving,  but I suggest holding off on large checks until we see movers who can tackle some of the costlier verticals, like cast-in-place concrete or facade installation. Automating these jobs will save contractors major money and could be widely adopted in time. While construction robotics are still maturing, I believe that in the next two to three years, we will see more companies tackling the cost-consuming tasks on big development projects, helping us finish more of our cities, offices, hospitals, and homes on time.

read more…

https://www.forbes.com/sites/columbiabusinessschool/2019/07/31/the-construction-labor-shortage-will-developers-deploy-robotics/#e2be91f71988

Bedford area apple picking | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Apple Picking Guide 2019 In The Hudson Valley
(Rick Uldricks/Patch)

HUDSON VALLEY, NY — Cooler temps, what a relief! That means it’s time to plan a trip this weekend to an orchard for a bushel or two of the season’s finest apples (and in some cases the last of the blackberries, pears and peaches).

You’ll love how most of these “pick your own” orchards offer a chance to pick up many other seasonal vegetables, select farm fresh foods, and enjoy some family-style events and activities.

The kinds of apples ready for picking changes over the season, so you’ll be able to visit several of these wonderful orchards and farms this fall. Look at their lovely websites and start planning trips!

Here’s a list you can take a bite out of:

Westchester:
Subscribe

Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm
1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights.
914 245-5111
The farm offers more than a dozen varieties of apples. The season started in August with peaches and runs into December when you can hunt for the perfect Christmas trees. Pumpkin picking season starts in October. Stop by the gift shop for freshly baked cookies, doughnuts and strudel sticks.

Stuart’s Fruit Farm
62 Granite Springs Road, Granite Springs
914 245-2784
The 200-acre family-owned farm offers nine different varieties of apples as well as pumpkins. On weekends you can take a hayride through the orchards. You can end the visit by enjoying a freshly baked pie or doughnut with a glass of apple cider.

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem
914 485-1210
The family-run farm lets visitors pick McIntosh and Front Hill apples but also sells Gala and Ginger Gold. The farm holds a Fall Festival on Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 7 through Oct. 27 10am-5pm as well as Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 9 and Oct. 14. Entertainment for kids include farm animals, bouncy castles and hayrides. You can also buy homemade doughnuts, cider, produce and fresh eggs. Dogs are not allowed; service animals with proper identification are allowed.

Rockland:

Dr. Davies Farm
306 Route 304, Congers
845 268-7020
Not only are there apples galore at Dr. Davies 35-acre farm, but there are apple themed T-shirts for sale, as well as homemade doughnuts and fresh pressed cider, vegetables and decorative pumpkins. Bring cash or a check as the farm does not accept credit cards.

The Orchards of Concklin
2 South Mountain Road, Pomona
845 354-0369
At The Orchards of Concklin, iyou can pick your own produce, visit the farm stand, and taste the fresh pressed apple cider. The bakery offers delicious pies, cookies, and pastries. If you can’t make it there this year, they can ship to you.

Mid-Hudson Valley:

Meadowbrook Farm
29 Old Myers Corners Road, Wappingers falls
845 297-3002
The farm has been a local favorite for over 70 years. They offer a large variety of apples for picking and uses their own apples to make fresh cider.

Fishkill Farms
9 Fishkill Farm Road, Hopewell Junction
845-897-4377
The farm offers several varieties of apples for picking, hayrides, a farm market, cider doughnuts, and barbecued jerk chicken for lunch. In addition to 40 acres of apples, they grow peaches, nectarines, black currants, cherries and pumpkins, all of which are available in season for pick-your-own. They sell New York state hard cider, wine, beer and spirits, roasted coffee and local ice cream.

Apple Hill Farm
124 Route 32, New Paltz
845 255-1605
Apple Hill Farm overlooks the picturesque Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains. The apple picking season begins in September with McIntosh, Cortland, Opalescent and Spartan and end the season with Red and Golden Delicious. Pick-your-own hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors can also check out the restored 1859 barn for fresh pressed apple cider and mulled apple cider donuts, as well as wreaths, dried and fresh-cut flowers. Hayrides.

Hurds Family Farm
2185 Route 32, Modena
845 883-6300
At Hurds Family Farm you can pick a variety of apples, including Ginger Gold, gala, Honeycrisp, Empire, Cortland, Jonagold and Golden Delicious, as well as Fuji, Rome Beauties and the flavorful Ruby Frost. You can find out which apples are being picked at the moment by visiting the site. There’s also a lot for kids to do, too.

Wilklow Orchards
341 Pancake Hollow Road, Highland
845 691-2339
The family who runs Wilklow Orchards has been farming the spot for six generations. They try to be sustainable and ecologically minded because they want the farm to last for another six generations. Besides picking your own apples, when you visit the site, you can also shop at their bakery. New York State flour and regional butter and eggs are used to make muffins and bread. Fruit from the farm is used to make jam and cider. There are 13 different varieties of apples to pick so call and find out what’s ripe.

Greig Farm
227 Pitcher Lane, Red Hook
845 758-1234
The farm is open for picking blackberries and apples, including Jonamac, Gala and McIntosh, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. The farm has been open to the public for more than 60 years. You can also pick raspberries and other vegetables. Kids may appreciate feeding the goats. There’s also a nursery/garden shop and Christmas shop. The farm organizes wine tastings.

Rose Hill Farm, 1798
19 Rose Hill, Red Hook
845 758-4215
Established in 1798, the farm offers cherries, blueberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins in a peaceful and scenic slice of the Hudson Valley. Gingergolds and Paula Reds apples are ripe. The farm also offers flowers, fresh eggs, meat and jam.

Lawrence Farms Orchards
39 Colandrea Road, Newburgh
845 562-4268
The family farm is a family-friendly location with “show chickens,” playful goats, a”Little Village” and hay bale maze. The farm has been doing “pick your own” fruits and vegetables for 30 years. Brand-new this year are milkshakes and frozen cider.

read more…

https://patch.com/new-york/bedford/apple-picking-guide-2019-hudson-valley?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=around-town&utm_campaign=alert

Steep slowdown projected in home improvements | Chappaqua Real Estate

Growth in residential remodeling spending is expected to slow considerably by the middle of next year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released today by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that annual gains in homeowner expenditures for improvements and repairs will shrink from 6.3 percent in the current quarter to just 0.4 percent by the second quarter of 2020.

“Declining home sales and homebuilding activity coupled with slower gains in permitting for improvement projects will put the brakes on remodeling growth over the coming year,” says Chris Herbert, Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “However, if falling mortgage interest rates continue to incentivize home sales, refinancing, and ultimately remodeling activity, the slowdown may soften some.”

“With the release of new benchmark data from the American Housing Survey, we’ve also lowered our projection for market size about 6 percent to $323 billion,” says Abbe Will, Associate Project Director in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center. “Spending in 2016 and 2017 was not nearly as robust as expected, growing only 5.4 percent over these two years compared to 11.9 percent as estimated.”

More information about the newly released benchmark data and changes to the projected LIRA market size can be found here.

Click image for full-size chart. 

The Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) provides a short-term outlook of national home improvement and repair spending to owner-occupied homes. The indicator, measured as an annual rate-of-change of its components, is designed to project the annual rate of change in spending for the current quarter and subsequent four quarters, and is intended to help identify future turning points in the business cycle of the home improvement and repair industry. Originally developed in 2007, the LIRA was re-benchmarked in April 2016 to a broader market measure based on the biennial American Housing Survey.

The LIRA is released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University in the third week after each quarter’s closing. The next LIRA release date is October 17, 2019.

The Remodeling Futures Program, initiated by the Joint Center for Housing Studies in 1995, is a comprehensive study of the factors influencing the growth and changing characteristics of housing renovation and repair activity in the United States. The Program seeks to produce a better understanding of the home improvement industry and its relationship to the broader residential construction industry.

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies advances understanding of housing issues and informs policy. Through its research, education, and public outreach programs, the Center helps leaders in government, business, and the civic sectors make decisions that effectively address the needs of cities and communities. Through graduate and executive courses, as well as fellowships and internship opportunities, the Center also trains and inspires the next generation of housing leaders.

Contact: Kerry Donahue, (617) 495-7640, kerry_donahue@harvard.edu

read more…

https://www.jchs.harvard.edu/press-releases/steep-slowdown-projected-home-improvements

2019 Builders choice and custom home design awards | Armonk Real Estate

Casey Dunn

Sixteen projects earned accolades from our panel of judges for this year’s Builder’s Choice & Custom Home Design Awards program, representing some of the best residential design work being constructed today.

Overall, the jurors—J. Carson Looney of Memphis, Tenn.–based Looney Ricks Kiss, Michael Hennessey of San Francisco–based Michael Hennessey Architecture, and Jonathan Tate of New Orleans–based Office of Jonathan Tate—praised function in smaller footprints, use of innovative building materials, and remodels that respect the existing architecture. From production homes to interior renovations to meticulously crafted custom abodes, there is no shortage of inspiration below for you to reimagine for your own projects.

EXPLORE: ALL PROJECT OF THE YEAR GRAND AWARD MERIT AWARD

PROJECT OF THE YEARSugar Shack Residence

GRAND AWARDRenovation on Cox’s Row

GRAND AWARDGlen Ellen Aerie

GRAND AWARDOld Orchard

GRAND AWARDOne Museum Place

MERIT AWARDBlack Metal & White Plaster

MERIT AWARDLipton Thayer Brick House

MERIT AWARDBridgehampton House

MERIT AWARDTree House

MERIT AWARDVenice Beach

MERIT AWARDGrant Street House

MERIT AWARDBlue Sail

MERIT AWARDBig Mouth House

MERIT AWARDThe Sanctuary

MERIT AWARDQuimby Pool House

MERIT AWARDScott’s Grove
Affordable Housing

View past years’ Builder’s Choice & Custom Home Design Award winners here.

read more…

https://www.builderonline.com/design/awards/2019-builders-choice-custom-home-design-awards_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BP_091019&

Home Prices are on the Rise Again | North Salem Real Estate

A second housing price index is showing an uptick in the rate of appreciation, possibly because interest rates declines have begun to mitigate affordability issues.  CoreLogic says its Home Price Index for July was up 3.6 percent in July, the annual increase in June, was 3.4 percent.  On a month over month basis the gain was 0.5 percent compared to an increase of 0.4 percent the previous month.  Last week Black Knight noted that the rate of increase in its index had risen for the first time in 16 months.

CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said, “Sales of new and existing homes this July were up from a year ago, supported by low mortgage rates and rising family income. With the for-sale inventory remaining low in many markets, the pick-up in buying has nudged price growth up. If low interest rates and rising income continue, then we expect home-price growth will strengthen over the coming year.”

Annual price gains were experienced in all states but Connecticut and South Dakota. The highest increases were posted in Idaho (11.5 percent) Utah (8.4 percent) and Maine (7.7 percent).

The company’s forecast is for home prices to increase by 5.4 percent on a year over year basis from July to this year to the corresponding month in 2020.  On a month-over-month basis, home prices are expected to increase by 0.4 percent from July 2019 to August 2019.

The graph below shows a comparison of the national year-over-year percent change for the CoreLogic HPI and CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index from 2000 to present month with forecasts one year into the future. Both the CoreLogic HPI Single Family Combined tier and the CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index are posting positive, but moderating year-over-year percent changes, and forecasting gains for the next year.

“Although the rise in home prices has slowed over the past several months, we see a reacceleration over the next year to just over 5 percent on an annualized basis,” CEO President and CEO Frank Martell commented.  “Lower rates are certainly making it more affordable to buy homes and millennial buyers are entering the market with increasing force.  These positive demand drivers, which are occurring against a backdrop of persistent shortages in housing stock, are the major drivers for higher home prices, which will likely continue to rise for the foreseeable future.”

During the second quarter of 2019, CoreLogic and RTi Research conducted a survey of Millennial generation consumer-housing sentiment.  They found that approximately 26 percent of that age group expressed an interest in buying a home in the next 12 months, but only 8 percent indicated a desire to sell their home within the same time frame. This means that new housing starts, or sellers from other age cohorts, will need to make up the necessary available supply to meet the demand. This desire to buy while housing stock is limited will continue to force prices up as buyers search for a home to purchase.

CoreLogic considers 37 percent of large metropolitan areas to have an overvalued housing stock as of July.  Their analysis categorizes home prices in individual markets as undervalued, at value or overvalued by comparing home prices to their long-run, sustainable levels, which are supported by local market fundamentals such as disposable income. Twenty-three percent were undervalued, and 40 percent were at value. When the analysis is done on only the top 50 markets 40 percent were overvalued, 16 percent were undervalued, and 44 percent were at value.

read more…

http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/09032019_corelogic_hpi.asp

Mortgage rates average 3.49% | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rate averaged 3.49 percent, the lowest it has been since October 2016.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist says, “Mortgage rates continued the summer swoon due to weaker economic data. While economic growth is clearly slowing due to rising manufacturing and trade headwinds, economic fundamentals are still solid for U.S. consumers. The unemployment rate is low, housing affordability is improving, homebuyer demand is rising, and home price growth is stable.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.49 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 5, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 3.58 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.54 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.00 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.06 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.99 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.30 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.31 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.93 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Property Taxes Account for 40 Percent of State and Local Tax Revenue | South Salem Real Estate

NAHB analysis of the Census Bureau’s quarterly tax data shows that $594 billion in taxes were paid by property owners over the four quarters ending in Q1 2019.[1] It has been seven years since four-quarter property tax revenues declined.

After accelerating in the third and fourth quarters of 2017, the four-quarter growth rate of property tax revenue has slowed in each quarter since. Increasing by 18.1%, corporate income tax revenues grew at a much faster pace than any other major category of tax receipts on a year-over-year basis. State and local individual income tax revenues edged up 1.2% while property and sales tax collections increased by 3.3% and 5.2%, respectively.

Property taxes accounted for 39.6% of state and local tax receipts—the second consecutive quarterly increase. In terms of the share of total receipts, property taxes are followed by individual income taxes (28.2%), sales taxes (28.0%), and corporate taxes (4.2%).

The ratio of property tax revenue to total tax revenue from the four sources shown above remains 2.6 percentage points above its pre-housing boom average of 37%.

The share of property tax receipts among the four major tax revenue sources naturally changes with fluctuations in non-property tax collections. Non-property tax receipts including individual income, corporate income, and sales tax revenues, by nature, are much more sensitive to fluctuations in the business cycle and the accompanying changes in consumer spending (affecting sales tax revenues) and job availability (affecting aggregate income). In contrast, property tax collections have proven relatively stable, reflecting the long-run stability of tangible property values as well as the smoothing effects of lagging assessments and annual adjustments. Property tax receipts are the least volatile revenue source, followed by sales taxes, individual income taxes, and corporate income taxes, in order of increasing volatility.[2]

read more…



Property Taxes by Congressional District | Waccabuc Real Estate

Earlier this year, NAHB released 2017 property taxes by state as a blog post and as a longer special study. However, in light of changes made to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), further refining the statistics by congressional district is instructive to both members of Congress as well as their constituents.

Property Tax Payments, Effective Tax Rates, and Intrastate Comparisons

The highest average property tax bill was $11,389, paid by home owners residing in New York’s 17th district (Rockland County and portions of Westchester County). The smallest average annual real estate tax bill was $425, paid by home owners in Alabama’s fourth district (Franklin, Colbert, Marion, Lamar, Fayette, Walker, Winston, Cullman, Lawrence, Marshall, Etowah, and DeKalb Counties). The congressional districts in which homeowners pay the 20 largest and 20 smallest annual property tax bills are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1

It is not surprising that many of the districts with the highest property tax rates are in states that impose the highest average property tax rates.  Figure 2 illustrates the geographic concentration of high- and low-tax congressional districts.

Figure 2

For example, 17 of the 20 congressional districts with the highest property tax rates are in three states: New Jersey, New York, and Illinois (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 American Community Survey

Congressional districts in New York State exhibited the most variability of effective property tax rates – equal to the percentage of the property value paid in taxes each year (see Figure 4). The difference between rates in the 25th and 13th districts was 2.43 percentage points in 2017, the largest such difference within a state. The average property tax rate in the 25th district (2.79%) is more than six times greater than that in the 13th (0.36%). The smallest differential within a state with five or congressional districts was in Washington, where the highest effective property tax rate is 1.04% (WA-10) and the lowest is 0.75% (WA-7).

Figure 4

Property Taxes and the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The state and local tax (SALT) deduction decreases federal tax liability by allowing taxpayers to deduct the total of property tax payments plus either sales or income taxes paid to state and local governments during the year.  Under prior law, this deduction was uncapped but disallowed for taxpayers forced to pay the alternative minimum tax (AMT).  However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) capped home owners’ SALT deduction at $10,000 per year (through 2025).

The value of a tax deduction is determined by the amount deducted from taxable income and the taxpayer’s top marginal tax rate at which the income would have been taxed.  Thus, under prior law, a taxpayer in the top tax bracket (39.6%) who paid $10,000 in state income taxes and $10,000 in property taxes could have decreased their federal tax liability by $7,920 [39.6% x ($10,000+$10,000)].

Until the TCJA-made change expires in 2026, that amount would be reduced to $3,700 (equal to the $10,000 cap multiplied by the new, top marginal tax rate of 37%). The effect of this change on after-tax income is obvious in certain high-tax congressional districts.  For example, the average yearly bill for property taxes alone exceeded $10,000 in six districts in 2017 (NY-17, NY-3, NJ-11, NJ-7, NY-4, and NJ-5).

But as AMT status affects a taxpayer’s possible SALT deduction, one must bear in mind the significant changes made to the AMT by the TCJA.  The most impactful of these changes was the increase of the income threshold at which the AMT exemption begins to phase out.  For a married couple filing jointly, the phaseout threshold went from $160,900 to $1 million in 2018.

As a result, the number of AMT-affected taxpayers is expected to fall 90%–from five million to 500,000—between tax years 2017 and 2018.  The taxpayers who no longer face the AMT may now be able to claim a $10,000 deduction that was previously unavailable to them, lowering their tax liability.

read more…

Builder confidence holds firm | Cross River Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose one point to 65 in July, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This marks the sixth consecutive month that sentiment levels have held at a steady range in the low- to mid-60s.

Builders report solid demand for single-family homes. However, they continue to grapple with labor shortages, a dearth of buildable lots and rising construction costs that are making it increasingly challenging to build homes at affordable price points relative to buyer incomes.

Even as builders try to rein in costs, home prices continue to outpace incomes. The current low mortgage interest rate environment should be getting more buyers off the sidelines, but they remain hesitant due to affordability concerns. Still, attractive rates should help spur new home purchases in large metro suburban markets, where approximately one-third of new construction takes place according to the NAHB HBGI. Lower recent have driven new home sales 4% higher on a year-to-date basis thus far in 2019, while single-family permits continue to lag.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All the HMI indices inched higher in July. The index measuring current sales conditions rose one point to 72, the component gauging expectations in the next six months moved a single point higher to 71 and the metric charting buyer traffic increased one point to 48.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South moved one point higher to 68 and the West was also up one point to 72. The Northeast remained unchanged at 60 while the Midwest fell a single point to 56.

The HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi.

read more…