Monthly Archives: May 2015

Valuing a Green Home | Bedford Hills Real Estate

From installing rooftop solar panels to putting in new triple pane windows and EnergyStar appliances, people today make all kinds of home upgrades that save energy and lower their utility bills.Bedford NY

But when they opt to sell their “green” home, it’s often less than clear how such upgrades are valued in the real estate market by appraisers, lenders, or purchasers — or even how information about a home’s energy characteristics should be conveyed to real estate agents and potential homebuyers.

“People do upgrade [for energy efficiency], but the problem is, a lot of that information on what they’re doing doesn’t get to the marketplace, doesn’t find its way into the real estate transaction,” says Maria Vargas, who directs theBetter Buildings Challenge program at the Department of Energy.

The department aims to change that with a newly announced program. The agency’s Better Buildings initiative, which seeks to slash overall energy use across U.S. buildings by 20 percent in 10 years, has already been successful in the commercial sector, but now it is turning to the residential arena — with a focus on advancing home energy efficiency.

One surprising strategy for doing so will be helping to improve the flow of information about home energy efficiency (and its effect on driving lower utility bills) in the real estate market — thus helping it to be better valued in markets. To do so, the Energy Department is partnering with those who spread and use this information, including the Appraisal Institute, a professional association for real estate appraisers, the Council of Multiple Listing Services — which ties together the large number of local MLS organizations that provide informational databases of real estate listings — and the National Association of Realtors’ Center for Realtor Technology.

“We want to move in, move out, in a few years, to really accelerate this market,” says Vargas, “so we are better enabling homeowners, and the whole transaction process around selling a home, to include energy efficiency information.”

 

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/05/28/

Pending Existing Homes Sales Reaches Nine-Year High | Bedford Real Estate

The NAR Pending Home Sales Index increased for the fourth straight month in April to a level 14% above April of 2014.

The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts produced by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), increased 3.4% in April to 112.4, up from an upwardly revised 108.7 in March. The PHSI increased year-over-year for the eighth consecutive month and reached its highest level since May 2006.

pending sales_apr15

Regionally, the April PHSI increased 2.3% in the South and 0.1% in the West. The index rebounded in the Northeast by 10.1% after declines in prior months. The PHSI was up 5% in April for the Midwest.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/05/

Mortgage Rates at 3.87% | Pound Ridge #Realtor

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher amid positive housing data and pushing fixed mortgage rates to their highest level of the year.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.87 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 28, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.84 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.12 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.11 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.05 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.21 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.90 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.88 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.96 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.50 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.51 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.41 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 theRegional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quotes
Attributed to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates rose to the highest level in 2015 following positive housing market data. New home sales surged 6.8 percent to an annual pace of 517,000 units in April. Althoughexisting home sales slipped 3.3 percent to a seasonally-adjusted pace of 5.04 million units, sales are up 6.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index also posted a solid gain of 5 percent over the 12-months ending in March 2015.”

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing. Additional information is available at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

11 Things You Need to Know When You’re About to… Buy a House | Bedford Corners Homes

Buying a home can be a stressful, complicated process—even if it’s not your first time. To help you take stock and get ready to find your way into a new home, here are some key things you need to know:

1. Know your goals.

This should go without saying, but house-hunting can make even the most practical of people lose sight of what’s really important.  Homeowners may dream of settling in, customizing and forgetting about yearly rent increases. Even so, there are trade-offs: decreased mobility, increased debt and more responsibility (there’s no super to call when the toilet springs a leak). Doing a quick pro and con of rent v. buy helps you make sense of your decision, given your lifestyle goals.

2. Have a five (or seven) year plan.

Staying put for five to seven years is a good rule of thumb for homebuyers but factors such as closing costs, market fluctuations and expenses like maintenance fees could mean it’ll take even longer to break even.

3. Bring 20 percent (or more) to the table.

Some lenders offer low- or no-down payment options for cash-strapped buyers but the terms are typically less attractive than for those with 20 percent. A 20 percent down payment also means avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), which can cost an annual 0.3 to 1.15 percent of the original loan balance.

4. Make your own budget.

A mortgage lender may qualify you for more than you actually want to pay each month. Do your own budget analysis to figure out how much you’re comfortable shelling out for housing each and every month. And don’t forget extras like real estate taxes.

5. Check the score.

Higher credit score can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of a mortgage. Get a free copy of your credit report (available once per year) and look for ways to improve your score.

6. Find a real estate agent who fits your profile.

Typically, you start with recommendations from friends or financial professionals, like your CPA. But don’t stop there. Interview three or four agents with a keen eye for one with aspecific knowledge of your desired neighborhood, price range and property type. Then figure out if your personalities will work together—or against each other.

7. Don’t forget the emergency fund.

A house is the most expensive thing most people will ever buy. But costs go well beyond the purchase price. Routine maintenance, landscaping or pool care fees and unexpected repair bills can catch a new homeowner off guard. Upfront budgeting for these annual costs can save a lot of frustration when the HVAC unit needs to be serviced.

8. Location, location, location.

It’s hard to predict the future, but long-term neighborhood changes can have a dramatic effect on property costs. Homes within desirable school districts tend to be more expensive up front, but they’re also more likely to maintain property value.

9. Don’t scrimp on insurance.

A typical homeowners insurance policy will cover many different types of damage to your home—but be sure that it covers the full cost to rebuild the home. Your coverage should include replacing the structure and your personal possessions, the cost of living expenses if you have to live elsewhere while your house is repaired, plus your liability to others—otherwise, in the event of a loss, you may discover gaps in your coverage.

 

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http://bridgingthegaps.yahoo.com/post/119298350072/

Lot Shortage: A Lingering Problem for Builders | Chappaqua Real Estate

In a May 2015 survey conducted by NAHB, 62 percent of builders reported that the overall supply of developed lots in their areas was low to very low, up 2 percent from May 2014, but up from 43 percent in September 2012.  Sixty-two percent is the largest low supply percentage recorded since NAHB began periodically asking the question in 1997 on its monthly survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

The continued low supply of developed lots is a hindrance to housing recovery that is still quite modest by most standards.  Figure 1 compares the HMI responses on lot supply to housing starts.  Starts have recovered from a low of 550,000 in 2009 to just over 1 million in 2014 (after averaging 1.5 million a year from 1960-2000, without ever plunging below 1 million until 2008).

Fig1HousingStarts&SupplyofLotsThe 62 percent includes 39 percent who characterized the supply of lots simply as “low” and 23 percent who said the supply of lots was “very low.” The shortages tended to be especially acute in the most desirable, or “A” locations. Thirty-four percent of builders said that the supply of “A” lots was very low, compared to 19 percent for lots in “B” and 14 percent for lots in “C” locations.

A shortage of buildable lots, especially in the most desirable locations translates into higher prices, as 38 percent of home builders said the price of developed “A” lots was somewhat higher than it was a year ago, and 32 percent said the price was substantially higher. In comparison, 16 percent of builders said the price of “B” lots was substantially higher than a year ago, and 12 percent said the price of “C” lots was substantially higher (Figure 2).

Fig2PriceofDevelopedLots

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/05/17006/

Nearly 80 Percent of Top 100 U.S. Housing Markets Improving | #Armonk Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released its updated Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®) showing the U.S. housing market continuing to stabilize with the most improving metro markets seeing stronger demand for home sales this spring homebuying season. Despite strong house price appreciation, low mortgage rates are keeping payment-to-incomes affordable for the typical family in most markets.

News Facts:

  • The national MiMi value stands at 75.4, indicating a weak housing market overall but showing an improvement (+0.69%) from February to March and a three-month improvement of (+1.24%). On a year-over-year basis, the national MiMi value has improved (+3.11%). The nation’s all-time MiMi high of 121.7 was April 2006; its low was 57.4 in October 2010, when the housing market was at its weakest. Since that time, the national MiMi value has made a 31.3 percent rebound.
  • Seventeen 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 (95.6), Hawaii (90.5), Montana (90), and Wyoming (85.7) ranking in the top five.
  • Twenty-five of the 100 metro areas have MiMi values in a stable range, with Honolulu (91.8), Fresno (90.5), Austin (88.8), Los Angeles (86.8) and McAllen, TX (86.4) ranking in the top five.
  • The most improving states month-over-month were Washington (+2.37%), Oregon (+2.26%), Arizona (+1.76%), Tennessee (+1.39%) and Michigan (+1.26%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Nevada (+9.87%), Oregon (+9.86%), Colorado (9.34%), Florida (+8.23%), and Michigan (+7.60%).
  • The most improving metro areas month-over-month were Portland (+2.68%), Riverside (+2.22%), San Jose (+2.13%), Nashville (+2.10%) and Baton Rouge (+1.99%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving metro areas were Stockton (+12.01%), Detroit (+11.63%), Denver (+11.41%), Las Vegas (+10.73%), and Palm Bay, FL (+10.23%).
  • In March, 36 of the 50 states and 77 of the 100 metros were showing an improving three month trend. The same time last year, 40 states plus the District of Columbia, and 82 of the top 100 metro areas were showing an improving three-month trend.

Quote attributable to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer:

“The nation’s housing markets are getting back on track. Better employment prospects, rising home values and increased purchase activity are all driving improvements in housing markets across the country. In this month’s MiMi three more states and seven metro areas moved within range of their benchmark level of activity. However, as we’ve mentioned before, we’re likely to see bouts of affordability shock with mortgage rate swings for the remainder of this year as market participants try to anticipate Fed timing around rising short term interest rates and expectations for global growth wax and wane.”

“The West and Southwest areas of the country are showing some of the strongest housing activity, especially markets like Portland, Denver, Dallas, San Jose and Los Angeles. Many markets in the South and Midwest, while improving, are still plagued by high rates of mortgage delinquencies, which are holding back these markets from recovering faster. The exception to this would be the Nashville-area market. It more closely resembles the housing markets in the West, such as those in Utah. These markets are experiencing double-digit annual growth rates in purchase applications and showing some of the strongest homebuying demand in the country.”

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 100 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.

Color can inspire you at home | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Choosing new paint colors for your home offers an exciting opportunity to personalize your space. The abundance of choices means you can surround yourself with a palette you’ll love.

One great way to welcome design color inspiration is to make note of colors that you have chosen for other areas in your life. Your wardrobe, prized works of art, and favorite home accessories are perfect places to look.

Is your closet filled with cool blues and greens? Do you love seascapes and beach scenes? If so, pull similar shades into your home. Start with Sherwin Williams SW 6945 Belize.

beach

Source: Zillow Digs

For a bolder blue statement, go with the deeper tone of SW 6943 Intense Teal.

teal

Source: Zillow Digs

Or try the dusty hue of SW 6515 Leisure Blue, which recalls the color of a stormy sky.

blue cabinets 2

Source: Zillow Digs

If you’re thrilled by the sight of a field of periwinkles, try SW 6529 Scanda. It’s a perfect entrance to this color family.

blue kitchen

Source: Zillow Digs

While it may seem bold, bright and warm walls can really liven up a space. Capture the drama of your special-occasion red dress with SW 6871 Positive Red.

red room sm

Buying a North Salem FSBO | North Salem Real Estate

Selling your home without an agent is entirely possible and, in some ways, easier today than in the past. Going for sale by owner (FSBO) could be a huge cost savings, since the real estate commission is the largest expense of any home sale. But FSBO is not for everyone.

If you go this route, you must be deliberate each step of the way. You’ll have to do your research and learn your market to discover what works and what doesn’t. Are homes staged? Do people price low for multiple offers or price high and wait? Is it a strong buyers’ market, or do sellers rule? Sometimes it can be hard to know, as markets can shift by neighborhood — or even by block.

In real estate today, sometimes you only get one chance to make a first impression. If you make a mistake your first time out, the market may punish you later on. Here are some other FSBO considerations for the next-generation home seller.

Online access to pricing makes going FSBO easier today

One of the biggest hurdles for sellers is pricing their home correctly and knowing the comparable home sales. It’s easier to understand pricing today, given how much information is online — particularly for someone who lives in a home where the recent comparable home sales are cut and dry. An example of this is a newer suburban development where the floor plans, layouts, fixtures and finishes are all similar.

Research your market offline, too

Learning a real estate market doesn’t take a huge amount of effort, but it does take time. Go to open houses and see what is for sale. Start this process early, and do it often.

Monitor a few nearby homes from listing to close. Real estate agents do it day in and day out, which makes them uniquely qualified to understand a market.

Be prepared to detach emotionally

Selling a home has both financial and emotional implications, whether you sell it yourself or through an agent. Knowing that complete strangers will be running through and potentially criticizing your home is enough to make any home seller feel like a wreck.

Imagine dealing with these strangers directly. If you go the FSBO route, you are front and center from start to finish. You can’t let your emotions get the best of you, and you must focus on the investment aspect of your home.

Sometimes sellers who can’t emotionally detach find themselves leaving money on the table, alienating perfectly good buyers, or both. But if you think you can see your home objectively, as a third-party product, then you might be good to go with FSBO.

It can become a part-time job

Remember the last time you sold a car or some furniture on Craigslist? It probably required time and energy to photograph your goods, post the listings, field calls, and show the items before you finally made the sale. With real estate, you can amplify that effort 10-fold.

Going FSBO can be excellent for someone with a flexible schedule or who works from home. But getting the home ready to sell means doing all of the standard sale prep work that you would do as a seller — and then taking it a step further. You need to be ready to show the home at a moment’s notice, do follow-ups, and manage the open houses and scheduling, not to mention negotiate and see the sale through firsthand.

 

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http://www.zillow.com/blog/is-for-sale-by-owner-right-for-you-176805/