Category Archives: Bedford Corners NY

Irving Berlin’s onetime Yorkville home returns to the market | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Courtesy of Warburg

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.

In As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin, author Laurence Bergreen recalls the East End Avenue duplex:

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.

 MCNY

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.

Housing affordability rises | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Rising wages and moderating home prices offset a rise in mortgage interest rates to give housing affordability a slight boost in the first quarter of 2017, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In all, 60.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $68,000. This is up from the 59.9 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter.

The national median home price fell to $245,000 in the first quarter from $250,000 in the final quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates rose nearly half a point from 3.84 percent in the fourth quarter to 4.33 percent in the first quarter.

For the second straight quarter, Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market. There, 92.7 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $54,600. Meanwhile, Kokomo, Ind., was rated the nation’s most affordable smaller market, with 96.3 percent of homes sold in the first quarter being affordable to families earning the median income of $62,500.

For the 18th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 11.8 percent of homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $108,400.

All five least affordable small housing markets were also in California. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Salinas, where 13.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $63,100.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/05/housing-affordability-registers-slight-uptick-in-first-quarter/

Home Prices in the First Month of 2017 | Bedford Corners Real Estate

S&P Dow Jones Indices released the Home Price Index for January 2017 today. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 7.9%, slower than the 9.2% increase in December. House prices dropped to the lowest level in the first month of 2012. Five years later, house prices surpassed the pre-recession peak of 2006 and hit the highest level historically.

Along with the increases in national home prices, local home prices also increased in varying degrees in January. Figure 2 shows the annual growth rate of home prices for 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas.

Most of the 20 metro areas had positive home price appreciation, except Cleveland. Cleveland was the only one that had negative home price appreciation (-0.8%). The positive home price appreciation ranged from 5.2% to 22.6%. Seattle had the highest home price appreciation at 22.6%, followed by Chicago (16.5%) and Denver (14%). Miami had the lowest positive growth at 5.2%. Fifteen out of the 20 metro areas had the same or higher home price appreciation than the national level of 7.9%.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/03/home-prices-in-the-first-month-of-2017/

Lumber prices on the rise | Bedford Corners Real Estate

The price of softwood lumber rose by 2.3% in December, while prices paid for ready-mix concrete, gypsum products, and OSB all fell, according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Ready-mix concrete, gypsum products and OSB prices fell by 0.1%, 0.2%, and 1.3%, respectively. The 2.3% increase in the softwood lumber price index is the largest monthly increase since April 2016.

Over the course of 2016, softwood lumber prices rose nearly 8.7% while prices paid for OSB spiked by 13.8%.  In November, the cost of ready-mix concrete and gypsum products rose 3.5% and 5.0%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis.

In contrast to the price of softwood lumber–which has been relatively stable over the last two years–OSB prices have risen almost 30% during the same period.  OSB prices leveled off in August 2016, but remain near their two-year high.

The economy-wide PPI increased 0.3% in December, 80% of which was driven by a 0.7% rise in prices paid for goods. Prices for final demand services rose only 0.1%.  A 0.3% increase in the final demand prices for core goods (i.e. goods excluding food and energy) continued a positive trend that started with a 0.2% increase in November.  Prices for core goods less trade services climbed 0.1% and rose 1.7% in 2016, far outpacing the 0.3% rise seen in 2015.

Sixty percent of the rise in prices for goods—the fourth straight increase—was due to the increase in prices of final demand energy.   Gasoline prices alone (+7.8%) accounted for nearly half of the increase.  In contrast, prices of fruit and residential electric power led declines among goods. The increase in prices for final demand services was led by securities brokerage, investment advice, and related services, which advanced 4.4%.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/osb-prices-climb-14-in-2016/

U.S. EPA settles with firm for failure to protect residents from lead-based paint | Bedford Corners Real Estate

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with Powerstar Home Energy Solutions for failing to comply with federal lead-based paint rules at several residential properties in Southern California.  The company will pay a civil penalty of $11,429.

Powerstar has also agreed to spend about $34,000 to purchase equipment to test blood lead levels in children. Blood lead analyzers will be donated to ten community health clinics in San Bernardino and Orange counties. The analyzers measure lead in blood samples and give results in as little as three minutes, allowing immediate follow-up by health care providers. The clinics will receive enough kits to test 480 children.

“Children are highly susceptible to lead-based paint and symptoms are not easily recognized,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “This settlement will give hundreds of families the opportunity to have their children tested, giving parents the information they need to protect their loved ones.”

Powerstar Home Energy Solutions, a trade name of Smithlum & Friend, Inc., is headquartered in Anaheim and offers residential coatings and window replacements. In 2014, EPA found the company violated EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting rule by renovating five homes built before 1978 in the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Chino and Redlands without following practices required to reduce lead exposure. The company failed to:

  • Become certified by EPA to perform residential work;
  • Distribute the “Renovate Right” brochure to educate occupants about lead-safe work practices;
  • Keep complete records documenting whether the work followed lead-safe practices.

Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips. When companies fail to follow lead-safe practices, the resulting lead dust and chips can contaminate home surfaces. Contractors who disturb painted surfaces in pre-1978 homes and child-occupied facilities must be trained and certified, provide educational materials to residents, and follow safe work practices. The U.S. banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978 but EPA estimates that more than 37 million older homes in the U.S. still have lead-based paint.

Though harmful at any age, lead exposure is most dangerous to children because their bodies absorb more lead, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its damaging effects. Babies and young children can also be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths. The effects of lead exposure can include behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, and diminished IQ.

Often lead poisoning occurs with no obvious symptoms, so it may go unrecognized. Parents or caregivers who think their child has been in contact with lead should notify their child’s health care provider who can help decide whether a blood test is needed or recommend treatment.

EPA enforces the federal Toxic Substances Control Act and its Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule and the lead-based paint Disclosure Rule. The Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule protects residents and children from exposure to lead-based paint hazards from activities that can create hazardous lead dust when surfaces with lead-based paint are disturbed. The Disclosure Rule requires those who sell or rent housing built before 1978 to provide an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, include lead notification language in sales and rental forms, disclose any known lead-based paint hazards and provide reports to buyers or renters, allow a lead inspection or risk assessment by home buyers and maintain records certifying compliance with applicable federal requirements for three years.

 

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https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/us-epa-settles-anaheim-home-improvement-firm-failure-protect-residents-lead-based-paint

Mortgage rates average 4.16% | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher for the seventh consecutive week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.16 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 15, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 4.13 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.97 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.37 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.36 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.22 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.19 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.17 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.03 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.

“As was almost-universally expected, the FOMC closed the year with its one-and-only rate hike of 2016. The consensus of the committee points to more rate hikes in 2017. However, the experience of this year combined with the policy uncertainty that accompanies a new Administration suggests a wait-and-see outlook.

“This week’s mortgage rate survey was completed prior to the FOMC announcement. The 30-year mortgage rate rose 3 basis points on the week to 4.16 percent. The MBA’s Applications Survey posted drops in both refinance and purchase applications, registering the impact of recent mortgage rate increases. If rates continue their upward trend, expect mortgage activity to be significantly subdued in 2017.”

Housing Affordability Edges Lower in Third Quarter | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Ongoing home price appreciation offset a small decline in mortgage interest rates to move housing affordability slightly lower in the third quarter of 2016, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In all, 61.4 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of July and end of September were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,700. This is down from the 62.0 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the first quarter.

hoi-ppt-q316

The national median home price increased from $240,000 in the second quarter to $247,000 in the third quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates edged lower from 3.88 percent to 3.76 percent in the same period.

Elgin, Ill., was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market, where 94.3 percent of all new and existing homes sold in this year’s third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $82,500. Meanwhile, Fairbanks, Alaska, was rated the nation’s most affordable smaller market, with 97.7 percent of homes sold in the third quarter being affordable to families earning the median income of $93,800.

For the 16th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 9.7 percent of homes sold in the third quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $104,700.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/housing-affordability-edges-lower-in-third-quarter/

Number of baths in new homes increases | Bedford Corners Real Estate

In its Survey of Construction (SOC), the US Census Bureau publishes data on the number of bathrooms in new homes started. In the last several years, the share of new single-family homes with 3 or more full bathrooms has increased, which may reflect the move by builders to focus on higher-end, larger homes in the post-recession period. However, recent data indicate that this trend started to reverse: the median square feet of new homes declined in the second quarter of 2016. Growth in the number of smaller homes, such as townhomes, may emerge going forward in response to first-time buyers returning to the market.

Of new single-family homes started in 2015, 4 percent have 1 or less full bathrooms, 59 percent have 2 full bathrooms, 27 percent have 3 full bathrooms, and 10 percent have four or more full bathrooms.

Figure 1 displays the shares of new single-family homes started by the number of full bathrooms from 2005 to 2015. Over this time frame, the shares of new homes with 2 bathrooms and with 1 or less bathrooms edged downward. Meanwhile, the shares of new homes with 3 bathrooms and with 4 or more bathrooms increased.
bathroomsv2

Differences in the share of new single-family homes started in 2015 with 3 or more full bathrooms can be observed by Census Division (Figure 2). Figure 2 shows that the South Atlantic division has the largest share of new homes with 3 or more full bathrooms (42 percent). Other divisions with large shares include the Mountain (39 percent), the Pacific (38 percent), and the West South Central divisions (38 percent). Regions with smaller shares of new homes with 3 or more bathrooms include the New England (30 percent), the West North Central (30 percent), and the East North Central divisions (24 percent).

soc_bathrooms

 

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/bathrooms-in-2015-new-homes/

U.S. Housing Market Continues Steady Improvement | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released its Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®), showing three additional states — Indiana, Alabama and New Jersey — and one additional metro area — Dayton, Ohio — entering their historic benchmark levels of housing activity.

The national MiMi value stands at 85.7, indicating a housing market that’s on the outer edge of its historic benchmark range of housing activity with a +1.05 percent improvement from July to August and a three-month improvement of +1.22 percent. On a year-over-year basis, the national MiMi value improved +5.44 percent. Since its all-time low in October 2010, the national MiMi has rebounded 43 percent, but remains significantly off its high of 121.7.

News Facts:

  • Forty-one of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia have MiMi values within range of their benchmark averages, with Utah (99.2), Colorado (96.6), Hawaii (96.3), Idaho (96) and North Dakota (95.4) ranking in the top five with scores closest to their historical benchmark index levels of 100.
  • Eighty of the 100 metro areas have MiMi values within range, with Los Angeles, CA (101.1), Honolulu, HI (99.5), Provo, UT (100.8), Dallas, TX (98.9) and Ogden, UT (98.6) ranking in the top five with scores closest to their historical benchmark index levels of 100.
  • The most improving states month over month were Nevada (+2.95%), Florida (+2.14%), Illinois (+1.95%), Washington (+1.91%) and Alabama (+1.90%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Florida (+12.13%), Massachusetts (+9.94%), Nevada (+9.94%), Oregon (+9.43%) and Tennessee (+9.39%).
  • The most improving metro areas month over month were Las Vegas, NV (+3.00%), Palm Bay, FL (+2.63%), Tampa, FL (+2.59%), Orlando, FL (+2.40%) and Sarasota, FL (+2.40%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving metro areas were Orlando, FL (+18.21%), Tampa, FL (+14.78%), Chattanooga, TN (+14.51%), Palm Bay, FL (+14.25%) and Lakeland, FL (+13.66%).
  • In August, 33 of the 50 states and 73 of the top 100 metros were showing an improving three-month trend. The same time last year, all 50 states and 96 of the top 100 metro areas were showing an improving three-month trend.

Quote attributable to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer:

“Housing markets are on track for their best year in a decade, and that’s reflected in MiMi. The National MiMi stands at 85.7, a 5.4 percent year-over-year increase. The MiMi purchase applications indicator is up over 18 percent from last year and is at its highest level since December 2007.

“The housing market is showing strength across the country. The South continues to show some the biggest improvements, especially in Florida. MiMi’s purchase applications indicator is up more than 30 percent in Florida compared to last year. Meanwhile, in the West, the battle between low mortgage rates and rising house prices continues. So far, low mortgage rates have helped on the affordability front, but in hot markets like Denver, Fresno, Provo and Los Angeles it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the typical family to afford a median price home.”

The 2016 MiMi release calendar is available online.

MiMi monitors and measures the stability of the nation’s housing market, as well as the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 100 metro markets. MiMi combines proprietary Freddie Mac data with current local market data to assess where each single-family housing market is relative to its own long-term stable range by looking at home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (changes in home purchasing power based on house prices, mortgage rates and household income), proportion of on-time mortgage payments in each market, and the local employment picture. The four indicators are combined to create a composite MiMi value for each market. Monthly, MiMi uses this data to show, at a glance, where each market stands relative to its own stable range of housing activity. MiMi also indicates how each market is trending, whether it is moving closer to, or further away from, its stable range. A market can fall outside its stable range by being too weak to generate enough demand for a well-balanced housing market or by overheating to an unsustainable level of activity.

British house prices flat in October | Bedford Corners Real Estate

British house prices were unchanged in October after rising in monthly terms each of the previous 15 months, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Wednesday, a new sign of the market cooling after the Brexit vote.

House prices were flat last month, compared with a monthly increase of 0.3 percent in September and a median forecast for a rise of 0.2 percent in a Reuters poll of economists.

Compared with October last year, prices rose by 4.6 percent, slower than September’s increase of 5.3 percent and below a median forecast of 5.0 percent in the Reuters poll.

It was the slowest annual price growth since January, but Nationwide economist Robert Gardiner said it was still in line with rates since early 2015.

He said a 10 percent fall in housing market activity in recent months might be a lingering after-effect of April’s introduction of a higher level of tax on properties bought by landlords and second homes.

Howard Archer, an economist with Markit HIS, said he expected house prices to fall by about 3 percent next year when Britain launches its negotiations to leave the European Union, probably adding to uncertainty about the economy.

Another mortgage lender, Halifax, said last month that British house prices rose at their slowest pace in more than three years in the three months to September.

But there have been other signs recently that the housing market slowdown might be bottoming out

 

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-houseprices-nationwide-idUKKBN12X0LH