Robert is a realtor in Bedford NY. He has been successfully working with buyers and sellers since the early 1980's. His local area of expertise includes Bedford, Pound Ridge, Armonk, Lewisboro, Chappaqua and Katonah. When you have a local real estate question please call 914-325-5758.
The number of single-family homes built-for-rent fell slightly at the start of 2017, falling to 6,000 for the quarter. Over the last four quarters, total production of this type of housing was 33,000 homes.
According to data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, the market share of single-family homes built-for-rent, as measured on a one-year moving average, stood at 4.1% of total starts as of the first quarter of 2017.
Given the small size of the market segment, the quarter-to-quarter movements are not typically statistically significant. The current market share remains higher than the historical average of 2.8% but is down from the 5.8% reading registered at the start of 2013. This class of single-family construction excludes homes that are sold to another party for rental purposes. It only includes homes built and held for rental purposes.
With the onset of the Great Recession and the ongoing declines in the homeownership rate, the share of built-for-rent homes rose. Despite the current elevated market concentration, the total number of single-family starts built-for-rent remains low in terms of the total building market.
Of course, the built-for-rent share of single-family homes is considerably smaller than the single-family home portion of the rental housing stock, which is 35% according to the 2015 American Community Survey. As homes age, they are more likely to be rented. Thus, the primary source of single-family rental homes is not construction but the existing housing stock. In fact, from 2005 to 2015, 56% of the gains in the rental housing stock were due to single-family homes.
New home sales plummeted from last month, however the level of housing inventory showed improvement, according to a joint release from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Sales of new single-family homes in April came in at a seasonally adjusted rate of 569,000 sales, a decrease of 11.4% from last month’s 642,000 sales. However, this is up 0.5% from last year’s 566,000 sales.
Brent Nyitray, iServe Residential Lending director of capital markets, pointed out in his note to clients that new home sales are still lagging behind population growth.
Surprisingly, the median sales price dropped to $309,200, down from last month’s $315,100.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of April remained steady at 268,000 homes. But with the lower rate of sales, this represents a 5.7-month supply of homes, up from 5.4 months in March.
While falling home prices and an increase in inventory could show a cooling housing market, time will tell if this was a one-month drop or a new trend.
With so many events – engagement parties, showers, rehearsal dinners, after parties and send-off brunches – associated with your wedding day, food trucks are the perfect mobile way to break out of a catering rut. Six of our favorites offer a variety of cuisines and services perfect for all your events, or even the big day itself.
Based in Stamford, this duo of trucks offers seven grilled cheeses, plus sweet dessert melts.
The Menu: Rentals include the full menu (from the original to the jalapeno popper to the pulled pork with caramelized onions and pickles), plus any daily specials.
The Cost: Main service is $25/person; end-of-night service is $400 plus consumption. Bookings more than 1 hour from Stamford incur a $250 travel fee.
Test it Out: Follow Melt Mobile on facebook for a weekly list of locations.
Party of Two Catering operates this popular Hudson Valley-based truck specializing in fries tossed with flavorful seasonings or smothered in creative toppings.
The Menu: Choose from three options. The Basic Party (two hours of service, choose three menu items from more than 15 options) and the After Party (one hour of service, choose from seven options) both feature all-you-can-eat topped fries. The Toss Up is a pay-by-the-hour service and only includes tossed fries.
Cost: The Basic Party, $14 per guest; the After Party, $7 per guest; the Toss Up, $5 per guest per hour.
Test it Out: Follow Frites of NY on Facebook to find the truck at events.
Book it: www.fritesofny.com; truck is not permitted in Rockland, Greene or Albany counties.
The Souvlaki Truck
Greek street food (and thick-cut oregano fries) is the big draw for this Yonkers truck.
The Menu: Choose from Vending Style (guests order individually) or Buffet Style (setup of trays), to bring chicken souvlaki, pork souvlaki, lamb gyro, falafel, and fries to your guests.
The Cost: Vending style charges a truck rental fee (starts at $500) plus consumption; Buffet Style, $1,000 up to 50 guests, then $15 per guest.
Test it Out: The truck parks on Central Ave in Yonkers (between Fort Hill Ave and Ardsley Rd) Tuesday through Sunday.
A Yorkville duplex that slipped onto the market earlier this week comes with a unique backstory: It was the onetime home of great American songwriter Irving Berlin. The “God Bless America” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business” songster moved into the duplex at 130 East End Avenue in 1931 at the age of 43 along with his family. At the time, Berlin already had hits like “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and “Blue Skies” under his belt, but would go on to write “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” and “Say It Isn’t So” during the time he lived in the apartment.
Reflecting Ellin’s taste rather than [Irving’s], it was a formal, stately dwelling with impressive views of the East River. There was nothing showbizzy about the place; the antiques and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves quietly suggested the home of a wealthy, cultivated businessman possessed of exacting, if severe taste.
The Berlins lived in the apartment for the next 13 years, long enough for the space to be photographed by prolific American architectural photographer Samuel Gottscho. The photographs, on file with the Museum of the City of New York, show an apartment that today largely remains unchanged barring cosmetic upgrades like paint.
Today, the apartment shows just as stately with its sweeping entry staircase, black and white marble foyer floor, and 28-foot living room with a wood-burning fireplace and views onto the East River.
The two-bedroom, four-bathroom penthouse is on the market for $7.9 million, with monthly maintenance charges of $7,585. (Surely more pricey than in Berlin’s day.) The listing is held by Jane R. Andrews at Warburg.
America’s 4th Largest Brokerage to Unveil New Tagline, New Mobile App, A Re imagined Magazine + Expanded Art Partnerships
Douglas Elliman Real Estate, the #1 real estate brokerage in NYC and #4 nationwide, will launch its new brand campaign, It’s Time for Elliman – one that integrates media across all platforms, including newspapers, magazines, billboards, social, indoor and outdoor advertising and, for the first time for the brokerage, television. The new messaging will debut across television, print and digital media in all of the markets the company serves, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, The Hamptons and North Fork, Westchester and Putnam Counties, Connecticut, New Jersey, South Florida, Los Angeles, California and Aspen, Colorado.
“With our firm’s expansion efforts well underway across the country, we felt it was time to engage the public in new and exciting ways that drive home the key message that no matter the stage of life of homebuyers and sellers, It’s Time for Elliman,“ said Dana DeVito, Senior Vice President of Marketing for the nationally recognized firm.
The entire campaign underscores the important emotional and financial decisions involved in almost every real estate transaction. The ads, designed to celebrate diversity in America, underscore how the company’s over 6,000 highly-trained sales agents in 85 offices coast to coast help navigate clients through challenging markets, as well as important life milestones that call for a starter-apartment or a new primary or second residence; or the inevitable time in life when one decides to let go of their longtime, beloved home.
“By stating that ‘It’s Time for Elliman,’ we are reaching both existing and future clients with themes that duplicate the very human experiences and emotions we all share when buying or selling a home,” said Dottie Herman, the firm’s President and CEO. “Our message will resonate across all of our markets.”
Produced in partnership with award-winning Agency Sacks, highlights of the diverse nationwide campaign include giant billboards strategically located on the Long Island Expressway’s east and westbound approach to and from the Midtown Tunnel, as well on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, one of the most highly trafficked roadways in California. In addition, Douglas Elliman has struck a partnership with the iconic bus service, the Hampton Jitney, which will wrap buses with creative from the new campaign and the Douglas Elliman logo, which has also been redesigned. The company will be well-positioned at private and executive airports in Aspen and Los Angeles where many high net worth clients tend to travel. Douglas Elliman’s brand campaign will also extend to New York City’s highly visible buses and taxi tops.
“In all, we anticipate hitting close to three quarters of a billion potential customers nationwide with It’s Time for Elliman,“said Scott Durkin, COO of Douglas Elliman. “Our company will also unveil a new app and revamp its magazine, Elliman, which will appear for the Memorial Day weekend, with its primary emphasis on real estate.” In September, the magazine will sport a new look. Elliman will publish four times a year; two issues will be dedicated to re-sale and two issues to new development.
The firm has forged a new strategic partnership with Frieze New York, the art fair that has brought together the world’s leading modern and contemporary art galleries during the month of May 2017 and also has a longstanding relationship with Art Basel Miami and Design Miami which will continue once again in December 2017.
“Art and design are passion points for our company,” added DeVito. “The connection between art, design and real estate is undeniable, as our clients and our agents make a correlation between beauty and design found both inside and outside of the home.”
“Our efforts to increase brand awareness through this new campaign, along with forward–thinking approaches to expanding markets, technology and the visual arts, further propel us to the top of the real estate industry,” stated Durkin.
About Douglas Elliman Real Estate Established in 1911, Douglas Elliman Real Estate is the largest brokerage in the New York Metropolitan area and the fourth largest residential real estate company nationwide. With more than 6,000 agents, the company operates over 85 offices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, New Jersey, Long Island, the Hamptons & North Fork, Westchester, Greenwich, South Florida, Colorado and Beverly Hills. Moreover, Douglas Elliman has a strategic global alliance with London-based Knight Frank Residential for business in the worldwide luxury markets spanning 59 countries and six continents. The company also controls a portfolio of real estate services including Douglas Elliman Development Marketing; Manhattan’s largest residential property manager, Douglas Elliman Property Management with over 250 buildings; and DE Commercial. For more information on Douglas Elliman as well as expert commentary on emerging trends in the real estate industry, please visit www.elliman.com.
Single-family existing home sales are set to see their best year since 2006, driven by robust job gains and improving household confidence, according to the forecast from the National Association of Realtors.
While existing home sales are increasing, low levels of supply and rising affordability concerns are creating headwinds for sales and threatening the low homeownership rate.
The first quarter came in with the best sales pace for existing homes in a decade; NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun expects that pace to continue, finishing off 2017 with 5.62 million sales, the best pace since 2006. This would represent an increase of 3.5% from 2016.
And home sales aren’t the only thing predicted to rise. NAR also forecasts an increase of 5% in existing home prices in 2017.
However, starter home shortage continue to plague the housing market and discourage would-be first time homebuyers.
“We have been under the 50-year average of single-family housing starts for 10 years now,” Yun said. “Limited lots, labor shortages, tight construction lending and higher lumber costs are impeding the building industry’s ability to produce more single-family homes.”
“There’s little doubt first-time buyer participation would improve and the homeownership rate would rise if there was simply more inventory,” he said.
Yun predicted new home starts will rise 8.4% to 1.27 million in 2017. While an increase from the current pace, this is still 1.5 million homes below the amount needed to make up for insufficient building in recent years. New home sales are also expected to rise 8.4% from last year to 620,000 sales.
Jonathan Spader, Joint Center for Housing Studies senior research associate at Harvard University, joined Yun at the 2017 Realtors Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo to discuss the 2017 forecast. He explained the homeownership rate will hover between 61% and 65.1% as it faces headwinds such as an aging population, changes in family type and increasing diversity by race and ethnicity.
“Stagnant household incomes, rising rental costs, student loan debt and limited supply have all contributed to slower purchasing activity,” Spader said. “When the homeownership rate stabilizes, there will be an increase in homeowner households. Young and minority households’ ability to reach the market will play a big role in how much the actual rate can rise in coming years.”
But while home sales continue to rise to decade highs, economic growth is at its slowest since World War II. Mark Calabria, chief economist and assistant to Vice President Mike Pence, explained at the conference the housing market cannot be strong without a solid economic foundation.
“A strong labor market will drive a strong housing market, but you can’t have a strong housing market without a strong economic foundation,” Calabria said. “The recovery has been uneven with roughly 70 counties making up roughly half of all job growth.”
And while the first quarter gross domestic product did come in at a disappointing 0.7% growth, the second quarter will see an increase to about 2.2%, Yun said.
Yun predicts two more rate hikes this year to bring mortgage rates to an average 4.3% by the end of 2017, and climbing towards 5% in 2018.
“There was a lot of uncertainty at the start of the year, but a very strong first quarter sets the stage for a modest sales increase compared to last year,” Yun said. “However, prices are still rising too fast in many areas and are outpacing incomes.”
Earlier this month, Zillow Group Z, +0.39% , the popular online real estate data provider, reported blowout earnings. Revenue rose 32% compared to a year ago, and online visits were up 18%.
But there was a note of caution in its earnings release. In April, the company said, it had received a notice from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that questioned whether some of Zillow’s advertising revenues violated regulations against kickbacks.
At issue is the question of how a real estate service provider, like a real-estate agent or lender, gets business from a home buyer. Congress passed the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, also known as RESPA, in 1974 to make sure those providers weren’t funneling customers to each other in exchange for kickbacks or other inappropriate rewards.
Real estate market observers say that while Zillow’s broad footprint and accessible data have been a boon for customers, deciding whom to hire for the transaction is often a fraught process that could benefit from more transparency and less of the old handshake-deal approach that has often characterized real estate.
In Zillow’s case, what’s called “co-marketing” works by allowing a real estate agent to share the cost of an ad on the web site with a preferred lender.
This practice makes it seem as though those lenders or agents are receiving a seal of approval from each other or from Zillow itself. Many industry participants see the co-marketing process as little more than advertising that may appear like due diligence to a captive and uninformed customer.
There’s broad recognition among consumer advocates – and the CFPB itself – that would-be home buyers don’t shop for mortgages. It’s hard to spend the time required with more than one lender, and there are concerns about checking credit scores too frequently. And many lenders use confusing jargon that makes it hard for consumers to compare one offer to another.
“People do real estate transactions rarely, a couple times in their lifetime, so it’s not like people can gain experience, and it’s hard to shop around because you don’t know what you’re asking for,” said Andrew Pizor, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.
“It’s opaque and there’s very little competition,” Pizor continued. “It’s a horrible market. As a consumer advocate I have my doubts about the free market, but this is not a free market in terms of supply and demand and transparency. It just puts consumers even more at risk.”
As Pizor puts it, “you only want people to be making a referral for reasons based on the merits of the product or the service: they’re good and you trust them or they have a product you can’t get elsewhere, not because you’re getting referrals.”
The CFPB’s interest dates back to 2015. The agency has requested information several times since then, with the most recent request, a civil investigative demand, coming in April. “We are continuing to cooperate with the CFPB in connection with their most recent request for information,” Zillow’s earnings report noted. “We continue to believe that our acts and practices are lawful and that our co-marketing program allows lenders and agents to comply with RESPA.”
The next step, Zillow added, could be what’s known as an “enforcement action,” which could include “restitution, civil monetary penalties, injunctive relief or other corrective action. We cannot provide assurance that the CFPB will not ultimately commence a legal action against us in this matter, nor are we able to predict the likely outcome of the investigation into this matter.”
A Zillow spokeswoman declined to answer MarketWatch questions on the scale of the co-marketing program. Company management fielded four analyst questions on the CFPB review on its quarterly earnings call and said little except that “it’s a small portion of overall revenue.”
But the prepared remarks for the earnings release noted that customer leads rose 30% compared to a year ago in the first quarter, and “we continue to expect that growth in contacts sent to Premier Agent advertisers will outpace unique user growth.”
In an emailed statement, the spokeswoman wrote, “Zillow offers myriad ways for consumers to comparison shop for lenders and agents. Rather than offer a few service providers, consumers can browse more than a million reviews for agents and lenders, including published, up-to-the-minute mortgage rates being offered and skill sets of particular agents. Zillow Group’s mission is to give consumers lots of information so they can make good choices when choosing agents and lenders for one of the most important transactions of their lives.”
The CFPB also declined to discuss the matter with MarketWatch.
The agency usually only takes actions like the ones against Zillow when it believes its case is “pretty clear-cut,” Pizor told MarketWatch. “I think the CFPB is being generous. I think the law is pretty clear.”
Still, Pizor said, a ruling from the CFPB would help bring clarity to the market – a step many real estate professionals would welcome. The National Association of Realtors has released best practices materials recommendations and industry lawyers are watching carefully.
The CFPB earlier this year fined Prospect Mortgage, a lender, with failing to comply with RESPA. It also fined two real estate brokers and a mortgage servicer, all of whom it said took kickbacks from Prospect.
To many industry participants, it seems clear that the co-marketing arrangement must be very profitable for Zillow. Why else would a new-media company founded to, as it says in its mission statement, “empower” customers with new ways of shopping for and maintaining a home cling to an outdated way of doing business, rather than trying to disrupt it with a newer, better model?
“Nobody is doing referral fees any more. They were done away with. Marketing service agreements are the next wave of that,” said Brian Faux, CEO of Morty, an online mortgage brokerage.
Faux describes Zillow as a “great web site with a lot of data that’s good for consumers,” including data that helps them understand the cost of owning a home.
30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.02 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending May 18, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 4.05 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.58 percent.
15-year FRM this week averaged 3.27 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.29 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.81 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.
Quote Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.
“The 30-year mortgage rate fell 3 basis points this week to 4.02 percent. However, this week’s survey closed prior to Wednesday’s flight to quality. The delayed impact of the associated decline in Treasury yields may push mortgage rates lower in next week’s survey.”
After increasing and leveling off in recent years, new single-family home size continued along a general trend of decreasing size during the start of 2017. This change marks a reversal of the trend that had been in place as builders focused on the higher end of the market during the recovery. As the entry-level market expands, including growth for townhouses, typical new home size is expected to decline.
On a less volatile one-year moving average, the recent trend of declines in new home size can be see on the graph above, although current readings remain elevated. Since cycle lows (and on a one-year moving average basis), the average size of new single-family homes is 10% higher at 2,624 square feet, while the median size is 14% higher at 2,402 square feet.
The first quarter of 2017 saw the strongest quarterly home sales pace in a decade, according to the latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors.
This increase in home sales put downward pressure on housing inventory levels and caused home prices growth to accelerate its rate of increase in the first quarter, the report states. In fact, metro home prices now accelerated for three consecutive quarters.
The national median home price increased to $232,100, up 6.9% from the first quarter of 2016. This represents the fastest rate of growth since the second quarter of 2015.
“Prospective buyers poured into the market to start the year, and while their increased presence led to a boost in sales, new listings failed to keep up and hovered around record lows all quarter,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Those able to successfully buy most likely had to outbid others, especially for those in the starter-home market, which in turn quickened price growth to the fastest quarterly pace in almost two years.”
Single family home prices increased in 85% of markets as 152 of 178 metropolitan statistical areas showed sales prices gains in the first quarter, the report states. However, in 14 MSAs, home prices decreased year-over-year.
“Several metro areas with the healthiest job gains in recent years continue to see a large upswing in buyer demand but lack the commensurate ramp up in new home construction,” Yun said. “This is why many of these areas, in particular several parts of the South and West, are seeing unhealthy price appreciation that far exceeds incomes.”
Total existing home sales, including single-family homes and condos, increased 1.4% in the first quarter to a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.62 million, the highest rate since the first quarter of 2007. This is up from 5.55 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 and from 5.36 million in the first quarter of 2016.
Housing inventory, however, decreased 6.6% from 1.96 million homes for sale in the first quarter last year to 1.83 million this year. This average supply rested at 3.7 months in the first quarter, down from 4.2 months last year.
And while median income is increasing,, hitting a national average of $71,201, higher mortgage rates and home prices weakened affordability.
“Last quarter’s robust pace of sales was especially impressive considering the affordability sting buyers experienced from higher prices and mortgage rates,” Yun said. “High demand is poised to continue heading into the summer as long as job gains continue. However, many metro areas need to see a significant rise in new and existing inventory to meet this demand and cool down price growth.”