Monthly Archives: February 2020

New Freddie Mac Survey Shows Affordability Continues to Drive Purchase and Rental Decisions | Cross River Real Estate

Renters and Homeowners Consider their Options Given Low Mortgage Rates 

Key Findings:

  • An unprecedented number of renters (84%) believe renting is more affordable than owning, an all-time high for the survey and up 17 percentage points from February 2018.
  • Regardless, affordability issues continue to affect renters more than owners, as 42% of renters paid more than a third of their household income on rent compared to 24% of owners on their mortgage.
  • Given low interest rates, 40% of renters plan to purchase a home and 46% of owners plan to renovate in the next several months.

A new Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) survey shows that affordability remains top of mind for those individuals looking to rent or purchase a home. In fact, Freddie Mac’s “Profile of Today’s Renter and Owner” shows that while vast majorities of renters and owners believe their current living situation is the most affordable option, issues of affordability remain pervasive. The findings also document the impact of the current interest rate environment on buying preferences, and highlight the housing preferences of Baby Boomers in particular.

“The housing market is strong and, based on our survey, the low mortgage rate environment may inspire both renters and owners to make an educated move this spring,” said David Brickman, CEO of Freddie Mac. “While Baby Boomers tend to be satisfied with their current housing situation, younger generations are still struggling to determine whether to rent or purchase a home, largely due to lack of supply and affordability constraints.”

Renters Perceive Renting as More Affordable

When it comes to renting, the survey finds that an unprecedented number of renters (84%) believe renting is more affordable than owning, an all-time high for the survey and up 17 percentage points from just two years ago in February 2018. Additionally, a majority (62%) of renters continue to be satisfied with their rental experience, down slightly from 66% in 2018. In fact, 73% of renters feel that minor or no renovations should be made to their rental property—another strong sign they’re happy with their current rental.

However, while renters do feel renting is the more affordable option, the new survey does paint a concerning picture about many renters’ ability to make housing work within their family budget. Specifically:

  • Forty-two percent of renters surveyed are currently cost-burdened, i.e., paying more than one-third of their income for rent, up eight points from just April of 2019. This is compared with only 24% of owners spending the same amount, a number that has not changed in recent years.
  • Eighteen percent of renters are not interested in ever purchasing a home, up four points from August 2017.
  • Renters are growing more concerned about their rent going up in the next 12 months (69%) and not being able to pay for their larger expenses (68%).
  • Sixty-seven percent of renters have made spending changes or have moved to afford their monthly housing payment, up five points from April 2019. Among those who live in rural areas, 70% made changes to afford their monthly payment (up from 59% in April 2019). Eighty-two percent of renters in the “essential workforce” also had to adjust (up from 76% in April 2019).
  • Half of all renters are finding it difficult to find affordable housing that is close to work, up 22% since April 2019. This includes 57% of essential workers, up 23% from April.

Interest Rate Environment

With mortgage rates near historic lows, both renters and homeowners are interested in taking advantage of low rates in the next several months. In fact, 40% of renters plan to purchase a home given current interest rates.

Forty-six percent of owners plan to renovate their home. In addition:

  • Twenty-nine percent of owners plan to refinance;
  • Twenty-seven percent would like to purchase a new home or additional investment property;
  • Twenty-six percent plan to sell their current home and purchase a smaller one; and
  • Twenty-four percent think it is likely they would sell and purchase a larger home.

The survey also finds that Baby Boomers are the least likely to take action in the low mortgage rate environment.

Boomers are Comfortable and Unnerved by Rate Changes

As compared to other generations, Baby Boomers stood out in the survey. As owners, they are highly satisfied (71%) with their overall experience and prefer to live in a small home (61%). Similarly, Boomer renters are more satisfied (50%) with their rental experience as compared to other generations (older Millennials 39%, Gen X 35%, younger Millennials 33%).

Further, growing portions of Boomer renters (27%) say they will never move, as compared to Gen X (9%) and Millennials (6%). The same is true for Boomer owners, with an increasing percentage (34%) saying they will never move, as compared to Gen X (18%) and Millennials (8%).

Freddie Mac contracted with Harris Insights & Analytics to conduct the online survey over a four-day period, beginning August 22. The poll collected data from 4,012 respondents over the age of 18, including 2,715 homeowners, 1,233 renters and 64 others. The data has been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Additional findings from Freddie Mac’s survey can be found here.

Buying property in Molise Italy | Katonah Real Estate

buy a property in Molise

Have you ever heard about Molise?

Molise is a small region in the south of Italy. Molise is not a famous region, it is still off the tourist track but this doesn’t mean that this area has nothing to offer to its visitors.  There are beautiful sanctuaries, churches, abbeys, castles, medieval villages and  wonderful archeological sites.

Molise: where the nature is wild and uncontaminated, the climate is mild and just in one hour it’s possible to move from the sandy beaches of the Adriatic sea to the green mountains and clay hills.

Why should you buy a property in Molise?


Buy a house in Molise is an excellent investment: the region is in a perfect position (3 hours driving from Rome, 2 from Naples and the Amalfi Coast) and property prices are still low.

Just to give you an idea…

You can buy a stone town house for only 3.800Euros (approx $4.200 – £2693- http://bit.ly/1VpHZaZ) or small one-bed apartment for 6.500Euros ($7,188 – £4.607- http://bit.ly/1Ii8kE4) or a country house with land for 18.000Euros ($19.900 – £12.758- http://bit.ly/1OuLKaB ).

Of course all those properties need a complete restoration.

buy a property in Molise

Even if Molise is still uncontaminated by the global market, the “second houses” market is growing up and actually is very lively (despite the worldwide real estate crisis). Many foreign buyers and investors are buying in this lovely area for many reasons. I’ve written down the five top reasons why people should buy a property in Molise:

  • THE COST OF LIVING IS RELATIVELY LOW Molisan people live in small villages with a monthly wage of 800-900 euros;
  • HOSPITALITY Molisan people are very welcoming and happy to meet new people. You will feel part of a big family!
  • MOLISE IS AWAY FROM TOURISTS you won’t find a multi-races population, the few “foreign” families are well integrated with the local inhabitants
  • THE POSSIBILITY OF LIVING THE REAL ITALY WHERE PEOPLE STILL KEEP THE ORIGINAL TRADITIONS each place holds the authentic flavour of its history, people still celebrate ancient rites which have been repeated with every passing season, the ancient trades are handed down from father to son. In these villages there are craftsmen who have remained untouched by industrialization and are still producing uniquely and precious objects
  • BREATH-TAKING SCENERIES, QUIET AND PEACEFUL VILLAGES the region is characterised by different types of mountain ranges and with its great variety of climate, it lends itself to many different sports-trekking, horse-riding,cycling, canoeing, skiing and climbing.Living in this small slice of Italy can be easy and healthy.Molise could be a very safe place to buy your second home in Italy!

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NYS median home sales price rises 7.4% | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Albany, NY – A strong economy sent buyers in search of their dream home in 2019, yet many were constrained by low inventory levels all year, according to the housing report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS®.

Low inventory in 2019 continued to push median sales prices up for the year. Inventory of homes for sale fell 8.4 percent to 56,214 units in 2019 compared to 2018. Median sales prices, in turn, climbed 7.4 percent to $290,000 compared to last year. December marks the 47th consecutive month that the median sales price was up in month-over-month comparisons.

In 2019, closed sales were down slightly – 1.1 percent to 131,656 units. New listings did inch up 0.6-percent in 2019 to 206,192 units compared to 2018. Pending sales were also up 3.0 percent to 136,497 homes year-to-date.

Mortgage rates in 2019 were up slightly on a 30-year fixed mortgage to 3.94 percent, according to Freddie Mac, yet they are still over a half a percent lower than they were in 2018, helping to balance affordability concerns caused by continued price appreciation.

New listings did inch up 0.6-percent in 2019 to 206,192 units compared to 2018. Pending sales were also up 3.0 percent to 136,497 homes year-to-date.

In 2019, due to the low inventory, buyers did receive 97.4 percent of list price, up 0.1-percent from 2018.

Data and analysis compiled for the New York State Association of REALTORS® by Showing Time Inc.

December 2019

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Minority homeownership rate increases | Bedford Real Estate

The minority homeownership rate increased to 48.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 0.8 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a new data release from the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancies and Homeownership survey (CPS/HVS) (Figure 1). This is the highest it has been since the third quarter of 2011 (48.9 percent). This year-over-year gain is higher than the gain in the overall U.S. homeownership rate, which rose 0.3 percentage points to 65.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 (a six-year high). A separate Eyeonhousing.org post covers the U.S. homeownership rate in more detail.

Breaking down the minority homeownership rate shows that the Hispanic homeownership rate gained the most in the fourth quarter, with a 1.2 percentage point increase to 48.1 percent (from 46.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018).

The black homeownership rate posted the second largest gain of 1.0 percentage points to reach 44.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019 (from 43.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018). This is the largest quarter gain in the black homeownership rate since the first quarter of 2017.

Meanwhile, Other households (Asian, Pacific-Islander, Native American, and other race households) experienced a decline in their homeownership rate, dropping 1.0 percentage points to 57.1 percent (from 58.1 percent in the third quarter of 2019). The Other homeownership rate has now declined for four consecutive quarters (year-over-year declines), which is in contrast to strong gains seen for this group between the second quarter of 2017 and the third quarter of 2018.

The white homeownership grew by only 0.1 percentage points to 73.7 percent in the fourth quarter (from 73.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018). The white homeownership rate has not declined year-over-year since the first quarter of 2017 (Figure 2).

Mortgage rates are still relatively low, and a healthy job market has helped to make homeownership more affordable. In fact, housing affordability was at a three-year high in the third quarter of 2019, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). These factors are most likely contributing to the recent upticks in the overall and minority homeownership rates.

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Single family rent prices increase 3% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Price of low-end rentals still outpacing higher-end homes

Single-family rent prices increased 3% in November 2019 over the same time period in the previous year, according to CoreLogic’s Single-Family Rent Index,

In October, low-end rent prices went up 3.6%, while high-end price gains rose 2.9%.

(Image courtesy of CoreLogic. Click to enlarge.)

Overall, year-over-year rent price increases have slowed down since February 2016. During this time, they peaked at 4.2%, and stabilized at around 3% since early last year.

November 2019 was the 67th month in a row that low-end rentals propped up national rent growth, the report said.

Low-end rental prices increased 3.6% year over year in November 2019, down slightly from November 2018’s rent gain of 3.8%.

High-end rentals increased 2.7% in November 2019, and the report says this remains unchanged from the previous year.

For the 12th month in a row, Phoenix has the highest year over year increase in single-family rent prices in November, at 6.9%. Neighboring town Tucson had the second-highest rent price growth, with gains of 5.7%.

Miami had the lowest rent increase in November, at 0.7%. Miami had the lowest amount of rent increase in October as well, at 1%, the same amount of increase it saw in September.

For October, Phoenix was the market that saw the highest uptick in rent, with the highest year over year increase in single-family rents at 6.8%, according to CoreLogic.

“Strong rent growth in the Southwest reflects strong population growth in this part of the U.S.,” said Molly Boesel, principal economist at CoreLogic. “Arizona ranked third for population growth in 2019 by both number and percentage increase, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In contrast, Illinois and Hawaii both had a decrease in population in 2019, which could account for the slower rent growth in these regions.”

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Remodeling market rising | Bedford Corners Real Estate

The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Remodeling Market Index (RMI) posted a reading of 58 in the fourth quarter of 2019, up three points from the previous quarter (Figure 1). The RMI has been consistently above 50—indicating that more remodelers report market activity is higher compared to the prior quarter than report it is lower—since the second quarter of 2013. The overall RMI averages current remodeling activity and future indicators.

Current market conditions increased two points to 56 in the fourth quarter of 2019 (Figure 2). Among its three major components, major additions and alterations gained four points to 56, minor additions and alterations increased by one point to 54 and the home maintenance and repair component rose one point to 58.

The future market indicators gained three points to 60 in the fourth quarter (Figure 3). Calls for bids increased by three to 58, amount of work committed for the next three months gained three points to 57, the backlog of remodeling jobs jumped five points 64 and appointments for proposals increased by two points to 62.

The fourth quarter RMI reading reflects solid demand for remodeling, supported by a strong overall economy and low interest rates. Remodelers still face challenges in the market, including skilled labor shortages, making it harder to work off a backlog quickly.

For the full RMI tables, please visit www.nahb.org/rmi. For more information about remodeling, visit www.nahb.org/remodel.

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Home prices up 4.9% for year | Chappaqua Homes

Home prices increased in November, rising only 0.2% from the previous month’s revised pace, but up 4.9% from 2018, according to the latest monthly House Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The FHFA monthly HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because of this, the selection excludes high-end homes bought with jumbo loans or cash sales.

The report explains that across the nine census divisions, the East North Central division saw the strongest appreciation growth, increasing by 0.8% November, whereas the Mountain division experienced no growth, as appreciation declined 0.1%.

However, the FHFA highlights that the 12-month changes were all positive, with the New England and the West South Central divisions posting the smallest gain of 3.8%, and the Mountain division leading the way with a 6.3% increase.

These are the states located in each division mentioned:

East North-Central: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio

Mountain: Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico

New England: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut

West South Central: Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana

The chart below compares 12-month price changes to the prior year:

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Mortgage rates fall to 3.45% | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate was the lowest in three years.

“As rates fell for the third consecutive week, markets staged a rebound with increases in manufacturing and service sector activity,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “The combination of very low mortgage rates, a strong economy and more positive financial market sentiment all point to home purchase demand continuing to rise over the next few months.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 6, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 3.51 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.41 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.97 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.00 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.84 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.32 percent with an average 0.2 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.24 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.91 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.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Existing home sales surge | Armonk Real Estate

After a slight decline last month, existing home sales, released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), surged to near two-year high in December.

Total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 3.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.54 million in December, the highest level since February 2018. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 10.8% higher than a year ago.

The first-time buyer share slightly decreased to 31% in December from 32% last month and a year ago. The December inventory decreased to 1.40 million units from 1.64 million units in November and 1.53 million units a year ago. At the current sales rate, the December unsold inventory represents a 3.0-month supply, down from a 3.7-month supply last month and a year ago. Unsold inventory has dropped for seven consecutive months.

Homes stayed on the market for an average of 41 days in December, up from 38 days last month but down from 46 days a year ago. In December, 43% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.

The December all-cash sales shared 20% of transactions, unchanged from last month and down slightly from 22% a year ago.

The December median sales price of all existing homes was $274,500, up 7.8% from a year ago, representing the 94th consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median existing condominium/co-op price of $255,400 in December was up 6.0% from a year ago.

Regionally, all regions saw an increase in existing home sales in December except for the Midwest, compared to previous month. Sales in the Midwest declined 1.5% from last month. On a year-over-year basis, sales rose in all four major regions, ranging from 8.8% in the Northeast to 12.4% in the South.

Though the housing market has been lifted this year by lower mortgage rates and continuing job expansion, the growth has also been curbed by low housing inventory and elevated home prices. As economic conditions are expected to remain favorable for homebuyers, more inventory is needed for further home building gains in 2020.

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California median price jumps 10% | Mt Kisco Real Estate

The median price for a single-family home in California jumped 10% in December, the biggest year-over-year gain in more than four years, as low mortgage rates and a shortage of homes for sale boosted competition for properties.

The state’s median home price was $615,090, more than double the U.S. median, according to the California Association of Realtors. Home sales rose 7.4% compared with December 2018.

“California experienced an unusual jump in its median price at the end of the year when the market is supposed to cool down,” said CAR Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. “The surge in price is a byproduct of the imbalance between supply and demand as market competition continues to heat up.”

The supply of homes for sale, measured as the amount of time it would take to sell off existing stock, shrank to 2.5 months from 3.5 months a year earlier.

The Los Angeles metro area saw the biggest jump in home prices, up 10% from a year earlier to a median of $550,000. Sales surged 16%, CAR said.

The next-biggest jump was in the cheapest area of the state. The Central Valley, an inland swath that runs about 450 miles from Bakersfield to Redding, had a median price of $342,000 in December, a jump of 7.7% from a year earlier, according to CAR data. Sales rose 12% in the same period.

The Inland Empire, east of Los Angeles, had a median price of $385,000, up 7.2% from a year ago, and sales were up 13%, the CAR report said.

The San Francisco Bay area, the most expensive region, had a median price of $908,750, up 6.9% from a year ago. Sales jumped 16% in the same period.

The Central Coast, stretching from Los Angeles to San Francisco, had a 2.2% drop in median price to $700,000. Sales surged up 42% as buyers rushed to snap up the lower prices, CAR said.

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