Category Archives: Armonk

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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FHFA Announces Maximum Conforming Loan Limits for 2020 | Armonk Real Estate

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today announced the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2020.  In most of the U.S., the 2020 maximum conforming loan limit for one-unit properties will be $510,400, an increase from $484,350 in 2019. 

Baseline limit

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) requires that the baseline conforming loan limit be adjusted each year for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to reflect the change in the average U.S. home price.  Earlier today, FHFA published its third quarter 2019 FHFA House Price Index (HPI) report, which includes estimates for the increase in the average U.S. home value over the last four quarters.  According to FHFA’s seasonally adjusted, expanded-data HPI, house prices increased 5.38 percent, on average, between the third quarters of 2018 and 2019.  Therefore, the baseline maximum conforming loan limit in 2020 will increase by the same percentage. 

High-cost area limits

For areas in which 115 percent of the local median home value exceeds the baseline conforming loan limit, the maximum loan limit will be higher than the baseline loan limit.  HERA establishes the maximum loan limit in those areas as a multiple of the area median home value, while setting a “ceiling” on that limit of 150 percent of the baseline loan limit.  Median home values generally increased in high-cost areas in 2019, driving up the maximum loan limits in many areas.  The new ceiling loan limit for one-unit properties in most high-cost areas will be $765,600 — or 150 percent of $510,400. 

Special statutory provisions establish different loan limit calculations for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  In these areas, the baseline loan limit will be $765,600 for one-unit properties.

As a result of generally rising home values, the increase in the baseline loan limit, and the increase in the ceiling loan limit, the maximum conforming loan limit will be higher in 2020 in all but 43 counties or county equivalents in the U.S.   

Questions about the 2020 conforming loan limits can be addressed to LoanLimitQuestions@fhfa.gov and more information is available at https://www.fhfa.gov/CLLs.

  • For a list of the 2020 maximum loan limits for all counties and county-equivalent areas in the U.S. click here
  • For a map showing the 2020 maximum loan limits across the U.S. click here.  
  • For a detailed description of the methodology used to determine the maximum loan limits in accordance with HERA, click here.

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https://www.fhfa.gov/Media/PublicAffairs/Pages/FHFA-Announces-Maximum-Conforming-Loan-Limits-for-2020.aspx

Mortgage rates average 3.66% | Armonk Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.66 percent.

“The housing market continues to steadily gain momentum with rising homebuyer demand and increased construction due to the strong job market, ebullient market sentiment and low mortgage rates,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Residential real estate accounts for one-sixth of the economy, and the improving real estate market will support economic growth heading into next year.”

News Facts

30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.66 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending November 21, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 3.75 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.81 percent.
15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.15 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.20 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.24 percent.
5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.39 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.44 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.09 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.

Leftist Utopia California shuts lights again | Armonk Real Estate

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it may cut off power to roughly 303,000 customers across 25 counties in California this week to reduce the risk of the utility’s equipment sparking a wildfire.

PG&E said a strong offshore wind early Wednesday morning and dry conditions may lead to power shutoffs for customers in the Sierra Foothills, the North Valley, North Bay and other parts of the Bay Area. Customers that could be impacted in those regions were notified Monday morning.

By Monday night, the potential Public Safety Power Shutoffs were expanded to include Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo. Customers that could be impacted in those regions were notified Monday afternoon.

Shutoffs would begin Wednesday morning if they’re enacted. PG&E said its goal would be to return power to customers by Monday.

Can’t see the map? CLICK HERE

“If PG&E calls the PSPS, the shutoffs will take place in phases beginning Wednesday morning through early afternoon, based on local weather conditions,” the utility said in a news release Monday night.

The shutoffs are part of PG&E’s Public Safety Power Shutoff program, which is designed to reduce the threat of wildfires that could be sparked by lines brought down in gusting winds. PG&E’s equipment has been blamed for causing a series of destructive wildfires in recent years.

PG&E’s power shutoffs have drawn ire from residents, businesses and local governments. Gov. Gavin Newsom has threatened a possible state takeover of the troubled utility.

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https://www.kcra.com/article/pge-shutoffs-november-18-update-california/29833826

New York City housing shortage could create economic headwind | Armonk Real Estate

The lack of affordable housing in New York City and its suburbs could threaten job creation and future economic job growth, according to a new report from the city’s Planning Department.

“The region’s housing supply has not been keeping up with job growth in recent years,” the report said. “This pattern would be expected to heighten affordability challenges and create headwinds to further business growth.”

Released Wednesday, the 32-page report found that New York averaged just 45,800 permits for new apartments and homes per year between 2009 and 2018. That’s down about 30 percent from the period between 2001 and 2008, when the city and its tri-state suburbs averaged 63,600 units per year.

The Central Park Tower, center, is under construction, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019 in New York. At 1550 feet (472 meters) the tower is the world’s tallest residential apartment building, according to the developer, Extell Development Co. (AP Photo/Mark L

Prior to the financial crisis, the city and its suburbs, including Long Island, Westchester, northern New Jersey and Connecticut, created an average of 2.2 new houses or apartments per new job. But that number has slipped in the decade since the recession as job growth skyrocketed, falling to just 0.5 units added per job.

Over the last 10 years, New York City averaged 20,000 new homes or apartments annually, granting far more housing permits than any of its suburbs.

City Hall said in a statement to the New York Post, which first reported the news, that in 2018, New York issued 22,000 new housing units.

“It’s key that we continue to produce housing at a high pace, and we need our neighbors to do the same if we are going to address regional housing affordability and support economic growth,” City Planning spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff told the Post.

According to an “Affordability Index” published by Comptroller Scott Stringer, the impacts of expensive housing costs varied across households. Rent swallowed up 37 percent of the average single adult’s earnings, but that figure, at 47 percent, was even higher for single parents. It accounted for 26 percent of married couples’ budgets.

“New York City’s affordability crisis impacts every New Yorker and every community — and the numbers laid out in our affordability index shine a light on this worsening crisis,” Stringer said.

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https://www.foxbusiness.com/real-estate/new-york-city-housing-shortage-jeopardizes-economic-boom

CA/NY rent control’s “chilling effect” on development | Armonk Real Estate

Equity Group president Sam Zell (Credit: Getty Images, iStock, Equity Apartments)

Equity Group president Sam Zell (Credit: Getty Images, iStock, Equity Apartments)

Sam Zell’s Equity Residential said rent control is having a “chilling effect” on capital going into development.

The real estate investment trust, which owns 80,000 units nationwide, saw its total revenue from rental income and fee and asset management increase to $685 million in the third quarter, from $652 million a year earlier. But on Wednesday’s third-quarter earnings call, executives pointed to how the recent overhaul of rent laws in New York and California were impacting the company’s bottom line.

Equity Residential, which owns 9,600 apartments in New York, said it experienced a 50 basis point drop in renewal increases on rentals in the second half of the year in the state — plus a $400,000 loss in application and late fees.

In June, application fees on rental apartments in New York were capped at $20 dollars for rental apartments. Late fees were also limited to $50 or 5 percent of the rent, whichever is less, and can only be charged after five days of non-payment. Equity Residential has been selling off some of its residential holdings in New York over the last year or so.

Meanwhile, in California, 70 percent of Equity Residential’s 36,805 units will be affected by the state’s new rent control measure, which caps annual rent increases to 5 percent above the consumer price index.

The firm also had stern words for lawmakers who enacted rent control in California and those who tightened regulations in New York, assuring investors that it would not sit idly by while activists continue to push for regulations.

“Through our trade associations, we’ll encourage lawmakers to remove regulatory barriers to new housing construction and incentives to build housing,” said CEO Mark Parrell.

Equity Residential, a member of the California Apartment Association, a real estate trade association that represents large owners and institutional investors, spent $4.3 million to oppose California’s Proposition 10 last year. While the measure was ultimately unsuccessful, the bill’s promoter, Aids Health Foundation CEO Michael Weinstein, is gathering signatures for another similar measure to lift restrictions on rent control.

On the company’s second-quarter earnings call in May, Parrell said, “rent control is a risk, just like climate change, just like the financial strength of the municipality.”

The REIT, a subsidiary of Zell’s Equity Group, has holdings primarily in Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., Seattle, San Francisco, Southern California and Denver.

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https://therealdeal.com/national/2019/10/23/equity-residential-decries-rent-controls-chilling-effect-on-development-on-q3-earnings-call

Mortgage rates average 3.65% | Armonk NY 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 (FRM) averaged 3.65 percent, a slight increase from last week.

“While mortgage rates generally held steady this week, overall mortgage demand remained very strong, rising over fifty percent from a year ago thanks to increases in both refinance and purchase mortgage applications,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “As economic growth decelerates, it is clear that low mortgage rates will continue to support the mortgage market and we expect that to persist for the remainder of the year.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.65 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending September 26, 2019, slightly up from last week when it averaged 3.64 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.71 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.14 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.16 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.15 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.38 percent with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 4.01 percent.

2019 Builders choice and custom home design awards | Armonk Real Estate

Casey Dunn

Sixteen projects earned accolades from our panel of judges for this year’s Builder’s Choice & Custom Home Design Awards program, representing some of the best residential design work being constructed today.

Overall, the jurors—J. Carson Looney of Memphis, Tenn.–based Looney Ricks Kiss, Michael Hennessey of San Francisco–based Michael Hennessey Architecture, and Jonathan Tate of New Orleans–based Office of Jonathan Tate—praised function in smaller footprints, use of innovative building materials, and remodels that respect the existing architecture. From production homes to interior renovations to meticulously crafted custom abodes, there is no shortage of inspiration below for you to reimagine for your own projects.

EXPLORE: ALL PROJECT OF THE YEAR GRAND AWARD MERIT AWARD

PROJECT OF THE YEARSugar Shack Residence

GRAND AWARDRenovation on Cox’s Row

GRAND AWARDGlen Ellen Aerie

GRAND AWARDOld Orchard

GRAND AWARDOne Museum Place

MERIT AWARDBlack Metal & White Plaster

MERIT AWARDLipton Thayer Brick House

MERIT AWARDBridgehampton House

MERIT AWARDTree House

MERIT AWARDVenice Beach

MERIT AWARDGrant Street House

MERIT AWARDBlue Sail

MERIT AWARDBig Mouth House

MERIT AWARDThe Sanctuary

MERIT AWARDQuimby Pool House

MERIT AWARDScott’s Grove
Affordable Housing

View past years’ Builder’s Choice & Custom Home Design Award winners here.

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https://www.builderonline.com/design/awards/2019-builders-choice-custom-home-design-awards_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=BP_091019&

Housing is providing another in a line of troubling signs pointing to an economic downturn | Armonk Real Estate

GP: Home for sale New home sales.

A for sale sign stands before property for sale in Monterey Park, California.Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

A Federal Reserve economist says the current housing backdrop is similar to recent economic slumps, with several metrics “consistent with the possibility of a late 2019 or early 2020 recession.”

“Data on single-family home sales through May 2019 confirm that housing markets in all regions of the country are weakening,” the St. Louis Fed’s William R. Emmons said in a report posted on the central bank district’s site. “The severity of the housing downturn appears comparable across regions—in all cases, it’s much less severe than the experience leading to the Great Recession but similar to the periods before the 1990-91 and 2001 recessions.”

Specifically, Emmons looked at sales numbers for the 12 months ending May 2019 compared to the average over the past three years. He uses December 2019 as the “plausible month for peak growth” in the current case, and then looks at how far back from the peak was the first month in which sales fell below their three-year average in the previous three recessions. 

WATCH NOWVIDEO02:50Here’s what Fannie Mae is forecasting for the housing market

The process may seem at least somewhat opaque, but Emmons said it has been a reliable indicator from the housing market for when the next recession is due — usually about a year away, according to historical trends.

In the Northeast, for instance, August 2018 was the first month that sales fell below the region’s three-year average. That would be 16 months from the December 2019 assumed peak. In the previous recessions, the first negative month respectively came 23, 10 and 21 months before the peak. That would put the current pattern within the historical range, Emmons wrote.

These charts look at how each region stacks up. The four lines each represent a recession; the deviation of the 12-month sales average toward the three-year average decreases until it goes negative; the charts then show how long it took before a recession hit:

In addition to the sales numbers, Emmons said current mortgage rates, inflation-adjusted house prices and residential investment’s contribution to economic growth are similar to patterns that preceded the most recent three recessions.

Single-family home sales work best as indicator, he said, because the other metrics are national in nature and thus don’t reflect whether the deterioration has spread through all regions.

“Considering signals from other housing indicators and from indicators outside housing with good forecasting track records (such as the Treasury yield curve), the regional housing data noted here merit close attention,” Emmons wrote.Calling for rate cut

The St. Louis Fed, where Emmons works, is led by its president, James Bullard, who has been one of the loudest voices on the Federal Open Market Committee advocating for an interest rate cut. Bullard was the lone member of the monetary policymaking body in June to vote against keeping the benchmark funds rate steady. He is advocating an “insurance” cut to head off anticipated economic weakness.

Markets are anticipating up to three rate cuts this year, though most Fed officials have not committed to policy easing ahead of the July 30-31 FOMC meeting.

There are mounting signs that global weakness and business concerns over tariffs could hamper U.S. growth or cause an outright recession.

The New York Fed uses the spread between the 10-year and three-month Treasury yields to determine the probability of a recession over the next 12 months. That part of the yield curve has inverted, which has been a reliable recession indicator. Chances for negative growth by May 2020 are at 29.6%, up from 27.5% in April and the highest level since May 31, 2008, just as the financial crisis was set to explode in September.

Still, there are hopes that the U.S. can withstand a significant downturn.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester, in a speech Tuesday, pointed out that the economy has been resilient through growth scares during a recovery that began 10 years ago. Mester said she expects housing to be neutral for growth this year.

Also, Joseph LaVorgna, chief Americas economist at Latixis, said a diffusion index of leading economic indicators is showing positive trends for six out of 10 components, indicating that “the risk of a downturn remains relatively low.”

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https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/02/home-sales-point-to-recession-in-late-2019-or-2020-fed-economist-says.html?__source=newsletter%7Ceveningbrief

Existing home sales up, prices up | Armonk Real Estate

Existing home sales rebound, but manufacturing and services sector activity cools

Existing-home sales rebounded in May, increasing 2.5% month-over-month (m/m) to an annual rate of 5.34 million units, compared to the Bloomberg expectation of a rise to 5.27 million units and April’s upwardly-revised 5.21 million rate.

Sales of single-family homes were higher m/m, but down from year-ago levels, while purchases of condominiums and co-ops rose compared to last month and were down y/y.

The median existing-home price rose 4.8% from a year ago to $277,700, and marking the 87th straight month of y/y gains.

Unsold inventory came in at a 4.3-months pace at the current sales rate, up from 4.2 months a year ago. Sales rose in all regions, with the Northeast seeing the largest increase.

National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said, “The purchasing power to buy a home has been bolstered by falling mortgage rates, and buyers are responding,” adding, that “solid demand along with inadequate inventory of affordable homes have pushed the median home price to a new record high.”