Category Archives: Bedford

Crowdfunding your home purchase deposit | Bedford Real Estate

Crowdfunding your way into home ownership. Here's how

Crowdfunding your way into home ownership. Here’s how  

You can crowdfund your business, your charity, your product, your vacation — and now you can crowdfund your home.

CMG Financial, a mortgage lender, just launched HomeFundMe, the first online platform that allows borrowers to crowdfund the down payment on a home purchase without fees and with the backing of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The majority of millennials today may say they want to be homeowners, but that claim nearly always comes with the caveat…if I can afford the down payment. High levels of student loan debt, high rent and underemployment during the recession have left the largest generation with little savings and diminished hopes of home ownership.

“This allows you to tell your story. It allows for folks to be able to buy into the story of what it is you have, your loan story, your home story,” said Christopher George, CEO of CMG Financial and vice chairman of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “Our tag line is, ‘Fund your way home.’ We think homeownership still is very sensible and, done correctly, is a good idea to step forward toward wealth, stability and quality of life.”

Until now, borrowers could receive down-payment assistance from their close family members, employers, community nonprofits and their churches, all with significant documentation. This was so lenders could be sure they weren’t borrowing the down payment, adding debt on top of the mortgage. Lenders also wanted to be sure borrowers were able to make the monthly mortgage payments.

A home for sale in Miami.

Getty Images
A home for sale in Miami.

Most business crowdfunding platforms offer returns on the investment, but this has none — it is simply a gift. George said the individual gifts will be small, in the $50 to $250 range. The platform can be linked to wedding and baby registries.

“You’re going to spend $250 on a coffee making machine? If that $250 goes to a down payment of your home, at the very least, I improve your quality of life and the second thing I do is I give you some, today, some tax deductibility,” George added.

As an incentive for encouraging prospective homeowners to attend credit education courses and counseling, borrowers can also receive grants of up to $2,500 once they’ve completed the free classes. After that, the platform will match donations at $2 for every $1 raised, up to $2,500.

“Folks that go to counseling tend to be more informed, and they also tend to be better borrowers,” George said. “We’ve looked at this as advertising dollars and have said, listen we think this promotes homeownership, we think it’s something that we would otherwise spend either through the internet or through social media. We’ve put our money here where we think it has its best use.”

On the other side, contributors are also assured that the money will in fact go to fund the home purchase and can make their gift conditional on that.

The idea is not just to raise money for the down payment but to add to the borrower’s existing funds. This can help eliminate the need for mortgage insurance, which is required on very low down payment loans. Fannie Mae is calling it a “pilot project,” and will be watching the results closely.

“What we’re doing today is we’re trying to test and learn a variety of solutions because the preferences for today’s homebuyers have changed significantly, and there is no silver bullet to solving a problem that’s as hard as how do you find a down payment,” said Jonathan Lawless at Fannie Mae. “What we prefer to do is source ideas from all sorts of different places. Our customers are a major one, lenders who are dealing every day with people trying to buy homes, and instead of trying to take those ideas and spend three years trying to roll out a major change, we’d rather test and learn.”

Sellers used to be able to assist buyers with the down payment, but that was prohibited following the financial crisis. No-down payment loans are also largely gone since then, except for high net worth individuals in private lender programs not backed by the government.

One of the biggest criticisms of lending during the housing boom and ensuing bust was that homeowners were able to finance their properties so easily, with little to no money up front, so they had no “skin in the game.” They therefore found it much easier to default on the loans when home prices crashed and walk away from the homes altogether.

This program walks a fine line between gift and equity. Some borrowers will add the crowdfunded equity to their own cash while others may not, depending on how much they get.

“Skin in the game is a little bit of a confusing concept. If you pay for your closing costs, is that skin in the game? Is it really down payment?” asked Lawless. “Would you rather have somebody have a lot of money in the bank after they buy the home and no down payment or the opposite? And so we still have a lot of questions and a lot to learn when it comes to the role of down payment.”

Lawless says it is all about savings — helping the homeowner avoid becoming house poor after their purchase. He says that makes the consumer safer than someone who is unable to generate any savings. Others argue that if you can’t save enough for a down payment in the first place, then you probably shouldn’t be buying the house.

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Bedford town news | Bedford Real Estate

September 15, 2017


“The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.”


The Town is pleased to announce extended hours at the Beaver Dam compost facility this Saturday September 16 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, in response to resident requests for weekend access. Residents can dispose of recyclable wood waste (logs and branches up to 6″ diameter, brush, and leaves), as well as pick up wood mulch and leaf compost. This service is free to Town of Bedford residents. The facility is located on Beaver Dam Road north of Harris Road, adjacent to the Bedford Dog Park.

Also this Saturday September 16, the Town is providing a mobile paper shredder event at the Town Recycling Center at 343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. At the event, a Mobile Shredding Trucks will securely destroy documents. The company’s customer service professionals never physically touch your documents so the entire process is “touch-free”. The company can shred paper, paper clips, rubber bands, staples and even the black clips. They cannot shred 3-ring binders, or anything that is non paper (CDs, tapes, DVDs, hard drives, etc.).
Bedford 2020 now has compost bins available for Town residents who want to collect organic kitchen waste and take it to the Town Recycling Center.  For $25 you can purchase 2 bins and a roll of compostable bag liners for $5. Click here for a brief instructional video and more information
The Town of Bedford Public Works Department is replacing the crosswalk in front of the Bedford Village Post Office with another constructed of masonry pavers. It will be a raised crosswalk intended to increase visibility and reduce vehicle speed.  The Contractor that the Town is employing expects to begin work on the project on Monday, September 18, 2017. It is estimated that the project will last until October 18, 2017 (Depending on weather conditions.)
We hope to begin work at 7:00 AM and stop work at 3:30 PM each day (Mon-Fri).  The Town of Bedford expects to keep two lanes of traffic open at this location for the strong majority of the project. If only one lane is open, this will not occur during rush hour and will be managed by flaggers to allow for alternating traffic. The work will be staged to start on the side of the street by the fire house and end at the Green, with approximately one third of the street closed at a time. The sidewalk will remain open.
In order to facilitate the maximum flow of traffic for the duration of the project, the town will need to utilize 13 curbside parking spaces both near and in front of the Bedford Village Post Office and across the street at the Village Green. Additional parking will be provided in the Presbyterian Church Parking Lot to mitigate the loss of spots. Signs will be in place informing people that the parking at the Church Parking Lot is available.
Parking rules will be changed as follows: a reduction from one hour to thirty minutes in parking from Court Road towards the entrance to the fire house for eight spots, and from one hour to two hours for the next three spots.  These measures are being taken to better accommodate needs of the businesses during the construction period.
Click here

  1. 2018 Budget Work Session   The Board will be continuing work on the 2018 budget meeting in work session with Public Works Commission Kevin Winn and with Building Inspector Alberto Ciraco.  The Board also will be discussing updates to the capital plan.
  2. Proposed Northern Westchester Office for Victims of Domestic Violence The Town of Bedford is considering entering into an inter-municipal agreement with Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, North Salem and Somers to establish a northern Westchester office for victims of domestic abuse.  We will hear a presentation from Pound Supervisor Dick Lyman on the proposal which entails a two year pilot program and special funding.  Each town would be contributing $5,000 per year for the two year period.
  3. Bedford Hills Train Station Lease   The Board will be considering entering into a lease with the MTA which would continue the present Town use of the station for town purposes, civic organizations and community events.  The proposed lease is for a term of 25 years with a rent of $1 per year (waived).
  4. Municipal Solar – I am asking the Board for approval to re-issue Request for Proposals for solar installations/power purchase agreement for various Town of Bedford sites and re-issue bid requests for carports (Police Station renovation project)
  5. Bedford Village Parking   I will be asking the Board to approve a consultant’s proposal for a Phase II environmental site assessment of vacant property owned by the Bedford Presbyterian Church (off Court Road) to be utilized for free municipal parking.
For the agenda: click here
The last day to pay your first half 2017-2018 school tax without penalty is October 2, 2017.
The Tax Office will be accepting payments between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 pm. For on-line payment options please visit our website.
Fall is right around the corner and with it the unofficial start of the flu season.  Attached you will find information on the 2017-2018 influenza vaccine.  Please follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations for flu prevention and treatment:
a.  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.  Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
b.  Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.  Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
c.   Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.  Germs spread this way.
d.   Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
4)     STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100 degrees+) or signs of a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medicine).
Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
For more information on seasonal flu, you can go to the CDC website at .
During the period beginning Monday, September 18 and ending Friday, September 22, the Bedford Water District will flush water mains in the Katonah, Bedford Village, Bedford Hills and Stanwood/Cedar Downs areas.
Flushing will take place between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Discoloration of water may be apparent at any time during that period. The discoloration should not reduce the safety of the water for domestic use, but customers are advised to exercise caution in laundering clothes in order to avoid staining during the above hours. Customers may experience short-term localized reduction in water pressure.
For additional information, customers may call the Water Department at 914-666-7855 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR click here (please note that the calendar is posted on the Town’s website home page usually before the distribution of the e-news and also posted on the Supervisor’s Facebook page, click here

click here

We’re pleased that the paving of a portion of I-684 running through Bedford (from 172 to Harris Road) is proceeding on schedule and is going well.   As you may know, we are pressing for funding to put in place for paving the remaining Bedford portion in 2018.   Here’s the schedule for this year’s paving project over the next two weeks:
9/17/17 – 9/21/17 
9/17-9/21: Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards will continue The hours are 9:00 pm to 6:00 AM. Work will continue in the right and left shoulders northbound and southbound.
I684 NB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
I684 SB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
9/24/17 – 9/28/17
9/24-9/28: Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards will continue The hours are 9:00 pm to 6:00 AM. Work will continue in the right and left shoulders northbound and southbound.
I684 NB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
I684 SB:  milling and paving complete.  Gutter, basin, rail cleaning, miards, shoulder backup, striping will continue
Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on Houston and its surrounding communities last week, leaving thousands of people stranded and devastated. I have been asked how we might help.  And, now, Irma a hurricane that is devastating many areas on its path.  We’ve heard from news reports that money has been pouring into the large, well-known national relief organizations, such as the Red Cross and United Way.   We’ve researched to identify reputable, local organizations which provide the most direct relief to the victims.   Please understand that this is by no means exclusive and can’t possibly be complete, nor intended to dissuade you from donating to other organizations involved in the relief efforts.   There are literally hundreds of ways to assist the victims, and, of course, you’ll want to direct any assistance you can offer to the organization of your choice.  The article, Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams), lists several links you may find useful.    Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Harvey and those who have been hit and may be hit by Hurricane Irma.
“TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT” EVENT – COURTESY OF BEDFORD 2020   The Board approved a Take It or Leave it event in Parking Lot 8 in Bedford Hills from 9 AM to 12 PM every other Saturday between the months of May and October each year, starting as early as this October. The event is modeled after similar programs in other communities, and allows residents to drop off unwanted household items that are still in good/working condition, or pick up and repurpose some. B2020 is providing a 12′ x 16′ shed in the corner of Lot 8 for this purpose. The location will not eliminate any parking spots.  Volunteers organized and managed by B2020 will run the program. The event is an excellent way to recycle and reuse items, and reduce consumption and waste. This program will preserve natural resources, reduce waste, and save residents money.  This is another example of a well thought out program by B2020.  Our thanks to Bedford 2020’s Peter Kuniholm who worked with Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn to make this a reality.   
UPDATE ON POLICE STATION RENOVATION PROJECT   We are continuing to make excellent progress on the police station project – the gut renovation of the existing police station building with two additions.   The timetable for completion is mid-2018.  We are pleased with the work of our contractors and construction manager.  Click here for the August report of our construction manager.
And about the Sewer Project, what’s with the soil testing in Katonah?  The Town’s engineering firm, Woodard & Curran, is working on the design of the sewer system which will be serving the neighborhood business districts (not 117 corridor) of Bedford Hills and Katonah, as well as Katonah Elementary School, property of St. Mary’s, Bedford Park Apartments in Bedford Hills and the correctional facilities in Bedford Hills. As part of the design, soil borings and surveying is being conducted.
SUSTAINABLE WESTCHESTER’S CLEAN TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM would like to alert you to another opportunity to go electric. There are a limited number of vehicles left at this huge bulk discount (total of $19,200 off including $10,000 Sustainable Westchester discount plus State/Federal tax credits), so don’t miss this opportunity!  Sustainable Westchester’s Clean Transportation Project designs programs to accelerate transportation electrification, reduce greenhouse gases and costs for the residents, businesses, and non-profit institutions in our communities. Contact program director Ron Kamen at, or the Sustainable Westchester office for more information.
click here
The Receiver of Taxes for the Town of Bedford Amy M. Pectol  gives notice that she has received the warrant for the Collection Of School Taxes For The 2017-2018 School Year
The Tax Receiver’s Office will be open 8:30 to 4:30 each day, Monday thru Friday At the Town Hall 321 Bedford Rd.-Bedford Hills-New York.  If you do not receive your bill by 9/5/2017 please contact this office at 914-666-4475. Click 
here for the notice
A number of residents have reported bear sightings.  “Wow, a bear!” may be our first reaction, but here are some safety tips, click here.  And click here to see a picture of a bear that was taken and shared with us by a resident.
I wish to augment the below information (e-news 8/25) with the following request for motorists:
Sharing the road d with bicyclists
When parked on the street, check for bicyclists approaching from behind you before opening your car door.
Always exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person walking or bicycling.
Always be vigilant when pedestrians are present, especially those with visual or physical impairments.
Bicyclists are fully entitled to use the road and have the right to “take the lane” by positioning themselves at or near the center of the lane when needed to avoid hazards or if the lane is too narrow  to safely travel side by side with motorists.
Pass bicycles only when necessary and safe: pass to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear. When in doubt, wait until you can pass at a safe speed. Before making a right turn, let bicyclists clear the intersection. When turning left or entering a roadway, yield to oncoming bicyclists as you would to any vehicle.
 Some of you may have heard of the tragic death earlier this month of a cyclist in Stony Point.  Another was killed yesterday.  We also are concerned about the safety of walkers and pedestrians.  While we implore drivers to observe speed limits and other rules of the road, we also wish to share with you rules and tips for cyclists and pedestrians some of which a Bedford resident compiled and sent to me. 
New York State law mandates the following related to cyclists:
  1. Travel WITH traffic (i.e. on the same side of the road) and obey all vehicle laws (stop at stop lights, etc.)
  2. Are not allowed on sidewalks
  3. Helmets (protective head gear) are required
  4. No headphones, ear buds, or other noise cancelling devices are allowed in more than 1 ear.
  5.  Horn/bell audible for 100 feet
  6. Lighting required a half hour before dusk until a half hour after dawn.
  7. Cyclists are required to use appropriate hand signals.


  1. Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk always walk facing traffic.
  2. Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers to see you during the daytime. At night, wear special reflective material on your shoes, cap or jacket to reflect the headlights of cars coming towards you.


  1.  Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
  2. top at the curb, or the edge of the road.
  3. Stop and look left, then right, then left again, before you step into the street.
  4. If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right and left again until no cars are coming.
  5. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing, and remember, Walk. Don’t run.
  6.  If a car is parked where you are crossing, make sure there is no driver in the car. Then go to the edge of the car and look left-right-left until no cars are coming.
Septic pump out – if you haven’t done it within the last five years, the law requires you do so. And, if you have a problem with your system, please check out the Town’s Septic System Repair and Replacement program to deal with failing septic systems. The program allows Bedford property owners in the Croton Watershed (about 85% of the Town’s land area) for a 50% reimbursement of repair/replacement costs. If you have a failing septic system, contact the Planning Department at 666-4434 for further information or visit our website.

Click here and enter location you would like information about.

Hurricanes and Tropical storms can wreak havoc in many ways, with lashing winds, torrential rains, and inundating storm surges.
Prepare for a hurricane by stocking up on food, water, protective clothing, medications, batteries, flashlights, important documents, road maps, and a full tank of gasoline.
As a storm unfolds listen to local authorities on radio or television (battery operated in the event of an outage). Evacuation routes often close as a storm develops. Dedicated professionals and improved technology have made hurricane forecasting more accurate than ever before-but it’s far from precise.
If forced to weather a storm, get inside the most secure building possible and stay away from windows.
Avoid downed wires – they can be live.  Report downed wires to your local utilities.  In the case of an emergency call 911. Click here for more information regarding hurricane and tropical storm preparedness.
Vacancies on Boards and Committees (updated 9/6/17)
There is one vacancy on the Recreation and Parks Advisory (RPAC) Committee; must be a Bedford Hills resident.  For more information on the Committee, please click here.
There is one vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board (TAB). The ideal candidate would be a certified arborist. For more information on the Board, please click here.
There are two vacancies on Committee on Seniors. For more information on the committee, please click here.
There is one vacancy on the Open Space Acquisition Committee. For more information on the committee, please click here.
If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to
2018 BUDGET WORK SESSIONS BEGIN (See schedule below)
Comptroller Abraham Zambrano provided highlights of the 2018 budget at this early point, emphasizing that the budget will continue to be very tight due to several factors including:
  • NYS Property Tax Cap of 2.68% which we are committed to stay within
  • Contractual obligations
  • Health insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Increase in debt service (principally the Police Station renovation project).
  • Lower than anticipated building permits
On the positive side, Mr. Zambrano reported that 2017 year to date overall results of operations have been positive and some of the contributions to the positive position will recur in 2018.
He also explained that the Board will need to get started with the 2018 Capital Plan.
Mr. John Payne, Physician Practice Manager at NWH, and Mr. Cliff Bernelli, a Veteran who works in recovery at NWH spoke about an upcoming business workshop on October 23, from 2:00 to 4:30 PM at the hospital. The workshop also teaches skills such as interviewing, dressing for an interview/job, etc. The hospital hopes to hire 1000 veterans this year.
The committee is working on programs designed to help veterans in and around Mount Kisco. The Committee is comprised of both vets and non-vets, the goal is to benefit both and allow for communication between both parties.
Committee works with P.F.C. Dwyer foundation to assist veterans in finding jobs and aid post-service. A fundraiser is being planned with a bicycle ride from West Point to the WTC. 
We will post relevant information on the website and also include events in the weekly e-news.
The Town will be updating their Electric Vehicle charging stations as they are outdated and will install an additional charging station in Bedford Village Memorial Park. They will also be entering into an agreement with ChargePoint.  The Town appreciates members of the community and Bedford 2020 for supporting the Town’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions.  The Town is grateful for all the work done by Town resident Andrew Kohler toward this effort for the last six months.  The Town also thanks Ellen Calves of Bedford 2020 for the organizations efforts towards reducing carbon emissions and supporting the use of electric vehicles. The charging stations will be serviced by ChargePoint, a global organization dedicated to servicing the chargers.   Comptroller Abraham Zambrano gave the locations of the stations and also gave two price quotes, one for the replacement of the existing five charging stations, and one for the installment of the new one. The total project is budgeted at $100,140. The Town will use $30,000 of an existing 2016 fund earmarked for the repair of the stations and $70,140 out of the general fund for the remainder of the funding. The details of how the Town will charge for the use of the electricity and as well as timed use of the stations are still being worked out as well as parking costs. A profit and loss (PNL) report will be provided by the end of September.
The sidewalk on Court Road will be replaced.  The sidewalk is 30 years old and has deteriorated over time.  The new sidewalk will also be wider. The sidewalk will run from Route 22 to the elementary school. The sidewalk will be replaced with the same brick and concrete pattern that currently exists. The low bidder, Lascon Inc., is familiar with the scope and has provided good references for similar projects. The contract value will be the base bid of $55,150 plus a not to exceed value of $12,750, for a total not to exceed value of $67,900.
The Town will be purchasing 30 cluster replacement recycling and waste receptacles from Kettle Creek Corporation, 18 stainless steel tops for existing Victor Stanley Receptacles and labels for stainless tops.  The existing receptacles are 20 years old and have been durable and have stood the test of time. The total projected expenditure is $52,128.80. Funds are proposed to be drawn the Capital budget ($40,000) line and from the General Fund balance ($12,128.80).
A resident has requested that a stop sign be installed on Woodfield Road at the intersection of Oak Road. Commissioner Kevin Winn concurred with the request due to limited sight distance.
A public hearing was re-set for September 19 at 8 PM.
Northern Westchester Office for Victims of Domestic Abuse:  Pound Ridge Supervisor Dick Lyman will present to the Town Board a proposal for an inter-municipal agreement among Pound Ridge, Lewisboro, Bedford, North Salem and Somers for office space for Office for Women, Hope’s Door, The Pace Women’s Law Center and the Family Justice Center to serve our residents who are victims of domestic abuse. 
Gateway signs – the signs and poles have been received and the sign company is making up an adapter for the post hole size issue that occurred during fabrication. It is anticipated that the signs will be installed in September.
Traffic Calming
  • The raised crosswalk is planned for September. Acocella contracting will be performing the work. DPW will communicate with store owners, the Chamber, and BVHDRC before the work occurs.
  • Paving of the Village Green and installation of the speed hump will occur in October or November.
Street Lights – 11 have been ordered and are expected to be delivered by the end of September. DPW plans to replace all of the ones in the brick sidewalk between Court Road and 172, and then several on the Village Green this year. Another 11 +/- have been included in the capital plan for next year, and can be scheduled once the plan is approved
Court Road Sidewalk – Replacement is planned to start by the end of August. DPW will communicate with store owners, the Chamber, and BVHDRC before the work occurs.
Route 22 Sidewalk north of Court Road – likely to be budgeted for and replaced in 2018.


Mortgage rates average 3.88% | Bedford Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping to a new 2017 low.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.88 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending June 29, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 3.90 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.48 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.17 percent with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.78 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.17 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.14 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.70 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.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.
“The 30-year mortgage rate fell 2 basis points to 3.88 percent this week. However, the majority of our survey was conducted prior to Tuesday’s sell-off in the bond market which drove Treasury yields higher. Mortgage rates may increase in next week’s survey if Treasury yields continue to rise.”

Why homeownership is near 50-year low | Bedford Real Estate

The job market continues to show improvement, and interest rates remain historically low, yet the homeownership rate in the U.S. remains near a 50-year low.

The National Association of Realtors released a new white paper titled, “Hurdles to Homeownership: Understanding the Barriers” which lays out five reasons for the low homeownership rate. NAR released its paper in recognition of National Homeownership month at the Sustainable Homeownership Conference at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The decline and stagnation in the homeownership rate is a trend that’s pointing in the wrong direction, and must be reversed given the many benefits of homeownership to individuals, communities and the nation’s economy,” NAR President William Brown said. “Those who are financially capable and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream.”

The research, commissioned by NAR, was prepared by Rosen Consulting Group, and jointly released by the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business.

“Low mortgage rates and a healthy job market for college-educated adults should have translated to more home sales and upward movement in the homeownership rate in recent years,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said. “Sadly, this has not been the case.”

“Obtaining a mortgage has been tough for those with good credit, savings for a down payment are instead going towards steeper rents and student loans, and first-time buyers are finding that listings in their price range are severely inadequate,” Yun said.

Here are what NAR says are the five main barriers to homeownership:

Post-foreclosure stress disorder:

There are long-lasting psychological changes in financial decision-making, including housing tenure choice, for the 9 million homeowners who experienced foreclosure, the 8.7 million people who lost their jobs and the young adults who witnessed the hardships of their family and friends, NAR explained.

Mortgage availability:

Credit standards did not normalize after the Great Recession, NAR’s study showed. Borrowers with good-to-excellent credit scores are not getting approved at the rate they were in 2003, prior to the period of excessively lax lending standards.

The growing burden of student loan debt:

Young households are repaying an increasing level of student loan debt that makes it extremely difficult to save for a down payment, qualify for a mortgage and afford a mortgage payment, especially in areas with high rents and home prices. NAR found in a survey released last year, student loan debt is delaying purchases from Millennials and over half expect to be delayed by at least five years.

Single-family housing affordability:

Lack of inventory, higher rents and home prices, difficulty saving for a down payment and investors weighing on supply levels by scooping up single-family homes have all lead to many markets experiencing decaying affordability conditions, the study showed. Unless these challenges subside, RCG forecasts that affordability will fall by an average of nearly nine percentage points across all 75 major markets between 2016 and 2019, with approximately 5 million fewer households able to afford the local median-priced home by 2019.

Single-family housing supply shortages:

Fewer property lots at higher prices, difficulty finding skilled labor and higher construction costs are among the reasons cited by RCG for why housing starts are not ramping up to meet the growing demand for new supply.

read more…

Home prices jumped the most in these 10 housing markets | Bedford Real Estate

Home prices increased in March to a new peak, according to the latest Home Prices Index from Black Knight Financial Services.

Home prices rose to a median $272,000 in March, the report showed. This represents a new peak in home prices, and a rise of 2.3% from the start of the year.

And the Case-Shiller index, put out by CoreLogic and S&P Dow Jones Indices, showed home prices increased 5.8% annually in March, a pace which experts say is good news for sellers, but not so great for home buyers.

But some metropolitan areas saw home prices moving faster than others, as the fastest metro saw an increase that was double that of the national average. Month-over-month, home prices increased 1.3% nationally.

Here are the top ten housing metros with the highest increase in home prices in March, and the percent increase from the previous month. Using data from Trulia, HousingWire analyzed the median home price in each metro.

10. Bloomington, Illinois – Home prices up 2%

Median home price: $157,000


9. Boulder, Colorado – Home prices up 2%

Median home price: $625,000

8. Sacramento, California – Home prices up 2%

Median home price: $280,000


7. Spokane, Washington – Home prices up 2%

Median home price: $180,325

6. Kankakee, Illinois – Home prices up 2.2%

Median home price: $86,000

5. San Francisco, California – Home prices up 2.2%

Median home price: $1,205,000

san francisco houses

4. Walla Walla, Washington – Home prices up 2.2%

Median home price: $218,750

3. Bellingham, Washington – Home prices up 2.3%

Median home price: $335,709

2. Seattle, Washington – Home prices up 2.4%

Median home price: $625,000

Side shot

1. San Jose, California – Home prices up 2.6%

Median home price: $835,000

San Jose


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Decline for Single-Family Built-for-Rent Construction | Bedford Real Estate

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.


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March Sales: New Listings Were Off to the Races | Bedford Real Estate

March buyers blew the roof off housing markets as they heeded warnings about the limited supplies of home for sale and found houses in record time.  National monthly market reports on March transactions chronicled surge of sales as the spring season kicked off and tens of thousands of new listings turned over in a matter of days.

“We expected a seasonal uptick in sales this time of year and March certainly met and somewhat exceeded that expectation,” said RE/MAX CEO Dave Liniger as the months supply in RE/MAX’s latest National Housing Report fell below 3 months in March for the first time in history.

“Calendars might say spring is only a week old but we’re already in the thick of the most frenzied home buyer season on record,” concurred’s Javier Vivas. Redfin reported its fastest March on record for home sales since it began tracking this data in 2010.

Every report told the same story.  The plunge in days on market was breathtaking as buyers gobbled up new listings as fast as they hit MLSs. In NAR’s existing home sales report, days on market fell from 45 days in February to 34 days in March, on from 90 to 68,, on RE/MAX from 71 to 64, on Redfin from 60 top 49.

Prices Outpace Incomes’

The three year inventory drought coupled with the spring surge in demand pushed prices even ither than

109.1 million full-time wage and salary workers were $830 in

the first quarter of 2016 (not seasonally adjusted), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

This was 2.7 percent higher than a year earlier



March Market Reports at a Glance


Monthly Sales Trend

Annual Sales Trend

Monthly Price Trend

Annual Price Trend

Median Sale Price

Median Days on Market









There was enough of a monthly increase in listings in March for sales to muster a strong gain. Sales will go up as long as inventory does.







The typical spring upswing in sales has come about a month earlier than usual.













Spring 2017 shapes up to be the fastest and most competitive housing market in recent years,







Prices hit a new high due steady demand and record low inventory.







Five percent fewer homes on the market now than a year ago










*These data are not sales but valuations for all homes based on Zillow’s AVM.


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U.S. pending home sales surge to ten-month high | Bedford Real Estate

Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes jumped to a 10-month high in February, pointing to robust demand for housing ahead of the busy spring selling season.

The report on Wednesday from the National Association of Realtors suggested higher home prices and mortgage rates were having little impact on the housing market for now, underscoring the economy’s resilience despite an apparent slowdown in growth in the first quarter.

The NAR said its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, surged 5.5 percent to 112.3. That was the highest reading since April and the second best showing since May 2006.

“This bodes well for home sales this spring,” said Misa Batcheller, an economic analyst at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Contract signing last month was likely boosted by unseasonably warm temperatures. The gains reversed January’s 2.8 percent drop. Pending home contracts become sales after a month or two, and last month’s surge implied a pickup in home resales after they tumbled 3.7 percent in February.

Economists had forecast pending home sales rising 2.4 percent last month. Pending home sales increased 2.6 percent from a year ago.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data as investors assessed comments from Federal Reserve officials on further interest rate increases this year. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, one of the U.S. central bank’s most consistent supporters of low interest rates, said he supported additional monetary policy tightening this year.

The Fed raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by a quarter percentage point earlier this month and has forecast two more rate hikes this year. The dollar was trading higher against a basket of currencies while U.S. stocks were mixed. U.S. government bond prices rose.


Demand for housing is being driven by a strong labor market, which is generating wage increases, as it nears full employment. Sales activity, however, remains constrained by tight inventories, which are driving up home prices.

“The good news is that warm winter weather has led to a surge in construction that will hopefully result in a bloom of new homes for sale this spring,” said Joseph Kirchner, senior economist at

A report on Tuesday showed home prices increased 5.7 percent in January on a year-on-year basis. The NAR expects sales of previously owned homes to increase 2.3 percent this year to around 5.57 million units.

Existing homes sales increased 3.8 percent last year. Housing market strength suggests an apparent sharp slowdown in economic growth early in the first quarter is likely temporary.

The Atlanta Fed is forecasting gross domestic product increasing at a 1.0 percent annualized pace in the first quarter. The economy grew at a 1.9 percent rate in the final three months of 2016.

Given labor market strength, economists expect only a modest impact from higher mortgage rates. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is currently at 4.23 percent, below a more than 2-1/2-year high of 4.32 percent hit in December.

In a separate report on Wednesday, the Mortgage Bankers Association said applications for home purchase loans rose 1.2 percent last week from the prior week. It was the fourth increase in the past five weeks.


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Builder Confidence Holds Firm | Bedford Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes remained on firm ground in January, down two points to a level of 67 from a downwardly revised December reading of 69 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

The solid reading is consistent with building expectations heading into the new year. NAHB expects 10 percent growth in single-family construction in 2017, adding to the gains of 2016. However, ongoing industry concerns include rising mortgage interest rates as well as a lack of lots and access to labor.

The HMI rose sharply in December as the election results raised hopes among builders that a new Congress and administration will help create a better business climate for small businesses, particularly with respect to improving regulatory costs, which increased more than 29% over the last five years.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All three HMI components retreated in January. The component gauging current sales conditions fell three points to 72, the index charting sales expectations in the next six months registered a two-point decline to 76 and the component measuring buyer traffic edged one-point lower to 51.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast rose two points to 52 and the Midwest posted a three-point gain to 64. The South and West each held steady at 67 and 79, respectively.


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