Category Archives: Katonah

Bomb found at George Soros’ Katonah mailbox | Katonah Real Estate

PHOTOS COURTESY OF GEORGESOROS.COM; GAGE SKIDMORE | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Update 10/24 — The U.S. Secret Service released a statement this morning stating that similar packages were intercepted in routine mail screenings en route to the Chappaqua address of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as the Washington, D.C. residence of Former President Barack Obama.
 

• “Suspicious packages” were identified as “potential explosive devices” during what the Secret Service says in its official statement were routine mail screenings, and “appropriately handled as such.”

• The package sent to Clinton was intercepted late on Tuesday, October 23. A second package addressed to President Obama was intercepted in Washington early Wednesday morning.

• Neither of the Secret Service’s protectees received the packages, “nor were they at risk of receiving them,” according to the statement.

• Also on Wednesday morning, CNN’s offices in Manhattan were evacuated after a similar device was sent there and made its way into their offices, a law enforcement official said.

Jim Sciutto@jimsciuttoBreaking: CNN NY office evacuated. Police bomb squad is here. We’re told of explosive device received.

• According to the Secret Service, the agency has “initiated a full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible.”

Westchester Magazine will continue coverage of this story as it develops. Original story below:
 


Monday afternoon, a small explosive device was discovered in the mailbox of billionaire philanthropist George Soros’ Katonah residence.

No one was injured and the investigation is still ongoing. Here’s everything you need to know as the story unfolds:
 

• Bedford Police received a call around 3:45 p.m. on Monday, October 22, from an employee of the residence.

• The 88-year-old Soros was not home at the time.

• The relatively small device was discovered when an employee opened a package, after which they carefully placed the device outside in a wooded area, according to the Bedford police.

• Federal and state law enforcement agents responded, and the bomb squad proceeded with a controlled detonation of the device.

• There was no clear motive behind the attempted bombing, though Soros has often been demonized by right-wing groups for his support of liberal social policies and campaign contributions to democrats.

• The New York Times reports that the investigation is open, and is now being handled by the New York offices of both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

read more…

http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Explosive-Device-Found-In-George-Soros-Katonah-Home/

The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles in 2018 | Katonah Real Estate

Hong Kong real estate tops the bubble list

With the current stock market bull run reaching nearly 10 years in length, it’s understandable that many investors are nervous about the end of the party coming sooner than later.

However, as UBS notes in its latest report, there is also growing concern about another prominent bubble that’s been in the works since the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Large amounts of easy money have fueled real estate bubbles in the world’s major cities – and the Swiss investment bank now sees the property markets in six global cities as being at risk.

THE BUBBLE INDEX

In the 2018 edition of the bank’s Real Estate Bubble Index, here are the major cities around the globe that are in or near bubble territory:

The biggest real estate bubbles

Any city with a score over 1.5 is considered at “Bubble Risk”, and right now those include two cities from Canada, one from Asia, and three from Europe.

Hong Kong (2.03) tops the index this year, leaping past Munich (1.99), Toronto (1.95), and Vancouver (1.92) which all remain at bubble risk themselves. Amsterdam and London are the two other cities that score higher than a 1.5 on the rankings.

It’s also very important to note that there are four cities that score just under the 1.5 threshold: Stockholm (1.45), Paris (1.44), San Francisco (1.44), and Frankfurt (1.43).

A COMING CORRECTION?

Investor and writer Howard Marks has noted in recent months that the wider market is in its “8th inning”, and the same case could be made for real estate.

Historically, investors have had to be alert to rising interest rates, which have served as the main trigger of corrections.

– UBS Report

According to UBS, the cracks are already starting to show at the top end of the market, with housing prices declining in half of last year’s list of bubble cities. Some of the worrying factors include rising interest rates, as well as growing political tensions as the crisis of affordability makes it harder for average people to live in these global financial centers.

Here is annualized growth in percent over the last year, as well for the last five years for cities in the index:

Real estate bubbles and their growth rates

As you can see, some of these cities have had negative growth over the last 12 months, including New York, Toronto, Sydney, London, and Stockholm.

CHARTING SPECIFIC MARKETS

In Hong Kong, you need to work 22 years to afford a 645 sq. ft (60m²) apartment, when that took just 12 years just a decade ago. In recent years, Hong Kong’s ascent to becoming one of the biggest real estate bubbles has become very evident, especially when juxtaposed with Singapore:

Hong Kong

In Canada, the two cities in the index are starting to go in alternate directions, although recent signs also point to a potential slowdown in Vancouver:

Vancouver and Toronto

Finally, the U.S. market – which felt the pain of the housing crash in the late 2000s – is home to zero cities in the bubble risk category, according to UBS.

American cities

Whether it is a bubble or not, many people agree that San Francisco’s housing situation is still a crisis. In the Bay Area hub, 60% of all rental units are in rental-controlled buildings, and the median single-family house price is a hefty $1.7 million.

read more…

The World’s Biggest Real Estate Bubbles in 2018

NY home prices drop 5.5% | Katonah Real Estate

The S&P/Case-Shiller and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released their home price indices for July 2018. National home prices rose at the slowest annual growth rate since June 2014. Moreover, seven metro areas experienced home price declines in July.

The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, reported by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 1.9% in July. It was the lowest seasonally adjusted annual growth rate since June 2014. The Home Price Index, released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.7% in April, slower than the 3.7% increase in June, confirming the deceleration in home prices for this month.

Figure 2 shows the annual growth rate of home prices for 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas.

Among the 20 metro areas, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Cleveland had the highest home price appreciation. Las Vegas led the way with 14.6%, followed by San Francisco with 11.4% and Cleveland with a 9.3% increase. Eleven out of the 20 metro areas had higher home price appreciation than the national level of 1.9%. In July, thirteen metro areas had positive home price appreciation while seven metro areas had negative home price appreciation, including San Diego (-0.2%), Detroit (-0.2%), Los Angeles (-0.5%), Dallas (-1.6%), Chicago (-1.8%), Boston (-2.4%) and New York (-5.5%).

read more…

Home Price Growth Slowed in July

Mortgage rates average 4.65% | Katonah Real Estate

MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that mortgage rates rose for the fourth consecutive week.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased once again to its highest level since May. “Mortgage rates are drifting upward again and represent continued affordability challenges for prospective buyers – especially first-time buyers,” he said. “Borrowing costs are moving right now for three main reasons: the very strong economy, higher U.S. government debt issuances and global trade tensions.”

Added Khater, “Amidst this four-week climb in mortgage rates, the welcoming news is that purchase applications have risen on an annual basis for five consecutive weeks. However, given the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, the next few months of housing activity will likely be somewhat volatile.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.65 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 20, 2018, up from last week when it averaged 4.60 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.83 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.11 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.06 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.13 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.92 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.93 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.17 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.

Cuba’s real estate market is booming | Katonah Real Estate

The numbers are stunning.

To buy a house in the once-elegant Miramar neighborhood of Havana, the average Cuban must have saved all of his salary since British troops captured the city in 1762.

That house would cost about 100,000 Cuban convertible pesos, or CUCs — the equivalent of $1.13 U.S. What isn’t even close to equivalent is the pay scale. The average Cuban earns 370 CUCs per year as a computer programmer, state shop administrator, policeman, postman or teacher.

That disparity alone isn’t startling. Almost every city in the world has elegant homes that only the elite can afford, while average residents live in moderately priced homes. But in Cuba, the price for even a modest home far outstrips local wages.

According to official figures, the 5,000 CUC asking price for a dilapidated residence in less-desirable Havana neighborhoods like Alamar Jesús María, Luyanó and Párraga equals 13.5 years of salary for an average worker. A modest 20,000 CUC apartment in Vedado amounts to 54 years of average earnings.

Successful business owners, medical personnel who have worked abroad, artists and others may be able to afford the high prices. But its people living abroad – some of them Cubans, some not – who are often buyers.

Making the situation more difficult for island-based Cubans is the financial structure. Cubans cannot access mortgages or bank loans. Real estate purchases in Cuba are generally made in cash — although sometimes the buyers throw in a car, another property, television sets, air conditioners, water pumps and even furniture.

The largest transactions are often discreetly sealed outside Cuba, many of them in Miami.

Since the Cuban government legalized the sale of private residences in 2011, thousands of houses and apartments have changed hands each year.

It was a time of change throughout the island, noted Emilio Morales, director of The Havana Consulting Group, a Miami company that monitors the Cuban economy. “The authorization for selling homes arrived at the same time as self-employment and the elimination of the ‘White Card’ permit to travel abroad. People started selling their homes to invest in a business or to finance their move abroad.”

Today more than 8,000 properties are available for sale in Cuba at any one time. Four out of five are in Havana, home to one in four Cubans.

The island’s complex real estate market is plagued by a lack of information, funding shortages and legislative gaps. Sellers don’t trust real estate agents, who are not officially organized. There are no independent inspectors or appraisers, no property insurance or transparent documents.

But perhaps the heaviest cloud over the real estate market is the well-founded fear that the laws allowing the sale of private homes can be recalled at any time.

“The current trend toward limiting the private sector, from restaurants to home rentals that were proving so successful, will soon bring with it a contraction of the real estate market,” said Morales. “That was the real aim, because the private sector was winning the competition against the inefficient state sector at all levels, from shoe manufacturing to hostels in private homes.”

read more…

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article217887040.html

How Much Should Your Painting Project Cost? | Katonah Real Estate

A lot of factors play into the cost of a home painting project. The type of paint, the number of rooms, the siding material and the height of the house all have an impact. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, homeowners pay an average of $1,500 to $4,000 to have their home exteriors painted and $1,000 to $3,000 to have their entire home interior painted. So, how much will your project cost? And what factors do you have to consider?

When to Paint

Interior
Beyond apparent fading and wear, or simply changing up your style, there are a few parameters for how often interiors should be painted – and how frequently you should factor painting into your annual home improvement budget.

How Often to Paint Interior Rooms
Low-Activity Rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Living Rooms
  • Dining Rooms
3-4 years
High-Activity Rooms
  • Kitchens
  • Bathrooms
  • Hallways
  • Laundry Rooms
5-7 years

Exterior
Climate and maintenance practices will determine how often you’ll need to paint your home. But the type of siding you have plays a major role.

How Often to Paint Home Exteriors
Cement Fiberboard 10-15 years
Aluminum 5-6 years
Stucco 5-6 years
Painted Brick 15-20 years
Wood (Paint) 3-7 years
Wood (Stain) 4 years

If you’re not sure it’s the right time, consult with a painting expert.

The best time of year to paint exteriors is in the late spring and during the summer—when the weather is warmer and dryer, for optimum application conditions.

DIY vs Hiring A Pro

If it’s within your budget, you’ll get the most out of your investment by hiring an expert for your painting project. Experienced painters can do the work in better time. Plus, they’ll have the equipment and training to perform the best preparation and application.

If you do hire a pro, be wary of low quotes. “The wording they’ll use a lot of times is: ‘We guarantee coverage,’” says Nick May, owner of Walls By Design in Denver, Colo. “And that just means they’re going to do one coat and touchups. So, really be sure the contractor spells out: ‘How many coats am I doing? How am I applying it?’”

If you’d prefer to save money and paint your home yourself, keep in mind that it’s easier and safer to paint your home interior yourself than it is to paint the exterior. There are many dangers associated with exterior work — especially on homes with multiple stories.

Interior Painting Costs
The typical cost of supplies is $200-$300 for one room, which includes tarps, ladders, tools and paint. If you hire an expert, you’re likely to pay $400-$800 per room or $1,000-$3,000 for the whole home.

Exterior Painting Costs
An average-sized house calls for 12 gallons of paint, which averages $400-$900. With supplies like extender poles and ladders, you’ll pay roughly $600 to $1,200 to paint your home’s exterior yourself. If you hire a painter or painting company, you’ll pay around $1,500 to $4,000. This price fluctuates according to the number of stories and the type of surface being painted. Painting a three-story home could cost over $5,000. And painting concrete or vinyl siding tends to cost less than painting wood or stucco.

“Paint is the least expensive thing you can get the biggest bang for in your house. You can spend $5,000 on a dining room set, or you can spend $5,000 on paint and redo your whole entire house.”– Nick May, Owner of Walls by Design in Denver, Colo.

Picking Paint

The quality and type of paint you choose can make all the difference in extending the life of your paint job. “Really understand your options,” says May. “Most paint companies make a good paint, but they also can sell a crappy paint. Some paints hide better; some paints perform better; some paints will touch up better.”

Interior Color and Finishes
Bedrooms are best in soothing colors like blue and green. Living rooms can be done in energizing colors like red or purple, but blue and beige are also good tones. And kitchens and bathrooms should be painted clean blues, grays, whites and neutrals. If you can’t decide, you can consult with an interior designer for advice. As far as finishes, semi-gloss has the best moisture resistance and is easy to clean — perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. And satin and eggshell are top sheens for bedrooms and living rooms.

Exterior Color and Materials
Beige comes out on top as the most popular and best color for exteriors, followed by similar neutrals, blues and grays. Mute and forest greens, as well as brick reds, are also good choices. Stay away from obnoxious yellows, oranges, and too-bright greens, blues and pinks. For finishes, satin is most commonly used on the entirety of the exterior. And a glossy finish works best on details like doors and window sashes.

If you’re struggling to choose a color for your painting project, look for a pro who offers color consulting among their services. “We know that’s one of the biggest barriers to entry for a homeowner when they’re painting their house,” says May. “So, we just made a decision, almost since the beginning, to have trained color designers that go out and work with customers.”

 

read more…

How Much Should Your Painting Project Cost?

Homebuyer demand may be weakening | Katonah Real Estate

Home values have been rising for six straight years, and the gains have been accelerating for the past two years. Unlike the last housing boom, the gains are not driven by fast and easy mortgage money, but instead by solid buyer demand and very low supply. Still, like the last housing boom, some are starting to warn these price gains cannot continue.

“The continuing run-up in home prices above the pace of income growth is simply not sustainable,” wrote Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, in response to the latest price reading from the much-watched S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Indices. “From the cyclical low point in home prices six years ago, a typical home price has increased by 48 percent while the average wage rate has grown by only 14 percent.”

Yun also pointed to rising mortgage interest rates as a factor that would weaken affordability. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage is nearly a full percentage point higher today than it was at its most recent low in September 2017.

How to use your home as a source of cash

Some argue that despite weakened affordability, demand is just so strong that it can support higher home prices. Improving economic factors are seeing to that.

“A generally strong economy and favorable demographic tailwinds driven by the huge millennial generation aging into their home buying prime will help ensure that demand stays high, even as prices rise,” wrote Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “Getting a mortgage remains incredibly affordable compared to paying rent each month.”

But he admits that the “advantage is starting to erode, as mortgage interest rates rise alongside prices and income growth lags behind.”

Weakening demand

And demand may in fact be weakening. A monthly survey from Redfin found fewer potential buyers requesting home tours or making offers.

“April was the first time in 27 months that we saw a year-over-year decline in the number of customers touring homes,” said Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson. “We believe this was driven by the low levels of new listings in March.”

Richardson points to an increase in new listings in April is a positive turn for homebuyers, which could bode well for futures sales. Prices, however, still stand in the way, and the increased inventory was more pronounced in higher-priced tiers.

Meanwhile the home price gains are widest on the low end of the market, where supply is leanest. That is why home sales have been dropping most on the low end. Evidence is now mounting that a growing number of first-time buyers are giving up and dropping out of the market altogether. Sales to first-time buyers dropped 2 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the first quarter of 2017, according to Genworth Mortgage Insurance.

“This quarter’s decline in first-time homebuyer sales reflects a slowdown in cyclical momentum as the first-time homebuyer market approached its historical norms. It also reflects a shortage of available homes priced at or below the median first-time homebuyer market price of $250,000,” wrote Tian Liu, Genworth’s chief economist. “Supply pressures will continue to drive price appreciation and freeze out a large percentage of the 2.7 million first-time homebuyers who are still missing from the market.”

Competition from all-cash investors continues to thwart first-time buyers, most of whom are reliant on mortgage financing. With so little supply available, bidding wars are the rule, rather than the exception.

“When you’re competing against 10 other offers, you have to stand out, so sometimes a letter to the sellers can pull on the emotional heartstrings, but really it’s all about the dollars,” said Karen Kelly, a real estate agent with Compass in the Washington, D.C., area.

Measuring affordability

Half of the homes on the market in D.C. in April sold in eight days or less, according to the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors. Home prices in D.C. were over 13 percent higher in April of this year compared with a year ago. The number of listings was down more than 3 percent.

Affordability continues to be a tricky metric to monitor. Some economists argue that housing is no less affordable than it was in the early part of this century, when adjusting for inflation. No question, though, even if home prices are still lower than they were during the last housing boom, adjusting for inflation, the mortgage market today is nothing like it was then.

read more…

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/29/run-up-in-home-prices-is-not-sustainable-realtors-chief-economist.html

Case Shiller home prices up 6.8% | South Salem Real Estate

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index in the US rose 6.8 percent year-on-year in February 2018, following a 6.4 percent advance in January and easily beating market expectations of a 6.3 percent gain. It was the steepest increase in house prices since an 8.1 percent climb in June 2014, with Seattle (12.7 percent), Las Vegas (11.6 percent) and San Francisco (10.1 percent) reporting the sharpest gains among the 20 cities. Meanwhile, the national index, covering all nine US census divisions rose 6.3 percent, up from 6.1 percent in the previous month. Case Shiller Home Price Index in the United States averaged 160.67 Index Points from 2000 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 206.67 Index Points in February of 2018 and a record low of 100 Index Points in January of 2000.

United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index

 

 

read more…

 

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/case-shiller-home-price-index

Housing starts rise | Katonah Real Estate

U.S. homebuilding increased more than expected in March amid a rebound in the construction of multi-family housing units, but weakness in the single-family segment suggested the housing market was slowing.

Housing starts rose 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.319 million units, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday. Data for February was revised up to show groundbreaking declining to a 1.295 million-unit pace instead of the previously reported 1.236 million units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts rising to a pace of 1.262 million units last month. Permits for future home building rose 2.5 percent to a rate of 1.354 million units in March.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

Despite the rebound in homebuilding last month, activity appears to be slowing. Single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, fell 3.7 percent to a rate of 867,000 units in March.

A survey on Monday showed confidence among homebuilders fell in April for a fourth straight month. Builders complained about a lack of buildable lots and increasing construction material costs. According to the survey, tariffs imposed by the Trump administration on Canadian lumber and other imported products were “pushing up prices and hurting housing affordability.”

Confronted with these supply constraints, homebuilding will probably not increase significantly to eradicate an acute shortage of houses on the market, which is pushing up prices and sidelining some first-time home buyers.

Demand for housing is being driven by a robust labor market, which is underpinning the economy. Despite jobs market strength, wage inflation has remained moderate.

Single-family home construction fell in the Northeast, South and West, but rose in the Midwest. Permits to build single-family homes dropped 5.5 percent in March to an 840,000 unit-pace, the lowest level since September 2017.

With permits lagging starts, single-family home construction could slow further.

Starts for the volatile multi-family housing segment surged 14.4 percent to a rate of 452,000 units in March. Permits for the construction of multi-family homes dropped jumped 19 percent to a 514,000 unit-pace.

The outlook for housing inventory was mixed. Housing completions fell 5.1 percent to 1.217 million units last month, with single-family units dropping 4.7 percent. But the stock of housing under construction rose 0.3 percent to 1.125 million, the highest level since July 2007.

Single-family units under construction climbed 0.2 percent to the highest level since June 2008.

Realtors estimate that the housing starts and completions rates need to be in a range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million units per month to plug the inventory gap.

 

 

read more…

 

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/17/us-housing-starts-march-2018.html

Current mortgage rates | South Salem Real Estate

30-year fixed mortgages

The average rate you’ll pay for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.33 percent, an increase of 2 basis points over the last week. A month ago, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was lower, at 4.31 percent.

At the current average rate, you’ll pay a combined $496.63 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s $1.17 higher compared with last week.

You can use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments and find out how much you’ll save by adding extra payments. It will also help you calculate how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

15-year fixed mortgages

The average 15-year fixed-mortgage rate is 3.76 percent, up 3 basis points over the last seven days.

Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed mortgage at that rate will cost around $728 per $100,000 borrowed. The bigger payment may be a little harder to find room for in your monthly budget than a 30-year mortgage payment would, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan in total interest paid and build equity much more rapidly.

5/1 ARMs

The average rate on a 5/1 ARM is 4.11 percent, sliding 10 basis points over the last 7 days.

These types of loans are best for those who expect to sell or refinance before the first or second adjustment. Rates could be substantially higher when the loan first adjusts, and thereafter.

Monthly payments on a 5/1 ARM at 4.11 percent would cost about $484 for each $100,000 borrowed over the initial five years, but could increase by hundreds of dollars afterward, depending on the loan’s terms.

Where rates are headed

To see where Bankrate’s panel of experts expect rates to go from here, check out our Rate Trend Index.

Want to see where rates are right now? See local mortgage rates.

Average mortgage rates
Product Rate Change Last week
30-year fixed 4.33% +0.02 4.31%
15-year fixed 3.76% -0.03 3.73%
30-year fixed jumbo 4.59% -0.01 4.60%
30-year fixed refinance 4.31% +0.03 4.28%

Last updated: March 21, 2018.

Methodology: The rates you see above are Bankrate.com Site Averages. These calculations are run after the close of the previous business day and include rates and/or yields we have collected that day for a specific banking product. Bankrate.com site averages tend to be volatile — they help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.

 

read more…

https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/rates/mortgage-rates-for-wednesday-march-21/