Category Archives: Waccabuc NY

London prices falling | Waccabuc Real Estate

House prices in some of London’s wealthiest boroughs plummeted as much as 14.9% in the year to January, dragging down the average price in the capital—and in England—according to a report Monday by real estate consultants Acadata.

Prices in the capital fell 0.8% in January from December, to £593,396 (US$825,318). That’s down 2.6% annually, the report said, the biggest fall since August 2009, when the recession was still in full swing.

Price growth across the U.K. has likely been weighed down by uncertainties surrounding Brexit, along with 2016’s 3% surcharge on second homes and buy-to-let properties. “Subsequent to the introduction of this tax, the rates of price growth have been falling, and at an accelerated rate since September 2017,” the report said.

No doubt the fall is more acutely felt in London, a hotspot for international investors.

The biggest drops were logged in the priciest boroughs.

Wandsworth saw the largest dip, with the average price declining 14.9% in the year to January, to £685,567 (US$953,514) from £805,460 (US$1.12 million) the prior year. The City of London followed, where prices are now £844,768 (US$1.17 million), down 10.8% from last January and in Islington, prices are down 8.8% to £684,869 (US$952,543).

But in the city’s most expensive borough, Kensington and Chelsea, prices rose 4.6% up to £2.16 million (US$3 million).

Combined, the most expensive 11 boroughs fell by 3.8%, while mid-priced boroughs are down an average 2.7%, according to the report.

The less expensive boroughs fared better. More than half logged price rises over the last year, led by Bexley, which saw its average price rise 4.5% to £363,082 (US$504,988). In Barking and Dagenham, which has the lowest priced property in the capital, according to the report, prices inched up 0.1% to £300,627 (US$418,124).

Brent, in northwest London and home to Wembley Stadium, logged the largest price increases, up 8.5% to £587,372 (US$816,940).


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Single-family houses constructed at best pace in more than a decade | Waccabuc Real Estate

Construction of new homes increased 3.3 percent in November — with the gain largely coming from single-family houses being built at the strongest pace in more than a decade.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that builders broke ground on homes last month at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.3 million units. The increase marks a key moment in the recovery from the Great Recession: Builders started work on single-family houses at the fastest pace since September 2007, which was just a few months before the start of that economic downturn.

Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at the real estate company Trulia, said completed new homes are likely to finish at a post-recession high, but completions are still just 65 percent of their 50 year-average.

Driving the rebound in home construction has been a shortage of existing properties being listed for sale.

Fewer people are putting their property on the market, despite healthy demand from buyers because the unemployment rate is at a 17 year-low and mortgage rates remain at attractive levels. New construction has filled some of this gap with starts on single-family houses rising 8.7 percent so far this year.

Still, not enough new homes are being built to totally end the supply squeeze. Over the past year, the number of sales listings for the much larger market for existing homes has fallen 6.4 percent.

The construction growth last month came from the South and West, while the Northeast and Midwest reported declines.

Builders are also backing away from the apartment rentals that until recently were a driving force behind the rebound in residential construction. Ground breakings for multi-family buildings such as apartment complexes have declined 8.5 percent year-to-date.

The move away from apartment construction has corresponded with a shift by the millennial population toward buying homes, said Mark Fleming, chief economist at First American Financial, a real estate transactions firm.

“The last two quarters have seen an increase, specifically a shift from renter occupied to owner occupied households, as Millennials age out of rentership and into homeownership,” Fleming said.

Building permits, an indicator of future construction, slipped 1.4 percent in October to 1.3 million. But the number of permits authorized so far this year has increased 5.8 percent.

Relatively low mortgage rates have helped would-be homebuyers, even as property prices have climbed faster than wages. The average rate on 30-year fixed-rate U.S. mortgages was 3.93 percent last week, slightly better than the 4.16 percent rate a year ago, according to mortgage Freddie Mac.

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Mortgage rates average 3.93% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQBFMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average mortgage rates holding relatively flat across the board.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.93 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending December 14, 2017, down from last week when it averaged 3.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.16 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.36 percent with an average 0.5 point, the same as last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.37 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.36 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.35 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.19 percent.

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

Attributed to Len Kiefer, Deputy Chief Economist.
“As widely expected, the Fed increased the federal funds target rate this week for the third time in 2017. The market had already priced in the rate hike so long term interest rates, including mortgage rates hardly moved. Mortgage rates held relatively flat across the board, with the 30-year fixed mortgage rate inching down 1 basis point to 3.93 percent in this week’s survey. Mortgage rates have been in a holding pattern for the fourth quarter, remaining within a 10 basis point range since October.”

Senate tax reform bill | Waccabuc Real Estate

Earlier this week the Senate jumped into the fray, releasing its own proposal for tax reform. The Senate’s proposal, much like the House bill, which we looked at last week, creates significant headwinds for homeowners and homebuyers, while providing only a temporary cut for middle class homeowners.

What Stays the Same?

Like the House bill, the Senate chose to change the definition for capital gains so that a home seller must have lived in their home for at least five of the prior 8 years. This change would affect 12% to 22% of home sellers, locking in some inventory and potentially changing the trade-up purchase process.

The Senate also proposed to eliminate personal exemptions as the House did, but they chose to increase the child credit to $2000 per child. This latter change is more generous than the House’s $1,600 credit per child and $300 for each parent.

Pouring SALT in the Wound

Unlike the House bill, the Senate chose to eliminate all state and local taxes (SALT) including state and local income and sales taxes as well as state and local real estate taxes. This change will make it more difficult for homeowners to itemize their mortgage interest and when they do, they will face a much lower benefit from homeownership. In a perverse way, only those who can afford very expensive homes will be able to benefit from the real estate provisions of the tax code.

Tax Reform - Standard Deduction vs Itemize on a Home Purchase in Illinois

The generous $24,000 standard deduction for couples who are renter or owners provides little support for renters who move to ownership nor does it guarantee that tax cuts today will be utilized to boost housing affordability in the future. Worse, when this provision expires in 8 years, both groups will be worse off.

Time Does Not Heal All Wounds

Most forecasts are for home prices and mortgage rates to rise in the coming years. The chart below shows how the proposals from the House and Senate compare with current law. The orange bars depict the difference between the Senate proposal and current law. A home buying family of four with an income of $100,000 or less would see a gain, while upper-middle income buyers would face a tax hike. However, in 5 years1 that tax cut would disappear for nearly all middle-income homebuyers as mortgage rates and prices rise (red bars). Finally, after 8 years, the tax cuts and enhanced standard deduction both expire letting virtually no buyers benefit under the plan (dark blue bars).

Chart Comparing Tax Plans for a Family of Four Over Time: Current vs Proposed

The Senate’s proposal reflects many new changes, but retains many facets of the House proposal. While some changes help middle class homeowners today, it appears that the changes quickly wear out and are worse in the future.


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New Canaan mid-century modern | Waccbuc Real Estate

The DeSilver house was designed in 1961 by John Black Lee and Harrison DeSilver.
 All photos by Michael Biondo

Location: New Canaan, CT

Price: $1,700,000 (guide price)

The affluent enclave of New Canaan, Connecticut, is known as a mecca of modern architecture, where during the 1940s and ’50s, a group of architects collectively known as the Harvard Five settled here and built nearly 100 modern homes, 20 of which have since been torn down.

The DeSilver House on Chichester Road is one of them, and it was designed in 1961 by Harrison DeSilver and John Black Lee, who was often considered the sixth member of the Harvard Five. Lee also lived in New Canaan until his death, in a home he built himself.

Offered through a private sale by owner, the incredible home, which has largely been preserved with a few updates, is now on the market. Characterized by a 6-foot-by-6-foot modular prefab system, the 2,048-square-foot residence sits at a lower grade than the driveway and is accessed by a floating wood bridge.

Once inside, an (original) open-tread staircase leads upstairs to spacious bedrooms (four total, with three baths) and downstairs to the main living area and kitchen (with separate pantry room, Miele appliances, and Heath Ceramics tiles). Further below are a study, children’s playroom, and basement.

Floor-to-ceiling windows take in the gorgeous surroundings of the nearly three-acre site, while an open floorplan allows for flexible family-friendly living. An overhanging flat roof provides passive shelter from the sun on the ground floor and provides coverage over the second-floor balconies as well. A large outdoor patio, directly accessible from the kitchen, encourages indoor-outdoor living.

For a lover of midcentury modern design, the DeSilver House would be a treasure trove of endless inspiration. Located on Chichester Road, where many modernists also built homes, the property is offered with a guide price of $1.7 million. It is also available to rent for $7,000 a month.

Courtesy ofNatalie Louw (h/t The Spaces)

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Used home sales rise .7% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Sales of previously owned houses in the United States rose 0.7 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.39 million in September 2017 from a year low of 5.35 million in August, beating market expectations of a 1 percent fall. Still, ongoing supply shortages and recent hurricanes muted overall activity. Sales of single family houses increased 1.1 percent to 4.79 million after falling 2.1 percent in August, while those of condos fell 1.6 percent to 0.60 million, following a 1.7 percent decline. The median house price fell to $245,100 from $253,100 in August and the months’ worth of supply was steady at 4.2 percent. In addition, the number of houses available in the market rose to 1.90 million from 1.87 million in August. Existing Home Sales in the United States averaged 3912.19 Thousand from 1968 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 7250 Thousand in September of 2005 and a record low of 1370 Thousand in March of 1970.

United States Existing Home Sales
Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2017-08-24 02:00 PM Existing Home Sales 5.44M 5.51M 5.57M 5.55M
2017-09-20 02:00 PM Existing Home Sales 5.35M 5.44M 5.46M 5.45M
2017-10-20 02:00 PM Existing Home Sales 5.39M 5.35M 5.30M 5.29M
2017-11-21 03:00 PM Existing Home Sales 5.39M 5.36M
2017-12-20 03:00 PM Existing Home Sales 5.42M


United States Housing Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Building Permits 1215.00 1272.00 2419.00 513.00 Thousand [+]
Housing Starts 1127.00 1183.00 2494.00 478.00 Thousand [+]
New Home Sales 560.00 580.00 1389.00 270.00 Thousand [+]
Pending Home Sales -2.60 -1.30 30.90 -24.30 percent [+]
Existing Home Sales 5390.00 5350.00 7250.00 1370.00 Thousand [+]
Construction Spending 0.50 -1.20 5.90 -4.80 percent [+]
Housing Index 0.20 0.10 1.20 -1.80 percent [+]
Nahb Housing Market Index 68.00 64.00 78.00 8.00 [+]
Mortgage Rate 4.14 4.16 10.56 3.47 percent [+]
Mortgage Applications 3.60 -2.10 49.10 -38.80 percent [+]
Home Ownership Rate 63.70 63.60 69.20 62.90 percent [+]
Case Shiller Home Price Index 201.99 200.53 206.52 100.00 Index Points [+]


United States Existing Home Sales

Existing Home Sales occurs when the mortgage is closed. Mortgage closing usually takes place 30-60 days after the sales contract is closed. . This page provides the latest reported value for – United States Existing Home Sales – plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news. United States Existing Home Sales – actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases – was last updated on October of 2017.


Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
5390.00 5350.00 7250.00 1370.00 1968 – 2017 Thousand Monthly


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Amazon selling shipping container house | Waccabuc Real Estate

A MODS International shipping container house available for sale on Amazon
All photos via Amazon

From Amazon’s potential new headquarters to it’s latest lineup of smart home devices, the roughly $430 billion company is in the headlines and in our households. The Seattle e-commerce company sells almost everything—including, it seems, a shipping container house.

In an effort to recycle the thousands of surplus containers that sit on docks around the world, shipping containers have been used in urban farmsoff-the-grid getaways, and even as all-in-one pools. A fleet of new companies also use the 20- or 40-foot containers to create prefab tiny homes, all available to orderand delivered to your location.

Now, Wisconsin-based MODs International is selling their version on Amazon. The 320-square-foot house uses a new sea container as the structural shell—not a recycled one—and includes a rather plain bedroom, shower, toilet, sink, small kitchenette, appliances, and living area. Large double doors open to the outside, and extra windows were added to increase light.

The price for the home of your shipping container dreams on Amazon: $36,000. Of course, the unit isn’t sold from Amazon itself and is available from MODS as a third party seller under the “See all Buying Options” tab. It also costs $4,500 to ship the 7,500 pound structure to your location, so don’t expect your normal Prime discount.

All photos via Amazon
All photos via Amazon
All photos via Amazon
All photos via Amazon

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Beautiful floor to ceiling windows | Waccabuc Real Estate

When it comes to creating an indoor/outdoor feeling in your home, a set of floor-to-ceiling windows is the key ingredient to success. Along with being a visual connector to your surroundings, they bring in boatloads of natural light while providing a streamlined backdrop for your interiors. Take a look at our favorite homes of this week that feature expansive floor-to-ceiling windows.


Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

From Caroline Wallis: “The challenge, predictably, was preserving the unique facade while both increasing the amount of natural light and adding modern amenities. After collaborating with the client to understand and meet their long-term needs, the remodel successfully bridges the old and the new. Details like reused doors, original skirting boards, and bricks maintain the visual integrity of the original home, while a sleek new kitchen and concrete backyard unfold behind the original facade.”

Photo by Shannon McGrath. Architect: Robson Rak Architects. Landscape Designer: Weller Landscapes. Interior Designer: Made by Cohen.

Brooklyn Brownstone

Location: Brooklyn, New York

From the architect: “Located on a tree-lined street in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, this late-1800s, three-story brownstone had been held within a family for decades-and fell into disrepair and in desperate need of renovation. Windows had decayed, leaving large gaping holes to the elements beyond. The previous ad-hoc renovations in the 1980s and ’90s carved up the kitchen and bathrooms, creating awkward circulation and dated finishes. This gut renovation aimed to sensitively restore historical details, while introducing contemporary architectural elements and finishes.”

 Photo courtesy of Sonya Lee Architect llc.

1st Avenue Residence

Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

From Leibal: “1st Avenue Residence is a minimalist house located in Montreal, Canada, and was designed by Microclimat. As you step through the door, your eye is drawn to the back of the home, where the kitchen and living spaces extend outside, thanks to impressive windows that frame the backyard. A kitchen counter naturally flows onto the terrace, visually and concretely uniting the two spaces. Cantilevered overhangs in white parging shelter the counter from the elements throughout the seasons and offer a signature look to the back of the building.”

 Photo courtesy of Microclimat and Leibal. Architect: Microclimat.

Rudolph House

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

From the architect: “Our work included the redesign of the exterior walls and glazing to include a new wall of 10-foot-high, triple-paneled sliding doors and windows on the main facade. These doors open the home to the adjacent courtyard and provide excellent natural ventilation. The roof and the other three exterior walls, which are largely below grade, received insulation in excess of what code requires. All new energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, including heat-recovery ventilation, was installed to bring the home up to modern standards. The result was a much greater energy efficiency and thermal comfort for the family.”

 Photo: Tony Luong. Architect: Ruhl Walker Architects.


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Mortgage applications fall | Waccabuc Real Estate

Mortgage applications in the United States fell 9.7 percent in the week ending September 15th, 2017, after rising 9.9 percent in the previous period. It is the sharpest decline in mortgage applications since July of 2016, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed. Applications to purchase a home slumped 10.8 percent and refinance applications dropped 8.5 percent. The average fixed 30-year mortgage rate edged up by 1bps to 4.04 percent. Mortgage Applications in the United States averaged 0.48 percent from 2007 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 49.10 percent in January of 2015 and a record low of -38.80 percent in January of 2009.

United States MBA Mortgage Applications




Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2017-09-06 11:00 AM MBA Mortgage Applications 3.3% -2.3 0.50%
2017-09-13 11:00 AM MBA Mortgage Applications 9.9% 3.3% 0.48%
2017-09-20 11:00 AM MBA Mortgage Applications -9.7% 9.9% 0.43%
2017-09-27 11:00 AM MBA Mortgage Applications 0.45%
2017-10-04 11:00 AM MBA Mortgage Applications 0.46%
2017-10-11 11:00 AM MBA Mortgage Applications 0.46%


United States Housing Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Building Permits 1300.00 1230.00 2419.00 513.00 Thousand [+]
Housing Starts 1180.00 1190.00 2494.00 478.00 Thousand [+]
New Home Sales 571.00 630.00 1389.00 270.00 Thousand [+]
Pending Home Sales -1.30 0.30 30.90 -24.30 percent [+]
Existing Home Sales 5440.00 5510.00 7250.00 1370.00 Thousand [+]
Construction Spending -0.60 -1.40 5.90 -4.80 percent [+]
Housing Index 0.10 0.30 1.20 -1.80 percent [+]
Nahb Housing Market Index 64.00 67.00 78.00 8.00 [+]
Mortgage Rate 4.04 4.03 10.56 3.47 percent [+]
Mortgage Applications -9.70 9.90 49.10 -38.80 percent [+]
Home Ownership Rate 63.70 63.60 69.20 62.90 percent [+]
Case Shiller Home Price Index 200.54 199.05 206.52 100.00 Index Points

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Consumers remain too optimistic when estimating home value | Waccabuc Real Estate

Homeowners continue to overestimate their home values, however the gap continues to narrow, according to the latest National Home Price Perception Index from Quicken Loans.

The index, which compares homeowners estimates and the appraised home values, showed appraised home values came in 1.35% lower than homeowner estimates in August. This gap is smaller than July’s gap of 1.55%.

This closing gap is due, in part, by the increase in appraised values which ticked up 0.19% in August. This is up 2.64% from August of last year.

“As the sun sets on the summer, some of the intense competition for housing also winds down,” said Bill Banfield, Quicken Loans executive vice president of capital markets. “It’s important to focus on the annual numbers with the HVI. While there can be some monthly variations in the data, especially as seasons start to change, the annual numbers show healthy growth across the country.”

The chart below shows despite the narrowing gap over the past few months, homeowners have been overestimating their home values since the beginning of 2015.

Click to Enlarge


(Source: Quicken Loans)

Homeowner perception varied widely from one region to the next, as appraisal values ranged from 3% higher than homeowner estimates in the West to 3% lower in the Midwest and Northeast.

The chart below shows the index in varies metros across the U.S.

Click to Enlarge


(Source: Quicken Loans)

“One of the biggest lessons from the HPPI, is highlighting how regionalized real estate is,” Banfield said. “Homeowners who have a better understanding of their local housing market can make more informed decisions about their home. After all, their house is not just where they live, but one of their bigger assets.”


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