NY home purchase applications down 30% | Cross River Real Estate

The coronavirus appears to be splitting the mortgage market: More borrowers are refinancing to save money on monthly payments, while potential homebuyers are backing away fast. 

Driven entirely by refinancing, total mortgage application volume increased 15.3% last week compared with the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s seasonally adjusted index. Volume was 67% higher than one year ago, when interest rates were higher.

After rising for two weeks, mortgage rates plunged to the lowest level in the MBA’s survey. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($510,400 or less) decreased to 3.47% from 3.82%, with points decreasing to 0.33 from 0.35 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. That rate was 89 basis points higher one year ago.

As a result, refinance volume surged again. Those applications spiked 26% for the week and were 168% higher than a year ago. The refinance share of mortgage activity increased to 75.9% of total applications from 69.3% the previous week.

“Mortgage rates and applications continue to experience significant volatility from the economic and financial market uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis,” said Joel Kan, MBA’s associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting. “The bleaker economic outlook, along with the first wave of realized job losses reported in last week’s unemployment claims numbers, likely caused potential homebuyers to pull back.”

Weekly jobless claims soared past 3 million to record high, the Labor Department reported last Thursday.

Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell 11% last week and were 24% lower than a year ago. Real estate agents and homebuilders have reported a sharp drop in buyer interest, and open houses and model homes are shuttering. Some potential buyers are doing virtual tours, but the demand is not even close to normal spring volume.

“Buyer and seller traffic — and ultimately home purchases — will also likely be slowed this spring by the restrictions ordered in several states on in-person activities,” Kan said.

The effects of the coronavirus on housing are widespread, but most acute in certain states. Purchase applications are down over 30% in New York, California and Washington state.

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Nahb polling numbers for Covid week 2 | Bedford Hills Real Estate

The second week of NAHB’s online poll showed that several of the coronavirus’s impacts on the residential construction industry have become more widespread and severe.  Once again, traffic ranked as the most widespread problem, with 93 percent of respondents saying the coronavirus has had an adverse impact on traffic of prospective buyers.

This result is based on 318 responses collected online between March 24 and March 30.  As in week 1, the largest share of responses came from single-family home builders; and respondents were most often owner, president or CEO of their companies.  The geographic distribution was somewhat different in week 2, however, with a greater share of responses coming from the Northeast and West Census regions.

The week 2 poll listed eight possible impacts of the coronavirus and asked if each has so far had a major, minor, or no adverse effect on respondents’ businesses.  After traffic, 89 percent of respondents for whom the item was applicable said the virus was having a noticeable, adverse impact on homeowners’ concerns about interacting with remodeling crews, followed by the rate at which inquiries for remodeling work are coming in (86 percent), cancellations or delays of existing remodeling projects (82 percent), how long it takes to obtain a plan review for a typical single-family home (80 percent), and how long it takes the local building department to respond to a request for an inspection (78 percent).  The least common problems on the list were supply of building products and materials and willingness of workers and subs to report to a construction site, but even these were cited as a virus-induced problem by over three-fifths of the respondents.

Five of these problems were also covered in week 1 of the poll.  Four clearly worsened in week 2.  For example, the 80 percent of respondents who said the virus has had an adverse impact on how long it takes to obtain a plan review for a single-family home was up from 57 percent a week earlier.  Comparisons across weeks should be interpreted cautiously, due primarily to differences in the geographic distribution of responses.  In this case, however, the percentage increased significantly in each of the four Census regions.

Similarly, the 78 percent who said the virus has had an adverse impact on how long it takes the local building department to respond to a request for an inspection was up from 50 percent a week earlier.  Again, the increase was present and significant in each of the four regions.

As mentioned above, problems with willingness of workers and subs to report to a construction site were less widespread than the other items on the list, but the 64 percent who cited it as a virus-induced problem in week 2 was nevertheless up from 42 percent a week earlier.  Again, the rising trend was consistent across regions.

Even a decline in the traffic of prospective buyers, the most widespread problem in week 1 of the poll, was more widespread in week 2.  The incidence of the problem increased in every region except the Northeast.  The Northeast, however, showed a marked increase (from 57 to 73 percent) in the share reporting that the virus had a major, rather than minor, adverse impact on traffic.

The trend was not completely consistent across regions for the fifth item present in both weeks of the poll: supply of building products and materials.  Although the overall share reporting this as a virus-induced problem was up, this was primarily due to a particularly strong increase (from 45 to 74 percent) in the Midwest.  For additional details—including tables for each question broken down by respondents’ region, primary business, and position in the company—please see the full survey report.

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Mortgage rates average 3.3% | Waccabuc 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) averaged 3.33 percent.

“Mortgage rates have drifted down for two weeks in a row and that drop reflects improvements in market liquidity and sentiment,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While the market has stabilized relative to prior weeks, homebuyer demand has declined in response to current economic conditions. The good news is that the pending economic stimulus is on the way and will provide support for both consumers and businesses.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.33 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 2, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 3.50 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.08 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.82 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.92 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.56 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.40 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.34 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.66 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.

Case-Shiller home prices up 3.9% | Katonah Real Estate

National home prices continued to increase over the first month of 2020, prior to coronavirus outbreak. Price growth will certainly decline as future months’ data is recorded.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, reported by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 6.2% in January, faster than a 5.3% increase in December. It was the highest gain since February 2018. On a year-over-year basis, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index posted a 3.9% annual gain in January, up from 3.7% in December. Going forward, national home prices are expected to increase at a slower pace due to the 2020 downturn.

Meanwhile, the Home Price Index, released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.1% in January, following a 9.1% increase in December. On a year-over-year basis, the FHFA Home Price NSA Index rose by 5.2% in January, after an increase of 5.4% in December.

In addition to tracking home price changes nationwide, S&P also reported on the site of vpnicon the home price indexes across 20 metro areas. In January, local home prices varied and their annual growth rates ranged from -3.6% to 13.0%. Among the 20 metro areas, eight metro areas exceeded the national average of 6.2%. Seattle, Las Vegas and Phoenix had the highest home price appreciation in January. Seattle reported a 13.0% increase, followed by Las Vegas with an 8.5% increase and Phoenix with an 8.3% increase. Home prices in two metro areas declined in January. They were Chicago (-3.6%) and New York (-1.2%).

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Armonk Zero Waste Day April 20th | Armonk Real Estate

Saturday, April 20, 2013

9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Rain or Shine
North Castle Town Hall
15 Bedford Road
Armonk, NY   10504

Welcome to Zero Waste Day! In order to ensure a safe and efficient event for our residents and volunteers, we ask that you please follow these simple rules to responsibly dispose of your unwanted items:

Drive slowly, and wait your turn.  Traffic flows one way only.

Stay in your car and let our volunteers unload your items.

Follow all traffic signs and obey our volunteers’ directions.

To avoid bringing items that are not being collected, please carefully check the list below beforehand. Refer to Recyclopedia for alternative disposal options for items not being collected during Zero Waste Day.

Our Zero Waste Day participating organizations will be present behind Town Hall in the order listed below.  Please consider this when loading your vehicle, so as to enable quick and efficient unloading.

Our Zero Waste Day collections change with each event. Please note the following:

Furniture Sharehouse is returning. See below for more information.

Stuffed animals and children’s books will NOT be collected.

Used Motor, Antifreeze and Cooking Oil Collection – collected by Enviro Waste Oil Recovery and American Alternative Energy

Used motor oil, used antifreeze, used oil filters and oily debris (rags)

Used vegetable oil (from a deep fat fryer)

For more information about Enviro Waste Oil Recovery, go to www.envirowasteoil.com

Scrap Metal Collection – collected by Suburban Carting

Metal file cabinets, metal bed frames, aluminum siding, outdoor grills, metal fence pieces, hot water tanks and heaters, treadmills, basketball hoops, antennas, metal appliances (washers, dryers, stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners*, toasters, coffee pots, mixers, microwaves, waffle irons, table top grills) and any other unwanted scrap metal items or pieces.

*Freon does not need to be removed prior to drop-off.

E-waste Collection – collected by Suburban Carting for RCR&R

Computers **(including laptops), TVs, CRTs, small scale servers, monitors (non-CRT), keyboards and mice, copiers and scanners, fax machines, printers, VCRs, DVRs, DVD players, electronic and video game consoles, portable digital music players, digital converter boxes, cable or satellite receivers, cell phones and PDAs, universal power supply battery back-ups, typewriters, telephones, telecommunications equipment, circuit boards, cables and wires, ink cartridges, electric motors, AV equipment, radios and speakers, cameras, rechargeable power tool batteries, lead acid and automobile batteries.

** To prevent identity fraud, remember to remove any stored personal information before drop-off.  Simply deleting files does not completely erase the information on your computer’s hard drive.

For more information about Regional Computer Recovery and Recycling, go towww.ewaste.com.

Adult and Children’s Bicycles – collected by Recycle-a-Bicycle

Adult and children’s used bicycles in good condition, free of rust and major structural damage.

Bike parts and bike tools.

Paper Shredding  – collected by USA Shred

Up to 6 total boxes of papers and/or hardcover books per household for shredding and disposal. Box size must not exceed 10”x12”x15”. Staples and paper clips need not be removed but metal clasps and binder clips are not permitted.

For more information about USA Shred, go to www.usashred.info

Dog and Cat Supplies – collected by Adopt-a-Dog

Wire dog crates, airline kennels from boarding kennels Melbourne, dog and cat beds and toys.

Linens in any condition (sheets, towels, comforters, blankets).

Balls (basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, tennis balls).

For a complete listing of items acceptable for donation, go to www.adoptadog.org.

Spring and Summer Clothing, Shoes and Linens – collected by Community Center of Northern Westchester

Clean, gently used spring and summer clothing and shoes for men, women and children.

Clean, gently used linens (sheets, towels, blankets, comforters).

For more information, please go to www.communitycenternw.org.

Household Furniture – collected by Furniture Sharehouse

For a complete list of items that are acceptable and not acceptable, please go towww.furnituresharehouse.org.

Please note these items will NOT BE COLLECTED during this Zero Waste Day.

Bulk Items. There will not be a container for bulk items.  Arrange curbside pickup with Suburban Carting if you have bulk items.

This event is sponsored by the North Castle Recycling Committee and the Town of North Castle.  We are in need of volunteers!  Interested in helping as a committee member?  Want to volunteer for events only?  Please email us at www.northcastlerecycling@gmail.com.

America’s inequitable housing system is completely unprepared for coronavirus | Bedford Hills Real Estate

As COVID-19 (or the coronavirus) spreads and Americans prepare for potential quarantines, public health officials have recommended some advice for U.S. households: Namely, stock up two weeks of supplies, avoid crowds, and stay in your homes.

And that advice is fine for middle-class suburbanites with white-collar jobs. Sure, hop in the SUV and drive to the nearest Costco. Stash extra cases of canned beans in the pantry and frozen veggies in the basement freezer. Kids can hang out in their separate bedrooms or play in the backyard while parents conduct conference calls from the home office.

Of course, for people who lack these residential resources—especially those with unstable, crowded, or poor-quality housing—this situation is impossible. Not to mention the fact that workers in fields such as food service, retail, and hospitality can’t conduct their work remotely. In the face of a global pandemic, what are these Americans supposed to do?

Workers in fields such as food service, retail, and hospitality can’t conduct their work remotely. In the face of a global pandemic, what are these Americans supposed to do?


The people who will have trouble “sheltering at home” are already among the most vulnerable populations. Estimating how many people will be affected is tricky, because these are also the most difficult populations for the Census Bureau to count. But we can predict which types of housing situations will create the greatest barriers.

Homeless persons. More than 500,000 people across the U.S. are homeless, roughly 40% of whom are unsheltered (living on streets, parks, and other open spaces). The remaining 60% live in temporary homes, including cars, shelters, or doubled-up with family. In a recent Curbed piece, Alissa Walker described the many challenges that homeless individuals face in trying to protect themselves from COVID-19, including hand-washing and storing food, which are critical obstacles.

Unaffordable or unstable housing. The poorest 20% of U.S. households spend more than half their monthly income on rent. Any loss of income—say, food service workers having their hours reduced as fewer people patronize restaurants—will put these households behind on their rent, increasing their risk of becoming homeless.

Group quarters. Some of the first U.S. fatalities from COVID-19 occurred in a nursing home outside Seattle. Contagious diseases spread rapidly in these types of group quarters, with residents living in close contact, sharing bathrooms, and eating together. Nearly 4 million Americans live in institutional group quarters such as nursing homes and correctional facilities. Another 4 million live in noninstitutional facilities, including college dorms, military barracks, and group foster homes. While colleges and universities can close dorms to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, that’s not an option for nursing homes or prisons.

Overcrowded households. Keeping the recommended 6-foot distance between people is tough for households with too many people crammed into too small of a space. Nationally, a very small share of households are overcrowded (more than two persons per bedroom). But the incidence varies substantially across population groups and cities: Nearly 15% of households with children living in high-cost metro areas are overcrowded. And even single-person households in small studio apartments or “tiny homes” will have difficulty storing extra supplies.

Unsafe, unhealthy housing. Even in the absence of contagious diseases, low-income households are more likely to live in housing that damages their health: mold and pest infestations that exacerbate asthma, for example, or lead paint and other toxic substances that harm children’s neurological development. We have virtually no data on how many people live in informal, unregulated housing, which is often ignored by local governments until disaster strikes.


Low-wage workers who live paycheck to paycheck will be hard pressed to come up with the funds to buy two weeks of supplies in advance. Neighborhood resources matter too: Low-income urban neighborhoods have few large supermarkets or big box stores within easy reach. The corner stores and bodegas that many people rely on for supplies only carry small portions, and bulk buying from these stores isn’t just less convenient, it’s more expensive: The per-unit cost of one toilet paper roll is higher than buying a large package. Riding the bus home with a few days’ worth of groceries is one thing. Lugging home two weeks’ worth of rice, dried beans, and canned goods is another.


For households who lack resources, giving people money as quickly and directly as possible would help. Short-term financial assistance would help poor families continue paying rent and buying food until the broader economy stabilizes. It would be more effective than a temporary moratorium on evictions (as some jurisdictions have enacted), since landlords also need money to pay their mortgages, property taxes, and utilities. Banks offering to allow borrowers more time on their mortgages could help homeowners as well as landlords—but the bigger concern is renter households, who have lower incomes and smaller savings.

For far too long, policymakers at all levels of government have failed to provide decent-quality, stable, and affordable housing to millions of Americans. In COVID-19, we’re only starting to see the devastating consequences of that failure.

Many of the other problems will be harder to address. To reach homeless populations, local governments will need not just money but trained staff, portable bathrooms, and modular housing. The short-term housing solutions we often use in the aftermath of natural disasters—gathering displaced people into large facilities such as gyms or convention centers—are not advisable during contagious disease outbreaks.

For far too long, policymakers at all levels of government have failed to provide decent-quality, stable, and affordable housing to millions of Americans. In COVID-19, we’re only starting to see the devastating consequences of that failure.

Sarah Crump provided excellent research assistance for this post.

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Italy cancelling mortgage bills | Bedford Real Estate

Homeowners in Italy are seeing many of their bills suspended – including mortgages – as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic, and now other European nations are considering similar moves.

Is a “mortgage holiday” coming to America?

The short answer is: probably not. Most American mortgages are packaged into bonds with legal terms that dictate what the servicers who handle the billing can and can’t do. There are ways servicers can offer forbearance – an agreement to let borrowers either pay at a lower interest rate or suspend payments temporarily because of a hardship. But it’s on a case-by-case basis.

“Somebody owns those bonds,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist with Wells Fargo. “Who is going to make those interest payments?”

Any missed or reduced payments typically have to be repaid, with interest. Sometimes, that means the loan will be re-amortized, so whatever you don’t pay now, you’ll be paying off over the remaining years of your loan, with interest.

America’s mortgage market is much bigger than Italy’s $423 billion of outstanding home-loan debt. The U.S. has about $11 trillion of mortgages on one- to four-family homes, according to Federal Reserve data. More than half of that is contained in bonds compiled and backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees those government-controlled mortgage securitizers, issued a directive last week urging servicers to offer help to people who fall behind on mortgage payments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“To meet the needs of borrowers who may be impacted by the coronavirus, last week Fannie Mae and FreddieMac reminded mortgage servicers that hardship forbearance is an option for borrowers who are unable to make their monthly mortgage payment,” said FHFA Director Mark Calabria. “For borrowers that may be experiencing a hardship, I encourage you to reach out to your servicer.”

In addition, regulators such as the Federal Reserve on Tuesday urged U.S. banks such as Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase to work “constructively” with borrowers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, promising they won’t get dinged by examiners as long as the measures show good judgment.

Italy has been the nation with the biggest outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, outside of China. Italy has more than 15,000 cases, and more than 1,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

While Italy is the only government to introduce a plan to suspend mortgage payments for people affected by the lockdown – and so far it’s only for the worst-hit areas of the nation – other European countries may follow suit, according to an S&P report.

“New monetary and fiscal stimulus measures are currently being launched daily and the Italian government is contemplating broadening the mortgage payment suspension scheme nationwide,” S&P said.

“Some banks and governments in other countries, including France, Spain, and the U.K., have mooted similar measures, although the potential scale of eligibility and level of uptake among borrowers could vary widely and are not yet known,” the report said.

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Trump county homebuilding jumps, Clinton county homebuilding falls | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Does this have anything to do with local taxes? You bet it does.

For the current edition of the Home Building Geography Index (HBGI), NAHB introduces a red vs. blue segmentation of the 3,221 counties of the United States.

“Red counties” are defined as those in which the majority of the population in the 2016 Presidential election voted for President Donald Trump, while “blue counties” are defined as those in which most of the population voted for then-Senator Hillary Clinton1. The data show that the population distribution is 48.7% in red and 51.3% in blue2.

While the population of the country is almost evenly split between red and blue counties, the same is not true for the distribution of single-family and multifamily construction. In fact, 61% of single-family construction is in red counties, while almost 64% of multifamily construction are in the blue counties. Blue counties tend to feature greater population density, hence the divide.

Moreover, the growth rates for home construction differ between red and blue counties. The map above shows the blue and red counties in the U.S. and the four-quarter moving averages of their year-over-year growth rates for single-family construction as of the end of 2019. Red counties posted growth of 1.7% for single-family home building, while blue counties posted a decline of 1.2%. This is likely due to differences in land availability/cost, as well as regulatory differences for construction. Indeed, lower growth rates in blue counties – compared to red – is expected given the relative cost of land in major metropolitan areas, making building a single-family home more expensive in such areas you will need to search for several contacts to find the right one for you and your budget, with https://www.asifoam.com/riverside/ you can get the best materials for your projects.

While there are differences between these two types of counties, both regions’ performances at the end of 2019 were clear improvements to relative periods of decline due to the housing soft patch during 2018, as seen on the figure below.

Although blue county multifamily construction growth was positive in 2019 (7.6%), the relatively smaller share of apartment construction in red counties posted a larger growth rate of 21.4%. This shows that red counties outperformed blue counties in both single- and multifamily development

Additionally, the above chart shows that, until 2019, multifamily growth was lower than single-family expansion for most periods since 2016.

With this edition of the NAHB/HBGI, additional new posts will examine updates for regional trends (large metros vs exurbs vs rural areas, etc.) for single-family and multifamily construction, as well as additional red vs blue analysis from a regional perspective.

  1. We use Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections for election results at the county level. The red vs. blue segmentation cleanly applies to all U.S. states except for Alaska, which, by tradition, has had electoral votes casted in Presidential Elections according to House District. To circumvent this problem, we use a county-equivalent analysis that imputes House District-level election data that was done by RRH Elections (https://rrhelections.com/index.php/2018/02/02/alaska-results-by-county-equivalent-1960-2016/).
  2. Conventional wisdom is that the American population is concentrated in major metropolitan areas, i.e., those that voted for Hillary Clinton, even though the red counties far outnumber the blue, 2,633 over 507, respectively. The near 50-50 population split, as noted above, however, is due to the number of red counties with populations of 1,000 or above.

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Existing home sales surged in February | Cross River Homes

Sales of previously owned houses in the US surged 6.5 percent from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million units in February of 2020, above market expectations of 5.5 million. It is the highest level since February of 2007. Single-family home sales sat at a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.17 million, up from 4.82 million in January. Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 600,000 units in February, about even with January’s sales. There were 1.47 million houses available; at February’s sales pace, it would take 3.1 months to clear the current inventory, the same as in January. The median house price increased 8 percent year-on-year to USD 270,100.

United States Existing Home Sales

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Cuomo taxes lead to NYS flight | Bedford Corners Real Estate

The mass exodus of New Yorkers leaving the Empire State has reached a new fevered pitch, with nearly 80,000 choosing to move out to cheaper pastures, according to a new study.

But where are they going?

Whether it’s the high costs of living, a lack of well-paying jobs, or poor Northeastern weather, the population in New York State dropped by 76,790 between 2018 and 2019, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The number represents a 0.4 percent drop in the state’s population year-to-year, which has dropped by nearly 1.5 million in the past decade.

According to the website Zippia , which used data from the Census to determine where New Yorkers are landing, the most popular destinations are New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Connecticut, and North Carolina.

“New York, New York, what a wonderful place, except for the people who left the Big Apple last year that is. New York may be a cultural and economic hub in the United States,” Zippia stated. “However, it comes at a steep price. No doubt those high prices are partially to blame for New York being the most quickly shrinking state in the United States.”

According to reports, the population drop may cause New York to lose up to two congressional seats by 2022, dropping it from 27 to 25 members in office.

Last year, President Donald Trump was questioned about comments he made in 2017 stating that upstate New York residents should consider moving out of the state. The commander-in-chief doubled down on those statements.

“If New York isn’t gonna treat them better, I would recommend they go to another state where they can get a great job,” Trump said on Wednesday. “I love those people. Those people are my voters. They’ve been treated very badly.”

According to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office, the combined state/local tax rate for high-income New Yorkers is the second-highest in the country. The top one percent of taxpayer accounts for nearly half (46 percent) of State Income Tax liability. More than 95 percent of the tax increase from SALT falls on the top 20 percent of taxpayers – these taxpayers pay 87 percent of New York income taxes.

The governor said that the tax reforms encourage New York’s wealthiest to move to other states, “and even if a small number of high-income taxpayers leave the state, it would harm state revenues” and impact funding for education, healthcare, infrastructure, and a planned middle-class tax cut.

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