Category Archives: Mount Kisco

Rates Steady in October as Increases Expected | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Nationally, the contract interest rate on conventional mortgages for home purchase held steady in October 2016. Over the month, the rate on conventional mortgages for home purchase was unchanged at 3.60%, according to data released by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Rates on the purchase of previously occupied homes ticked up 1 basis point to 3.62% while rates on new homes fell 2 basis points to 3.54%.

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The lack of change in mortgage rates overall reported by the FHFA does contrast with the increase in mortgage rates over the month of October in the Mortgage Bankers’ Association’s Mortgage Applications Survey (MAS). This Survey indicates that the contract rate on conventional mortgages rose 5 basis points to 3.72% over the month*. However, the FHFA release more closely parallels results from Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS). The commitment rate on conventional mortgages ticked up 1 basis point to 3.47% over the month of October*.

Despite some divergence, over the longer term, these 3 series track each other fairly closely. Between 1990 and 2000, the trend in the 3 series matched, although the rates reported by MBA’s MAS and Freddie Mac’s PMMS were more similar while FHFA’s MIRS was often a bit lower. Since 2000, the three series have been in near unison both in its point estimate and the overall trend.

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The monthly data covers the month of October, but the weekly mortgage rate data for November indicates that rates have clearly begun to rise. As shown by the figure below, between October 28th and November 25th, the contract mortgage rate calculated by the PMMS rose from 3.47% to 4.03%. Over the same period, the MAS increased from 3.75% to 4.23%. Further, mortgage rates are expected to continue climbing in the near term. In its most recent forecast, dated October 28th, NAHB expects the rate on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage to climb in each of 2017 and 2018.

The increase in mortgage rates follows the increase in the 10-year Treasury note. A rising rate on the 10-year partly reflects the desire to make progress on monetary policy normalization, which has been impeded by a series of unrelated surprises over the course of the year. However, momentum has been building and expectations of an impending increase in the federal funds rate has pushed interest rates modestly higher in the second half of the year.

A more seismic impact from a different set of rate expectations has been set in motion by the surprise outcome of the November election. Proposals for fiscal stimulus via tax cuts, government spending and regulatory reform have led to expectations of stronger economic growth, higher inflation and higher interest rates. The yield on 10-year Treasury securities has moved up over 50 basis points since November 8.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/12/rates-steady-in-october-as-increases-expected/

Home buyer sentiment index weakens | Mt Kisco Real Estate

A home-buying sentiment index from Fannie Mae weakened for the third straight month in October, a sign the market’s momentum may be faltering.

Fannie’s home purchase sentiment index fell 1.1 percentage points to 81.7. After climbing as high as 86.5 in July, the index has fallen every month since then. It’s now 1.5 percentage points below its level from a year ago.

“Since July, more consumers, on net, have steadily expected mortgage rates to rise and home price appreciation to moderate,” said Fannie chief economist Doug Duncan in a statement. “Furthermore, consumers’ perception of their income over the past year deteriorated sharply in October to the worst showing since early 2013.”

The index includes six components from a monthly survey the mortgage buyer FNMA, +0.80%   conducts of 1,000 Americans on owning and renting a home, home and rental price changes, homeownership distress, the economy, household finances, and overall consumer confidence.

Slightly more respondents said mortgage rates would rise in the next 12 months – 50% versus 49% in September. While most economists expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at its December meeting, it’s not clear how much of an impact that will have on mortgage rates, which remain near all-time lows.

And while the share of respondents expecting home prices to increase fell to 41% in October from 43%, prices seem to be defying gravity.

Respondents in Fannie’s survey expect home purchase prices to appreciate 1.9% over the next 12 months. Data provider CoreLogic forecasts home prices will rise 5.2% over the next 12 years, and many analysts and industry participants believe prices are increasing too quickly for most would-be buyers to keep up.

 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/housing-market-becoming-more-pessimistic-fannie-mae-survey-finds-2016-11-07?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

2017 conforming loan limits rise across the country | Lewisboro Real Estate

For the first time since the housing crisis, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is increasing the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages to be acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017.

For much of the country, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limit remained at $417,000 for one-unit properties (or single-family homes) in 2016, just as it had for the previous 10 years.

The FHFA announced Wednesday that for 2017, it is increasing the loan limit from $417,000 to $424,100 for single-family homes.

The conforming loan limits for Fannie and Freddie are determined by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which established the baseline loan limit at $417,000 and mandated that, after a period of price declines, the baseline loan limit cannot rise again until home prices return to pre-decline levels.

The FHFA noted that until this year, the average U.S. home price remained below the level achieved in the third quarter of 2007, which it designates as the pre-decline price level, and therefore the baseline loan limit had not been increased.

But as the FHFA noted earlier Wednesday, its Home Price Index for the third quarter of 2016 makes it “clear” that average home prices are now above the level of the third quarter of 2007, which means that the conforming loan limits can be increased.

According to the FHFA, the expanded-data HPI value for the third quarter of 2016 was approximately 1.7% above the value for the third quarter of 2007, meaning the baseline loan limit will increase by that same percentage.

As noted above, the conforming loan limits for much of the country will increase from $417,000 to $424,100.

Loan limits will also be increasing in what the FHFA calls “high-cost areas,” where 115% of the local median home value exceeds the baseline loan limit.

As the FHFA notes, median home values generally rose in high-cost areas during this year.

According to the FHFA, the new ceiling loan limit, which applies in areas with the most expensive homes, will be $636,150 (which is 150% of $424,100) for one-unit properties in the contiguous U.S.

According to the FHFA, there are special statutory provisions that establish different loan limit calculations for Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In these areas, the baseline loan limit will be $636,150 for one-unit properties, but actual loan limits may be higher in some specific locations.

For a full list of the conforming loan limits by county, click here.

The increase in conforming loan limits is a long time coming, according to William Brown, the president of the National Association of Realtors.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38593-fhfa-increases-conforming-loan-limits-for-first-time-since-2006?eid=311691494&bid=1597527

Fifth Avenue has record empty space as rents seen too high | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Landlords on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue are sitting on a record amount of open space as retailers balk at committing to expensive new leases in one of the world’s most prestigious shopping districts.

The availability rate on the famed strip, home to Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store, jumped to 15.9% in the third quarter, up from about 10% a year earlier, according to Cushman & Wakefield. The rate has climbed steadily this year, surpassing the prior peak of 11.3%, set in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The rise of empty storefronts isn’t limited to Fifth Avenue. It’s part of a Manhattan-wide space glut as retailers—buffeted by e-commerce, tepid demand for luxury goods and a strong dollar that’s eroded tourist spending—push back against rents that have soared to records. Leasing costs have increased in tandem with property values in the past five years, outpacing gains in merchandise sales and making it impossible for retailers to run profitable stores at many locations, according to Richard Hodos, a vice chairman at brokerage CBRE Group.

“Property trades are being based on achieving ever-higher rents, and nobody ever really looks at what retailers can afford to pay,” Hodos said. “In some cases, rents need to come down 30% or more for rents to be at levels where retailers are able to make sense of them again.”

Retailers are being squeezed across the U.S. In 2016, malls and other types of shopping venues have been hit by 280 major-brand store closures, totaling 12.8 million square feet (1.2 million square meters), data from Reis show. Another real estate research firm, Green Street Advisors, estimates that several hundred malls around the country will cease operations over the next decade.

Shoppers continue to shift their spending from stores to computers and smartphones. Online sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $398 billion this year, up 16% from 2015, according to research firm eMarketer.

Highest rents

On the stretch of Fifth Avenue from 49th to 60th streets, which commands the world’s highest rents, landlords are asking an average of $3,213 a square foot, up from $2,075 a square foot in 2011, Cushman data show. In the tourist-heavy Times Square area, rents stand at $2,104 a square foot after tripling over a four-year period.

The brokerage’s retail availability rate takes into account vacancies as well as stores occupied by merchants that plan to leave when their leases expire. Retailers that signed leases at high prices in the past several years and are seeking a tenant to sublease their space are also included, according to Steve Soutendijk, an executive director at Cushman.

“Tenants that signed at the absolute top of the market are looking to mitigate their exposure,” he said.

Michael Kors

At 667 Madison Ave., a 24-story tower two blocks from Central Park, Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. is looking to sublease about 5,000 square feet of retail space at the base of the building, according to a person familiar with the plans. The store, with 22-foot (7-meter) ceilings, was the company’s largest when it opened in 2012, the New York Times reported at the time.

Four years later, the London-based fashion house is struggling to pay the rent, said the person, who asked not to be identified because negotiations aren’t public. Michael Kors is seeking a tenant to take over the space on a lease that runs through 2023, the person said.

For a Bloomberg Intelligence primer on the apparel industry, click here.

A spokeswoman for Michael Kors declined to comment. Representatives for the company’s landlord, Hartz Group, didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Lowering expectations

Property owners with space to fill are starting to lower their expectations, according to Cushman’s Soutendijk. Asking rents in some of Manhattan’s prime shopping districts, including Soho and Times Square, have declined over the course of 2016, Cushman data show.

“I think a lot of landlords are ready to make deals,” Soutendijk said. “Everybody understands there is too much space in the market. We are not in a state of equilibrium.”

Buyers of real estate during the recent boom years may not have much room to maneuver. To justify paying record prices for buildings—and the debt that financed the acquisitions—owners are under pressure to get the highest rents possible, according to Patrick Smith, a vice chairman of the retail brokerage at Jones Lang LaSalle.

“Typically, a building that has been capitalized over the past three years is very rent-sensitive,” he said.

General growth

Landlords who hold out for the right tenant can be left hanging on to empty space for years. A partnership of developer Thor Equities and General Growth Properties, the second-largest owner of U.S. malls, bought 530 Fifth Ave. in 2014. During a conference call with analysts that year, General Growth Chief Executive Officer  Sandeep Mathrani highlighted the property’s large, vacant block as an opportunity to attract new retailers.

No new retail leases have been signed at the property since the acquisition, though three tenants are close to agreements, according to a person with knowledge of the plans. The prospective occupants are in the health-and-beauty and sporting-goods businesses, and will likely pay less in rent than what the building owners had originally aimed for, said the person, who asked not to be identified because negotiations are ongoing.

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http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20161026/REAL_ESTATE/161029898/fifth-avenue-has-record-empty-space-as-rents-seen-too-high#utm_medium=email&utm_source=cnyb-realestate&utm_campaign=cnyb-realestate-20161026

Air Conditioning and Heating Systems in New Homes | Mt Kisco Real Estate

The US Census Bureau publishes information on characteristics of new homes started, including air conditioning and heating systems.

In 2015, approximately 93 percent of new homes started in the US had central AC. Central AC has been a common feature in new homes for some time, but its share did grow some between 2000 and 2015, going from 86 percent to 93 percent.

The share of new homes with central AC differs by Census Division (Figure 1). The New England and Pacific divisions, which have more temperate climates, have lower rates of central AC installed (73 percent and 69 percent in 2015, respectively). In contrast, in regions that are hotter and more humid, all or nearly all of the new homes started have central AC: for example, in the South Atlantic (100 percent), East South Central (100 percent), and the West South Central Divisions (99 percent).

ac

Heating Systems

The majority of new homes started in 2015 have either a forced air system (55 percent) or an air or ground source heat pump system (42 percent). The share of new homes that have a heat pump has grown over time, going from 23 percent in 2000 to 42 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, the share with a forced air system has declined, going from 71 percent in 2000 to 55 percent in 2015.

Heat pumps are more prevalent in Southern regions where air and ground temperatures don’t fall as much (Figure 2): East South Central (75 percent), South Atlantic (74 percent), and West South Central (45 percent). They are less so in the West North Central (29 percent), Pacific (14 percent), Middle Atlantic (13 percent), Mountain (12 percent), East North Central (11) percent, and New England divisions (4 percent).

pumps

The majority of new homes started had their heating systems powered by either electricity (40 percent) or natural gas (55 percent) in 2015. In regions such as the Middle Atlantic and New England, where electricity tends to be more expensive, the share of new homes with systems powered by electricity is low (13 and 5 percent, respectively). On the other hand, systems powered by electricity are more common in the south: for example, the South Atlantic (72 percent), the East South Central (71 percent), and the West South Central (41 percent).

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/air-conditioning-and-heating-systems-in-new-homes/

New home sales unexpectedly rise in September | Mt Kisco Real Estate

– New U.S. single-family home sales unexpectedly rose in September, pointing to sustained demand for housing even as data for August was revised sharply down.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday new home sales increased 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 593,000 units last month, pulling them close to a nine-year high touched in July.

August’s sales pace was revised down to 575,000 units from the previously reported 609,000 units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast single-family home sales, which account for about 9.8 percent of overall home sales, falling to a rate of 600,000 units last month.

New home sales, which are derived from building permits, are volatile on a month-to-month basis and subject to large revisions.

Sales increased 29.8 percent from a year ago. They rose in the third quarter compared to the April-June period, indicating strong demand for housing.

Residential construction, however, likely remained a drag on gross domestic product in the third quarter.

Despite rising demand for housing, home building has been lagging, with builders complaining about land and labor shortages. Demand is being driven by rising wages as the labor market nears full employment, as well as by very low mortgage rates.

New single-family homes sales surged 33.3 percent in the Northeast and soared 8.6 percent in the Midwest last month.

Sales in the South, which accounts for more than half of new home sales, climbed 3.4 percent.

Sales fell 4.5 percent in the West, which has seen a sharp increase in home prices amid tight inventories.

 

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http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-economy-newhomesales-idUSKCN12Q1VJ?il=0

Case-Shiller up 5.1% | Mt Kisco Real Estate

United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index  

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index rose 5.1 percent year-on-year in August of 2016, following a 5 percent increase in July and above market expectations of 5 percent. Portland, Seattle and Denver reported the highest annual gains over each of the last seven months with prices up by 11.7 percent, 11.4 percent and 8.8 percent respectively in August. On a monthly basis, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Home Price Index increased 0.4 percent, easing from a 0.6 percent rise in July. Case Shiller Home Price Index in the United States averaged 157.24 Index Points from 2000 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 206.52 Index Points in July of 2006 and a record low of 100 Index Points in January of 2000. Case Shiller Home Price Index in the United States is reported by the Standard & Poor’s.

United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index
Calendar GMT Reference Actual Previous Consensus Forecast (i)
2016-09-27 01:00 PM Jul 5% 5.1% 5.1% 5.1%
2016-10-25 01:00 PM Aug 5.1% 5% 5% 5%
2016-10-25 01:00 PM Aug 0.4% 0.6% 0.4% 0.5%
2016-11-24 02:00 PM Sep 0.4%
2016-11-24 02:00 PM Sep 5.1%
2016-12-29 02:00 PM Oct

 

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

Shortage of appraisers causing home sales delays | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Housing demand is rising rapidly, but a key cog in the wheel to homeownership is in deep trouble. The people most needed to close the deal are disappearing. Appraisers, the men and women who value homes and whom mortgage lenders depend upon, are shrinking in numbers.

That is causing growing delays in closings, costing buyers and sellers money and in some cases even scuttling deals.

The share of on-time closings has dropped from 77 percent last April to 64 percent today for loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance. Appraisal-related issues in these delays jumped by 50 percent in that time.

“The appraisal shortage is massive. You’re seeing significant delays, you’re seeing cost increases, you’re seeing rate [locks] expire,” said Brian Coester, CEO of Rockville, Maryland-based CoesterVMS, a national appraisal management company.

Since 2007, when the U.S. housing market came crashing down, the number of appraisers has shrunk by 22 percent, according to the Appraisal Institute, an industry association. With so few new cadets, the current population of appraisers is aging. More than 60 percent are over the age of 50.

Ironically, the decline in new appraisers is largely due to new regulations designed to safeguard both banks and borrowers. They were put in place at the end of 2008 by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the FHA, as the entire mortgage banking community was under strict scrutiny after the financial crisis. They changed the rules that would allow appraiser apprentices to do full appraisals and instead require the licensed appraiser to be on-site for the inspection.

The result is that appraisers no longer see a need to pay apprentices, but at the same time, licensing requirements to become an appraiser include 2,500 hours of appraisal experience to be completed in two years as an apprentice.

“The typical appraiser, he’s going to do approximately 10-15 appraisals a week. For him to be able to take a trainee, he needs the ability for the trainee to go ahead and inspect the property for him,” said Coester. “The rules have changed now, and you cannot do what you used to be able to do 10 years ago, which is hire three to four trainees and really have them go and inspect the properties, go and do work for you and really function as an apprentice. That market has been completely eliminated.”

At 1 p.m. on a Monday in Frederick, Maryland, appraiser Joyce Smith has already valued three homes and is walking into the fourth. A 23-year veteran of the business, she said she has never been this busy.

“I get calls five, six, seven, eight times a day. I used to go far away to do appraisals, but there are so many, I don’t have to go very far anymore,” said Smith.

In some of the nation’s hottest housing markets, where sales are up double digits compared to a year ago, the shortage means searching far and wide for an appraiser.

“We’ve been hearing from our agents in Colorado about significant delays in getting appraisals done,” said Alina Ptaszynski, a spokesperson for Redfin. “Our Denver market manager said for one deal, the appraiser came in from Cheyenne, Wyoming. She reported it taking up to seven weeks to get an appraisal done. Valuations aren’t the concern as much as the delays.”

Valuations are, however, becoming increasingly important, as home price gains accelerate, and competition in the market heats up. Prices could change in the course of two months, the delay time it is now taking in some markets to have an appraisal done. Mortgage rates are also starting to move in a wider range, and that makes rate-locks ever more important. It can cost significant cash to extend a rate lock.

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http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/27/massive-shortage-in-appraisers-causing-home-sales-delays.html?__source=newsletter%7Ceveningbrief

 

Construction Job Openings Decline in August | Mt Kisco Real Estate

The count of unfilled jobs in the overall construction sector fell in August, as residential construction employment hiring accelerated in August and September.

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) fell to 184,000 in August, after establishing a cycle high of 225,000 in July (post-data revisions). The July estimate represents the highest monthly count of open, unfilled jobs since February 2007.

The open position rate (job openings as a percent of total employment) for August was 2.7%. On a smoothed twelve-month moving average basis, the open position rate for the construction sector held steady at 2.9%, near a cycle high.

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.

constr-jolts

The construction sector hiring rate, as measured on a twelve-month moving average basis, ticked up to 4.7% in August.

Monthly employment data for September 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 net hiring continued to rebound, as sector employment increased by 15,700 after posting a 14,400 gain in August. These gains come after a recent period of hiring weakness, which has reduced the 6-month moving average of jobs gains for residential construction to just under 4,000.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.617 million, broken down as 738,000 builders and 1.879 million residential specialty trade contractors.

res-constr-employment

Over the last 12 months home builders and remodelers have added 146,000 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point of industry employment following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 631,000 positions.

 

real estate…

 

http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/construction-job-openings-decline-in-august/

What This Editor Learned About Remodeling | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Energy retrofit remodelers at work in my bedroom.

Craig WebbEnergy retrofit remodelers at work in my bedroom.

Readers: I’m recovering from a remodel, and I’ve been told that talking about it will make the recovery easier. This is the second time my wife and I have made major, debris-raising changes to our home. The first was a whole-house remodel that included a new addition. This time we got a basement-to-attic energy retrofit in our Washington, D.C., home. I’m quite happy with the results, but I can see why the trauma of remodeling has shaken many others. So I’ve come up with seven rules for you to share with neophyte homeowners.

Rule No. 1: Remember, homeowner, that for the length of the remodel, it’s not your house anymore. You need to trust the people you’ve hired to do the remodel or else buy a big case of ulcer medicine.

Rule No. 2: There is no such thing as a dust-free remodeling project.

Rule No. 3: Try to talk your significant other—the one who frets most about neatness, odors, and general cleanliness—into leaving town before the work starts.

Rule No. 4: Far more things in your house can get broken than you could ever imagine.

Rule No. 5: Short of having exit doors on every wall and every floor, odds are good that workers will traipse through­—and generate dirt in—parts of the house that are nowhere near the work zones.

Rule No. 6: Sometime during the remodel, expect that the new crew will reveal to you something done badly by the last people who worked on the house.

Rule No. 7: It always looks irredeemably disastrous before the cleanup begins.

You’d think that spending years as the editor-in-chief of REMODELING, plus that previous experience with a renovation, would have prepared me sufficiently for the arrival of Attilio Manziano-Verrilli, our project manager fromHome Energy Medics, and his platoons of subcontractors. My wife and I spent the prior weekend moving precious objects and trying to anticipate which parts of the house would get whacked and chipped by workers as they hauled equipment up our narrow stairs. I thought we’d done well until I saw a sub unknowingly jostle a $300 pendant light with a 12-foot stud.

 

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http://www.remodeling.hw.net/business/operations/what-this-editor-learned-about-remodeling-from-having-just-commissioned-one_o?utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=Opinion&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=REM_091316A%20(1)%20remainder&he=bd1fdc24fd8e2adb3989dffba484790dcdb46483