Daily Archives: November 21, 2013

Declining Prices of U.S. Homebuilder Stocks an Indicator Something Not Right with Housing Market | Bedford NY Homes

The direction of prices in the housing market has historically been dependent on the direction of mortgage interest rates. If mortgage rates start to increase, it makes homes less affordable for those who want to buy. The math is simple: the higher the mortgage interest rate, the higher the mortgage payment is going to be for the home owner and the more difficult it becomes to keep up with payments—something we learned in the housing market crash of 2007.

Mortgage interest rates are rising, and I believe the U.S. housing market will suffer as a result. Of course, interest rates are nowhere close to what they were in the 1980s, but they are up significantly this year from their lows. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate tracked by Freddie Mac stood at 4.19% this past October. In the same period a year ago, the rate was sitting at 3.38%. (Source: Freddie Mac web site, last accessed November 12, 2013.)

The effects of demand for housing given higher interest rates can be seen in the chart below. The number of new homes sold in the U.S. housing market has been declining since the beginning of the year.

Declining Prices of U.S. Homebuilder Stocks an Indicator Something Not Right with Housing Market image House Sold New One Family Chart1Declining Prices of U.S. Homebuilder Stocks an Indicator Something Not Right with Housing Market Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com

In early 2013, the annual rate of new homes sold in the U.S. housing market was close to 460,000 units. This number came in at just 421,000 units in August, down eight percent.

The weakness in the housing market can be seen in the statistics being released by new home builders. For example, D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE/DHI), a large U.S. homebuilder, said that in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2013 (which ended on September 30) the cancellation rate (that’s the rate of home buyers canceling their purchase contracts) stood at 31%. (Source: D.R. Horton, Inc., November 12, 2013.) Last fiscal quarter, the company’s cancellation rate stood at 24%, and in the second fiscal quarter, it was 19%! The number of people walking away from deals at DR Horton is skyrocketing, and if we checked the rates of other homebuilders, I’m sure we’d see the same trend.





Existing Home Sales Tumble | Pound Ridge NY Homes

Existing home sales fell 3.2% month-over-month in October to an annualized pace of 5.12 million units.

This was worse than expectations for a 2.9% month-over-month to an annualized pace of 5.14 million units.

This was the second straight monthly decline.

September’s number was left unchanged to show a 1.9% MoM fall to 5.29 million units the previous month.

“The erosion in buying power is dampening home sales,” Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist said in a press release. “Moreover, low inventory is holding back sales while at the same time pushing up home prices in most of the country. More new home construction is needed to help relieve the inventory pressure and moderate price gains.”

The national median existing-home price was up 12.8% on the year to $199,500. Meanwhile, the median time for homes on the market was 54 days, up from 50 days the previous month.

Housing inventory fell 1.8% to 2.13 million units for sale at the end of the month. This represented a 5 month supply at current sales pace.

The share of distressed sales in existing home sales was unchanged at 14% in October. This is up from 12% in August, but is well down from 27% in 2012, which is an encouraging sign for the market.

Here’s a look at the regional breakdown:

  • In the northeast, existing home sales fell 2.9% to an annual rate of 670,000, but were up 11.7% year-over-year.
  • In the Midwest, they fell 1.6% to 1.22 million units, but were up 8% from a year ago.
  • In the South, they were down 1.9% to 2.06 million units, but up 7.3% on the year.
  • In the West, existing home sales were down 7.1% to 1.17 million units, down 0.8% on the year.

Pending home sales, considered a leading indicator for future existing home sales, have been falling sharply. This suggests that existing home sales will be ticking lower.

Existing home sales account for a larger share of the market than new homes





Top 20 Most Shared Video Ads of 2013 | Chappaqua Realtor

The Top 20 Most Shared Video Ads of 2013

As we near the end of 2013 the stats are rolling in regarding the videos we  have watched, loved and shared over the past year. Unruly has  just announced the most socially shared video ads of this year, that’s branded  content that was shared by engaged fans across Facebook, Twitter and the  blogosphere, and in many cases continues to be posted and tweeted and written  about. Dove, GEICO, Kmart, GoPro and Evian all made the chart of the most shared  video commercials of this year with the Jean-Claude Van Damme Volvo ad claiming  the #10 spot with 1.82 million shares only 8 days after its release. Let’s take  a look at the results.

The Top 20 Most Shared Video Ads Of The Year

Topping the chart is the ground breaking ad campaign by Dove that aimed to  prove that women are their own worst enemies when it comes to perceptions of  female beauty. Since its release in April, it has attracted 4.24 million  shares along with 58,797,435 views. It’s also the most viewed  video ad of all time



Source:  The Top 20 Most Shared Video Ads of 2013 http://www.reelseo.com/top-20-most-shared-video-ads-2013/#ixzz2lJ8WaeYM

7 Niche Social Networks for Strategic Networking | South Salem NY Homes

Do you find it hard to connect with your ideal audience using the larger social networks?

Have you considered a smaller social network?

In this article, you’ll find 7 niche social networks built to serve specialized markets.

Why Niche Social Networks?

Ask almost anyone what to include in your social media strategy and you’re likely to hear Facebook, Twitter or Google+ in the response.

But you may find it useful to tap into a specialized network.

Use a niche social network to reach a narrowly targeted audience where strategic networking can help you connect with potential customers and business partners of all kinds.

A niche social network within your industry can work wonders to reach people of interest there.

You can also look for niche sites where people come together around one of the core values or interests of your business. It’s an easy way to find and connect with like-minded people for more strategic networking.

The easiest and fastest way to find these niche sites is likely to be a good old Google search. For example, see below:

Use a Google search to find niche social sites relevant to your business.

Use the examples below to inspire you to connect with niche social networks for more targeted networking.

#1: Build Sustainable Relationships on Wiser—The Social Network for Sustainability

Is your business actively involved in sustainability and environmental topics? This is something that’s becoming very important to many businesses and Wiser is a network built specifically to encourage dialogue about all things environmental.

If your company is green, you can use Wiser to add partner organizations, promote events and share resources that raise your company’s profile where it counts.

Adding an organization in Wiser.

Much like with LinkedIn, you can also add groups where you can discuss issues close to your heart and propose solutions.

Create a profile on Wiser today and start to network with people whose values align with yours.





Modern Desert Oasis in Scottsdale Asks $10K a Month | Armonk Real Estate

Location: Scottsdale, Ariz. Price: $10,000 a month The Skinny: There are two ways to approach winter vacations: embrace the cold and snow with a ski trip or guilt-induced journey home for the holidays, or extend bathing suit season by heading south in search of warmer weather and outdoor activities that don’t involve snow boots or ice fishing saws. For fans of the second approach, this furnished rental in Scottsdale, Ariz., offers easy access to all the outdoor things that don’t require frozen water, starting with swimming in the backyard pool and widening out to hiking in adjacent Tonto National Forest. With city and desert views, telescoping glass walls that open the living area out to the courtyard, and a fire pit, this gated golf community home is the perfect backdrop for pool-side selfies blasted out to shivering, sweater-clad friends and family back home. For those cold Arizona nights, the three-bedroom, four-bathroom Desert Modern also has indoor activities covered with a media room and indoor/outdoor wet bar. The owners are asking $10K a month (which does not include access to the development’s five Jack Nicklaus-branded golf courses) with a six-week window of availability. —Scott Garner

Monetize Your Social Media Campaigns With These Tech Tools | Mt Kisco Realtor

Social media has become an even bigger part of consumers’ lives in the past year, making it clear what some once thought was a trend is likely here to stay. In fact, social media users are finding more innovative ways to interact, with videos and photos playing a greater part in the way people communicate with each other online.

Marketers are hard at work, as well, trying to find new ways to leverage the power of social networking to reach new customers. Fitting social media interaction time into busy schedules is an ongoing challenge for business owners, however, with Facebook and Twitter accounts often abandoned for days at a time as professionals deal with more pressing issues.

Fortunately, help is available. Numerous tech tools can help professionals manage social media accounts, even taking care of posts for them. But with so many tools on the market today, how can a professional possibly sort through them all? To help, I’ve put together a list of some of the best resources for managing, tracking, and getting the most out of your social media-based marketing campaigns.

“The only way to sort through all the tools out there is to do your own research and try them out. Many tools have a free 30 day free trial so you can feel comfortable with what you’re getting” Anne Ward, CEO of CircleClick said in a recent interview.

Klout for Business

“Influence” has become an important word in the world of marketing, with businesses having rapidly realized the reach of those who have large online followings. Klout for Business helps businesses identify influencers in their own social media circles to allow them to reach out to those individuals to spread their message. Using “Perks,” businesses can offer trial versions of products to top influencers in exchange for a mention on their high-traffic sites, allowing those businesses to reach a large number of social media users at once.


With Rowfeeder, businesses can gain insight into topics that are trending, including topics that concern their own industry. This analysis can be used to tweak your own campaigns, allowing you to reach out to consumers using the terms that interest them. In other words, you can include the terms in your campaign that are most likely to be searched, driving customers directly to your posts. It also can be used to track your own campaigns by following a particular hashtag and delivering data about activity on that hashtag. How many times was it re-tweeted? How many followers did each re-tweeter have?


This alert program monitors a user’s social media accounts and sends notifications when a specified search term receives a mention. Mention searches posts in 42 different languages, delivering those back to give businesses a global view of a message’s reach. Social media interactions can also be conducted directly through the Mention interface for added convenience.


MediaFunnel is ideal for organizations interested in involving multiple team members in managing and monitoring accounts. Posts can be deployed across multiple social media platforms at once, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, and LinkedIn. Items can be set up to post at specified intervals, allowing businesses to choose the best time of day to reach their individual customer base.


Popular social media dashboard service HootSuite integrates with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, Foursquare, WordPress, Mixi, and almost every other service available through its supplemental App Directory. Users can schedule posts and monitor activity, as well as pull reports to identify the performance of campaigns. Through an app, users can manage social media accounts on the go.


Imagine if you could sell event tickets or gather entries for a contest directly on Twitter. Chirpify gives promoters that capability, allowing them to connect an account that is then assigned a specific hashtag. Customers Tweet using a hashtag (#entertowin, #partytickets2014) and the information is captured by Chirpify, who processes the payment or logs the entry for the business.


One of the best ways to grow your audience is to interact with others. Triberr connects you with people who are interested in the same topic you are, separating topics into “Tribes” to better help you find blogs that relate to your own interests. You can gather social media followers on Triberr, since you’ll be regularly interacting with others who share your interests.


Shortstack helps businesses create professional-looking Facebook pages, complete with polls, forms, and more. The service provides more than 60 templates and 70 themes to let small businesses find the look that fits their own unique style. For pages with less than 2,000 likes, the service is completely free, with the price increasing as a page gains more fans.


Infographics are a great way to connect with today’s visually-driven social media audiences. Infogr.am is a tool that helps businesses put together infographics that convey a message for free. Businesses can import existing spreadsheets or create new ones in order to populate pie charts and bar graphs. Once an infographic has been created, it can be downloaded or shared to social media sites directly from the site.


One way to keep social media audiences interested is to repost news that is relevant to your industry. Feedly provides a way to keep up with what’s going on in the world, with information delivered in one compact dashboard. These links can then be shared to Twitter directly from the app. Feedly is also a way to keep up with information your social media contacts recommend to better keep you informed.


In case you haven’t noticed, animated explainer videos are all the rage. In just a short snippet, you can create a fun explanation of what your business does. Visitors to your website, looking for a quick description of your product or service, will be intrigued by the animated characters and you’ll save the money you would have had to spend hiring a camera crew to record you talking about your service. VideoRascal promises a video for less than $99, using the templates the site provides. You then add a script, record a voiceover, and choose the music you want to go with the video. Once complete, you can export the video for use on your website and social media sites.

Social media remains a vital part of business marketing. Using these helpful tools, businesses can maintain and manage their social media accounts while still remaining on budget.




A Shingle-Style Remodel | North Salem Real Estate

For San Francisco architects and builders, challenging lots and tight footprints are a way of life. So are stiff historic regulations, zoning laws, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). So, when it came time to renovate a Shingle-style house nestled on a tree-lined cul de sac, architects David Gast and Dennis Budd of Gast Architects in San Francisco had their work cut out for them. By playing nice with the planning authorities, they cut out six months of approvals time. Here, you’ll see how they also more than doubled square footage, raised the house, lowered the floors, let in tons more daylight, capitalized on indoor-outdoor connections, made a great backyard, and forged a happy marriage of traditional design and modern finishes.

General Contractor: Moroso Construction Landscape Designer/Contractor: The Garden Route Structural Engineer: Strandberg Engineering




Gast Loft


Gast Floor 3


Gast Floor 2


Gast Floor 1






Most Popular Manhattan Rental Listings Of The Last Week | Waccabuc Real Estate

Yesterday we rounded up the top 10 most expensive rental listings in the city, but those places aren’t exactly where most of the city’s renters are looking. So today, we are looking at the top 10 most popular Manhattan rental listings of the past week, according to data from StreetEasy. The listings, which were sorted by the number of pageviews, highlight that everyone is always searching for the best deal—the most expensive unit on this list is a $3,000/month two-bedroom.

10) 32 East 7th Street, East Village The listing for this two-bedroom makes no mention of a living room, and judging by the photos, there may not be one. The kitchen is small, and one of the bedrooms is a super weird shape, but it’s just $2,350.

9) 402 East 78th Street, Upper East Side A no-fee 1BR/1BA near First Avenue is listed for $1,895, and the photos looks pretty great, but the place has been sitting on the market for more than two months. The price was also recently reduced by $155, and there’s a free month of rent, so it seems like there’s something wrong with the place that’s not evident in the listing.


8) 226 West 16th Street, Chelsea There are no photos of this 600-square-foot 1BR apartment, which is never a good sign, but the price, $1,995, has obviously attracted attention. The listing says the unit is rent-stabilized and has a full kitchen, but it also says the rent is $2266.52.

7) 322 West 11th Street, West Village Possibly the nicest unit on this list is this 2BR/1BA asking $3,000 per month. The kitchen is small, but there are high ceilings and both bedrooms can fit a queen-sized bed.


6) 551 West 165th Street, Washington Heights For just $925/month, there’s a furnished studio next to the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. The brokerbabble describes the building as “immaculate, secure and very safe,” but the place looks like a hotel room in the photos.

5) 10 Jones Street, West Village If this listing for a $2,200/month one-bedroom in the West Village seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. It’s actually just for a bedroom in a 2BR/1BA duplex apartment that has 16′ ceilings and exposed brick walls. The photos were taken at nighttime, which always makes apartments, no matter how nice they are, look like a scene from a horror movie.

4) 251 West 15th Street, Chelsea Between 7th and 8th Avenues, there’s a small duplex asking $1,680/month. The kitchen is teeny, with a half-sized refrigerator, and the sleeping loft looks like it’s only about 4-feet high.






Realtor.com survey reveals a surprising number of buyers planning all-cash deals | Cross River Real Estate

Prospective homebuyers hoping to buy a home in the next four months say the lack of inventory is their biggest challenge, but many believe winter is a good time to buy because sellers are motivated to sell and more willing to negotiate.

That’s according to a survey of more than 1,300 visitors to realtor.com conducted from Nov. 7-16, which found 45 percent of buyers in the market said there’s not enough inventory in their price range.

The survey also found that a surprising number of prospective homebuyers — 19 percent — are planning to do all-cash deals.

Of those planning to buy without taking out a mortgage: 29 percent said they are downsizing to a smaller or less expensive home. 26 percent are relocation buyers. 11 percent are moving up to a bigger or more expensive home. 11 percent are buying a vacation home.

But most of those surveyed said they’ll need a mortgage to finance their home purchase.

Among that group, most did not have the 20 percent down payment that would allow them to qualify them for a conventional loan backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac without having to also purchase mortgage insurance.

More than 1 in 10 of those surveyed (13 percent) said they were planning to put just 3.5 percent down (the minimum down payment on FHA-guaranteed loans). Only 22 percent said they’d be able to make a down payment of more than 20 percent, which would allow them to avoid purchasing mortgage insurance.





– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2013/11/20/despite-inventory-shortages-homebuyers-looking-for-bargains-this-winter/#sthash.r748HRyT.dpuf

Million Dollar Hamptons Summer Rentals | South Salem Real Estate


The Hamptons is the proud home of the million-dollar summer rental. Since you as a hedge funder, Russian oligarch, or A-list rapper of course have one million or so to drop on your vacation house next year, assuming Wall Street stays hot, you evade the polonium-equipped assassins on your trail, and/or your next album doesn’t bomb, you’re planning to snap up one of them. Let’s look at some of your options for summer 2014.

flying%20point%20road.jpg [©AerialAesthetics.com]

535 and 533 Flying Point Road, Water Mill, BHS Your first option is this eight-bedroom, four-acre compound in Water Mill. “A spectacular 14,000+/- sf manor, 50’x20′ heated gunite pool, luxurious pool house with outdoor kitchen and bar on 1.9+/- acre. Tennis court with Hydrocourt system and a 3-bedroom, 2 and one-half bathroom guest house on the adjacent 2.1+/- acres.” Hedgies: This is the place for you. It’s low key, elegant, and there’s room in the guest house for your peons spending the weekend working. Oligarchs: Pass. Not defensible enough to foil the assassins, though the guest house does offer room for security. Rappers: Pass. Not impressive enough.


396 Meadow Lane, Southampton, Sothebys Your second option is this oceanfront house in Southampton. There’s nine bedrooms, seven baths, 7000sf, pool with pool house, tennis court, all on 3.2 acres; the interiors are kind of French and fussy. Hedgies: Maybe. The house is impressive but the French-style interiors might ping the radar of stuffy WASP Wall Streeters. Oligarchs: Go for it! This house’s setting is defensible from many sides. Plus the French style interiors ought to make you happy. Rappers: Maybe. Still, could be blingier.


315 Rose Hill Road, Water Mill, Elliman The next rental is slightly less expensive than a mil, at 895K for the summer. Keep in mind, though, last year, Rose Hill was offered at $1.2M for the season, so it’s cheeeeeap now. The 20,000sf house features twenty-first century technology including state-of-the-art security and a Crestron entertainment system. Retire to the “grand master suite,” four guest suites, three staff bedrooms and eight fireplaces with antique mantels. Hedgies: Pass. PASS. Oligarchs: Worth a look. Supplement that “state-of-the-art security” with some burly Cossacks with semi-automatics. Rappers: We had you at “staircase in cast bronze and silver & gold leaf,” didn’t we? Don’t forget the “Crestron entertainment system,” though. · All Renters Week 2013 posts [Curbed Hamptons]