Aren’t those young, wealthy homeowners who own their fancy digs mortgage-free the envy of us all?
The real estate website Zillow.com found that about 34.5% of American homeowners aged 20 to 24 owned those properties outright. Real estate agents, in interviews, said these youthful buyers are most likely young millionaires, those with trust funds or those who received help from their parents.
Zillow found that about a third of all American homeowners owned their properties outright.
Out of the nation’s largest metro regions, the Los Angeles metro—which includes Los Angeles and Orange counties—had the 10th-highest percentage of young, free-and-clear homeowners, with 43.2% of those homeowners living mortgage free.
The New York metro area had the highest percentage of young, free-and-clear homeowners, with 84.0% of those homeowners owning their properties with no mortgage, according to the Zillow data. The Detroit region had the second-highest percentage of young mortgage-free owners: 53.9%.
Nick Segal, a real estate agent in Beverly Hills, said the trend of young, wealthy homeowners has emerged in recent years as high-end real estate has looked increasingly attractive to buyers who want to park their cash outside of the stock market or the bank.
“If a parent is making no money in the stock market, and the interest from their bank is virtually nil, then why not put that money into property?” Segal said. “And you can take care of your kid short-term and long-term.”
Ed Kaminsky, a real estate agent with Shorewood Realtors in Manhattan Beach, concurred, saying that he has done more cash deals in the last 24 months than during the first 24 years of his real estate career. A good chunk of the buyers are young and wealthy home shoppers who are either the recipients of trust funds or are getting help from their parents, he said.
Those parents, and young buyers, are motivated to buy as prices have sunk and real estate has reemerged as a secure investment, he said.
“People feel that cash is safe in real estate and maybe not safe in the stock market or even sitting in a bank,” Kaminsky said.
Kaminsky said he recently sold an 18,000 square foot, $6-million home in Austin, Texas, to a wealthy businesswoman who wanted to purchase the property because her daughter was starting as an undergraduate there at the University of Texas.
The free-and-clear class also includes retirees who have chipped away at their debts for decades and those who live in more affordable areas. In Los Angeles and Orange counties, only 20.7% of homeowners owned their properties outright, reflecting the region’s pricey real estate. That compares with 29.3% nationally — or nearly 21 million homeowners.
[For the record, 4:34 p.m. Jan. 11: A previous version of this post said the Los Angeles metro region had the seventh-highest percentage of young, mortgage-free homeowners, at 49.2%. In fact, it has the 10th-highest percentage, at 43.2%. The post also said the San Francisco region had the second-highest percentage of such owners, at 53.9%. In fact, those figures describe the Detroit region.]
WASHINGTON — Although it wasn’t a total win for homeowners and sellers, the patchwork legislation that emerged from the “fiscal cliff” fracas on Capitol Hill came pretty close. In fact, it even reached back and resuscitated two key tax benefits for housing that had expired more than a year ago. Now homeowners will be able to take deductions on their 2012 tax returns that they assumed were no longer available.
Here’s a quick tally sheet on what the new legislation could mean for you as a buyer, seller or owner.
• Do you, like millions of Americans, pay mortgage insurance premiums or guarantee fees on an FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Rural Housing loan? The American Taxpayer Relief Act — the fiscal cliff compromise bill — allows you to write off the insurance premiums you paid during 2012 along with your mortgage interest, provided your household income does not exceed $110,000. Legal authorization for this deduction expired at the end of 2011. But the new bill retroactively permits write-offs for 2012 and 2013 for qualified borrowers.
- Good news about real estate: Home equity is growing again
- Losses on reverse mortgages prompt FHA to make changes
- Public opinion polls mixed on proposed housing deduction caps
- FHA to extend rule permitting loans on ‘flips’ of fixed-up homes
• Did you do some energy efficiency renovations in your home during 2012, installing insulation, energy-saving windows, doors, roofing material, non-solar water heaters and the like? Maybe you’re thinking about doing a little green rehab in 2013? For either year, you may be able to claim up to a $500 tax credit thanks to the revival of a home energy improvement incentive that lapsed in 2011. Five hundred bucks may not sound huge, but remember: It’s a credit, not a deduction, so it means $500 off the bottom line of your federal tax return.
• Are you planning a short sale of your underwater home this year or hoping to receive a principal reduction on your loan as a result of a mortgage modification by your lender? The new legislation reauthorized the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act that had been scheduled to terminate Dec. 31, and spares you potentially punitive federal taxes on the amount forgiven. Had the debt relief exception in the tax code not been renewed, large numbers of underwater owners participating in short sales — in which banks agree to accept less than the full amounts owed on a loan as part of a sale to a new buyer or investor — would have faced taxation on the full amount forgiven, as if it were regular income.
Lenders and real estate brokers say thousands of financially distressed homeowners would have been devastated by the expiration. Alexis Eldorrado, a Chicago-area real estate specialist in short sales, says she has five clients who are underwater on their mortgages by an average of $100,000 and awaiting short sale closings in the coming weeks. They probably would have had to file for bankruptcy had Congress not renewed the debt forgiveness law, she said, because none of them could afford to pay taxes on $100,000 they never actually received.
What’s in the legislation that some buyers or sellers might not like? Start with steeper capital gains taxes for high-income sellers with big gains that exceed current federal exclusion limits of $250,000 (single tax filers) and $500,000 (married joint filers). Say you are single and earn more than $400,000, or you’re married, file jointly and earn more than $450,000. Under the new legislation, you can expect to pay 20% on capital gains. So if you sell your principal residence this year and your gain on the sale is $750,000, the capital gains tax rate on the amount in excess of the exclusion limit will be 20%, rather than 15%. Sellers below the income thresholds will still pay capital gains taxes at 15%, and earners at the two lowest tax brackets will pay nothing on capital gains.
Another negative: The fiscal cliff deal limits deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes, charitable donations and other write-offs for single-filing taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes above $250,000 and married joint filers above $300,000. The formula it uses is complex, but it could amount to about $1,000 in additional tax liability for a couple with an income around $400,000, according to housing industry estimates.
All in all, not so bad. Then again, major tax reform efforts are coming this spring, with mortgage interest and other real estate write-offs prominent among the targets. So enjoy the fiscal cliff bill results — at least for a little while.
Distributed by Washington Post Writers Group.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. ‒ A Westchester law enforcement organization said it will hold The Journal News responsible for any crimes against its members stemming from publication of the names of gun permit-holders in Westchester and Putnam counties
The newspaper put active and retired law enforcement officers and their families in “grave and immediate danger,” along with the others on the list, the Affiliated Police Association said in a news release Friday. The group is an umbrella organization for 53 law enforcement groups in the region.
On Dec. 24, The Journal News published an interactive map showing both names and addresses of gun permit-holders in the two counties.
The Affiliated Police Association says it will ask the newspaper to remove the interactive map from its website and stop any efforts to obtain the names of legal gun owners in other counties.
“The Affiliated Police Association is putting The Journal News on notice that we will hold them accountable for any incident where any of our members are involved in an incident where a person, criminal or ex-con presents themselves at the residence of one of our members as a result of their name being made public by The Journal News,” Robert Buckley, vice president of the organization, said in the release.
Richard Well, president of the Police Conference of New York, will ask that all county clerks deny requests for such records, which he said is allowable if it would endanger the life and safety of any person, the release said.
“We also urge The Journal News to cease its quest to obtain and publish this information,” Well said in the release. “It serves no legitimate purpose and could easily lead to more tragedy.”
The Affiliated Police Association (APA) of Westchester County Inc. said it will hold a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 15, in White Plains to publicly state its position. The new conference will take place at the Westchester County Courthouse, 111 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – There’s snow on the ground and temperatures are hovering near freezing, but golf lovers are chomping at the bit to get back out on the links at the Pound Ridge Golf Club as soon as the first signs of spring arrive.
Officials at the Pound Ridge Golf Club – the only Pete Dye-designed course in New York – has announced its 2013 individual and corporate season plans, which are alternatives to the long-term commitment of a membership. There are no food and beverage minimums or other fees, and rounds are debited from the plan holder’s account.
“Our annual golf plans are a great option for area golfers who want to play frequently on a world-class public course designed to the highest private club standard,” said Pound Ridge Golf Club owner Ken Wang. “Pound Ridge’s close proximity to New York as well as the financial hub of southern Connecticut helps to provide business professionals with an unforgettable experience for [entertaining clients].”
Plan holders have full use of the driving range and short game area after 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and receive a 2013 GHIN (Golf Handicap and Information Network) handicap, Wang said. Starting at $3,000 annually, the account can pay for the holders’ golf as well as for guests playing in their group.
Corporate plans, at $16,000, offer the flexibility of listing any number of representatives on the account. A free foursome voucher comes with the plan, along with an assortment of other benefits.
Since opening in 2008, the Pound Ridge Golf Club has earned world-class accolades from Golf Digest, GOLF Magazine, Golfweek, AskMen.com and LINKS Magazine.
POUGHKEEPSIE Bananas Comedy Club Brad Lowry. Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. $20. Carole Montgomery. Jan. 20 at 9 p.m. $20. Bananas Comedy Club, 2170 South Road, Route 9. (845) 462-3333; bananaspk.com.
TARRYTOWN Tarrytown Music Hall The Capitol Steps, musical and political sketch comedy. Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. $35 to $60. Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main Street. (877) 840-0457; tarrytownmusichall.org.
WEST NYACK Levity Live Jay Oakerson. Jan. 16 at 8 p.m. $15. Jo Koy. Jan. 17 through 19. $25 and $50. Jay Pharoah. Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. $20. Levity Live, 4210 Palisades Center Drive. (845) 353-5400; levitylive.com.
PELHAM The Picture House “The Other Son,” directed by Lorraine Levy. Through Jan. 17. $5 to $8. The Picture House, 175 Wolfs Lane. thepicturehouse.org; (914) 738-3161.
PLEASANTVILLE Jacob Burns Film Center “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” directed by Steven Spielberg. Jan. 18 at 10 p.m. $6 to $11. Jacob Burns Film Center, 364 Manville Road. burnsfilmcenter.org; (914) 747-5555.
POUGHKEEPSIE Bardavon Opera House “The Met in HD: Gaetano Donizetti’s ‘Maria Stuarda’,” screening of the opera. Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. $19 to $26. Bardavon Opera House, 35 Market Street. (845) 473-2072; bardavon.org.
ROSENDALE Rosendale Theater “Seven Psychopaths,” directed by Martin McDonagh. Through Jan. 17. $5 and $7. Rosendale Theater, 408 Main Street. (845) 658-8989; rosendaletheatre.org.
BRONX The New York Botanical Garden Tropical Discoveries and Wintertime Wonders, outdoor and craft activities. Jan. 19 through Feb. 24. $10 to $20; members and children under 2, free. The New York Botanical Garden, Southern Boulevard. (718) 817-8700; nybg.org.
BRONX Wave Hill Hibernator’s Den, learn about the sleeping habits of certain animals and create an animal craft. Jan. 12 and 13, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free. Admission to the grounds is free all weekend. Wave Hill, 675 West 252nd Street. (718) 549-3200; wavehill.org.
IRVINGTON Irvington Town Hall Theater “The Guthrie Show,” Little Village Playhouse. Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. and Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. $12 and $15. “The Little Prince,” Little Village Playhouse. Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. $12 and $15. Irvington Town Hall Theater, 85 Main Street. (914) 591-6602; irvingtontheater.com.
SCARSDALE Greenburgh Nature Center Jilly Puppets, music, dance and stories. Jan. 13 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $7 and $10. Greenburgh Nature Center, 99 Dromore Road. greenburghnaturecenter.org; (914) 723-3470.
Music and Dance
BRONX Lehman Center for the Performing Arts Kenny Vance and the Planotones, Cleveland Still and the Dubs, Herb Cox and the Cleftones, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs and Barbara Harris and the Toys, doo wop. Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. $35 to $50. Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West. (718) 960-8833; lehmancenter.org.
CITY ISLAND Uptown Coffeehouse Cliff Eberhardt, folk. Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. $15. Uptown Coffeehouse, 190 Fordham Street. (718) 885-2955; uptowncoffeehouse.org.
HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON Common Ground Coffeehouse, at First Unitarian Society of Westchester Meg Hutchinson, folk. Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. $15 and $18. Common Ground Coffeehouse, at First Unitarian Society of Westchester, 25 Old Jackson Avenue. commongroundfusw.com; (914) 693-1065.
LARCHMONT Watercolor Cafe Ari Hest, folk. Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. $20. East Coast Jazz Trio. Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. $5. The Dangling Success, jazz. Jan. 18 at 8:30 p.m. $5. The Glenda Davenport Quartet, jazz. Jan. 19 at 8:30 p.m. $5. Watercolor Cafe, 2094 Boston Post Road. (914) 834-2213; watercolorcafe.net.
MAMARONECK Emelin Theater Beppe Gambetta and Peter Ostroushko, folk and blues. Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. $15 to $38. Emelin Theater, 153 Library Lane. (914) 698-0098; emelin.org.
MARLBORO The Falcon Jason Casterlin and Lucky House, country. Jan. 13 at 5 p.m. Ryan Keberle’s Catharsis, jazz. Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. Pat O’ Shea and the Honest Men, blues. Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. David Johansen and Brian Koonan, rock. Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. Sketchy Black Dog, jazz and rock. Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. Gustafer Yellowgold and Rachel Loshak, pop. Jan. 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations accepted. The Falcon, 1348 Route 9W. liveatthefalcon.com; (845) 236-7970.
MOUNT VERNON PJS Jazz Society, First Presbyterian Church Wycliffe Gordon and his quartet, jazz. Jan. 13 at 5:15 p.m. $12 and $20. PJS Jazz Society, First Presbyterian Church, 199 North Columbus Avenue. (914) 793-7179; pjsjazz.org.
OSSINING Ossining Public Library Don Falzone and Alan Broadbent, jazz. Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. Free. Ossining Public Library , 53 Croton Avenue. (914) 941-2416; ossininglibrary.org.
PAWLING Towne Crier Cafe Solas, Irish. Jan. 13 at 7:30 p.m. $30 and $35. Kevin Kane, folk and rock. Jan. 18 at 8:30 p.m. $20 and $25. Commander Cody, with Professor Louie and the Crowmatix. Jan. 19 at 8:30 p.m. $30 and $35. Don Lowe with the Blue Yodels, pop and blues. Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. $10 and $15. Towne Crier Cafe, 130 Route 22. (845) 855-1300; townecrier.com.
PEEKSKILL 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar Greg Westhoff’s Westchester Swing Band, jazz. Jan. 13 at 5:30 p.m. $5. Open Rock Jam and Band Showcase. Jan. 17 at 8:30 p.m. No cover. Bakklash, rock. Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. $10. 12 Grapes Music and Wine Bar, 12 North Division Street. (914) 737-6624; 12grapes.com.
PEEKSKILL BeanRunner Cafe Noo Moves Entertainment’s Artist Appreciation Show, variety. Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. $5. Studio II Open Mic for Music and Vocals. Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. $5. Larry Del Casale, Tony Romano and Christina Rohm, classical and jazz. Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. $10. Andrea and James Rohlehr, soul. Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m. $10. Chris Bruni, folk and pop. Jan. 20 at 4 p.m. No cover. BeanRunner Cafe, 201 South Division Street. beanrunnercafe.com; (914) 737-1701.
PIERMONT The Turning Point BeauSoleil with Michael Doucet, zydeco. Jan. 13 at 4 p.m. $30. Joe Delia’s Songwriters in the Round. Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. $10. NRBQ, rock. Jan. 18 at 9 p.m. $30. The Duke Robillard Band, blues. Jan. 19 at 9 p.m. $25. The Christine Spero Group, tribute to Laura Nyro. Jan. 20 at 4 p.m. $20. The Turning Point, 468 Piermont Avenue. (845) 359-1089; turningpointcafe.com.
PLEASANTVILLE Mount Pleasant Public Library Philip Amarante and the Manhattan Jazz, swing. Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. Free. Mount Pleasant Public Library, 350 Bedford Road. mountpleasantlibrary.org; (914) 769-0548.
PORT CHESTER The Capitol Theater Little Feat and Leon Russell, rock and blues. Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. $35 to $55. Guster with Yellowbirds, alternative rock. Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. $36. Morrissey with Kristeen Young, alternative rock. Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. $49.50. The Capitol Theater, 149 Westchester Avenue. (877) 435-9849; thecapitoltheatre.com.
POUGHKEEPSIE Bardavon Opera House Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company. Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. $35 and $40. Bardavon Opera House, 35 Market Street. bardavon.org; (845) 473-2072.
RHINECLIFF Morton Memorial Library Bob and the Boys, Cleomas Ghost, Paul Stokes, Dave Feroe and the Riches, folk and blues. Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. Donations accepted. Morton Memorial Library, 82 Kelly Street. (845) 876-2903; morton.rhinecliff.lib.ny.us.
SAUGERTIES Saugerties Pro Musica, Saugerties United Methodist Church The Strawberry Hill Fiddlers, classical and traditional string music. Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. $10 and $12; students, free. Saugerties Pro Musica, Saugerties United Methodist Church, Washington Avenue and Post Street. saugertiespromusica.org; (845) 246-5021.
TARRYTOWN Tarrytown Music Hall New York Banjo Summit, featuring Béla Fleck. Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. $35 to $60. Tarrytown Music Hall, 13 Main Street. (877) 840-0457; tarrytownmusichall.org.
WHITE PLAINS White Plains Performing Arts Center “Pop Goes The Culture,” variety show. Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. $10 and $15. White Plains Performing Arts Center, 11 City Place. (914) 328-1600; wppac.com.
WINDHAM Windham Civic and Performing Arts Center The Mulgrew Miller Trio, jazz. Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. $5 to $25. Windham Civic and Performing Arts Center, 5379 State Route 23. (518) 734-3868; windhammusic.com .
WOODSTOCK Bearsville Theater The Wailers, reggae. Jan. 17 at 8 p.m. $25 and $40. NRBQ, rock. Jan. 20 at 8 p.m. $20 and $25. Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker Street. bearsvilletheater.com; (845) 679-4406.
YONKERS Saunders Trades and Technical High School The Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra. Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. Free. Saunders Trades and Technical High School, 183 Palmer Road. (914) 965-5232; yonkersphilharmonic.org.
BRONX Wave Hill Garden and Conservatory Highlights Walk. Sundays at 2 p.m. through Jan. 27. Free with admission to the grounds. $2 to $8; members and under 6, free. Wave Hill, 675 West 252nd Street. wavehill.org; (718) 549-3200.
OSSINING Teatown Lake Reservation Nature’s Clues. Search the trails for signs left by animals. Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. $5; members, free. Around the Frozen Lake, guided walk. Jan. 19 at 1 p.m. $5; members, free. Teatown Lake Reservation, 1600 Spring Valley Road. (914) 762-2912; teatown.org.
POCANTICO HILLS Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture Self-Guided Tours of the farm, including a look at the livestock. Wednesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, 630 Bedford Road. stonebarnscenter.org; (914) 366-6200.
KATONAH Katonah Museum of Art Jeeyun Sung discusses the process of lighting animated films. Jan. 13 at 1:30 p.m. Free with museum admission. $5 to $7; members and under 12, free. Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street. (914) 232-9555; katonahmuseum.org.
MAMARONECK Emelin Theater “Deconstructing Sgt. Pepper,” lecture by Scott Freiman. Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. $15. Emelin Theater, 153 Library Lane. (914) 698-0098; emelin.org.
SLEEPY HOLLOW Hudson Valley Writers’ Center Open Mic Night, music, with poetry, fiction and essay readings. Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. $3. Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, 300 Riverside Drive. writerscenter.org; (914) 332-5953.
BRONX Riverdale Repertory Company, at Riverdale YM-YWHA “Footloose,” musical by Tom Snow, Dean Pitchford and Walter Bobbie. Through Jan. 20. $12 to $22. Riverdale Repertory Company, at Riverdale YM-YWHA, 5625 Arlington Avenue. riverdalerisingstars.com; (718) 548-8200.
ELMSFORD Westchester Broadway Theater “Fiddler on the Roof,” musical by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein. Through Feb. 3. $52 to $80 for dinner and show. Westchester Broadway Theater, 1 Broadway Plaza. (914) 592-2222; broadwaytheatre.com.
WEST NYACK Rockland Center for the Arts “Looking for Louie,” one-woman show by Stacie Chaiken. Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. $10 and $15. Rockland Center for the Arts, 27 South Greenbush Road. rocklandartcenter.org; (845) 358-0877.
WHITE PLAINS Rochambeau Theater “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” by Shakespeare, performed by Red Monkey Theater Group. Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. $10 to $18. Rochambeau Theater, 228 Fisher Avenue. forthillplayers.com; (914) 946-5143.
YORKTOWN HEIGHTS Yorktown Stage “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” musical by Jeanine Tesori, Dick Scanlan and Richard Morris. Presented by the Lighthouse Youth Theater. Through Jan. 19. $18 and $20. Yorktown Stage, 1974 Commerce Street. yorktownstage.org; (914) 962-0606.
Museums and Galleries
BEACON Faith in Art Gallery, First Presbyterian Church “Blue Collar Blues,” group show. Through Jan. 27. Saturdays and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. Faith in Art Gallery, First Presbyterian Church, 50 Liberty Street. (845) 831-5322; beaconpresbychurch.com.
BEACON Fovea Exhibitions “The Lexicon of Sustainability,” group show. Through Jan. 20. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.; and by appointment. Fovea Exhibitions, 143 Main Street. (845) 765-2199; foveaexhibitions.org.
BEACON RiverWinds Gallery “Beacon Teen Reflections,” works by area students. Through Feb. 3. Wednesdays through Mondays, noon to 6 p.m. RiverWinds Gallery, 172 Main Street. (845) 838-2880; riverwindsgallery.com.
BEACON Theo Ganz Studio “Form and Function,” group show. Through Feb. 3. Fridays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and by appointment. Theo Ganz Studio, 149 Main Street. (917) 318-2239; theoganzstudio.com.
BRONX The New York Botanical Garden “The Beauty of Paradise: A Photographic Tour.” Jan. 19 through Feb. 24. “Magnificent Trees of The New York Botanical Garden,” photographs. Through Apr. 14. $2 to $20; members and under 2, free. The New York Botanical Garden, Southern Boulevard. (718) 817-8700; nybg.org.
BRONXVILLE OSilas Gallery “StArt 2013,” works by area students. Through Jan. 27. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, noon to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 2 to 5 p.m. OSilas Gallery, 171 White Plains Road. osilasgallery.org; (914) 395-4520.
COLD SPRING Marina Gallery “Group Show,” works by area artists. Through Jan. 27. Fridays through Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.; and by appointment. Marina Gallery, 153 Main Street. (845) 239-1123; themarinagallery.com.
DOBBS FERRY Upstream Gallery “Bestiary,” works by Allen M. Hart. Through Jan. 19. Annual Juried Small Works Show. Through Jan. 27. Thursdays through Sundays, 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Upstream Gallery, 26B Main Street. (914) 674-8548; upstreamgallery.com.
GREENBURGH Greenburgh Public Library “Beauty X 3,” group show. Through Jan. 15. Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Greenburgh Public Library, 300 Tarrytown Road. greenburghlibrary.org; (914) 721-8225.
HARRISON Harrison Public Library “Winter Grays,” paintings by Ruth O. Carlucci. Through Jan. 26. Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sundays 1 to 5 p.m. Harrison Public Library, 2 Bruce Avenue. (914) 835-0324; harrisonpl.org.
HUDSON Carrie Haddad Gallery “Sculpture,” group show. Through Jan. 20. Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Carrie Haddad Gallery, 622 Warren Street. (518) 828-1915; carriehaddadgallery.com.
HUDSON John Davis Gallery “Utopians,” works by Sarah Peters. Through Jan. 27. Thursdays through Mondays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. John Davis Gallery, 362 1/2 Warren Street. johndavisgallery.com; (518) 828-5907.
HYDE PARK The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum “The Roosevelts: Public Figures, Private Lives,” photographs. Through June 30. $7; children 15 and under, free. The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, 4079 Albany Post Road. (845) 486-7770; fdrlibrary.marist.edu.
IRVINGTON-ON-HUDSON Irvington Public Library “The End of One Hundred Broken Shells, Metaphor, and Muses,” paintings by Susan Ordahl. Through Jan. 30. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Irvington Public Library, 12 South Astor Street. (914) 591-7840; irvingtonlibrary.org.
KATONAH Katonah Museum of Art “Ice Age to the Digital Age: The 3D Animation of Blue Sky Studios.” “Creating Characters With Peter de Sève,” illustrations and character designs. Through Jan. 20. $5 to $7; members and under 12, free. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Katonah Museum of Art, 134 Jay Street. katonahmuseum.org; (914) 232-9555.
KINGSTON Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts “The Rise of Western Civilization,” works by Michael X. Rose. Through Jan. 26. Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m.; and by appointment. Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts, 103 Abeel Street. kmoca.org.
LARCHMONT Kenise Barnes Fine Art “Newcomers Club,” group show. Jan. 19 through Feb. 23. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and by appointment. Kenise Barnes Fine Art, 1955 Palmer Avenue. kenisebarnesfineart.com; (914) 834-8077.
LARCHMONT Larchmont Public Library “Art Within Nature,” photographs. Through Jan. 30. Mondays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Larchmont Public Library, 121 Larchmont Avenue. larchmontlibrary.org; (914) 834-2281.
LARCHMONT Mamaroneck Artists Guild “Black and White,” group show. Through Jan. 25. Daily, noon to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, noon to 7 p.m. Mamaroneck Artists Guild, 126 Larchmont Avenue. (914) 834-1117; mamaroneckartistsguild.org.
NEW PALTZ Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, at the State University of New York at New Paltz “Russel Wright: The Nature of Design,” an exhibition of experimental industrial home design circa 1920 to 1970. Jan. 23 through Mar. 10. “Malian Portrait Photography and Photo-Rapide: François Deschamps.” Jan. 23 through Apr. 14. “The Dorsky Collects: Recent Acquisitions 2008 — 2012.” Jan. 23 through June 23. Wednesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, at the State University of New York at New Paltz, 1 Hawk Drive. (845) 257-3844; newpaltz.edu/museum.
NEW ROCHELLE Brother Kenneth Chapman Gallery, Iona College Council on the Arts “Black Hair: Black Identity,” group show. Jan. 20 through Feb. 21. Mondays through Wednesdays, noon to 5 p.m.; Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 to 5 p.m. Brother Kenneth Chapman Gallery, Iona College Council on the Arts, 715 North Avenue. iona.edu/artscouncil; (914) 637-7796.
NEW ROCHELLE Museum of Arts and Culture, New Rochelle High School “Cartoonists Against the Holocaust: Art in the Service of Humanity.” Through Jan. 31. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays, 7 to 9 p.m. Museum of Arts and Culture, New Rochelle High School, 265 Clove Road. hhrecny.org; (914) 696-0738.
NEW ROCHELLE New Rochelle Public Library “Norman Rockwell’s America: New Rochelle and Beyond.” Through Jan. 30. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. New Rochelle Public Library, 1 Library Plaza. (914) 632-7878; nrpl.org.
NEW ROCHELLE transFORM Gallery “Geraldine is friends with Mari, who just met Mary Ann and Rosemarie, I think: Female Contact — Art From Feminine Perspectives.” Through Feb. 2. Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. transFORM Gallery, 20 Jones Street. (914) 500-1000; transformgallery.com.
PEEKSKILL BeanRunner Cafe “All Creatures Great and Small,” watercolors by Joy Tobin. Through Jan. 20. Daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. BeanRunner Cafe, 201 South Division Street. beanrunnercafe.com; (914) 737-1701.
PEEKSKILL Field Library “Say Peekskill,” photography and sound installation by Ben Altman. Through Mar. 28. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Field Library, 4 Nelson Avenue. (914) 737-1212; peekskill.org.
PEEKSKILL Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art Peekskill Project, citywide art festival featuring works in a variety of media. Through July 28. Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, 1701 Main Street. (914) 788-0100; hvcca.org.
PORT CHESTER Clay Art Center “Duets,” group show. Through Feb. 23. Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and by appointment. Clay Art Center, 40 Beech Street. clayartcenter.org; (914) 937-2047.
POUND RIDGE Pound Ridge Public Library “Hooked Rugs by Mary Parker: An American Folk Art Goes Local.” Through Feb. 23. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pound Ridge Public Library, 271 Westchester Avenue. poundridgelibrary.org; (914) 764-5085.
POUND RIDGE The Lionheart Gallery “Matters of the Heart,” works by Claudia Mengel. Through Jan. 13. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. The Lionheart Gallery, 27 Westchester Avenue. thelionheartgallery.com; (914) 764-8689.
RHINEBECK Montgomery Row Second Level “Conversations with Cloth,” quilts by Lewis Krevolin. Jan. 19 through Feb. 24. Daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Montgomery Row Second Level, 6423 Montgomery Street. (845) 876-0543; montgomeryrow.com.
RIVERDALE Elisa Contemporary Art “A Toy Story and Other Delights,” group show. Through Jan. 13. Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and by appointment. Elisa Contemporary Art, 5622 Mosholu Avenue. elisacontemporaryart.com; (212) 729-4974.
TIVOLI Tivoli Artists Co-op and Gallery “We’re Still Here!!” Group show. Jan. 18 through Feb. 3. Fridays, 5 to 9 p.m.; Saturdays, 1 to 9 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Tivoli Artists Co-op and Gallery, 60 Broadway. (845) 757-2667; tivoliartistsco-op.com.
WEST NYACK Rockland Center for the Arts Members Exhibition 2013. Jan. 20 through Feb. 17. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. Rockland Center for the Arts, 27 South Greenbush Road. (845) 358-0877; rocklandartcenter.org.
WHITE PLAINS ArtsWestchester “From Shore to Shore: Boat Builders and Boat Yards of Westchester and Long Island,” group show. Jan. 18 through Mar. 9. Tuesdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. ArtsWestchester, 31 Mamaroneck Avenue. artswestchester.org; (914) 428-4220.
WILLOW James Cox Gallery “Pause for a Moment,” paintings by Bruce North. Through Feb. 28. Mondays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and by appointment. James Cox Gallery, 4666 Route 212. (845) 679-7608; jamescoxgallery.com.
WOODSTOCK Byrdcliffe Kleinert/James Center for the Arts “Together Again,” group show. Jan. 19 through Feb. 10. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Byrdcliffe Kleinert/James Center for the Arts, 36 Tinker Street. (845) 679-2079; woodstockguild.org.
WOODSTOCK Galerie BMG “Photoencaustics,” group show. Through Feb. 11. Fridays through Mondays, noon to 5 p.m.; and by appointment. Galerie BMG, 12 Tannery Brook Road. (845) 679-0027; galeriebmg.com.
YONKERS Blue Door Gallery Members Juried Exhibition. Through Feb. 9. Thursdays, 3 to 8 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Blue Door Gallery, 13 Riverdale Avenue. bluedoorgallery.org; (914) 375-5100.
YONKERS Hudson River Museum “Witness: The Art of Jerry Pinkney.” Through Jan. 13. $3 to $5; members, free. Wednesdays through Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Hudson River Museum, 511 Warburton Avenue. (914) 963-4550; hrm.org.
NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is considering reducing the hours of several local post offices, including Granite Springs, Shenorock and Purdys.
“We might cut Granite Springs from eight hours a day to four,” said USPS spokesman George Flood. “Purdys and Shenorock might go from eight to six. But nothing is decided yet.”
In keeping with the Postal Service’s Post Plan, customers will be canvassed with questions such as, ‘Which hours do you think the post office should cut?’ Flood said. “And then we’ll have public meetings.” Surveys will be sent out later this year.
“Instead of closing branches altogether, they’re reorganizing,” explained Michelle Nicolosi of Somers’ Amawalk post office. “They’re trying to serve the entire community, and they’re trying to save money. Amawalk’s not in danger of cutting back. It’s the smaller offices that’ll be affected. We’re only two miles away from Granite Springs.”
“There are two reasons why the post office is losing business,” said Flood. “The first is the increase in electronic communication. The second is that the economy itself has driven down the volume of mail.
“The Internet is both good and bad for us,” he continued. “People may be receiving and paying bills electronically, but they’re also buying things over the Internet and a lot of those purchases are sent by the USPS.
“So we’re seeing a decrease in first-class mail, but there’s a rise in other types, such as advertising. Priority Shipping is doing well. ‘If it fits, it ships.’ Anything you can stuff into a flat rate box ships at the same rate.”
Nicolosi concurred. “We’re only doing about 60 percent of first class, but we’re doing much more with packaging than we used to,” she said.
“My hours have already gone down from 40 to 35 to 27 to 18 to 14½,” said Debbie Gerrity of the Purdys Post Office. “I’m taking early retirement in February.” Craig Frank of the North Salem office also is retiring next month.
The Postal Service is an independent federal agency, Flood explained. “It’s self-funded. We don’t get any tax dollars but we have to answer to the government. We’re having fiscal problems because of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.
“If not for that, we wouldn’t have to make many changes,” he said. “The way it works out is that the Postal Service has to pre-fund all retiree health benefits for the next 75 years. Some of those people haven’t even been born yet.”
Source: The Australian
BUSINESSES exposed to the international marketplace are having a hard time with the Australian dollar trading above US105c, but the economy is much the richer for the rerating by global capital of Australian investment opportunities.
Foreign investment is pouring into Australia at a faster rate than ever before, at a time when globally, foreign direct investment flows are either flat or declining.
To date, the money is overwhelmingly going to resource projects, but an analysis of Australia’s appeal to foreign investors by ANZ foreign currency strategist Andrew Salter shows real estate is a major destination with potential to become much larger.
Mergers and acquisitions, which have been quiet for the past year, could also attract a lot more global capital over the year ahead.
There is a temptation to see the high value of the currency as something that world markets have “done to us” and a product of the manipulation of their own currencies.
While it is true that, for example, Switzerland’s effort to cap its exchange rate has led to a huge build-up in its foreign exchange reserves, some of which have found their way to Australia, we are the real winners from the capital inflow, which supports stronger investment, growth and lower interest rates.
The rapid growth of foreign investment has been the hallmark of globalisation. As nations have lowered their barriers to foreign investment and capital flow, businesses have sought profit worldwide. Foreign investment has been a key driver of growth for the emerging economies. While making the most of different national comparative advantage, it also transfers skills and technology.
Salter cites United Nations Commission on Trade and Development figures showing that foreign direct investment has been growing at a compound growth rate of 12.25 per cent for 40 years, long enough to lift the global volume from $US13 billion to hit a peak in 2007 of $US2 trillion.
The global financial crisis has brought the total back to $US1.3 trillion ($1.23 trillion), mainly as a result of a massive fall in Europe’s share since 2005, when it represented more than 75 per cent of developed country outflows, to less than 40 per cent now. In major economies, risk-averse business has been more inclined to keep its capital at home since the crisis.
Emerging nations led by China are becoming more important sources of outbound direct investment.
For Australia, Salter says net foreign direct investment inflows are now at a 50-year high of 2 per cent of GDP. The totals are boosted by reinvestment of dividends and a big slice of what the Australian Bureau of Statistics counts as direct investment is inter-company loans.
But the strength of foreign direct investment is enabling Australia to finance its thirst for investment at a time when the banks are winding back their reliance upon international capital markets to fund themselves.
Salter says it is not possible to draw direct statistical links between the flow of foreign direct investment and the strength of the currency – global currency markets are a vast cauldron in which many influences are mixed. But they are best seen as two aspects of the same phenomenon: the rerating of Australia by global capital markets.
The Australian dollar has been trading above parity for two years, with an average of US103.5c – 40 per cent above the post-float average.
The strength of the currency in the face of declining terms of trade through most of last year shows investors are not just coming to Australia for the allure of its commodities.
Historically low yields in the advanced economies have led to the reappraisal by global investors of Australian opportunities, as has Australia’s maintenance of a AAA credit rating from all the major agencies at a time when the creditworthiness of many other nations is being marked down.
The attraction of the Australian market is seen in strong demand by foreign central banks for Australian government bonds, including many central banks that would never previously have contemplated holding such a peripheral currency in their foreign exchange reserves. The global interest in Australian government bonds adds to the low rates across the yield curve.
While investment in government bonds remains a key source of foreign capital, portfolio inflows have been softer over the past year. This has mostly been because banks have been shifting their funding source from global wholesale markets to domestic deposits, as much as they can, while flows to the sharemarket were quiet for much of last year.
Direct investment has been by far the chief source of capital inflow over the last year, accounting for three-quarters of the gap between savings and investment. Balance of payments figures suggest almost all the surge in direct investment last year is related to the resource sector. The largely foreign-owned LNG sector, with $90 billion in committed investment this year and next, accounts for the lion’s share.
However, the tally of investment proposals kept by the Foreign Investment Review Board tells a different story, recording that in 2011-12 the value of resource proposals approved was eclipsed by real estate investments.
The FIRB figures underline the strength of foreign investment in the commercial property sector.
JPMorgan property analyst Rob Stanton says yields on prime office property in Australia are between 200 and 300 basis points higher in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne than in the world’s major cities.
Foreign investors have been key participants in Australia’s prime property market for at least the last 18 months, with sovereign wealth funds and big funds management institutions looking for quality assets. Funds are coming from Singapore, Canada, The Netherlands, the Gulf and South Korea, among other places.
It is investment that has supported a 40 per cent rise in property trust rolling returns.
It is not yet translating into greater commercial construction, with the white-collar workforce contracting and retail property dealing with weak retail sales.
The next big source for foreign investment could be fuelling mergers and acquisitions. With advanced country central banks committed to keeping rates close to zero for at least the next year, there are vast volumes of cash looking for a profitable home. Australian company balance sheets are in good shape but equity valuations remain below pre-crisis levels.