Putnam, Bronx and Sullivan counties, which are also served by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, were the exceptions experiencing increases in residential sales of 4.7% in Sullivan, 1.9% in Putnam and 1% in Bronx County in 2018.
The lower Hudson Valley experienced historically low inventories of single-family homes at the beginning of the year, which may have contributed to an initial decline of sales. Rockland County, which experienced an 11.5% drop in sales of single-family homes, also saw an increase of 11.4% in sales of 2-4 family homes and an increase of 2.5% in condo sales. Days on market, the number of days from the time a home is listed for sale to the time of a fully executed contract of sale, was significantly lower in all counties.
Another indication of healthy demand in the housing market was the increase in sales price in all counties. Westchester County, which had the highest number of single-family home sales at 5,876 units, experienced a rise of 1.2% in median price to $650,000, up from $642,000 a year earlier. Orange County, with 3,827 units sold, saw an increase of 6.4% in its median to $258,600 from $243,000 a year earlier. Despite the diminution of units sold in Rockland County, the median sales price rose 4.5% to $460,000 from $440,000 a year earlier. Putnam County, which had a 2.2% increase in unit sales, also had a 3.7% increase in median price rising to $350,000 from $337,500 a year earlier.
Overall, in 2018, 21,338 residential units were sold in the areas covered by Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service. This was a drop of 2.6% from the prior year. Possible headwinds for the housing market for 2019 continue to be the unknown effect of the tax reform law of 2018, which limits the deductibility state and local taxes, and a volatile stock market. However, given the improving inventory numbers, continuing attractive mortgage interest rates, high employment in the region, and a healthy economy it is anticipated that the market will remain vibrant in 2019.
The Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (HGMLS) is a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. (HGAR). HGMLS’s principal service area consists of Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange and Sullivan counties. It also provides services to Realtors in Bronx, Dutchess and Ulster counties.
The reported transactions do not include all real estate sales in the area or all sales assisted by the participating offices, but they are fairly reflective of general market activity. HGMLS does not provide data on sub-county areas, but persons desiring such data are invited to contact Realtor offices in the desired areas. Prior reports back to 1981 as well as current market information and a directory of Realtor members are available on the Association’s website at www.hgar.com.
Note: The median sale price is the mid-point of all reported sales, i.e., half of the properties sold for more than the median price and half for less. The median is relatively unaffected by unusually high or low sales prices. The mean sale price is the arithmetic average, i.e., the sum of all sales prices divided by the number of sales. The mean does reflect the influence of sales at unusually low or high prices.
There’s no shortage of doom and gloom talk about a US housing crash that would take NYC down with it. In fact the recent reports of high foreclosure rates in Queens, Bronx and Staten Island are a little alarming. They’re not quite as negative though as those in other cities.
The 3rd quarter market performance was less than stellar, the worst in many years.
Yet the Trump tax bill may just rectify the foreclosure carnage even as it slowed sales and lowered property prices as investors and buyers waited it out. The wait might be over now.
Overall home prices rose above $1,000,000 and condo prices fell 11% to an average of $2,689,147. It’s the high end properties that got hit hardest. At the lower end, NYC has a full blown housing shortage.
With income averaging about $60,000 per year in New York City, it’s difficult for many to buy homes averaging $680,000. It’s estimated that to buy a home in NYC, you need an income of $100,000. New York State’s economy was a sluggish under performer in 2016, however in the last 12 months NYC has gained 68,000 jobs. In November alone, NY State grew 26,000 new jobs.
The US economy persistently grows and improves despite the terrible debt and trade deficits left by the Obama administration. The Trump Administration new Tax bill are being viewed as positive and have quietened talks of housing market and stock market crashes.
Bar any issues with trade relations, and President Trump’s recent visit to China is a good start, all should go nicely with the US housing scene and help New York recover further. It could be said that NY’s inability to create new housing has made it too expensive to live their. That scares away business and makes buyers suspicious of a NY housing crash.
This chart below from the Case Shiller Home price index shows NYC’s real estate is stable and optimistic.
NYSAR New York Real Estate Update December
Here’s the latest New York housing stats published by NYSAR, shows the typical US housing data, that supply of affordable homes has dropped 1%, sales are down 2.5%, and average prices are up 7% from last year.
You could say that just like the San Francisco market and Los Angeles market, and all major city markets across North America, the New York housing market is under pressure. The NYC forecast is for more of the same, but at least, the market here isn’t like it is in Seattle, the Bay Area, or Los Angeles county.
It’s pretty far fetched that New York’s real estate performance could deviate too much from the US national forecast. A crash isn’t favored by the stats.
Is 2018 the right year to invest in rental income property? Contrast the stock market to investing in real estate.
Some Experts are Talkin’ Crash while Others Aren’t
There are enough media and realty pundits talking about a real estate market crash in New York soon. CNBC called from one back in the spring, but it’s not happening. Prices in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, have kept rising slowly.
A Tale of Two Markets?
It’s softening in the high end luxury sector where DOM is lengthening and prices have dropped almost 1% during 2016 according to one report. But demand at the lower end has stayed strong.
New York State Realtor Association is Optimistic
NYSAR reiterated NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s keynote speech at the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida. Yun explained that younger buyers are likely to drive growth in residential markets in the years ahead as the economy stays on a positive track and interest rates stay relatively low.
Here’s the 3rd quarter market report from NYSAR. New listings are down from the previous quarter, avg/med prices are up and number of months supply has dropped 29%.
Here’s an exerpt from NYSAR’s latest new report:
“Looking ahead, the modest closed sales increases in September and the third quarter may signal that the continued decline in available homes is starting to impede closed sales growth,” MacKenzie said, noting the 20.7 % decline in homes on the market at the end of the third quarter compared to the same period in 2015. “Buyers, who are trying to take advantage of otherwise favorable market conditions, are finding fewer choices available to them causing them to delay the purchase of their next home.”
The year-to-date (Jan. 1 – Sept. 30) sales total of 95,453 was 11% above the same period last year. There were 38,629 closed sales in the 2016 third quarter, up 2.8% from the 2016 third quarter total of 37,575. September 2016 closed sales increased 2.1%compared to a year ago to reach 11,780.
The New York Building Congress Forecast 2017 to 2018
Calls for $127.5 Billion in Total Spending Through 2018. 2016 was a record year for housing sales and jumped past the $40 billion mark for the first time. NYBC also forecasts a total of 147,100 jobs in NY’s 5 boroughs in 2016, an increase of 8,900 jobs from 2015 but will fall a few percent to 142,600 jobs in 2017 and 138,100 in 2018.
These screen caps are from HUD’s Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis of New York City, NY. New York’s economy was rolling along nicely.
Is that forecasted softening in employment enough to cause a crash?
The Building Congress’s outlook for new home construction is 27,000 new units and $13.1 billion of residential spending in 2017, and 25,000 units and $12.7 billion in spending in 2018. That’s down significantly from the 36,000 units built in 2015. With nowhere to live we can expect residents new and old to bid on resale stock and that should keep home prices level.
Donald Trump did make an election promise to cut government spending and tax the wealthy and that could make an impact, yet it appears private demand is what is driving the economy right now.
Removal of the Dodd Frank noose and easing of mortgage lending should create more demand for homes in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Houston, SF Bay Area, Miami, and well, every US city. If land development regulations are eased, it will allow for more home construction and help to ease the auctions atmosphere that has rocketed them upward.
It’s a health forecast with strong demand, stable mortgage rates, looser rules on financing, and a government bent on creating jobs in 2018 to 2020. Full speed ahead.
Detroit, Michigan Several employers in Detroit, Michigan, including Blue Cross Blue Shield and Quicken Loans, will pay their employees to live downtown, close to where they work. New renters can receive $3,500 over two years toward the cost of their apartment, and those who renew leases can receive $1,000. And if you buy a new home in an eligible neighborhood, you could be looking at $20,000 in forgivable loans toward the purchase of a primary residence.
Baltimore, Maryland It pays to buy a home in Baltimore—literally! Qualifying buyers can receive $5,000 toward the purchase of a primary residence through the Buying Into Baltimore or City Living Starts Here programs. Those willing to buy a home that has been vacant can apply to the Vacants to Value Booster Program, which awards $10,000 to eligible home buyers to put toward closing costs.
Niagara Falls, New York Niagara Falls wants to attract more than just tourists—and they’re looking for young people, in particular. In an effort to combat its population decline and recruit new residents, the city of Niagara Falls promises to pay off up to $7,000 in student loan debt over two years for any recent graduates who live near Main Street.
New Haven, Connecticut New Haven, Connecticut, is really rolling out the red carpet for new residents. First-time home buyers can receive up to $10,000 in forgivable loans to put toward down payments and closing costs. And for anyone buying a historic (and out-of-date) home, New Haven may provide up to $30,000 in forgivable loans to perform energy-saving upgrades. Plus, parents of school-age kids may not have to sock away money for college, thanks to the city’s commitment to provide free in-state college tuition to any child who graduates from New Haven public schools.
Anywhere, Alaska Do you dream of living in Alaska? If you do, you could earn $1,000 a year just for living there. The state of Alaska maintains a Permanent Reserve Fund that pays dividends to residents who have lived in the state for at least one calendar year and plan to remain there indefinitely. So, pack your thermals and head out for a new life of adventure.
Harmony, Minnesota With a population that hovers around 1,000, Harmony, Minnesota, wants to grow. If you build a brand-new home there, the Harmony Economic Development Authority will give you up to $12,000 in the form of a cash rebate. Nestled in the midst of some of the Midwest’s biggest farms, “The Biggest Little Town in Southern Minnesota” may be the perfect destination for anyone who loves country life but still wants modern amenities like shops, restaurants, and quality schools.
Marquette, Kansas Marquette, Kansas, will give you land to build a home—for free. This small town in the heart of America wants to attract new families to the Westridge area, where residents can enjoy spectacular views of the sunset and rolling hills, typical of the big-sky prairie. With only 650 residents, it’s a place where neighbors know each other and parents feel comfortable letting their kids play outside and walk to school.
Lincoln, Kansas Lincoln, Kansas, has built a completely new subdivision filled with zero-dollar lots for eligible newcomers to build a home. The small-town neighborhood boasts proximity to the city park, baseball field, and the junior-senior high school as well as the Lincoln Carnegie library, the golf course, and the rolling hills overlooking the Saline River.
Curtis, Nebraska Free home sites are available to build new homes in the Roll’n Hills subdivision of Curtis, Nebraska. Described as Nebraska’s Easter City—a nod to their annual Palm Sunday pageant—Curtis has a 9-hole golf course and is home to the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture.
From the New York site:Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen lives a pretty fabulous life. With an estimated net worth of $18 billion, he’s the 26th wealthiest man in the world, and he has the fancy yachts, planes, and lifestyle to prove it. Allen also collects a ridiculous amount of properties across the globe.
From a hilltop mansion on the French Riviera to an entire island off the coast of Washington, Allen has made his fair share of blockbuster purchases over the years.
Allen’s primary residence is a 10,000-square-foot waterfront home on Mercer Island, a ritzy enclave of Seattle. He owns a total of 11 mansions on the island, including one that’s just for his mother and another that houses a full-size basketball court, swimming pool, and fitness center.
Allen’s most recent purchase on Mercer Island was a 3,000-square-foot bungalow that he reportedly paid $5.4 million for.
He bought Allan Island, off the coast of Washington, in 1992. Though he initially had plans to build a dream home on the island, its secluded nature and lack of electricity made construction difficult. He sold the island in 2013 for a discounted $8 million.
In 1993, Allen purchased a former sheep ranch in Tetonia, Idaho. For years, the property operated as the Teton Ridge Ranch, a five-suite luxury mountain lodge. It closed for business in 2009.
In 1997, Allen bought a 12,952-square-foot Mediterranean-style home in Beverly Hills. Among its ridiculous amenities is a funicular that shuttles guests from the pool deck to a tennis court located on a lower part of the property.
Also in 1997, he paid $20 million for “The Enchanted Hill,” a Beverly Hills estate that previously belonged to Hollywood legends Frances Marion and Fred Thomson. Allen angered many in the community when he demolished the historic property in 2000. He hasn’t built anything on the land since then, though he did terrace the hillside.
Allen bought this glassy contemporary home in Malibu’s Carbon Beach for $25 million in 2010. In 2014, he sold it to CBS President Les Moonves for $28 million, reportedly because he “hated the sound of the ocean.”
Allen owns properties in Northern California as well. In November 2013, he paid $27 million for this 22,000-square-foot home in Atherton, one of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest neighborhoods and the most expensive zip code in the US.
He dropped a reported $7.5 million for the historic 10-acre property known as the “Thurston Estate” in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. In addition to a 12,000-square-foot main house, there’s an employee residence, beach house, boat shed, and a private harbor.
In 2011, Allen paid $25 million for the penthouse in an apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He had purchased an apartment on the 11th floor of the same building in 1996, at a reported price of $13.5 million.
His international real-estate holdings include the Villa Maryland, a hilltop mansion in the Côte d’Azur town of St. Jean Cap-Ferrat. He employs a staff of 12 and counts Bono and Andrew Lloyd Webber among his neighbors.
He also has a house in London’s Holland Park neighborhood, on the same cobblestone street where Richard Branson owns a home.
When he heard his favorite Seattle movie theater was going to be demolished, he decided to buy it. His development company, Vulcan, refurbished the Cinerama with state-of-the-art Dolby sound and projection systems, including the world’s first Christie 6P laser projector. It reopened in the fall of 2014.
But no discussion of Paul Allen is complete without mention of his yachts. There’s the 303-foot Tatoosh, which has a cinema, swimming pool, and accommodations for 20 guests.
And the 414-foot Octopus, where Allen hosts his famous celebrity-packed parties during the Cannes Film Festival.
Bad credit? No credit? No problem—or so, many of those all-too-catchy loan ads promise.
But while you might be able to finance a used car with less-than-stellar credit, getting approved for a home mortgage when you have FICO scores dwelling deep in the cellar can seem like an infinitely steeper climb. An Everest-level climb, in fact.
But here’s the shocker: It can be done, particularly if buyers know where to score a mortgage. That’s where realtor.com®’s penny-wise (but never pound-foolish) data team comes in. As it turns out, there are plenty of cities where a not-great credit score—say, well under 650—won’t stand between buyers and their dream home. And yet, in other parts of the country, buyers are delusional if they think they’re getting a mortgage without a nearly perfect score—and boatloads of cash for a down payment. We located the top metros for both.
So how do you snag a home mortgage without an excellent credit rating? It’s largely a matter of what government loan programs are available in a specific area—and those vary substantially. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, sometimes offers no-money-down loans to borrowers whose scores are below 640—but only for homes in a rural ZIP code.
Federal Housing Administration loans, among the most popular government-backed mortgages, allow borrowers with credit scores as low as 500 to qualify with a 10% down payment. (They must have scores of 580 to snag loans that require only 3.5% down payments.) But plenty of sellers choose not to accept them if they have other offers.
On the exclusionary side of the equation, home prices and market hotness play leading roles in keeping credit rating requirements high. Maybe toohigh if you haven’t been tending to your credit like a weed-free garden.
“When you’ve got 25 offers on a house and you’re the seller, you’re more likely to take a cash buyer or a conventional loan with 20% down,” says Courtney James, owner of Urban Durham Realty in Durham, NC. (Conventional loans, not backed by a federal agency, generally require a credit score of at least 620; anything lower than 650 is considered “OK,” “poor,” or “bad” by rating agencies.)
To find out where credit-challenged buyers live out the American ideal of homeownership, we calculated the share of mortgages in the largest 200 metros* obtained with a 649 FICO score or lower. The share of mortgages was calculated over a 12-month period from July 2017 through June 2018. We limited rankings to one metro per state.
So let’s start with the feel-good news: places where would-be home buyers with poor or downright crummy credit scores can still dare to dream!
Median home list price: $147,300 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 39.1%
Although the state capital of West Virginia is a college town, the city’s overall population is aging. There’s been a big decline in chemical industry or coal jobs. That’s caused many folks to put their homes on their market.
This has opened the door for first-time buyers seeking move-in ready, three-bedroom homes near downtown, says local real estate agent Margo Teeter of Old Colony Realtors. These single-family homes start around $130,000, but can be found for less.
“We’ve got a buyer’s market,” says Teeter. Due to the relative abundance of homes on the market, she says, “our area has more motivated sellers.”
The affordable prices have led to an increase in young buyers, ranging in age from 22 to 35, who take advantage of the lower credit scores required for USDA and FHA loan programs. Most just don’t have the credit history or scores to get into other kinds of more traditional loans, says mortgage banker Joey Starcher of Victorian Finance.
Median home list price: $209,950 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 35%
This quiet, family-friendly town along the Kentucky border is best known as the home to the U.S. Army base Fort Campbell. (It’s also just 45 minutes away from Nashville.) So it makes sense that many folks are becoming homeowners with the help of Veterans Affairs loans, which require a minimum credit score of just 620.
Most of local real estate agent LauraStasko‘s clients are scoring entry-level, three-bedroom, vinyl-sided ranch homes in suburban areas near the base. These run from about $100,000 to $130,000—a fraction of the national median home price, just below $300,000.
But buyers on a budget in Clarksville, with its quaint downtown filled with older, brick buildings, stately Victorian houses, and parks, had better act fast.
“Anything under $140,000 or $150,000 has been flying off the market,” says Stasko.
Median home list price: $239,750 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 35%
Corpus Christi has plenty of attractions for buyers: It sits on a large, shallow bay that attracts a diverse flock of water birds, songbirds, and raptors. This helped it earn the title of—you guessed it—“America’s birdiest place,” according to the San Diego Audubon Society. There are plenty of jobs in the medical, oil refinery, construction, and, with nearby tourist destinations like Mustang Island, hospitality industries.
Yet the city has the fifth-lowest credit scores in the United States, with an average of 638, according to a report by Experian.
That hasn’t stopped people from buying houses. Buyers can still find 1,200-square-foot starter homes for under $160,000 in desirable areas within Corpus Christi like Del Mar and Lindale, says local agent Monika Caldwell of Hunsaker & Associates.
In addition to FHA loans, the city promotes multiple locally and federally funded home buyer assistance grants that help out buyers with down payments of up to $10,000. Not bad!
Median home list price: $229,500 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 30.4%
The citrus groves and cattle ranches that used to occupy much of the land around Lakeland has been gradually overtaken by 55-plus communities and housing developments for young families. That’s because housing prices have been soaring in nearby cities such as Tampa, where they’re a median $266,250, and Orlando, where they’re $260,000, according to realtor.com data.
“Someone with poor credit … has to go where the [home] prices are lower, ” says Monique Youngblood, mortgage broker with US Mortgage Lenders. “Florida is getting really expensive, and prices in Lakeland are still pretty decent.”
Buyers can find new homes in South Lakeland for around $180,000, says local Realtor® John Martinez of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. Older properties from the 1970s start around $140,000. To afford them, most of Martinez’s clients are using FHA loans that require only about 4% or so down of the purchase price.
Median home list price: $218,000 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 26.5%
It’s easier to become a homeowner in Augusta, on the banks of the Savannah River, because home prices are just so much cheaper here than in much of the rest of the country.
Three-bedroom, two-bathroom homes in the millennial-friendly neighborhood of National Hills, right near the prestigious Augusta National Golf Club, can be picked up for $100,000 to $150,000. That’s good news for young buyers, many of whom haven’t had the time to build a strong credit history.
Local lenders offer competitive loan programs encouraged by the Community Reinvestment Act, designed to help buyers in low- to moderate-income Census tracts. Those programs require a minimum credit score of 620 and can include 100% financing for those who qualify.
“I do as many of those as I can,” says Brandon Mears, mortgage loan officer with South State Bank. “It’s a really great program for kids just coming out of college.”
Median home list price: $936,050 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 4.3%
The market in Santa Cruz may not be quite as crazy as it is just over the hill in San Jose (where homes are a median list price of $998,000). But this Ferris wheel–graced beach town is still prohibitively expensive for many buyers, especially those with low credit. Those seeking mortgages are likely to need a jumbo loan—and thus a higher credit score and down payment.
“You might be able to find a small two-bedroom, one-bath house here in the low $800,000s,” says real estate agent Bri Chmel of Live Love Santa Cruz. That’s if you’re very, very lucky.
So buyers in this market, one of the sunniest spots along California’s northern coast, had better be ready to compete with all-cash offers from ultrawealthy, Silicon Valley techies. Best of luck with that.
Median home list price: $257,050 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 5.4%
Wait, what? How did Fargo make it to this side of the list? It’s all about growth. Set on the Great Plains on the western edge of the Red River, Fargo has a bustling job market that’s led to an influx of new residents in recent years. The population jumped 15.9% from 2010 to 2017, according to the U.S. Census. That’s led to a lot of folks competing for a limited number of abodes.
Buyers are snapping up entry-level homes under $200,000 like seagulls stealing Cheez-Its on the beach. Because the market is so hot, sellers are passing over buyers who have a harder time getting a loan. Larger down payments and conventional loans (requiring a minimum 620 credit score) are usually needed to be considered for a contract.
Seller’s agents are seeking pre-qualification letters that prove that buyers have already gone through all the steps to get approved by the bank. And when it comes to older homes, many sellers prefer to avoid FHA loans altogether to avoid the more stringent loan appraisal process.
“Sellers here can be pickier about how they want their home financed,” says John Colvin, broker-owner of Century 21 FM Realty.
Median home list price: $350,000 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 6%
Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, is the quintessential college town, dotted with circa 1900 brick and wood-frame homes. In fact, it’s the most educated city in the United States, according to an analysis by WalletHub. That level of education correlates to above-average home prices, with $250,000 to $450,000 as the entry-level range.
That high starting point and lack of inventory make it hard for buyers to get in unless they have the income and credit to qualify for a conventional loan.
“It’s hard to get a home in Ann Arbor without very good credit,” says brokerMarge Everhart of the Marge Everhart Co. “I haven’t seen an FHA mortgage in years. Poor people are getting pushed out.”
Median home list price: $356,300 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 7.2%
Every Tuesday, when James, the Urban Durham Realty owner, asks her 25 agents to raise a hand if they’ve put in or received offers on homes for their clients in the past week, almost all hands are in the air. When she asks those agents if they were involved in a multiple-offer situation, most hands remain raised.
“This is unprecedented,” says James. “Anything under $350,000 gets a lot of offers.”
The university town, one point of North Carolina’s Research Triangle, is a hub for the biotech industry and boasts a thriving startup culture while remaining relatively affordable. Just 10 minutes away from downtown in Southwest Durham, buyers have been trying to outbid one another on classic midcentury, brick, ranch-style homes in the midrange market of $350,000 to $400,000.
A bit farther out in more affordable North Durham, 10-year-old homes are going for about $250,000—if you can get an offer accepted.
“There are not a lot of FHA loan deals,” says James.
Median home list price: $612,550 Share of borrowers with a 649 FICO score or lower: 7.3%
On the edge of the Flatiron Mountains, Boulder boasts beautiful panoramas befitting a Coors ad. It regularly pops up on lists of the best places to live for its high quality of life, and plentiful gigs. These things just keep driving up the cost of real estate.
Most buyers need to be able to meet the strict requirements and high credit scores for a jumbo loan. With a jumbo loan limit of $587,000, buyers need to have a hefty downpayment, too.
Boulder is “surrounded by open space, but home prices have gone through the roof,” says Kelly Moye, broker with Re/Max Alliance and spokesperson for the Colorado Association of Realtors. They’ve risen 25% in just three years, from August 2015 to August 2018. “It’s unaffordable: People who need to get jumbo loans have to have exemplary credit.”
A record number of farms are hitting the market in South Africa as white farmers try desperately to offload land and leave the country before the government confiscates their acreage.
According to a report in the Sunday Express, the African National Congress (ANC) — South Africa’s ruling party — suggested last week that it is considering confiscating farmland from white farmers without compensation. In a meeting on “reforming land ownership,” several civil servants claimed that its time to “expropriate” land from the country’s white farmers in reparations for Apartheid.
ANC’s chairman Gwede Mantashe “sparked panic” when he agreed with reparations activists, telling a crowd that no white landowner should be allowed to control more than 25,000 acres.
“You shouldn’t own more than 25,000 acres of land,” Mantashe said. “Therefore if you own more it should be taken without compensation.”
South Africans — both black and white — aren’t thrilled with the idea since a major re-appropropration and re-division of land would severely harm South Africa’s farming industry, destroying jobs and opportunities for both black and white workers. Others, with knowledge of history — particularly what happened after the government grabbed land from white farmers in neighboring Zimbabwe — say they’re terrified the government has no real plan for its seizure and could send the country tumbling into economic ruin.
That hasn’t stopped the rhetoric, though, and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is reportedly working on a plan to rewrite the country’s constitution to allow for the land grab, under pressure from the far left within his own country who are challenging the ANC in upcoming elections by telling voters they’ll grab the land without approval.
“We are not advocating for a white genocide. But the land belongs to us. We will do everything we can to get it back,” one far left leader told media during a meeting last week.
White farmers aren’t waiting around to find out who wins in the race to grab their land; they’re leaving. Hundreds of farms are now for sale in South Africa as farmers take off to Australia and other countries where farmland is plentiful and immigration requirements are lenient.
Seattle retained its long-running title of the hottest housing market in the country, according to the Case-Shiller national home price report, but there are signs of hope for would-be buyers frustrated by the slim supply in recent years.
Seattle home prices in April rose 13.1 percent over the same period a year ago. Las Vegas and San Francisco held on to their spots just behind Seattle with annual price growth of 12.7 percent and 10.9 percent respectively.
Seattle has been atop Case Shiller’s index for 20 straight months now, and a combination of a historic population boom and record-low supply of homes for sale has been the primary driver of the city’s skyrocketing prices.
Seattle’s streak is among the longest on record for Case-Shiller’s index. San Francisco had a 20-month run as the fastest growing market between 1999 and 2001, at the heart of the dotcom boom. Portland topped Case-Shiller’s index for 23 straight months from 1990 to 1992.
But another report released earlier this month indicates that supply-starved Seattle is starting to see a rise in the number of home for sale. According to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, brokers added 14,524 new listings in Seattle and the surrounding area in May, the first time that figure topped 14,000 since May 2008. It’s also the first time in close to four years that the market has shown an annual increase in the number of new listings.
Seattle’s median home sale price in May was $830,000, up more than $100,000 from a year ago.
Also on the rise are condo listings, an important trend because condos tend to be less expensive and represent an opportunity for first-time buyers. Condo inventory grew by 21.4 percent over last year, boosted by the addition of 1,803 new listings in May.
While increased supply isn’t a cure-all for bringing prices down, it can slow growth. Take Seattle’s apartment market where thousands of new units opened in recent years, and many are now sitting empty. This has caused landlords to offer incentives to renters like free rent and other perks.
The numbers: Construction expenditures were 1.7% lower in March compared with February, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. But a hefty increase to earlier spending estimates in prior months signals that outlays remain on a strong footing.
What happened: Spending ticked down to a seasonally adjusted annual $1.285 trillion rate in March from a $1.306 trillion pace in February. March expenditures were 3.6% higher than a year ago.
The Econoday forecast was for a 0.5% increase in March.
The big picture: In March, outlays for public sector construction projects were little changed, but private-sector spending fell 2.1%.
Residential construction spending was 3.5% lower for the month, but 5.3% higher, compared with a year ago.
With expenditures now seen as stronger in January and February than the government originally estimated, total construction spending for the year to date is 5.5% higher than the same period in 2017.
What they’re saying: “Construction spending was quite soft in March, falling by 1.7%, likely reflecting at least in part the difficult weather during the month,” said Stephen Stanley, Amherst Pierpont Securities chief economist. “I continue to look for a sizable bounce back in construction activity in the spring, as weather delays dissipate.”
After over 40 years of abandonment, the city’s first public bathhouse may be reactivated for public use. At the Lower East Side’s Community Board 3 subcommittee for parks meeting on March 15, the Parks Department, who controls the bathhouse site, discussed issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest for the site, the Lo-Down reports. The RFEI is intended to get the ball rolling on redeveloping the property, which has been closed to the public since 1975.
The Parks Department hasn’t advanced any ideas about how it would like the site to be reactivated, but the Lower East Side community has made its wishes clear that it wants to see the former bathhouse become a community center. But after sitting unused for so many years, the building may be beyond repair. A 2001 inspection of the site at 326 Delancey Street by the New York City Housing Authority, who controls the Baruch Houses surrounding the property, determined that the building suffers from serious structural insufficiencies as well as mold and flooding in the basement.
The most likely course of action, a parks representative told the subcommittee last week, would be to demolish the building at a cost of $2 million. “Based on the 2001 inspection, we believe that’s probably what needs to be done,” Deputy Parks Commissioner Alyssa Konon said of demolishing the building. “However, if somebody wants to respond with some ideas around either restoring the building, or building on the historical elements there, of course, we’re open to that.”
Baruch Houses resident and founder of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) Damaris Reyes suggested creating a stakeholder committee that could be designated by the community board that would help guide the property’s redevelopment with meaningful input from the community. “You could go a long way towards soothing some of the fears and making sure that the community is happy with the (outcome),” Reyes said.
Once applications are received through the RFEI, which is expected to go out in three weeks, the department will return to CB3 to vet the options. If the proposals are warranting, a Request For Proposals will be issued.