Monthly Archives: February 2019

Millennials Are About to Get Locked Out of the Real Estate Market—Again | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Over the past couple of years, rising pay and low mortgage rates finally converged to make make the dream of home ownership a reality for America’s millennials, many of whom had long been locked out of the housing market. But now, the door is on the verge of slamming on the under-35 crowd, leaving young families outside looking through the picture window—again.

That’s the scenario sketched by Mark Boud, chief economist for Metrostudy, a unit of real estate data and marketing company Hanley Wood. Metrostudy surveys housing trends in hundreds of towns and cities from the ground up, by visiting subdivisions to record how many homes are being built, going to contract, and sold—the latter evidenced by curtains on the windows and tricycles in the driveway.

During the housing-bubble frenzy from 2004 to 2006, as Boud recently recounted to Fortune, easy credit sent sales soaring, inflating prices and leading to a gigantic oversupply of new homes. In 2008 and 2009, the banks and other lenders, overwhelmed with defaults and foreclosures, throttled back so hard on credit that demand collapsed, and housing prices went into a tailspin.

The upshot: From 2009 to 2017, the housing market severely overcorrected, with prices steadily rising once again. “Housing went through a long period of undervalution,” says Boud. It wasn’t millennials, he points out, who benefited from the cheap prices and rescued the market. “The millennials had loads of college debt, and many had bad credit in general, often because their previous loans had been foreclosed on. And they were too young to be stable in their jobs,” he says. The upshot: The youthful cohort couldn’t get mortgages from lenders, who suddenly were rejecting all but class-A credits.

Instead, it was the affluent and investors that profited from low prices and soaked up the excess inventory. “The rich were the buyers without the credit problems,” says Boud. “And institutional investors bought houses cheap and rented them out.” In fact, he says, many of these new owners’ tenants were the very millennials shunned by the banks. In terms of home ownership, millennials became the lost generation.

A lost generation comes home

By 2015, the wealthy and the investors had absorbed the excess. America began generating far more new jobs than new homes, as construction was severely constrained by a shortage of ready-to-go lots. Starting around 2017, the millennials got back in the game, in a big way. The job rolls expanded, and wages jumped. The mortgage market reopened for the more well-to-do 30-somethings. So even though credit overall remained tight, sales to millennials rose, from 22% of new homes sales around 2011 to 50% in 2018—an extraordinary figure, given that millennials account for just one-third of the U.S. population.

Now says Boud, the market is once again turning against what’s now the biggest, and still hungriest, class of buyers. “Prices have risen a lot, and they’re still rising because we’re still way under-building compared to household formation,” he says. “At the same time, rates on home loans are rising, making it much harder for millennials to qualify.” The affordability problem will intensify because of the types of homes the builders are erecting. The only way to make money on expensive land is to build big houses, so “the average home size is 3,000 square feet, which is way too big most first-time buyers,” Boud says. “Ten years ago in Las Vegas, that sized house cost maybe $225,000 [thanks to the housing plunge]. Now it costs $350,000, way out of the reach of young buyers.”(

Hence, Boud sees sales shifting back to the affluent who’ve held high-paying jobs for decades, can qualify for more expensive mortgages, and want the big houses. Eventually, he says, the surge in prices will sow the seeds of a correction. But supply is so tight that the drop should be mild––unless America suffers a recession. “In that case, prices would be lower, but employment and incomes would also drop. So millennials could remain locked out.” Another problem: Millennials who secured a 3.5% fixed rate in 2016 or 2017 will stay in their existing home to keep the low monthly payment rather than trying to move up the housing ladder.

The solution, says Boud, is for builders to lower costs by shifting to factory-built homes they can offer at far lower prices. Homebuilders should also work with the banks to offer interest-only mortgages that would hold down monthly payments in the early years, and allow far more millennials to qualify for credit. He also notes that developers need to take steps to lower home owner association dues that can add $200 to a family’s monthly payments. More 2,000-square-foot houses would also be welcome, but for that to happen, municipalities would need to loosen zoning laws to allow far more lots to be subdivided, far more quickly. Today, towns are trending the wrong way, towards even tighter restrictions.

The outlook for sales is strong, Boud says, because so many Gen-Xers and baby boomers are renting, and more of them want to buy homes. Those folks can both afford to buy, and qualify for mortgages on $450,000-to-$700,000 homes. As for millennials, the generation that housing lost, then briefly found is about to be lost once more.

read more…

http://fortune.com/2019/01/12/real-estate-market-millennials/

Climate change tax on real estate in Massachusetts | Chappaqua Real Estate

The plan marks one of Governor Charlie Baker’s most high-profile bids to address climate resiliency as he begins his second term.
The plan marks one of Governor Charlie Baker’s most high-profile bids to address climate resiliency as he begins his second term.

Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican who once campaigned against raising taxes, unveiled a proposal Friday to hike the tax on Massachusetts real estate transfers by 50 percent, and funnel the more than $1 billion it could generate in the next decade into steeling cities and towns against the effects of climate change.

The plan, which Baker intends to include in his state budget proposal on Wednesday, marks one of his most high-profile bids to address climate resiliency as he begins his second term.

But it’s also expected to face heavy resistance within real estate circles, where trade groups warn a tax hike could exacerbate the region’s already steep housing costs.

Baker’s proposed tax increase would add nearly $1,200 in taxes to the sale of a $500,000 home, with those costs paid by the seller.Get Metro Headlines in your inbox:The 10 top local news stories from metro Boston and around New England delivered daily.Sign Up

Baker said the increase to the so-called deeds excise rate could generate anywhere from $130 million to $150 million annually toward a Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund, which cities and towns could then tap through grants, loans, and other avenues for local projects. That could include modernizing public buildings, fortifying sea walls, or improving drainage and flood control methods, depending on a city or town’s needs.

“This is an excise tax that’s basically about property. And the proposal we’re making here is to protect property,” Baker told reporters after unveiling the contours of the plan to hundreds of local officials at the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s annual meeting.

“We think in the long run, the cost benefit on this one is a good deal for Massachusetts residents,” Baker said.

The tax increase, which would need legislative approval, could mean hundreds, if not thousands, more dollars borne by those unloading their homes.

Under current law, a home seller in most parts of the state pays $4.56 in transfer taxes per $1,000 of a purchase price. That means for a $500,000 home sale, a seller pays a $2,280 tax bill. If Baker’s proposal passes, the transfer tax rate would jump to $6.84 per $1,000, meaning for the same $500,000 sale, the tax bill balloons to $3,420.

On Cape Cod, where the excise tax is lower than the rest of the state, the increase is actually more dramatic under Baker’s proposal. The $3.42 per $1,000 of a purchase price home sellers currently pay would jump by 67 percent to $5.70.

As a candidate in 2014, Baker continually opposed tax and fee increases, later allowing that if the state offered a new service and attached a fee to it, he didn’t think he would be breaking his commitment. En route to winning reelection last fall, he reiterated that he is against broad-based tax increases for the sake of “balancing the budget.”

During four-plus years in office, he has signed a number of new fees and taxes into law, including an assessment to help cover the cost of the state’s Medicaid program and an estimated $800 million payroll tax, split between employers and employees, that goes into effect in July to pay for a new paid family and medical leave program. Baker also signed off on a new $2 surcharge on car rental transactions to raise up to $10 million toward training for local police.

Baker defended his pursuit of the tax hike in the new climate change proposal. “There’s no program in Massachusetts that’s going to put a billion dollars on the table to put the kind of resiliency programming in place that we’re going to need to deal with the intensity and the frequency of storms,” he said.

His administration, however, also noted that it has already invested $600 million in programs targeting the effects of climate change.

The proposal is the second major climate-change-focused initiative Baker has touted since winning reelection. Last month, Massachusetts and eight other states announced a landmark agreement to create a system to impose regionwide limits on transportation emissions, the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution.

Within hours, the plan was drawing resistance from the real estate industry. Tamara Small, chief executive of NAIOP Massachusetts, the powerful trade group for commercial real estate, questioned tying the fund to property sales.

“When we have a market downturn, which I think is not far down the road . . . that could affect the amount of money that could be raised,” Small said. “When you’re talking about a 50 percent increase, there’s no doubt that for someone who is trying to sell their home, that’s going to increase prices. That’s going to have an impact.”

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors, which opposes the increase, said efforts to support climate resiliency shouldn’t target only those looking to sell property, said Justin Davidson, the group’s general counsel.

“This proposal would quite frankly increase the cost of housing in Massachusetts,” he said. “We’ll be reaching out to legislators to let them know about our position.”

Baker is likely to have powerful support, too. The plan received a “very positive response” from local officials at their annual meeting, according to Geoffrey Beckwith, the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s executive director, who called it a “common sense funding solution.”

“There’s a direct connection between what cities and towns have to do, and the proposal the governor made,” Beckwith said.

Environmental groups, who have been critical of Baker before, offered cautious praise Friday for this proposal, noting they’re still waiting to see all of the details.

“I think it’s a great signal that he intends to take climate change and climate resilience and adaptation seriously,” said Elizabeth Turnbull Henry, president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts. “Massachusetts has 1,500 miles of coastline. The time is now to be thinking about how we’re going to pay for the investments that we need to protect ourselves.”

Bradley Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, said he was encouraged by Baker’s plan, but called the money it could raise “modest” compared to the projected need.

“Ultimately, I think there will be a need to look at multiple revenue sources to assure that the cost burden of climate risk is allocated in a fair and equitable way,” he said. “This proposal provides a solid start to that dialogue.”

read more…

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2019/01/18/baker-proposes-percent-tax-hike-real-estate-sales-pay-for-local-climate-change-projects/1M59Xd7ij90ILDpWwW2j4O/story.html

California sales plummet | Armonk Real Estate

For the data: Full Excel

SFH Sales & Price  |  SFH UII & MTM  |  SFH SqFt & SL Ratio

CDO Sales & Price  |  CDO UII & MTM  | CDO SqFt & SL Ratio


For presentation:   PPT  |   PDF

For more related new releases:  Newstand

December-18Median Sold Price of Existing Single-Family HomesSales
State/Region/CountyDec-18Nov-18 Dec-17 Price MTM% ChgPrice YTY% ChgSales MTM% ChgSales YTY% Chg
CA SFH (SAAR)$557,600$554,760 $549,550r0.5%1.5%-2.4%-11.6%
CA Condo/Townhomes$460,660$465,770 $446,840 -1.1%3.1%-10.0%-21.4%
Los Angeles Metropolitan Area$500,000$512,000 $495,000r-2.3%1.0%-8.3%-17.8%
Central Coast$717,650$672,500 $657,500 6.7%9.1%-15.2%-24.9%
Central Valley$317,500$320,000 $310,000 -0.8%2.4%-8.0%-15.7%
Inland Empire$359,000$363,620 $342,000r-1.3%5.0%-10.1%-19.8%
S.F. Bay Area$850,000$905,000 $882,000r-6.1%-3.6%-20.2%-17.5%
          
S.F. Bay AreaDec-18Nov-18 Dec-17 Price MTM% ChgPrice YTY% ChgSales MTM% ChgSales YTY% Chg
Alameda$850,000$900,000 $862,000 -5.6%-1.4%-24.2%-19.9%
Contra Costa$612,500$641,000 $600,000 -4.4%2.1%-19.1%-16.7%
Marin$1,270,500$1,172,944 $1,268,900 8.3%0.1%-21.3%-12.6%
Napa$725,000$683,500 $688,000 6.1%5.4%-14.1%-21.8%
San Francisco$1,500,000$1,442,500 $1,475,000 4.0%1.7%-24.5%11.3%
San Mateo$1,483,000$1,500,000 $1,500,000 -1.1%-1.1%-24.0%-20.4%
Santa Clara$1,150,000$1,250,000 $1,300,000 -8.0%-11.5%-22.0%-20.6%
Solano$425,000$450,000 $416,000 -5.6%2.2%-13.0%-18.5%
Sonoma$639,000$612,500 $670,000 4.3%-4.6%-10.0%-16.7%
Southern CaliforniaDec-18Nov-18 Dec-17 Price MTM% ChgPrice YTY% ChgSales MTM% ChgSales YTY% Chg
Los Angeles$588,140$553,940 $577,690r6.2%1.8%-3.0%-16.3%
Orange$785,000$795,000 $785,500 -1.3%-0.1%-15.5%-18.3%
Riverside$398,000$400,000 $385,000 -0.5%3.4%-4.9%-17.7%
San Bernardino$295,000$299,450 $278,000 -1.5%6.1%-17.4%-23.1%
San Diego$618,500$626,000 $605,000 -1.2%2.2%-7.4%-14.7%
Ventura$640,000$643,740 $645,000 -0.6%-0.8%-14.0%-13.8%
Central CoastDec-18Nov-18 Dec-17 Price MTM% ChgPrice YTY% ChgSales MTM% ChgSales YTY% Chg
Monterey$590,000$630,000 $614,000 -6.3%-3.9%-26.1%-31.0%
San Luis Obispo$640,000$624,000 $590,000 2.6%8.5%-16.3%-23.7%
Santa Barbara$806,030$550,000 $730,000 46.6%10.4%-1.1%-14.8%
Santa Cruz$926,000$862,500 $831,000 7.4%11.4%-16.2%-31.7%
Central ValleyDec-18Nov-18 Dec-17 Price MTM% ChgPrice YTY% ChgSales MTM% ChgSales YTY% Chg
Fresno$266,500$265,750 $259,750 0.3%2.6%-4.1%-4.7%
Glenn$246,500$225,000 $230,000 9.6%7.2%77.8%113.3%
Kern$242,380$235,250 $233,000 3.0%4.0%-7.1%-7.8%
Kings$243,000$222,000 $225,000 9.5%8.0%-7.1%-17.0%
Madera$263,000$265,000 $239,000r-0.8%10.0%-18.8%-34.6%
Merced$269,060$261,930 $239,900 2.7%12.2%22.0%11.9%
Placer$492,993$461,000 $451,500 6.9%9.2%-10.2%-18.5%
Sacramento$364,500$365,000 $350,000 -0.1%4.1%-14.8%-22.4%
San Benito$577,000$583,200 $537,000 -1.1%7.4%-15.9%-28.8%
San Joaquin$365,000$365,000 $349,720 0.0%4.4%1.1%-14.1%
Stanislaus$309,000$310,000 $300,000 -0.3%3.0%-6.2%-16.0%
Tulare$236,450$237,400 $219,500 -0.4%7.7%-11.5%-20.1%
Other Counties in CaliforniaDec-18Nov-18 Dec-17 Price MTM% ChgPrice YTY% ChgSales MTM% ChgSales YTY% Chg
AmadorNANA $305,000 NANANANA
Butte$356,558$326,940 $304,000 9.1%17.3%97.5%105.3%
Calaveras$310,000$325,000 $285,000 -4.6%8.8%11.7%-26.5%
Del Norte$243,900$250,000 $251,500 -2.4%-3.0%-40.0%-36.8%
El Dorado$454,500$461,750 $450,000 -1.6%1.0%-15.5%-33.6%
Humboldt$308,000$310,000 $319,500 -0.6%-3.6%-15.3%-28.4%
Lake$269,000$255,000 $269,500 5.5%-0.2%17.7%-6.4%
Lassen$208,000$184,000 $175,000 13.0%18.9%53.3%0.0%
Mariposa$320,000$355,000 $310,000 -9.9%3.2%0.0%40.0%
Mendocino$424,900$414,000 $409,500 2.6%3.8%-17.0%-2.2%
Mono$541,000$725,000 $515,000 -25.4%5.0%-55.6%-42.9%
Nevada$389,950$399,000 $393,500 -2.3%-0.9%1.1%-6.0%
Plumas$262,950$289,500 $256,000 -9.2%2.7%0.0%-13.3%
Shasta$267,500$283,000 $258,250 -5.5%3.6%-1.3%6.8%
Siskiyou$182,500$226,000 $192,500 -19.2%-5.2%-13.5%-33.3%
Sutter$320,000$296,000 $270,000 8.1%18.5%26.6%5.2%
Tehama$255,000$199,000 $190,000 28.1%34.2%184.6%100.0%
Tuolumne$258,950$288,500 $269,900 -10.2%-4.1%21.2%27.0%
Yolo$429,000$429,500 $420,000 -0.1%2.1%-1.0%-19.8%
Yuba$298,000$263,000 $241,000 13.3%23.7%2.5%Read17.4%

read more…

https://www.car.org/marketdata/data/countysalesactivity

Pending home sales drop for 12th straight month | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Pending home sales declined as a whole in December, but for the second straight month the Western region experienced a slight increase, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

The Pending Home Sales Index,* www.nar.realtor/pending-home-sales, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, decreased 2.2 percent to 99.0 in December, down from 101.2 in November. Additionally, year-over-year contract signings fell 9.8 percent, making this the twelfth straight month of annual decreases.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, cited several reasons for the decline in pending sales. “The stock market correction hurt consumer confidence, record high home prices cut into affordability and mortgage rates were higher in October and November for consumers signing contracts in December,” he said.

See and share this infographic.

All four major regions experienced a decline compared to one year ago, with the South sustaining the largest decrease.

Yun says so far, the partial government shutdown has not caused any obvious damage to home sales. “Seventy-five percent of Realtors® reported that they haven’t yet felt the impact of the government closure. However, if another government shutdown takes place, it will lead to fewer homes sold,” he said.

According to Yun, as the government reopens, more mortgage options will come available for consumers. “Some home transactions were delayed, but we now expect those sales to go forward,” he said.

Still, there is growth in certain pockets. Yun cited year-over-year increases in active listings from data at realtor.com® to illustrate a potential rise in inventory. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, Ore.-Wash. saw the largest increase in active listings in December compared to a year ago.

Yun says despite the low home sales in December, he is confident that the housing market will see improvement in 2019. “The longer-term growth potential is high. The Federal Reserve announced a change in its stance on monetary policy. Rather than four rate hikes, there will likely be only one increase or even no increase at all. This has already spurred a noticeable fall in the 30-year, fixed-rate for mortgages. As a result, the forecast for home transactions has greatly improved, “Yun said.

December Pending Home Sales Regional Breakdown

The PHSI in the Northeast rose 2.0 percent to 93.2 in December, and is now 2.5 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest, the index fell 0.6 percent to 97.5 in December, 7.2 percent lower than December 2017.

Pending home sales in the South fell 5 percent to an index of 109.7 in December, which is 13.5 percent lower than a year ago. The index in the West increased 1.7 percent in December to 88.4 and fell 10.8 percent below a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
 

*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.

The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.

An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.

read more…

https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/pending-home-sales-dip-22-percent-in-december

Mortgage rates average 4.41% | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to a 10-month low. Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “The U.S. economy remains on solid ground, inflation is contained and the threat of higher short-term rates is fading from view, which has allowed mortgage rates to drift down to their lowest level in 10 months. This is great news for consumers who will be looking for homes during the upcoming spring home buying season. Mortgage rates are essentially similar to a year ago, but today’s buyers have a larger selection of homes and more consumer bargaining power than they did the last few years.”

News Facts     30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.41 percent with an average 0.4 point for the week ending February 7, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 4.46 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.32 percent. 

15-year FRM this week averaged 3.84 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.89 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.77 percent. 

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.91 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.96 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.57 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 link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

The Federal Reserve Board’s big mistake | North Salem Real Estate

September 24, 2018

The Federal Reserve’s main interest rate will likely vault over their preferred inflation gauge this week

The Federal Reserve’s main interest rate will jump past the central bank’s preferred inflation measure for the first time in a decade this week, when policymakers announce a widely expected rise in interest rates.

The Fed funds rate– the cost of borrowing “excess” Fed reserves overnight, unsecured by collateral by banks and other financial institutions – will rise above the central bank’s favorite measure of the US economy’s inflation rate, the “personal consumption expenditure” index, for the first time since September 2008.

The Fed and central banks around the world slashed interest rates in the wake of the crisis, with some even introducing negative interest rates for the first time in history. But with the economic recovery gaining ground, the Fed started raising interest rates in 2015, and other central banks are now following in tightening monetary policy.

“The question is what rate is high enough to slow the economy,” said Anne Mathias, a senior strategist at Vanguard. “We’ll hopefully know it when we see it.”

The US central bank has increased its interest rate target range twice already this year, to 1.75-2 per cent. That has raised the Fed funds rate – the primary target it attempts to move with its interest rate corridor – to a 10-year high of 1.92 per cent. 

Fed raises rates despite trade war concerns The Fed is widely expected to lift its corridor by another quarter percentage points when it meets on Wednesday, and that will probably in tandem lift the Fed funds rate to about 2.17 per cent. 

That means that the “real”, inflation-adjusted US interest rate will be in positive territory again, and investors and analysts are now questioning how much further the Fed will raise interest rates. 

Indeed, another rate increase in December is widely expected, which will probably lift the Fed funds rate above the ‘core’ inflation rate that excludes food and energy costs. However, opinions differ significantly on how much the central bank will tighten policy in 2019.

“This is the riddle they will have to solve in 2019,” said Jim Caron, a bond fund manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. “There’s little danger of an inflationary breakout, so why keep hiking?”

Markets are starting to price in the possibility of two more quarter-point increases in the Fed’s interest rate in 2019. The Fed has indicated that it will raise rates three times, while Goldman Sachs’ economists predict the central bank will have to lift rates four times to prevent the economy from overheating. 

The US stock market bet the Fed killed the economy through the October-December 2018 quarter. The real estate economy is contracting because of this.

Read more…

https://www.ft.com/content/9be4f6a4-bdd7-11e8-8274-55b72926558f

Westchester Democrats taxing and spending | Waccabuc Real Estate

Despite already being one of the more heavily taxed counties in the country, Westchester homeowners and shoppers may soon see a hike in sales tax.

Westchester officials are reportedly hopeful that the state will approve an increase in local sales tax which could help steady the county’s finances. However, according to a lohud report , no formal request has been made, and it is unclear how much taxes may be increased.

The report states that Westchester County Executive George Latimer plans to first reach out to area business owners before he makes his formal cause to New York State officials.

The average Westchester homeowner paid nearly $20,000 in property taxes last year, with a sales tax rate of 3.375 percent, which is a lower rate than surrounding counties and lower than the county’s four largest cities.

In recent years, Westchester has found itself facing millions of dollars in deficits and the county has seen its reserves dwindle, leading to a downgrade of their credit rating. Westchester’s financial report card saw its credit rating cut one level by two prominent agencies.

Westchester County was notified by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings that the county’s financial outlook has been downgraded to AA+. Moody’s also assigned Aa1 to Westchester. The county has lost its AAA rating – the highest ranking available – in each of the Big 3 rating agencies.

Late last year, lawmakers approved the $1.9 billion budget, with the measure quickly signed off by Latimer. The budget was approved by a 13-4 vote, with the support of county Democrats. The budget contains a 2 percent property tax hike.

Officials said that the tax rate increase is to help offset tens of millions of dollars in deficits that the county is currently operating against. There are no planned cuts to staff or service in the approved budget, which is contingent on the county selling several parking lots that surround the County Center in White Plains. The sale of the lots is expected to net more than $20 million.

The tax levy increase is the first since Latimer took over as county exec last year. The county could have raised taxes by as much as 4.5 percent, but was able to curtail that number with certain allowances. The county was operating at a $32 million deficit to end 2017 year, which only ballooned in 2018.

read more…

https://dailyvoice.com/new-york/chappaqua/news/will-westchester-residents-soon-be-paying-higher-sales-tax/747370/

Con Ed cannot supply more natural gas halting development in Westchester | South Salem Real Estate

Local and state officials fear Westchester’s recent development renaissance will come to a screeching halt because Con Edison said it can’t take on new natural gas customers. 

Con Edison issued a statement Friday saying the demand for gas is “reaching the limits of the current supplies to our service area.” 

“As a result, and to maintain reliable service to our existing natural gas customers on the coldest days, we will no longer be accepting applications for natural gas connections from new customers in most of our Westchester County service area beginning March 15, 2019,” Con Edison said in its statement. 

Jim Denn, spokesperson for the Department of Public Service, said Con Ed didn’t propose a pipeline “to meet or address growing demand.”

“To help prospective customers meet their energy needs in light of these market dynamics, PSC will be monitoring Con Edison’s engagement with customers to explore options to reduce their energy needs or meet their needs through non-natural gas energy sources,” Denn said in a statement. 

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, said it’s going to “devastate” local development, particularly in cities like New Rochelle and Yonkers, which are in the midst of redeveloping their downtowns. 

A portion of the 10 acres of solar panels atop the

A portion of the 10 acres of solar panels atop the headquarters of Diamond Properties in Mount Kisco. (Photo: Submitted)

“These projects are on a marginal budget, and we’re not going to get the economic development that we’re hoping for,” Paulin said. “Compounding the problem is affordable housing. Developers won’t be able to do them at all, so this is a huge problem for our county and it’s disappointing that we’re being told two months prior (to the start of the moratorium).”

AP
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin,D-Scarsdale, has put together a coalition to fight the IRS.

AP Assemblywoman Amy Paulin,D-Scarsdale, has put together a coalition to fight the IRS. (Photo: Associated Press)

New Rochelle’s downtown redevelopment attempts have historically started and crumbled, as it did in the 1980s, which left a pile of debris near the train station for more than a decade, and again during the most recent economic recession. 

The city experienced a development boom since it changed its downtown zoning code in 2015, with several projects already being built and more in the pipeline, but Paulin worries that this could put a pin in the balloon. 

“I’m worried it will (stop the redevelopment),” she said. “I spoke to the mayor, and he’s worried as well. We’re going to meet with Con Ed this week. I’m hoping we can figure out something that we can do.”

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said, “This obviously has serious potential implication for our entire region.”

“We are consulting with government and utility officials in order to better understand options and constructive paths forward,” Bramson said. “It is essential that solutions emerge.”

In Yonkers, Mayor Mike Spano said the city’s building boom could be affected for as long as this moratorium lasts. 

“Developers are already telling us they can’t build more housing or commercial buildings until this is resolved,” he said. “Con Ed and the Public Service Commission need to implement an immediate plan to solve this.”

Denn said the PSC ordered utility companies, including Con Ed, to increase energy efficient and create “demand-response programs to lower gas demand and save consumers money.”

“These programs are up and running,” he said. “As these gas efficiency and demand response measures take hold, as well as others to meet demand growth, the PSC will carefully review changing market conditions and consider most appropriate additional steps Con Edison should take to meet the needs of its customers.”

The northernmost sections of the county have more capacity and may still be able to accept new customers, Con Edison said in its statement, and existing customers are not affected by the moratorium.

read more…

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/2019/01/18/con-eds-natural-gas-moratorium-halt-development-westchester/2616778002/

Mortgage rates average 4.46% | Bedhord Hills Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Surveyâ, showing that mortgage rates moved up slightly after weeks of moderating.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “Purchase applications were down this week after soaring early in the year. However, softening house price appreciation along with increasing inventory of homes on the market – and historically low mortgage rates –  should give a boost to the spring homebuying season.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.46 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending January 31, 2019, up from last week when it averaged 4.45 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.22 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.89 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.88 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.68 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.96 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.90 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.53 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 link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.