Category Archives: Lewisboro

Dottie Herman sells her Douglas Elliman share to Howard Lorber | Katonah Real Estate

Dottie Herman and Howard Lorber (Credit: Douglas Elliman)

UPDATED: Dec. 31, 5:40 p.m.: Douglas Elliman CEO Dottie Herman — who partnered with Howard Lorber 15 years ago to buy New York City’s largest residential brokerage — is selling her stake in the firm for $40 million.

Herman will retain her spot on the management team, according to Elliman’s parent company, Vector Group, which is purchasing her 29.41 percent interest, it said Monday afternoon. Vector, which is controlled by Lorber, already owned 70.59 percent of Douglas Elliman.

In a regulatory filing, Vector said it already paid Herman $10 million and will pay the remaining $30 million in 12 equal installments between Jan. 1, 2020 and Oct. 1, 2022. She will also receive interest on the outstanding balance.

In a statement, Lorber said Herman’s “vision for and dedication to Douglas Elliman” helped turn the brokerage into a national brand with 7,000 agents — including 2,600 in New York City.

The pair acquired the brokerage in 2003 for just under $72 million, and its overall success led to Forbes in 2016 naming Herman as the richest self-made woman in real estate, with an estimated net worth of around $260 million.

But lately, the firm has been battered by the national housing slowdown and sluggish new development sales. Elliman reported net income of $7.8 million for the first nine months of 2018— down 62.5 percent from $20.8 million in 2017.

On Monday, shares of Vector closed at $9.73 — down around 54 percent from $20.70 per share in January 2018 — giving the company a market cap of $1.3 billion.

‘End of an era’

In recent years, Herman has retreated from the firm’s day-to-day operations, fueling rumors that she was on her way out.

On Monday, Herman disputed the idea that she has — or will — take a backseat at Elliman, despite selling her stake. “When a company gets to be a size like ours, any CEO should take the time to be strategic,” she said. “I still take every call from agents. Look, I helped four people get listings in the last two weeks.”

Although she will remain as CEO, sources told The Real Deal that Herman forgoing ownership represents the end of an era at Elliman.

While Herman held a significant stake in the company and had a legion of loyal followers, Elliman agents and managers said the balance of power has always favored Lorber. He’s the dealmaker who brings gobs of new development business through his investment vehicle New Valley, which bought into such projects as 111 Murray, 125 Greenwich76 11th Avenue and 160 Leroy. Through that connection, Elliman was tapped to market billions in condo product.

“The main impetus behind the company has been Howard for years,” said Andy Gerringer, who ran Elliman’s new development marketing group until he left in 2010. “Dottie was corralling managers and running meetings but when the big decisions had to be made it was Howard anyway.”

The veneer of diplomacy between the owners started to wear thin in recent years, as Herman stayed out of the spotlight (whether by choice or direction). Then in December 2017, Lorber promoted COO Scott Durkin to president — a role previously held by Herman. At the time, Herman and Lorber emphatically denied she was going anywhere. “She’ll have to be carried out,” Lorber said last year. “I’ll be the same way.”

But sources said although Herman resisted the change at first, she acquiesced over time. “In the beginning, she didn’t want to give up the day-to-day operations of the company,” the source said. “At the same time, she’d had enough.”

During a brief phone interview on Monday, Herman, 65, said selling the stock was the “hardest decision” she’s made in her life, and added that she wavered for two years before deciding to cash out. Twenty years ago, she would have kept going, she said.

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Mortgage rates average 4.63% | Katonah Real Estate

Mortgage Rates Drop to Lowest Point in Three Months

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that rates dropped significantly after several weeks of moderating.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “The 30-year fixed fell to 4.63 percent this week – the lowest it has been since mid-September. Mortgage rates have either fallen or remained flat for five consecutive weeks and purchase applicants are responding with an uptick in demand given these lower rates. While the housing market softened in response to higher rates through most of this year, the combination of a low unemployment and recent downdraft in rates should support home sales heading into the early winter months.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.63 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 13, 2018, down from last week when it averaged 4.75. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.93 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.07 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.21 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.36 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.04 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.07. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.36 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

Home projects for the New Year | Cross River Real Estate

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

Easy tasks that will make you happier, healthier and even wealthier!

Prevent Bathroom Mold

Prevent Bathroom Mold

No matter where you live, the high moisture level in your bathroom can cause mold and mildew. Eliminating bathroom dampness is the key to keeping mold from growing. To do that, follow these steps:

First, after a bath or a shower, squeegee water off the shower walls. That eliminates at least three-fourths of the moisture that supports mold and mildew growth.

Second, run your bath fans during your bath or shower and for a half-hour after to flush out moisture. Or add a timer switch to make this step automatic.

Third, if you have tile, seal the grout lines annually with a standard grout sealer to waterproof them.

To get rid of the current mold, scrub with detergent and water, then let the surface dry completely. Or use a solution of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water (a stronger bleach solution will not give better results). Spray or brush on the solution, let it sit 10 minutes, then rinse it off and let dry.

If the fans aren’t clearing out most of the moisture in your bathrooms after five to 10 minutes, your fans may not be moving enough air. Fans are certified by the volume (cfm, or cubic feet per minute) of air ‘exhausted’ out of the room. To find the recommended fan capacity for your bathroom, simply multiply the bathroom square footage by 1.1 (assuming an 8-ft. ceiling; for a 9-ft. ceiling, multiply by 1.5).

Restore Free Flow to Your Showerhead

Restore Free Flow to Your Showerhead

If the flow from your showerhead is growing weaker, the cause is probably mineral buildup. Many manufacturers recommend that you remove the showerhead and soak it in a half-and-half mixture of warm water and vinegar (any type). But there’s really no need to remove the head. Just pour the mix into a heavy-duty plastic bag and attach it to the shower arm with a rubber band. The acid in the vinegar dissolves minerals, but prolonged contact can harm some plastics and metal finishes, so remove the bag every 15 minutes and check the shower flow.

Clean Out Dryer Lint

Clean Out Dryer Lint

If you notice that it takes longer than normal for loads to dry in your clothes dryer, it may be time to clean out the vent. First detach the duct from behind the unit and then push a plumbing snake through your dryer vent from outside. Tie a rag securely to the snake end. Pull the cloth and snake through a couple of times and your clean vent will not only save energy but possibly prevent a fire as well.

If you discover that your dryer vent cover needs repair, this is how to fix it and this video shows you how to replace the vent it it’s in bad shape.

Sparkling Dishwasher

Sparkling Dishwasher

Add a cup of vinegar to your empty dishwasher and let it run a full cycle once a month or so. Your kitchen may smell a bit like a pickle jar for a few hours, but hard-water lime buildup will be rinsed away, making your spray arm and other dishwasher parts work flawlessly.

Check Your Gutters

Check Your Gutters

A 1,000-sq.-ft. roof will shed about 620 gallons of water during a 1-in. rainfall, or about 103 gallons per downspout if you have six downspouts. That’s a lot of water dumped right next to your basement. Although it may seem obvious, clean and properly functioning gutters with downspouts that empty away from the foundation are key to avoiding major and expensive home repairs.

So before you leave for a vacation, take a walk around the house and check your gutters. Check to see if leaves, sticks or other debris are blocking the inlet of the downspout and preventing water from flowing down the spout. Also make sure your downspout extensions are discharging the water far enough from the foundation and that you always reattach them after you mow your lawn.

Avoid a Scalding by Setting Your Water Heater to 120 Degrees

Avoid a Scalding by Setting Your Water Heater to 120 Degrees

Plain old tapwater can be dangerous. Water heaters set too high send thousands (mostly children) to hospitals each year with burns. Most safety experts recommend a setting of 120 degrees F. But finding that setting on the dial isn’t easy—most dials aren’t labeled with numbers.

If the stickers on the water heater don’t tell you how to set the temperature and you can’t find the owner’s manual, use this method: Run hot water at the tap closest to the water heater for at least three minutes. Then fill a glass and check the temperature. If the water is above 120 degrees, adjust the dial, wait about three hours and check again. Repeat until you get 120-degree water. For a final test, check the temperature the following morning, before anyone uses hot water.

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https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/

NAHB Hombuilder Index Falls | Lewisboro Real Estate

United States Nahb Housing Market Index  Forecast 2016-2020

Nahb Housing Market Index in the United States is expected to be 70.00 by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Nahb Housing Market Index in the United States to stand at 60.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the United States Nahb Housing Market Index is projected to trend around 53.00 in 2020, according to our econometric models.

 

United States Nahb Housing Market Index

 

Forecast Actual Q2/17 Q3/17 Q4/17 Q1/18 2020 Unit
Nahb Housing Market Index 67 70 62 56 60 53

 

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www.tradingeconomics.com

Housing starts fall again | South Salem Homes

Construction on new houses fell in May for the third month in a row even though builders are optimistic about the economy, perhaps a sign a shortage of skilled workers is holding the industry back.

The pace of so-called housing starts declined by 5.5% to an annual rate of 1.09 million, marking the lowest level in eight months. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast housing starts to total 1.23 million.

Home builders are now working at a slower pace than they were one year ago. They’ve especially pared back on apartment buildings and other large multi-dwelling units, giving more emphasis to single-family homes.

Part of the recent slowdown might reflect a bit of a pause after an unusually warm winter during which builders were much busier than usual. Some economists contend a higher level of construction that occurred earlier in the year would have normally taken place in the spring.

Yet builders increasingly complain they cannot find enough good construction workers to get the job done and that could be constricting them. Consider the recent slide in building permits. They fell 4.9% in May to an annual rate of 1.17 million, the lowest level in 13 months.

Permits are also below year-ago levels,

In May, the biggest drop-off occurred in the South and Midwest. Construction rose slightly in the West and was flat in the Northeast.

For years the housing market has experienced a mini-renaissance of sorts as a steadily growing economy, rising employment and ultra-low interest rates enabled home people to buy homes.

The outlook might not be as favorable now, though. Aside from widespread labor shortages, prices for wood and other raw materials have also risen. And the Federal Reserve has embarked on a series of increases in a key U.S. interest rate that helps determine the cost of borrowing, a potential brake on future sales..

 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-builders-cut-back-for-third-straight-month-2017-06-16?siteid=bnbh

Trump’s Labor Department Pulls Obama-Era Guidance on Independent Subs | Cross River Real Estate

The Department of Labor announced today it has withdrawn informal guidance that was widely regarded as an Obama Administration crackdown on companies’ use of independent contractors and of workers who in effect are employed by two companies jointly.

Of those, the 2015 guidance on independent subcontractors raised the greatest concerns among remodelers because it could have forced companies to treat those subs as employees and thus pay payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, and related costs on those workers.

“Removal of the administrator interpretations does not change the legal responsibilities of employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, as reflected in the department’s long-standing regulations and case law,” the Labor Department’s statement said. “The department will continue to fully and fairly enforce all laws within its jurisdiction, including the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.”

The July 15, 2015, administrator’s interpretation by the head of the Wage and Hour Division–which no longer is available on the department’s website–basically declared the government will be looking closer at a subcontractor’s economic independence when deciding whether that sub really ought to be regarded as an independent enterprise. That represented a shift from past practices in which government reviews appeared to focus on whether a company controlled a supposedly independent contractor by setting that person’s hours, providing tools, and requiring the contractor wear the company’s uniform.

“[N]o single factor, including control, should be over-emphasized,”  David Weil, administrator of DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, wrote in that now-removed administrator’s interpretation. “Instead, each factor should be considered in light of the ultimate determination of whether the worker is really in business for him or herself (and thus is an independent contractor) or is economically dependent on the employer (and thus is its employee). The factors should be used as guides to answer that ultimate question of economic dependence.”

The interpretation came out three months after the Labor Department announced it had secured consent judgments with 16 defendants in Utah and Arizona who had claimed more than 1,000 of their workers were independent contractors. In that case, which yielded $700,000 in back wages and penalties, the defendants were accused of requiring the workers to become member/owners of limited liability companies. “These construction workers were building houses in Utah and Arizona as employees one day and then the next day were performing the same work on the same job sites for the same companies but without the protection of federal and state wage and safety laws,” DOL’s announcement said. “The companies, in turn, avoided paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes.”

The joint employer rule basically involves whether one company effectively controls all the activities of another company and thus is responsible for what that second company does to its employees. The rule had multiple implications for cases in which contractors used subcontractors and companies related to franchises.

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http://www.remodeling.hw.net/business/operations/trumps-labor-department-pulls-obama-era-guidance-on-independent-subs_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=REM_060717%20(1)&he=bd1fdc24fd8e2adb3989dffba484790dcdb46483

South Salem’s Hidden Sandwich Maestro | South Salem Real Estate

Find your way to The Market on Spring for fresh foodie fare in a quaint setting.

PHOTOS COURTESY MARKET ON SPRING

Most Northern Westchesterites who drive Route 35 are on a mission — to get from one town to another in a hurry, to make a train, or to pick up their kids. But, there’s a charming spot just minutes off this busy thoroughfare that’s certainly worth the detour.

The Market on Spring is at the center of the tiny but lovely hamlet of South Salem. Antiques, a riding academy, a tack shop, and cozy tavern are just about all you’ll find here, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. The small market is the perfect fit, renovated last year in a mix of natural wood and rustic metal, and serving carefully sourced, high-quality fare for breakfast and lunch. Though tucked away, the shop is attracting a steady stream of customers, explains manager and Vista native Bryce O’Brien. “People tell us they’ve lived in the area for years and have never made the turn onto Spring Street, never knew ‘anything was here,’ but now they’ve found us.”

Maybe word is getting out about the delicious sandwiches made from New York State grass-fed beef, or cage- and hormone-free turkey (all roasted in-house by Market’s chefs), with condiments such as chipotle remoulade, onion jam, and honey mustard aioli. The organic egg breakfast sandwiches (options include house-cured salmon and homemade chorizo) are also gaining a dedicated following. O’Brien says the shop’s country industrial decor and elevated deli menu are especially appealing to city folk who weekend at homes on nearby Lake Truesdale. Well, we suburbanites know a good thing when we see it, too!

The Market on Spring
112 Spring St, South Salem
914.977.3939;
www.marketonspring.com

 

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http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Blogs/Eat-Drink-Post/June-2017/South-Salem-Market-on-Spring/

Mortgage rates fall again | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropping for the fourth consecutive week and hitting its lowest level in nearly seven months.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.89 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending June 8, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 3.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.60 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.16 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.19 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.87 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.11 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.82 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 10-year Treasury yield fell 3 basis points this week. The 30-year mortgage rate moved in tandem with Treasury yields, falling 5 basis points to 3.89 percent. Mixed economic data and increasing uncertainty are continuing to push rates to the lowest levels in nearly seven months.”

America’s Cities Are Running Out of Room | Katonah Real Estate

A shortage of homes for sale has bedeviled U.S. house hunters in recent years, so why don’t builders build more? One problem is that they’re running out of lots to build on—at least in the places that people want to live.

Cities that were sprawling before the Great Recession have begun to sprawl again. Space-constrained cities, meanwhile, have run out of room to build. That reality has spurred developers to focus on center-city neighborhoods where high-density building is allowed—and new units command exceedingly high prices.

At some point, said Issi Romem, chief economist at BuildZoom, vacant lots in desirable urban neighborhoods will run out. “If you have three days of rations left, you’ll be fine on day one, two, three,” said Romem, author of new research demonstrating home construction patterns. “On day 4, you have a problem.”

Historically, cities grew outward, as builders developed tracts on the periphery—then filled in the land between various developments over time. When these so-called expansive cities of the South and Southwest run out of infill land on which to build, developers simply pushed out further.
Some of these cities, like Austin and Nashville, have seen downtown boomlets. But more broadly, the building trends in those metros looks more like Dallas: Inside a 30-mile radius from the center of the city, new home sales decreased from 2000 to 2015. Outside the radius, though, sales are up by more than 50 percent. The same trend has played out to varying degrees in Phoenix, Atlanta, and San Antonio, among other cities.

In America’s most expensive cities, however, that dynamic has been turned inside out (or perhaps outside in). New construction trends in places like New York City have been tightly focused on downtown clusters where zoning rules permit high-density construction. These cities stopped expanding their geographic footprint decades ago, leaving builders to concentrate on finding buildable lots inside existing boundaries. As those lots became harder to find, land prices increase, reducing options for builders hoping to turn a profit. Developers building on pricey lots generally seek to offset land prices by building more densely, Romem said. In many cases, that means focusing on high-end apartments that offer better profit margins. The wealthiest residents are the only ones who can buy, and a vicious cycle is created.

Lately, there has been some give as oversupply of new high-end apartments forces landlords in New York and San Francisco to drop prices on expensive aeries. Still, the broader pattern continues to lean in the direction of higher rents.

What happens next depends on whether voters and their elected officials rewrite zoning rules to allow denser construction, said Romem, particularly in neighborhoods currently limited to single-family homes. Under current rules, he said, it’s unlikely new housing will get built at affordable prices, pushing city-dwellers into a game of musical chairs rigged to favor the rich.

“As long as these cities continue to do well economically, you’re going see poorer folks replaced by richer folks,” he said. “You’re going to read stories about teachers not being able to find place to live.”

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bloomberg.com

Residential Construction Employment Solid | Cross River Real Estate

The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector remained elevated in November, as residential construction employment continues to grow.

According to the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) and NAHB analysis, the number of open construction sector jobs (on a seasonally adjusted basis) came in at 184,000 in November. The cycle high was 225,000 set in July.

The open position rate (job openings as a percent of total employment) for November was 2.7%. On a smoothed twelve-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector increased to 2.8%, setting a cycle high and exceeding the peak twelve-month moving average rate established prior to the recession.

The overall trend for open construction jobs has been increasing since the end of the Great Recession. This is consistent with survey data indicating that access to labor remains a top business challenge for builders.

The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a twelve-month moving average basis, remained steady at 4.9% in November. The twelve-month moving average for layoffs was also steady (2.6%), remaining in a range set last Fall. Quits rose to 2.4% in November, consistent with a tight labor market.

Monthly employment data for December 2016 (the employment count data from the BLS establishment survey are published one month ahead of the JOLTS data) indicate that home builder and remodeler employment expanded, increasing by 9,800. The December gains continue the improvement in the Fall after a period of hiring weakness early in 2016. The 6-month moving average of jobs gains for residential construction has now increased to a healthier 11,450 per month.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.653 million, broken down as 739,000 builders and 1.915 million residential specialty trade contractors.

Over the last 12 months home builders and remodelers have added 103,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 667,000 positions.

In December, the unemployment rate for construction workers stood at 6.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate for the construction occupation had been on a general decline since reaching a peak rate of 22% in February 2010, although it has leveled off in the 6% to 7% range since the middle of 2016

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/residential-construction-employment-solid-in-december/