Monthly Archives: January 2015

Gilded Age Palace of H.V. Poor Seeks a Modern Robber Baron | Waccabuc Real Estate


At the peak the Gilded Age, steel tycoons and other professional exploiters only built their mansions in the Hamptons or Newport if they couldn’t get a property in Tuxedo Park, New York. Founded in the 1880s by a tobacco millionaire and “sportsman” who won a whole lotta acres in a poker game, the area became home to such notable Americans as Adele Colgate (heir to the Colgate/Palmolive fortune), William Waldorf Astor, and JP Morgan. It was also home to a finance dude with the totally ironic name of Henry Poor, otherwise known as the guy who begot half of the famous Standard & Poor stock index.

“Poor’s Palace,” which is also known as “Woodland,” was designed by eminent era architect Henry T. Randall, who gave the place a grand limestone entrance, a smoking room for the gents, drawing and dining rooms with deep relief ceilings, hand-painted insets for the grand dames, ample terraces, and wood paneled hallways. All 17,265-square-feet of that is still there, if a little worse for wear. What’s more, it’s all on the market with 4.8 surrounding acres for $9.999M.


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Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal’s Far-Out Vegas Home Lists for $777K | South Salem Real Estate

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Price: $777,000
The former Las Vegas home of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, the late casino exec, mob associate, and FBI informant whose exploits inspired Martin Scorsese’s Casino, is back on the market for a lucky-sounding $777K. Though some things have changed since Lefty’s day, it’s about as groovy a 70s time capsule as you’re likely to find adjacent to the Las Vegas Country Club.

According to listing agent Brian Burns, Lefty spent around $500K having the three-bedroom reconstructed back in the mid-70s, after it was gutted by fire. The interior was done by designer Stephen Chase, who at the time was working for Arthur Elrod out in Palm Springs.

There have been four owners since Lefty (the current ones bought it in 2011 for $615K), all of which have been intent on “keeping the historic integrity of the home intact,” says Burns. Most of the floors have been redone over the years, though, and a second-floor picture window was added in back. The current owners redid the kitchen with a new backsplash and Caesarstone countertops, and outfitted the dwelling with a Savant smart home system.

The pieces of wall art in the living and dining rooms, which were commissioned by Stephen Chase when he was designing the interior, are including in the sale, as are the semicircular couch and lamp in the living room, the bedrooms sets, and a bunch of Lefty memorabilia. Also included, according to a 2011 article in the Las Vegas Review Journal: “bulletproof doors and picture windows, a hidden gun compartment,” and a “suspected” bullet mark chipped from one of the windowpanes.


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Exploring New York City’s Irresistibly Eerie Abandoned Places | Cross River Real Estate

Abandoned%20NYC_Will%20Ellis_Curbed-7.jpg[Harlem’s P.S. 186 in 2012. It has been abandoned for nearly four decades, but there areplans to turn it into affordable housing. All photos by Will Ellis.]

Photographer Will Ellis made a name for himself capturing New York’s amazing decrepit spaces on his blog Abandoned NYC, and now his work is the subject of a new book, out this week. The book features 16 derelict locations (mostly) within city limits, including brand new photos of five locations never released online (hello, sunken Coney Island submarine). Ellis’s love of abandoned buildings is as deeply tied to a curiosity for the ghoulish as it is to an intense connection with the history behind New York City’s many stories. His blog covers NYC abandonments more extensively and prosaically than nearly any other print or online source, and his photos capture the beauty of what many shrug off as eyesores and urban blight. Ellis talked with Curbed contributor Hannah Frishberg about the book and shared 18 photos of a few of his favorite sites.

How did you get into urban exploration?

It wasn’t something that I set out to do at all, I was just out one day with my camera in Red Hook, just kind of looking around, looking for inspiration, and I came across this huge warehouse, 160 Imlay Street [ed. note: This building is now being converted into condos]. I’ve always been drawn to creepy stuff: ghosts, monsters, stuff like that. Halloween was my favorite holiday growing up. So that’s kind of what drew me to it, initially. I was also reading a lot of these old gothic fiction and horror stories at the time, H.P. Lovecraft and stuff like that. A lot of those stories are about creating that sense of atmosphere, and more often than not they’re set in these decrepit estates. So I was able to find those places I was drawn to in these books, but to find them in real life, in my own backyard. I still don’t think of myself as a daredevil. I never used to break the law much, I played by the rules. I’m scared of heights. But I saw you could just walk into the building, and I went for it that day. From that point on, I was hooked. That sensation of discovery, the thrill and adrenaline of it. Especially in the first two months I was doing this. For several months I was going out every chance I got. I’ve slowed down a bit since then.


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Local Farmers Markets | Katonah Real Estate


SIX Rotating Vendors & Music at Mamaroneck Winter Farmers Market;
Join Us: Down to Earth Markets’ 2015 Learning Center;
Vendors Offer Yummy Specials in both Ossining & Mamaroneck!

January 29th-February 4th, 2015
What’s New, In Season, and On Sale This Week
Bacon Marmalade
Stone & Thistle Farm

Full Sour Pickle Special:
$1 OFF on all quart sizes

Pickle Licious

JUST CRUST Chips and
Rustic Croutons
: 1 bag for $5 or
2 for $7.50

Flavors include Naked, Garlic, &
With a Kick

Wave Hill Breads

Marble Loaf (slices)
Christiane’s Backstube

Pate de Campagne
Stone & Thistle Farm

Pistachio Cookies
Christiane’s Backstube

Roasted Bone Broth
Stone & Thistle Farm

Roman Focaccia
Buy 2 at $5 each & get 1 FREE

Wave Hill Breads

SALE: Save $2 when you buy two items incl. Chutneys, Frozen Samosa, Kofta, Saag, & Rajma
Bombay Emerald Chutney Company

Wheat Grits with Pear Loaf (slices)
Christiane’s Backstube

Valentine’s Day Cookies & Cupcakes
Regular and gluten-free
Meredith’s Bread

Click on a market to see all vendor and event details…

Ossining Winter

9:00 am-1:00 pm

Claremont Elementary School
Van Cortlandt Avenue, off of N. Highland (Rte. 9)

Mamaroneck Winter

9:00 am-1:00 pm

St. Thomas Episcopal Church
168 W. Boston Post Road

Headed to the city? We’ve got markets there, too. CLICK HERE for details

Mamaroneck: Music at the Market

This Saturday, January 31st, enjoy music by guitarist Ed Packer from 10 am to noon.
He‘s a farmers market favorite with both his original and fun cover songs!

Ossining: The 2015 Learning Center at Down to Earth Markets

Down to Earth Markets is delighted to announce our 2015 Learning Center series. Once a month, we’ll invite local food makers to share their secrets to a class held in our office at 173 Main Street, 3rd Floor, in Ossining. The kick-off event is “Bake Up the Love with Christiane’s Backstube” on
Wednesday, February 11th from 7-9 pm. Each class is $15 or $40 for three.
Click HERE to learn more and buy tickets!

For additional events, visit our Down to Earth Markets Event Calendar.

Stay tuned to all market happenings via our Down to Earth Markets Facebook page
and follow us on Instagram and on Twitter @DowntoEarthMkts.

Housing Starts Top 1 Million for 2014 | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Total housing starts for 2014 reached the 1 million mark for the first time since 2007. Data from the Census Bureau and HUD for December, plus revisions for October and November, pushed total housing construction to a total of 1,005,800 for the year.

Multifamily construction held virtually even at a 361,000 annual rate, down 0.8% from November. For the year, multifamily starts were up 16% to 358,000, the highest tally since 2007.

The pace of December starts was up 4.4% from November to a 1.089 million annualized rate. The late-year push was led by single-family construction, which was up 7.2% in December, reaching the highest monthly rate since March 2008.

The increase for single-family development mirrors continued positive reporting from the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), a measure of builder confidence. For January, the HMI held steady at a level of 57. Any value above a level of 50 indicates more respondents view market conditions as good rather than poor.

The NAHB Remodeling Market Index (RMI) also suggested attractive market conditions for the home improvement sector. The RMI came in at 60 for the final quarter of 2014 and has been above the key 50 level since the second quarter of 2013.

Home sales showed strength at the end of 2014. The sales pace of newly built, single-family homes increased 11.6% in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to data from HUD and the Census Bureau. This is the highest monthly sales rate since June 2008. The inventory of new homes for sale rose to 219,000 in December, a 5.5-months’ supply at the current sales pace.

The market share of conventional financed purchases for new homes is also growing, with declines seen in the share of FHA-insured purchases. These changes are consistent with a market recovering to more normal conditions.

Also demonstrating improvement for the second half of 2014, the pace of existing home sales increased 2.4% in December, although the share of sales to first-time buyers continued to disappoint at 29%. Existing home sales exceeded a 5 million sales pace for the sixth time in the past seven months and were 3.5% above the same period a year ago.

The momentum gained in the housing market at the end of 2014 should continue in to next year. NAHB is projecting strong growth for single-family production, which is expected to rise to 804,000 units. NAHB is also forecasting 2% growth for multifamily and a 3% increase for remodeling.

Housing prices continue to rise, albeit at slower rates. The Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index rose 5.3% for November, the 34th consecutive month of year-over-year growth. Over the last two and half years, home prices have risen by 19%. At the same time, residential rents have increased. Using Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, NAHB estimates that rent growth has outpaced inflation by 1.7%.

A significant economic story in recent months has been the dramatic decline in gas prices. The CPI’s gasoline index has declined 21% over the last 12 months. On a seasonally adjusted month-over-month basis, the overall CPI fell 0.4%. Over the past 12 months, prices on expenditures made by urban consumers have increased by just 0.8% before seasonal adjustments.

While good for the overall economy, the decline in gas prices will likely have little impact on building material prices. In December, data from the government’s Producer Price Index indicated that prices for a number of materials declined in December, including gypsum (-3.8%) and softwood lumber (-1.2%). OSB prices rose 0.2%. Material costs for builders are expected to rise in 2015, particularly for gypsum, as housing production increases.

Muted increases for inflation indicators like the CPI have modified the focus of the Federal Reserve. With economic output expanding, strong job growth and a declining unemployment rate the Fed’s monetary policy committee has shifted its focus to below-target (2%) inflation as the primary threat to the continuing economic recovery. Consensus expectations are for a first increase in the federal funds rate for mid-2015.

In analysis news, NAHB economists explored survey data of Millennial housing preferences. Most prospective home buyers in this generation want to buy a single-family detached home and prefer to live in the suburbs. However, 10% would choose to live in the central city, which is a larger share that reported by Gen Xers and other generations.

While Millennials want to achieve homeownership, downpayments and loan qualification remain an important hurdle. Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that such finance constraints on mortgage access have a considerably larger impacts on housing demand than do historical changes in mortgage interest rates.


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30-year fixed-rate mortgage edges up to 3.66% | #Bedford NY Real Estate

Mortgage rates crept higher last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. The benchmark 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.66% in the week ending Jan. 29, up from 3.63%. A year ago, the 30-year averaged 4.32%. The 15-year fixed-rate averaged 2.98%, up from 2.93%; the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.86%, up from 2.83%; and the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.38%, up from 2.37%.


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U.S. Housing Stability Improves for Third Consecutive Month | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released its newly updated Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®) showing the U.S. housing market continuing to stabilize at the national level for the third consecutive month. Thirty-four of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, and 37 of the 50 metros, are now showing an improving three month trend.

News Facts:

  • The national MiMi value stands at 74.7, indicating a weak housing market overall but showing a slight improvement (+0.35%) from October to November and a positive 3-month trend of (+1.07%). On a year-over-year basis, the U.S. housing market has improved (+3.94%). The nation’s all-time MiMi high of 122.5 was June 2006; its low was 60.3 in September 2011, when the housing market was at its weakest. Since that time, the housing market has made a 23.9 percent rebound.
  • Fifteen of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia have MiMi values in a stable range, with North Dakota (95.8) the District of Columbia (94.3), Montana (91.4), Wyoming (91.2), and Hawaii (89.1) ranking in the top five.
  • Eight of the 50 metro areas have MiMi values in a stable range, with San Antonio (89.5), Austin (87.0), Houston (85.3), Los Angeles (84.1) and Salt Lake City (83.6), ranking in the top five.
  • The most improving states month-over-month were Georgia (+1.32%), North Carolina (+1.28%), Michigan (+1.27%), Maryland (+1.14%) and Delaware (+1.12%) On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Nevada (+17.45%), Illinois (+10.15%), Rhode Island (9.65%) Colorado (+8.63%) and Ohio (+8.45%)
  • The most improving metro areas month-over-month were Atlanta (+1.64), Detroit (+1.40%), Charlotte (+1.35%), Birmingham (+1.32%) and Cleveland (1.20%). On a year-over-year basis the most improving metro areas were Las Vegas (+20.14%), Chicago (+12.37%), Denver (+10.68%), Miami, (+10.57%), and Providence (+9.45%).
  • In November, 34 of the 50 states and 37 of the 50 metros were showing an improving three month trend. The same time last year, 34 states plus the District of Columbia, and 41 of the top 50 metro areas were showing an improving three month trend.

Quote attributable to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer:

“Housing markets are stabilizing. Low mortgage rates help to keep affordability in-check across many markets. Labor markets are strengthening, but generally have room for improvement. We’re keeping an eye on markets with deep ties to energy. We’ve noticed some deterioration on a month-over-month basis in some of these energy markets, especially smaller markets with less diversified economies. Overall MiMi has improved for the third consecutive month showing housing markets are getting back on track.”

The 2015 MiMi release calendar is available online.

MiMi monitors and measures the stability of the nation’s housing market, as well as the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 50 metro markets. MiMi combines proprietary Freddie Mac data with current local market data to assess where each single-family housing market is relative to its own long-term stable range by looking at home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (changes in home purchasing power based on house prices, mortgage rates and household income), proportion of on-time mortgage payments in each market, and the local employment picture. The four indicators are combined to create a composite MiMi value for each market. Monthly, MiMi uses this data to show, at a glance, where each market stands relative to its own stable range of housing activity. MiMi also indicates how each market is trending, whether it is moving closer to, or further away from, its stable range. A market can fall outside its stable range by being too weak to generate enough demand for a well-balanced housing market or by overheating to an unsustainable level of activity.