Monthly Archives: July 2014

Mortgage Rates Remain Largely Unchanged | Armonk Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage once again showing very little change while remaining near their 2014 lows prior to a better than expected second quarter gross domestic product reading.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.12 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending July 31, 2014, down from last week when it averaged 4.13 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.39 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.23 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.26 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.43 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.01 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.99 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.18 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.38 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.39 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.64 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 links for the Regional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates were little changed this week with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate at 4.12 percent, just a basis point lower from the previous week. Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon the yield on the 10-year Treasury surged as data showed gross domestic product for the second quarter at a 4.0 percent annualized rate, above expectations.”

Teatown Lake Reservation | North Salem Real Estate


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July 30, 2014
Advanced Registration is required for all programs. Unless noted, all programs meet in the Nature Center and are $7 per person or FREE for members. Please register by calling (914) 762-2912 ext. 110.
Luna moth

Black-lighting for Moths
Thursday, July 31
8 pm

Join Charlie Roberto as we light up the night to attract night flying insects. All Welcome. Free.

Great Hudson Estuary Fish Count
at Kathryn W. Davis RiverWalk Center
Kingsland Point Park, Sleepy Hollow, NY
Saturday, August 2
10 am

If you could lift the lid off the Hudson River in Tappan Zee Bay, what would you see? Catch the incoming tide with Teatown and Strawtown Art and Garden Studio at the Kathryn W. Davis RiverWalk Center in Sleepy Hollow, as we seine for fish and other creatures in the warm waters of the Hudson. We will focus on identification and record and share the results with other sites taking part along the river. Afterward mix paint and match the color of the River, and add sand from both shores of the wide bays to make a symbolic driftwood sculpture.

All Welcome. Free; Parking fee collected at park

Visit Teatown

1600 Spring Valley Road
Ossining, NY 10562
Teatown Lake Reservation’s
mission is to inspire our community to lifelong environmental stewardship.
Nature Center hours:
9 am – 5 pm daily
Trails are open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk.
Click here for Teatown membership benefits, details,
and to purchase or renew
your membership online.

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support our environmental education programs and the stewardship of our 1,000 acre preserve.

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Upcoming Events and Workshops:

Moths in the Morning
Sunday, August 10
9:30 am

Meet at Cliffdale Farm to see the moths and other flying insects that were attracted to the black-lighting the night before. All Welcome. Free.

In the Nature Center Gallery:

Nature Center Gallery Richard Pileggi

Quiet Landscapes


By Richard Pileggi

On exhibit

July 5 – August 30

Click here for more info

Announcing the publication of:

Teatown’s Wildflower Island

by Lisa Fleck Dondiego

A privately printed, 80-page photo book with an Index identifying the flowers.

Foreword by Leah Waybright Kennell, Curator of Wildflower Island.

This wonderful book is available for

purchase in Teatown’s nature store for $45 plus tax.

Teatown Highlight:
Preview our Benefit Auction
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2015 will see notable price appreciation | Mt Kisco Real Estate


With so many fists beating on the housing-is-facing-ruin door, Altos Research is set to release data that claims all that pounding is in vain.

Clients will begin receiving a report Wednesday afternoon, but HousingWire was able to get a sneak peek, and the results say that housing recovery critics are wrong about housing. According to Altos, it’s going to soar in 2015.

“While we see signs of demand easing, we are significantly more bullish on housing than many of the recent headlines seem to suggest,” said Altos CEO Michael Simonsen. “Based on our models, we’re forecasting another year of home price appreciation, with a 7% home price increase for the year of 2015.”

Single-digit appreciation is a remarkable prediction. Many other experts anticipate depreciation in the nation’s housing market, so the Altos call is relatively noteworthy.

What’s driving the negative stand most of the market holds? The media is partially to blame, the report states.

Bearish Headlines, Bullish Reality

In the section titled, “Bearish Headlines, Bullish Reality,” the researchers state their case this way:



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Refinancings drop 4% with purchases up 0.2% | Cross River Real Estate


Continuing the long-term trend this year, mortgage applications decreased 2.2% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending July 25, 2014.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 2.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 2% compared with the previous week.

“Despite mortgage backed security issuance being up 38 percent from the first quarter average, the MBA index continues to show declines. This suggests that there are fundamental shifts occurring in the market where big players (reporting to the MBA) may be giving up market share or perhaps not holding as many loans in portfolio, thereby pushing up the bond issuance,” said Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield. “In either case, the current level of activity for purchases and refinances has been directional stronger in recent months based on actual security issuance. With home prices stabilizing from a rapid level of appreciation and interest rates either falling or holding steady recently, I expect to see continued improvements in the purchase arena.”


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Freddie Mac 2014 Second Quarter Refinance Report | Waccabuc Real Estate


Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its second quarter 2014 quarterly refinance analysis, showing that borrowers will save in aggregate more than $1 billion in interest payments over the coming year, as borrowers continued to shorten their payment terms and build equity in their homes.

News Facts

  • Of borrowers who refinanced during the second quarter of 2014, 40 percent shortened their loan term, approximately the same as the previous quarter and the highest since 1992.
  • In the second quarter, an estimated $7.8 billion in net home equity was cashed out during a refinance of conventional prime-credit home mortgages, up from the revised $5 billion last quarter. Adjusted for inflation, annual cash-out volumes during 2010 through 2013 have been the smallest since 1997.
  • In aggregate, U.S. home equity grew by an estimated $4.1 trillion during the two-year period through March 31, 2014. Much of this gain was attributable to home value gains.
  • The average mortgage interest rate reduction in the second quarter was about 1.4 percentage points — or a savings of about 24 percent. On a $200,000 loan, that translates into interest savings of about $2,800 during the next 12 months. Homeowners who refinanced through HARP during the second quarter of 2014 benefited from an average mortgage interest rate reduction of 1.6 percentage points and will save an average of $3,200 in interest payments during the first 12 months, or about $260 every month.
  • About 79 percent of those who refinanced their first-lien home mortgage maintained approximately the same loan amount or lowered their principal balance by paying in additional money at the closing table, down 4 percent from the previous quarter. The peak was 88 percent during the second quarter of 2012.
  • The median age of the original loan outstanding before refinance increased to 7.3 years during the first quarter, the most since the analysis began in 1985 and unchanged from the previous quarter.

Attributed to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist:

“The housing market realized a significant shift in the second quarter of this year as refinance activity fell below 50 percent marking the onset of the first purchase-dominated market the industry has seen since 2000 and an end to the refinance boom that started in late 2008. In this time we saw fixed mortgage rates hit all-time lows, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage falling well below 4 percent. We also estimate over 25 million American borrowers refinanced their loans to the tune of over $70 billion in total interest payment savings. However, since 2008 homeowners cashed-out approximately $215 billion in home equity, adjusted for inflation. The low level of cash-out refinance volume in the second quarter, despite the estimated $2.8 billion increase over last quarter, reflects how much home equity was lost during the Great Recession. Even with recent home price gains and rock-bottom interest rates, American households are not cashing out equity at rates we’ve seen historically. Regardless of the minimal level of cash-out refinance activity, when we couple it with lower mortgage rates and shorter terms homeowners have taken out through refinance over the past couple years, they have accelerated principal pay down and contributed to the rebound in home-equity accumulation.”





Barbados Real Estate Market Improving | South Salem Real Estate


After six years of sluggish activity, the Barbados luxury homes market is picking up according to the latest report from Knight Frank.

Christian de Meillac, Knight Frank’s Head of Caribbean sales said that he has seen a marked increase in buyer inquiries and this is backed up by the number of online property viewings being generated via Knight Frank’s Global Property Search Website which have increased 56.7% in the year to June 2014.

Barbados‘The sun seems to be rising again on the Barbados property market as the traditional selling season is extending into summer. Buyers are back and we are seeing regeneration in the market with more and more sales along the premium west coast from Bridgetown to Speightstown,’ he explained.

‘With the positive signs coming from the UK economy, price discounts and a new impetus amongst buyers, we have seen a marked increase in sales and interestingly, this is continuing into the summer months when things traditionally quiet down,’ he added.

In terms of the nationalities buying, UK buyers still lead the market accounting for around 70% of all prime sales, followed by Canadians but the presence of European buyers is also on the increase.

‘Demand varies according to price. The most popular spot seems to be those properties located along the west coast and priced between US$1 million and US$3 million. Beachfront apartments and standalone villas are generating the most interest with a sea view and privacy the two key prerequisites,’ de Meillac pointed out.

‘However, this has also been a year of record deals at the top end of the market, with two deals circa US$20 million and one deal rumored to be in excess of US$40 million, a sign that things are looking up,’ he explained.

An analysis of applicant numbers now with a year ago shows that not only are more applicants registering their interest in a Barbados home but a greater proportion of them are buying.



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The Problem isn’t Student Loans, it’s Student Dropouts | Katonah NY Real Estate


Student loans have been a problem for first-time buyers for generations, but they didn’t stop first-timers from buying 40 percent of the homes sold ten years ago. So what’s the whining all about?

One thing that’s different is the size and scope of the problem. Overall student loan debt recently breached the $1 trillion mark. There are more individuals with student loan debt, and more of it, than ever before. Compared to past generations, income growth for young people in the U.S. today is stagnant. Yet going to college still increases one’s earning potential.

“For those who had to finance college with loans, the burden of repayment relative to income remains the same today as in the 1990s. Which begs the question, if young people in the 1990s found a way to buy a home at the same time as having student loans, then why wouldn’t young people today, with the same relative burden, be able to do the same?” writes CoreLogic’s Mark Fleming in the firm’s blog

Research by Jeffrey P. Thompson, economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, shows that when carefully empirically modeling the level of educational attainment among those who have student loan debt, there is little evidence of a strong reduction in the likelihood of homeownership for those who complete their education. The research does find the likelihood of homeownership is reduced for those who have student loan debt, but do not complete their education. Accumulating the debt, but not earning the degree, results in the burden without any benefit. Research still shows that, on average, getting a college degree results in higher earnings.


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Down Payments Go Up for First-time Buyers | Bedford Hills Real Estate


Fewer first-time homebuyers are finding a way to buy a house with a relatively low down payment as their options shrink and lenders’ down payment requirements rise.

From April through June 2014, about 67 percent of first-time buyers made a downpayment of 6 percent or less, down from 74 percent in 2009, according to the latest Realtor Confidence Index report from the National Association of Realtors.

One reason the average down payment is growing may be that more and more first-timers are choosing conventional over FHA financing, which requires only 3.5 percent down. Underwriting standards have been getting tighter (see More Loans Close Despite Tight Standards) and borrowers’ costs are going up. Tight underwriting standards are especially challenging for first-time buyers, who generally need mortgage financing with low downpayment terms, who may be paying off student debt, and who may have credit scores that are not top-notch . Cumulative increases in FHA insurance premiums over the past two years that translates to about $100 a month in additional out-of-pocket costs for borrowers also is also discouraging buyers from using FHA financing, according to Realtors participating in the survey. (For more on FHA’s cost increases, see First-time Buyers to Pay for FHA’s Cost Increases).






More Loans Close Despite Tight Standards | Bedford NY Real Estate


Latest mortgage data is a puzzlement. A higher percentage of mortgage applications, including purchase mortgages, closed in June than in the past three years even though lending standards for purchase mortgages are virtually unchanged in a year.

The closing rate for mortgages received by lenders in the past 90 days closed in June. The jump in approvals drove the closing rate to 60.7 percent, higher than any month since Ellie Mae began tracking data in August 2011.

Purchase loans also hit a record high at 63.6 percent, up from 61.1 percent in May. Last year purchase loans averaged a closing rate of 60.1 percent. In June 2012, the closing rate for purchase loans was 57.8 percent.

“That 60.7 percent marks the first time since August 2011, when we began tracking data, that the closing rate for all loans eclipsed 60%. Parsed out, closing rates for refinances and purchases landed at 55.8 percent and 63.6 percent, respectively — both highs for 2014. With more loans closing, average days to close a loan increased, albeit slightly, to 41 days,” said Ellie Mae CEO Jonathan Corr.

Though closings increased, lending standards have barely budged. In June, 32 percent of all closed loans had an average FICO score of under 700, the same percentage as June 2013. Median FICOS for closed purchase conventional loans have fallen only 5 points in a year.


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Consolidation Creates Megalandlords Dominating Single Family Rentals | Pound Ridge Real Estate


“Now we’ll sweep up everybody over the next two years who got stuck, who says I have home price appreciation, which they do. They bought right, but now they are stuck.”

The chief executive officer of the second largest hedge fund landlord articulated in an interview with Bloomberg why a handful of megalords are the process of dominating the single family rental business.

Rising value, soaring rents, atmospheric demand and difficulties finding new properties at below market prices are providing smaller players, includng small investors and “accidental” investors who rent out a property or two an ideal opportunity to cash in.

Consolication is underway across America. American Homes 4 Rent, the second-biggest REIT in the industry, this month bought Beazer Pre-Owned Rental Homes Inc., gaining more than 1,300 houses. Barrack’s Colony American has made four bulk purchases this year, reported Bloomberg in the story by John Gittelsohn and Heather Perlberg.

Another factor for consolidation is the challenge of managing hundreds, thousands of single family homes. Bigger may not always be better for single-family rental operators. Institutional funds that have internalized property management have to be able to maintain thousands of properties that were initially serviced by local and regional groups, said J.D. Asbell, a landlord with about 175 houses in Kansas and Missouri who also renovates and sells homes to Wall Street-backed firms, according to the Bloomberg piece.

“This is a hard business to run,” said Asbell, who has been renting homes since 1993. “The management is always going to be an issue for the big funds. That’s the key to this long term, keeping the houses occupied and getting out bad tenants that aren’t paying.”


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