Category Archives: Chappaqua

Case Shiller prices up 5.8% | Chappaqua Real Estate

  • Nationally, prices rose 5.8 percent in August compared with August 2017, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home prices index. That is less than the 6 percent annual gain in July.
  • The index’s 10-City Composite rose 5.1 percent annually, down from 5.5 percent in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.5 percent year-over-year gain, down from 5.9 percent in the previous month.
  • “Following reports that home sales are flat to down, price gains are beginning to moderate,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release.
GS: Real estate agent and prospective buyer in house 091001

A real estate agent shows a home for sale to a prospective buyer in Miami.Getty Images

Mortgage interest rates didn’t begin their recent surge until the start of September, but home prices were already feeling pressure, as fewer people could afford what was for sale.

Nationally, prices rose 5.8 percent in August compared with August 2017, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home prices index. That is less than the 6 percent annual gain in July.

The index’s 10-City Composite rose 5.1 percent annually, down from 5.5 percent in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 5.5 percent year-over-year gain, down from 5.9 percent in the previous month.

“Following reports that home sales are flat to down, price gains are beginning to moderate,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release. “Rising prices may be pricing some potential home buyers out of the market, especially when combined with mortgage rates approaching 5 percent for 30-year fixed rate loans.”

WATCH NOWVIDEO00:46Pending home sales inch up

The jump in mortgage interest rates began at the start of September, but home sales were already slowing, as prices were just too high for some buyers, especially entry-level buyers. Home prices have been pushed higher over the past few years due to a critical shortage of homes for sale. Inventory, however, finally began to rise in August, and continues to gain this fall. Not only are there more listings, but fewer sales, so homes are sitting on the market longer.

The market is beginning to balance more between supply and demand, following one of the strongest seller’s markets in decades. There is little concern, however, that prices will actually fall, only that the gains will fall back to more normal, historical levels of 3 percent to 4 percent annually.

“There are no signs that the current weakness will become a repeat of the crisis, however. In 2006, when home prices peaked and then tumbled, mortgage default rates bottomed out and started a three year surge,” said Blitzer. “Today, the mortgage default rates reported by the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices are stable. Without a collapse in housing finance like the one seen 12 years ago, a crash in home prices is unlikely.”

Even as the gains shrink, some local markets continue to show price strength. Las Vegas, San Francisco and Seattle saw the biggest annual gains among the 20-city index.

In August, Las Vegas home prices jumped 13.9 percent year-over-year, followed by San Francisco with a 10.6 percent increase and Seattle with a 9.6 percent gain. Four of the 20 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending August 2018 versus the year ending July 2018.

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https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/30/home-price-gains-fall-below-6percent-for-the-first-time-in-a-year-august-sp-case-shiller-indices.html

Classic Westchester restaurants | Chappaqua Real Estate

In life before a thousand TV channels, text-messaging and, dare we say, the harsh divide of politics, a host of Westchester restaurants served up hand-formed burgers, red sauce pasta and old-school pizza, minus the wood-burning oven and gourmet toppings.

Decades later, life may have changed dramatically, but these restaurants are still true to their core. 

We asked readers about their favorite “old-time” restaurants and got the following responses. Thanks to all who wrote in with suggestions.

Chicken wings at The Candlelight Inn in Scarsdale.

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Chicken wings at The Candlelight Inn in Scarsdale. (Photo: Seth Harrison/The Journal News)

Candlelight Inn, Scarsdale: Eating here is is practically a rite of passage. If you haven’t had chicken wings at Candlelight, one wonders if you can be called a true Westchesterite. The Tracy family has run this cash-only joint since 1955 where lines often snake out the door on weekends. Yes, you can order something else — they have ribs, wraps, burgers and addictive waffle fries — but it’s the wings, oversized, tender and spicy (though you can order them milder), that make this a beloved institution. Go back in time: 519 Central Park Ave., Scarsdale, 914-472-9706, facebook.com/Candlelight-Inn

Emilio Ristorante, Harrison: Diners feel welcome the minute they step through the doors, no matter if they’re a first-timer or have been coming for years. Open since 1979, the restaurant, in a colonial home, has always been known for its gracious hospitality and Old World ways. There’s an astute attention to detail, starting with the crisp attire of the wait staff — white shirts and ties (this month everyone is wearing pink ties for breast cancer awareness month). Antipasti is brought to the table and explained, branzino and Dover sole are filetted tableside and desserts are wheeled out with flourish. The wine list is extensive, the Italian food authentic and well-prepared, and the owner, Sergio Brasesco, is all about ensuring you have a memorable meal. Go back in time: 1 Colonial Pl., Harrison, 914-835-3100, emilioristorante.com

The dining room of Francesco's in White Plains. Photographed Oct. 3, 2019.

The dining room of Francesco’s in White Plains. Photographed Oct. 3, 2019. (Photo: Jeanne Muchnick)

Francesco’s, White Plains: Many diners no doubt went to this classic mom-and-pop red sauce restaurant with their parents back in the day  (it’s 48-years-old). And guess what? It hasn’t changed. Sitting in the dining room filled with its wood paneling, red leather booths and hodepodge of Italian art, it’s easy to feel like you’re 16 again. Expect lots of pastas along with classic entrees like lasagna, veal parmesean, penne alla vodka, and clams casino. Folks also rave about the pizza. Go back in time: 600 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, 914-946-3359

Gus’s Restaurant, Harrison: In business since 1931 and still run by the same family (albeit with a 17-year break in between when it was sold to a group of investors) Gus’s Restaurant, originally called The Franklin Park Tavern, has a reputation for its seafood and comfortable tavern vibe. It’s also known, among long-time patrons for staying true to the mission of Gus Kneuer who prided himself on serving hearty German fare.

Now run by Ernie and Audrey Kneuer, Gus’s grandson and granddaughter (the two bought it back from the investors in 2004), it features many of Gus’s favorites like meatloaf with mashed potatoes, grilled bratwurst with sauerkraut and fresh roasted turkey. And, thanks to the fish market next door, all the fish and seafood is super fresh and filetted every morning. “Everything gets turned over daily to keep the freshness of both our fish and meat products,” said Ernie Kneuer.  There are plenty of  American favorites like burgers, salads and sandwiches. Be sure to look for Gus’s photo which still hangs by the cash register. Go back in time: 126 Halstead Ave., Harrison, 914-835-9804, gusseafood.com

The dining room at Gus's Franklin Park Restaurant on Halstead Avenue in Harrison, pictured Oct. 9, 2018.

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The dining room at Gus’s Franklin Park Restaurant on Halstead Avenue in Harrison, pictured Oct. 9, 2018.  (Photo: Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

Muscoot Tavern, Katonah: The crooked walls and low front door are reasons to love Muscoot Tavern. Another is its friendly atmosphere and the fact that no matter what’s going on with the world, inside this roadside restaurant, things remain pretty much the same as when the restaurant first opened, sometime prior to 1925. Though it’s changed ownership many times over the years, its legacy as a local hangout remains. Try the “Zpaghetti,” zucchini noodles with fresh garlic, grape tomato, white wine and basil, or the Katonah pizza, made with roasted eggplant, zucchini, peppers caramelized onions, truffle oil, basil. Owner Bobby Epstein also likes to mix it up with some high-end specials every night like prime rib or Mako shark. Go back in time: 105 Somerstown Turnpike, Katonah, 914- 232-2800, muscoottavern.com

La Manda’s, White Plains:The no-frills decor is part of the charm — think knotty pine paneling and Formica tables —  can’t help but transport you back in time. Owner Sly Musilli writes on the La Manda’s website that though they’ve done work to improve the restaurant and spruce it up over the years, they also recognize the value of  keeping it as folks remember. That includes the heaping portions of pasta and robust Italian specialties of Chicken Scarparo, Pizzaiola and Zuppa Di Pesce. Plus, of course the super-thin pizza cooked in the same brick oven since 1934. Just be warned, it’s cash only, though there’s an ATM on the premises. Go back in time: 251 Tarrytown Rd., White Plains 914-684-9228, lamandas.com

A cheese pizza at La Manda's restaurant. Old-school Greenburgh staple has been serving thin-crust pies since 1947. Photographed May 26, 2017.

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A cheese pizza at La Manda’s restaurant. Old-school Greenburgh staple has been serving thin-crust pies since 1947. Photographed May 26, 2017. (Photo: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News)

Paradise Restaurant, Verplanck:Hungry for a trip down Memory Lane? Paradise, run by third-generation owner Joseph Margiotta, is your place. The restaurant is 70-years-old and though known for its happily carb-laden Italian food, Margiotta said he has tweaked the menu to include more healthier eating options. There is still plenty of old-time Italian favorites like spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parm, shrimp scampi, and pizza. Giving diners what they like, said Margiotta, is key to their success. “You can come in and not spend a lot of money or you can come in and spend a lot of money,” he explained. “We wouldn’t have been able to survive four recessions if we didn’t offer something for everyone.” Go back in time: 135 Broadway Ave, Verplanck, 914-736-3334, paradiseverplanck.com

Roma Restaurant, Tuckahoe: The third generation of the Tavolilla family runs Roma, in business since 1931. Known primarily for its thin-crust brick-oven pizza and comfortable family-friendly vibe, it’s also a pasta haven with choices of spaghetti, linguini, penne, cavatelli, and gnocchi. Coming here is like visiting the Italian grandmother you never had where meatballs or sides of pasta can be added to any dish and the lasagna, stuffed shells, baked ziti and more, seem to stream out of the kitchen. Go back in time: 29 Columbus Ave., Tuckahoe, 914-961-3175, romarestaurant1931.com

Sam’s of Gedney Way, White Plains: The history of Sam’s is written in depth on its website, detailing how Sam Eisenstein, the 23-year-old son of a Russian immigrant “with a $300 stake and a barrel of faith,” opened his newsstand and soda fountain in 1932 on what then was a dirt lane in White Plains. Back then, a hamburger with coffee was 15 cents and you could get a 25 cent lunch with pie. In 1968 the restaurant relocated to its current spot on Gedney Way evolving from a luncheonette speakeasy to a saloon to a white-tablecloth restaurant. Now run by Peter and Karen Herrero, natives of White Plains, the two have updated it complete with organic food selections, a gluten-free menu and a loyal staff, many of whom have been with them for  years. Go back and time: 50 Gedney Way, White Plains, 914-949-0978, samsofgedneyway.com

The Blazer Burger at the Blazer Pub is topped with bacon, cheese and carmelized onions.

The Blazer Burger at the Blazer Pub is topped with bacon, cheese and carmelized onions. (Photo: Carmen Troesser)

Squire’s of Briarcliff, Briarcliff Manor: This classic burger joint, in business since 1967, is known primarily for its 9-ounce juicy patties, hand-pressed with high-quality meat. Generous portions make it another reason to come, along with the retro ambiance. Like any good tavern, it also serves wraps, salads, steak, chicken and seafood, but the menu also includes gluten-free rolls to accommodate different dietary needs. Just know: it’s American Express or cash only (there’s an ATM inside). Go back in time: 94 N. State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, 914-762-3376, squiresofbriarcliff.com

The Blazer Pub, North Salem: You go for the burgers: hand-formed and meaty, but soon, the nostalgic ambiance with its vintage arcade games, jukebox loaded with Springsteen and scalloped paper placemats win you over. It’s like stepping back into the 1970s complete with a well-worn bar which looksstraight out of the TV show, “Cheers.” Mostly though you’ll love the wallet-friendly prices (a burger is $7.75). The pub is also known for its tomato soup and “award-winning” chili. Worth nothing: the restaurant is the only one in Westchester to  be featured in “Hamburger America,” a state-by-state guide to 200 of the country’s best burger joints. Go back in time: 440 NY-22, North Salem, 914-277-4424, theblazerpub.com


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https://www.lohud.com/story/life/food/restaurants/2018/10/15/17-oldest-restaurants-westchester-whats-your-favorite/1456738002/

New housing in the U.S. | Chappaqua Real Estate

Highlights of Annual 2017 Characteristics of New Housing

Of the 795,000 single-family homes completed in 2017:

  • 742,000 had air-conditioning.
  • 79,000 had two bedrooms or less and 362,000 had four bedrooms or more.
  • 30,000 had one and one-half bathrooms or less and 296,000 homes had three or more bathrooms.
  • 213,000 had vinyl siding as the primary exterior wall material.
  • 204,000 had a full or partial basement.
  • 517,000 had a 2-car garage and 48,000 had a 1-car garage.

The median size of a completed single-family house was 2,426 square feet.

Of the 358,000 multifamily units completed in 2017:

  • 7,000 had a fireplace.
  • 200,000 were in buildings with four floors or more.
  • 235,000 were heated using electricity.
  • 183,000 had one bathroom.

The median size of multifamily units built for rent was 1,088 square feet, while the median of those built for sale was 1,494 square feet.

Of the 14,000 multifamily buildings completed in 2017:

  • 3,000 had 4 floors or more.
  • 1,000 had 50 units or more.
  • 7,000 were heated by a heat pump.
  • 12,000 had wood framing.

Of the 613,000 single-family homes sold in 2017:

  • 544,000 were detached homes and 68,000 were attached homes.
  • 370,000 had a forced-air furnace
  • 131,000 had a garage for 3 cars or more.
  • 149,000 had vinyl siding as the primary exterior wall material.
  • 556,000 had wood framing.

The median sales price of new single-family homes sold in 2017 was $323,100, while the average sales price was $384,900.

The median size of a new single-family home sold was 2,457 square feet.

116,000 contractor-built single-family homes were started in 2017.

The median contract price was $271,100.

What to do in NYC this fall | Chappaqua Real Estate

17 reasons to go NYC

There’s a lot of fun stuff to do this fall in New York City. Take a look at these openings, concerts, festivals, performances and all-around-good-time events to find out why we’re excited (and be sure to mark down on your calendar whatever strikes your fancy).

Village Halloween Parade. Photo: Joe Buglewicz

1. The City’s biggest costume party hits the streets. The Village Halloween Parade of costumed revelers and larger-than-life spooky puppets makes its way through the West Village on Halloween night. Thanks to a crowd that’s often as dressed up as the parade goers, this downtown tradition takes people-watching to the next level. —Brian Sloan

2. Dogs, too, will be decked out. Brooklyn’s annual Great PUPkin canine costume contest and parade is certifiably the cutest and fluffiest way to celebrate Halloween. —Gillian Osswald

NYC Fashion Week. Photo: Marley White

3. Speaking of daring fashion… Spring/Summer Fashion Week is your chance to see all the world’s top designers debut runway looks. Expect standout shows from Tom Ford, Anna Sui and Marc Jacobs. —Christina Parrella 

NYC Marathon. Photo: Julienne Schaer

4. The NYC Marathon is back. Sporting events don’t get much bigger than this November 4 race, during which nearly 50,000 professional and amateur runners run through all five boroughs. There are plenty of great viewing spots along the route, but you’ll see the most action at the finish line in Central Park near Tavern on the Green. —Jonathan Zeller

New York Giants. Photo: Evan Pinkos

5. And don’t forget the other sports. The Yankees look like they’re in good shape for a return to baseball’s playoffs, so go see Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino and company during the stretch run. The Mets season hasn’t panned out as they hoped, but September offers the chance to cheer on Jacob deGrom as he aims for the National League Cy Young. Football’s Giants and Jets start up the same month; come October, the season kicks off for the NBA’s Knicks and Nets, and for the NHL’s Rangers and Islanders—JZ

6. But you can have sports fun even if you don’t make it to the park. The Museum of the Moving Image takes a look back at six decades of sports video games —giving you the opportunity to test your chops at a few dozen of them. We’re personally hoping to see Vs. Tennis and Punch-Out. Look out, Glass Joe! —Andrew Rosenberg

7. The concert schedule is packed. Big shows include Jade Bird at Bowery Ballroom (September 26), Florence and the Machine at Barclays Center (October 9), Justin Timberlake at Madison Square Garden (October 22 and 24), Garbage at Kings Theatre (October 27), Violent Femmes at Brooklyn Steel (October 28), Justin Courtney Pierre at Bowery Ballroom (November 6), Spin Doctors at Brooklyn Bowl (November 8) and Tennis at Le Poisson Rouge (November 13). Bring your earplugs and have a good time. —nycgo.com staff

8. There’s an open-door policy. Hundreds of buildings and landmarks take part in Open House New York, a fall weekend (October 12–14) that marks your chance to see the inner workings of structures sometimes off-limits. Unusual places like La Guardia’s Marine Air Terminal and the super-futuristic looking Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant have been part of past programs. —AR

9. You can get a taste of Japan in Sunset Park. Industry City’s new Eataly-style food fun house, Japan Village, will pack 20,000 square feet with ramen, sushi, soba, mochi and everything else you’d ever want to eat from the Land of the Rising Sun. It should be up and running in October. —GO

10. We believe in life after love. Or, at least, a musical about life after 50-plus years in show business. If you do too, check out The Cher Show, a new Broadway extravaganza covering Cher’s life, times and loves. It takes three actresses to play the title role. —BS

“Green Coca-Cola Bottles” (1962), Andy Warhol. Courtesy, Whitney Museum

11. Warhol will get surveyed. The pop artist’s famous works—and some less familiar ones—will be the subject of Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again at the Whitney Museum. —CP

12. So will some of his collaborators. You gotta run, run, run to see the ambitious exhibition covering the origins, music and influence of the Velvet Underground, due in the West Village in October. —AR

Courtesy, Brooklyn Comedy Festival

13. We like to laugh. Alternative comedy’s big fall event is the Brooklyn Comedy Festival (September 17 –23), whose lineup includes Kevin McDonald, Jo Firestone and Nimesh Patel. The New York Comedy Festival (November 5–11) brings huge acts like Tracy Morgan, Yvonne Orji and Bill Burr. In non-festival news, club headliners will include the likes of Leslie Jones (September 5–8), Norm Macdonald (September 13–16) and Tom Green (September 21–22). Enjoy! —nycgo.com staff

14. The Coen Brothers’ latest hits the big screen. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has its North American premiere at Lincoln Center as part of the New York Film Festival. Originally intended as a limited series for Netflix, the movie has been reconfigured into a feature-length anthology that tells six stories of the old West; the cast includes Tyne Daly, Tom Waits and James Franco. —BS

Coney Island Film Festival. Photo: Norman Blake

15. And there’s plenty more cinema to savor. Foremost perhaps is NewFest, the City’s 30-year-old LGBTQ film festival. Other events celebrating movie magic: the Horror Film FestivalUrbanworldConey Island Film Festival and the Chelsea Film Festival. Don’t sleep on the hip-hop celluloid celebration at the Film Forum, either. —AR

Oklahoma! Photo: Brigitte Lacombe

16. Oklahoma! comes to Brooklyn. Usually the big musical revivals are on Broadway, but this creatively staged and intimate production of a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic is set to play at St. Ann’s Warehouse on the Dumbo waterfront. —BS

17. You won’t have to leave NYC for a day in the country. Celebrate the harvest at the Queens County Fair—which starts on the first official day of fall, September 22. Located deep in the borough on Queens’ last working farm, the fair features carnival rides, hayrides, pie-eating contests and an actual corn maze.

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nycgo.com

Did LeBron James tip his L.A. arrival through real estate? | Chappaqua Real Estate

The Los Angeles Lakers finally reeled in its prized free agent over the weekend when four-time league MVP LeBron James agreed to a four-year deal with the team.

The addition of James, who leaves behind his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, is a major coup for the Lakers, but should it come as a huge surprise? Not if you consider his business and real estate ties to the L.A. area.

Some began to predict that James would eventually land in Los Angeles in 2015 after the basketball superstar’s production company SpringHill Entertainment inked a deal with a Burbank studio to create television, film and other digital content. The company has since built up a strong portfolio of projects, including the Disney series “Becoming,” an upcoming “House Party” reboot and a rumored “Space Jam” sequel starring James.

The arrival of SpringHill wasn’t the only one that year. Months after the production company set up shop, James purchased his first home in the area, paying about $21 million for a gated estate in Brentwood.

The Traditional-style home, designed by Ken Ungar, was built in 2011 and has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms and nearly 9,500 square feet of living space. Lawn and a swimming pool and a semi-circular spa/fountain make up the grounds.

Many basketball players own real estate in Los Angeles and spend the off-season there, but James appeared to double down on the area in December when he bought a second home in Brentwood for $23 million.

Sitting up from the street, with city-to-ocean views, the 15,846-square-foot home is furnished with an elevator, a home theater and a custom kitchen with a La Cornue range. A lower level was designed for entertaining and holds a home theater, wine cellar, cigar room and onyx-lined wet bar.

The second house has a total of eight bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms. A spa with a steam room, sauna and massage room are among other features.

Similar to James’ own purchases and investments, those of his inner circle also offered clues. One by one, his closest advisors and friends have joined the 14-time all-star out West.

Two years ago, Rich Paul, a longtime friend and agent to James, bought a newly built house in the Beverly Grove area for $3.47 million. James’ business manager, Maverick Carter, also owns a home in the Hollywood Hills, which he recently put on the market for $4.695 million.

Now that he has settled on a home base for the next four years, the next question is whether his two Brentwood estates will be enough home for the King.

In Akron, Ohio, his hometown, James resides in a massive 30,000-square-foot mansion that has six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, according to Busted Coverage. The property, which reportedly boasts a two-lane bowling alley and a casino, is two to three times as large than either of his Brentwood properties and has more square footage than both homes combined.

In other words, perhaps L.A.’s top real estate agents should get ready to bring their A-game.

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http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/hot-property/la-fi-hotprop-lebron-james-real-estate-los-angeles-20180702-story.html

Americans haven’t been this optimistic about house prices since just before the crash | Chappaqua Real Estate

House prices are soaring and, despite warnings from some analysts, most Americans believe they will continue to soar.

A majority of U.S. adults (64%) continue to believe home prices in their local area will increase over the next year, a survey released Monday by polling firm Gallup concluded. That’s up nine percentage points over the past two years and is the highest percentage since before the housing market crash and Great Recession in the mid-2000s.

The level of optimism is edging closer to the 70% of adults in 2005 who said prices would continue rising. That, of course, was less than one year before the peak of the housing market bubble in early 2006, which was largely fueled by a wave of subprime lending. (Roughly one-quarter of respondents in both 2005 and 2018 said they believed house prices would remain the same.)

In 2009, during the depths of the Great Recession, only 22% of Americans believed house prices would rise. But optimism about the housing market has made a slow recovery—along with the market itself—in the intervening years. Today, only 10% in the Gallup survey believe prices will fall. That compares to 5% who felt similarly pessimistic in 2005, just two years before the crash.

 

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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/americans-havent-been-this-optimistic-about-buying-property-since-just-before-the-housing-crash-2018-05-07

NYC housing survey | Chappaqua Real Estate

Ask New Yorkers and they’ll tell you that our city is expensive. Housing costs are high. And sometimes it feels like everything is going up but your paycheck.

With that in mind, StreetEasy.com surveyed 1,000 New Yorkers across all five boroughs to get an idea of what people were thinking in terms of their real estate priorities, plans, and preferences.

StreetEasy senior economist Grant Long says half of New Yorkers find the city to be unaffordable, but only 1 in 6 say their own home is unaffordable.

Budget is the No. 1 real estate concern for New Yorkers, followed by space. But they couldn’t care less about modern amenities. The survey found that, at the end of the day, doormen and in-building gyms had no impact on people’s home-buying decisions, Grant says. They’re not concerned about those perks at all.

According to the survey, New York City millennials might finally be ready to settle down: 1 in 3 millennials is considering buying a home in the next 12 months.

Grant says they’re either settling down or starting a family for the first time. A lot of them are building up the savings required to afford a home so it makes sense, he says, that they’re now looking to capitalize on the home-buying trend.

But with home prices so high in the city, renting might not be such a bad idea. Grant says the average home price in Manhattan right now is about $1 million.

With rent growth slowing down and a lot of new rental construction, you can find a lot of deals right now. So that remains a really attractive option for New Yorkers.

 

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http://www.fox5ny.com/news/nyc-housing-priorities-survey

Single-family housing starts, permits hit 10-year high | Chappaqua Real Estate

U.S. single-family homebuilding and permits surged to more than 10-year highs in November, in a hopeful sign for a housing market that has been hobbled by supply constraints.

Builders have struggled to meet robust demand for housing, which is being fueled by a labor market near full employment. Land and skilled labor have been in short supply, while lumber price increases have accelerated.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, jumped 5.3 percent to a rate of 930,000 units. That was the highest level since September 2007.

Pointing to further gains, single-family home permits rose 1.4 percent to a pace of 862,000 units, a level not seen since August 2007. The jump in groundbreaking on single-family housing units suggests housing could contribute to gross domestic product in the fourth quarter.

Investment in residential construction has declined for two straight quarters, weighing on economic growth. A survey on Monday showed confidence among homebuilders soaring to near an 18-1/2-year high in December, amid optimism over buyer traffic and sales over the next six months.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries remained at session lows after the data while the dollar .DXY pared declines against a basket of currencies. U.S. stock index futures were mixed. Last month, single-family home construction in the densely-populated South shot up 8.4 percent to the highest level since July 2007 as disruptions from recent hurricanes continued to fade and communities in the region replaced houses damaged by flooding.

Single-family starts in the West increased 11.4 percent to their highest level since July 2007. They were unchanged in the Northeast and fell 11.1 percent in the Midwest.

Overall housing starts increased 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.297 million units. While that was the highest level since October 2016, October’s sales pace was revised down to 1.256 million units from the previously reported 1.290 million units.

 

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https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-economy-housingstarts/single-family-housing-starts-permits-hit-10-year-high-idUSKBN1ED1NQ

Holiday home repairs before your holiday | Chappaqua Real Estate

This is no time for major updates, so stick with simple tasks to make for a festive celebration.

Hosting a holiday gathering can be a lot of fun, but perhaps a bit intimidating, too. You want your house to look its best, but now isn’t the time to undertake any major updates.

Chances are, you’re busy enough just preparing for the event. So, focus on just the areas of your house where your guests will spend time.

Whether you’re a first-time party host with a few jitters, or an old pro looking for some new ideas, these tips will help you ensure that your home is ready for any gathering.

Light the way

The sun sets early this time of year, so it’s important to make sure the entrance to your home is clean and well-lit.

Courtesy of Bill Fry.
Courtesy of Bill Fry.

If you have a large front yard, try to focus on just the front entryway and the path leading up to it. Install porch lights, or replace the bulbs on existing lighting. Cut back any shrubbery that is obstructing the walkway.

On the day of your party, open the blinds on the front windows so your guests can see into your warm, festive-looking home as they approach. If you have any broken blinds you can buy blinds online here. It’s a great way to create a sense of welcoming anticipation.

Pro tip: The easiest possible way to create instant lighting for walkways and paths is with the solar lights that you just stick into the ground. The sun does the rest of the work!

Take care of the bottom line

Our mothers used to say this, and it’s true: If your floors are spotless, they make your whole house look cleaner.

Even if you’re unable to do an in-depth house cleaning before your gathering, you will certainly want to make sure that all floors have been cleaned before that first guest steps over the threshold.

Pro tip: If you have carpeting, clean the carpets a minimum of three days ahead of your affair to make sure they have dried fully.

Brighten up your bathroom

If you’re bothered by grimy-looking grout in your bathroom, try this easy, inexpensive, and non-toxic method to get rid of it nearly instantly: Just spray on some full-strength hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe clean. That’s it!

Next, add some flowers, holiday decorations, or pictures on the wall to further spiff up your powder room, and it will be ready for your guests.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Pro tip: Instantly de-clog a slow-moving sink drain with a Zip-It. This inexpensive tool looks like a giant zip-tie. You just work it down into the drain to pull up hair clogs — all the other gunky stuff will come up with it.

Tune up kitchen appliances

Your kitchen appliances will be the workhorses of your holiday party, whether you’re hosting a full family dinner or a cocktail party. You want them to be fully functioning and ready for action.

Make sure all stove burners are working. Now’s the time to clean the oven if you haven’t done that for a while.

Clean out the refrigerator, and make sure that both the fridge and freezer are running at their optimal temperatures.

Make sure your dishwasher is in good working order. You can clean it easily with a dishwasher cleaner that you run through a cycle.

Pro tip: Sharp knives will make easy work of preparing the big meal. Make sure all your kitchen knives are newly sharpened, and also check the batteries in your electric carving knife, if you have one.

Make your space kid-friendly

If you make your home welcoming for children, you will ensure that their parents have a great time as well.

If you happen to have kids that are the same ages as your young guests, you’re in luck. But if not, consider adding some considerate touches that will make parents more comfortable, and alleviate kid boredom.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Turn a spare room or an upstairs bedroom into a private nursing/changing area for a new mom.
  • Toddlers and younger children will want to be near their parents, so a good idea for them is to set up a corner of your living or dining room with toys, books, a tablet for watching cartoons, and some comfy pillows or throws.
  • One of our favorite strategies for older kids is to turn the dessert course into an activity. For instance, you could bake a huge batch of sugar cookies in holiday shapes, and then put out different colors of icing to let kids (and adults) go to town with decorating their own cookies.

Pro tip: If you don’t already have children, or if yours are older, don’t forget to kid-proof your space. Put away anything expensive, breakable, or unstable. Do some baby-proofing, if necessary. This way you and the parents can relax and not have to worry about safety hazards.

Hopefully these ideas will take some of the worry out of holiday entertaining, and ensure that you and your guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company this season.

 

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https://www.zillow.com/blog/home-repairs-before-holiday-party-207284/

Mortgage rates average 3.90% | Chappaqua Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching lower.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.90 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending November 30, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 3.92 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.08 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.30 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.32 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.34 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.32 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.22 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.15 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 Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist.
“The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell two basis points to 3.9 percent in this week’s survey, but we closed our survey prior to a surge in long-term interest rates following an upward revision to third quarter U.S. Real GDP growth and comments by Federal Reserve Chair Yellen touting a broad-based economic expansion.

“The market implied probability of a Fed rate hike in December neared 100 percent, helping to drive short term interest rates higher. The 5/1 Hybrid ARM, which is more sensitive to short-term rates than the 30-year fixed mortgage, increased 10 basis points to 3.32 percent in this week’s survey. The spread between the 30-year fixed mortgage and 5/1 Hybrid ARM is just 58 basis points this week, the lowest spread since November of 2012.”