Category Archives: Westchester NY

Mortgage refinance activity surges | Waccabuc Real Estate

Data from the latest survey of the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Application Survey show small year-over-year gains in purchasing activity and larger year-over-year gains in refinancing activity. The Primary Market Mortgage Survey indicated no change in the 30-year fixed rate mortgage (FRM) from the previous week, at a non-seasonally adjusted rate of 3.8%. However, two weeks ago, the FRM decreased by 17 basis points from the week before, which was the largest week-to-week decline in over two months. A previous postreferred to trade disputes as a source of stagnating purchase activity for potential homeowners.

Year-over-year, the gains were strongest in refinance and far less pronounced in purchases, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The index for refinance increased by 79.5% while the index for purchase mortgages increased by 3.5%. The fixed-rate mortgage, however, has shown steady, year-over-year percentage declines since the start of 2019.

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Mortgage rates hit two year low | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate fell to 3.82 percent, the sixth consecutive weekly decline and its lowest level since September 2017.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “While the drop in mortgage rates is a good opportunity for consumers to save on their mortgage payment, our research indicates that there can be a wide dispersion among mortgage rate offers. By shopping around and getting a single additional mortgage rate quote, a borrower can save an average of $1,500.”

“These low rates are also good news for current homeowners. With rates dipping below four percent, there are over $2 trillion of outstanding conforming conventional mortgages eligible to be refinanced – meaning the majority of what was originated in 2018 is now eligible,” he says.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.82 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending June 6, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 3.99 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.54 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.28 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.46 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.01 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.52 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.60 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.74 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.

Case Shiller prices up 2.7% annually | Waccabuc Real Estate

GS: New Home sales house for sale prospective buyers San Rafael Ca.

Real estate agents arrive at a brokers tour showing a house for sale in San Rafael, California.Getty Images

National home prices rose 3.7% annually in March, down from 3.9% in February, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index.

Prices had been seeing double-digit annual gains, but they are gone. The largest annual gain was 8.2% in Las Vegas; one year ago, Seattle had a 13% gain a year ago but has dropped dramatically to just 1.6%. The 20-City Composite dropped from 6.7% to 2.7% annual gains over the last year.

“Given the broader economic picture, housing should be doing better,” David Blitzer, managing director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, wrote in the report. He noted that mortgage rates and unemployment were low, along with low inflation and moderate increases in real incomes.

“Measures of household debt service do not reveal any problems and consumer sentiment surveys are upbeat. The difficulty facing housing may be too-high price increases,” he added.

The 10-City Composite rose 2.3% annually, down from 2.5% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite gained 2.7%, down from 3.0% in the previous month.

Even with today’s smaller gains, prices are still rising almost twice as fast as inflation. In the last 12 months, the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller National Index is up 3.7%, double the 1.9% inflation rate.

Prices are still higher annually in all of the 20 major cities measured by the indices, but some are getting very close to negative territory. Prices in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, San Diego and San Francisco are just over 1% higher than March 2018.

Las Vegas, Tampa and Phoenix are seeing the biggest gains. These were the markets hit hardest during the housing crash and therefore still have the farthest to go to fully recover.

Other housing indicators are also weaker than expected this year. Existing home sales have been relatively flat all spring, despite falling mortgage rates.

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https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/28/home-price-gains-weaken-yet-again-in-march-sp-case-shiller-index.html

Median rent reaches all-time high | Waccabuc Real Estate

Apartment for rent

Median asking rent has reached an all-time high, rising to a record $1,006 in the first quarter of 2019, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Rental properties that were lying vacant remained low at 7% in Q1, a factor that is driving up rental prices.

rent

Meanwhile, homeownership levels across the country were relatively flatfrom last year, the data revealed, reversing a trend of eight consecutive quarters of growth.

Rents rise as increased demand takes a bite out of homeownership

It appears a surge in renters is the cause. The number of renters has changed course, rising in Q1 after falling in six out of seven previous quarters.

Skylar Olsen, Zillow’s director of Economic Research, said the data suggests the younger generation is having trouble overcoming the hurdles they face in the path toward homeownership, including securing a down payment, finding an affordable home and qualifying for a loan.  

“These hurdles – combined with potential shifts in preferences and/or a simple delay in the many ‘adulting’ events like marriage and children that precipitate buying a home – can have the effect of keeping younger, would-be buyers in rental housing for a longer time,” Olsen said.

He added that the sheer size of the 20-and-30-something population is exacerbating the situation by creating competition that drives up rental prices.

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/48891-median-rent-reaches-all-time-high?id=48891-median-rent-reaches-all-time-high&utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingWire%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=72133183&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–UJ10g-blERYQowrIuE0apEhOELqrKPiq6ZfTaoudQUKAjt_2RBRCx8g27bpDIlIGC1c3fYmt44l4iOLOVC7kDeZ8d3g&_hsmi=72133183

Monthly Employment Growth Improved in March | Waccabuc Real Estate

Total payroll employment increased by 196,000 in March, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8%. Residential construction employment increased by 12,200 in March, after the decline of 8,100 jobs in February. The total construction industry (both residential and nonresidential) gained 16,000 jobs in March.

According to the Employment Situation Summary for March, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 196,000. It was a big jump from the gain of 33,000 jobs in February, which was revised up from its original estimate of a 20,000 increase. Monthly employment growth has averaged 180,000 per month for the first three months of 2019, compared with the average monthly growth of 223,000 over all of 2018. Over the past twelve months, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2.5 million, with the average monthly growth of 211,000.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8% in March. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate, the proportion of the population either looking for a job or already with a job, declined by 0.2 percentage point in March, to 63.0%. The decrease in the number of total labor force reflected both a 201,000 decrease in the number of persons employed and a 24,000 decline in the number of persons unemployed over the month.

Additionally, monthly employment data released by the BLS Establishment Survey indicates that employment in the overall construction sector increased by 16,000 in March. The number of residential construction jobs rose by 12,200 in March, following an 8,100 decline in February.

Residential construction employment now stands at 2.9 million in March, broken down as 838,000 builders and 2.1 million residential specialty trade contractors. The 6-month moving average of job gains for residential construction is 8,000 a month. Over the last 12 months, home builders and remodelers added 103,700 jobs on a net basis. Since the low point following the Great Recession, residential construction has gained 918,000 positions.

In March, the unemployment rate for construction workers decreased to 3.9% on a seasonally adjusted basis, from the 4.5% in February. The unemployment rate for construction workers dropped to the lowest rate since 2001, as shown in the figure above.

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New York’s new mansion tax | Waccabuc Real Estate

VIEW PHOTO IN GALLERY

220 Central Park South. Image via Vornado Realty Trust and Robert A.M. Stern Architects.

New York’s 2020 budget was revealed this weekend; among many other items, the proposed “pied-à-terre tax” went away, but a progressive “mansion tax,”–a one-time tax on properties valued from $1 million to $25 million or more–and an attendant transfer tax when those properties sell–will reportedly raise $365 million, according to The Real Deal. The money will head straight to the MTA. The new tax will top out at 4.15 percent.

According to Bloomberg, a series of graduated tax levies, paid by the buyer, starting at 1 percent, will be added to all New York City apartments selling for $1 million or more. That rate goes up at $2 million and reaches that 4.15 percent high on $25 million properties. The projected $365 million in revenue would mean $5 billion in bonds headed for mass transit. The last iteration of the mansion tax levied a flat 1 percent on apartments starting at $1 million.

Governor Cuomo said in a statement announcing the new budget “This has five or six major, difficult long-term issues that had to be dealt with, and it deals with them in a fiscally responsible way. This is the leading state in terms of being progressive. We’ve established that. I believe with this plan we also lead the nation in terms of innovation, and building, and reform.”

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Fed’s rate hikes causing deflation | Robert Paul Realtor

Inflation Rate in the United States is expected to be 2.00 percent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Inflation Rate in the United States to stand at 2.10 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the United States Inflation Rate is projected to trend around 2.10 percent in 2020, according to our econometric models.

Forecast Data Chart
CalendarGMTActualPreviousConsensusTEForecast
2018-12-1201:30 PMInflation Rate YoY2.2%2.5%2.2%2.4%
2019-01-1101:30 PMInflation Rate YoY1.9%2.2%1.9%2.2%
2019-02-1301:30 PMInflation Rate YoY1.6%1.9%1.5%1.9%
2019-03-1212:30 PMInflation Rate YoY1.5%1.6%1.6%1.6%
2019-04-1012:30 PMInflation Rate YoY2%
2019-05-1012:30 PMInflation Rate YoY1.9%
2019-06-1212:30 PMInflation Rate YoY1.9%

Mortgage rates average 4.35% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® , showing that mortgage rates continued on their downward pattern. 

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “Mortgage rates fell for the third consecutive week, continuing the general downward trend that began late last year. Wages are growing on par with home prices for the first time in years, and with more inventory available, spring home sales should help the market begin to recover from the malaise of the last few months.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.35 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending February 21, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 4.37 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.40 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.78 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.81 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.85 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.84 percent with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.88 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.65 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.

Westchester Democrats taxing and spending | Waccabuc Real Estate

Despite already being one of the more heavily taxed counties in the country, Westchester homeowners and shoppers may soon see a hike in sales tax.

Westchester officials are reportedly hopeful that the state will approve an increase in local sales tax which could help steady the county’s finances. However, according to a lohud report , no formal request has been made, and it is unclear how much taxes may be increased.

The report states that Westchester County Executive George Latimer plans to first reach out to area business owners before he makes his formal cause to New York State officials.

The average Westchester homeowner paid nearly $20,000 in property taxes last year, with a sales tax rate of 3.375 percent, which is a lower rate than surrounding counties and lower than the county’s four largest cities.

In recent years, Westchester has found itself facing millions of dollars in deficits and the county has seen its reserves dwindle, leading to a downgrade of their credit rating. Westchester’s financial report card saw its credit rating cut one level by two prominent agencies.

Westchester County was notified by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings that the county’s financial outlook has been downgraded to AA+. Moody’s also assigned Aa1 to Westchester. The county has lost its AAA rating – the highest ranking available – in each of the Big 3 rating agencies.

Late last year, lawmakers approved the $1.9 billion budget, with the measure quickly signed off by Latimer. The budget was approved by a 13-4 vote, with the support of county Democrats. The budget contains a 2 percent property tax hike.

Officials said that the tax rate increase is to help offset tens of millions of dollars in deficits that the county is currently operating against. There are no planned cuts to staff or service in the approved budget, which is contingent on the county selling several parking lots that surround the County Center in White Plains. The sale of the lots is expected to net more than $20 million.

The tax levy increase is the first since Latimer took over as county exec last year. The county could have raised taxes by as much as 4.5 percent, but was able to curtail that number with certain allowances. The county was operating at a $32 million deficit to end 2017 year, which only ballooned in 2018.

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https://dailyvoice.com/new-york/chappaqua/news/will-westchester-residents-soon-be-paying-higher-sales-tax/747370/

America’s wavering housing market all depends on what Fed does next | South Salem Realtor

Why 2019 may not lead to a home buyer’s market

H. ARMSTRONG ROBERTS/CLASSICSTOCK/Everett Collection

As 2018 winds to a close, the housing market has shown signs of a slowdown. Wages are rising, according to the most recent figures released Friday, which economists say may give the Federal Reserve more impetus to raise interest rates later this month.

Throughout this year, observers have begun to speculate that the country’s housing market may have hit its peak. Meanwhile, millions of Americans continue to wait on the sidelines. Housing inventory remains incredibly tight, meaning that buying a home is a very expensive and difficult proposition for many. At the same time, expensive rents and low wages have constrained people’s ability to save up for a down payment.

And 2019 appears set to bring more of the same. “I would still rather be a seller than a buyer next year,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at real-estate website Realtor.com. Here is what forecasters predict the New Year will hold for America’s housing market:

Mortgage rates will continue to rise, causing home prices and sales to drop

In the Dec. 7 week, the interest rate on a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage was hovering 4.75%,down six basis points. But by this time next year, experts predict it will be even higher.

Realtor.com estimated that the rate for a 30-year mortgage will reach 5.50% by the end of 2019, while real-estate firm Zillow estimated that it could hit 5.80% in a year’s time. Mortgage liquidity provider Fannie Mae was more moderate, predicting that rates will only increase to 5% by then.

Either way, homebuyers can expect to pay more in interest if they buy next year. And rising mortgage rates will cause ripple effects throughout the market, said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at real-estate data firm Attom Data Solutions.

“What’s driving the slowdown in price appreciation and the rise in inventory is not so much that inventory is being created, but that demand is decreasing,” he said. “This is an extremely mortgage-rate sensitive housing market.”

Realtor.com only expects the national median home price to increase 2.2% next year and for sales to drop 2%. Zillow was a bit more upbeat, expecting home prices to rise 3.8%. (In October, the median sales price only increased 3.8% from a year earlier amid a 1.8% annual uptick in home sales, the first such increase in six months.)

Added inventory won’t make it a buyer’s market

In some of the nation’s priciest markets, housing inventory has improved in recent months, relieving some of the inventory-related constraints on housing markets.

But that’s not good news for buyers or sellers. The increase in inventory in this case is more the result of a decrease in demand because of rising interest rates than it is a sign of new homes being built.

For sellers, this shift will lead to fewer offers and bidding wars, which could in turn could cause some to feel pressure to drop their asking price. However, all of these factors won’t outweigh the price appreciation that’s occurred in recent years. “You’re still likely to walk away with a decent profit in 2019 if you sell,” Hale said.

Moreover, the uptick in inventory has mostly occurred in the pricier tier of homes, meaning that the change doesn’t directly benefit buyers. Rather, it could provide some wiggle room for people looking to upgrade their home. That in turn might marginally expand the number of starter homes on the market.

People will continue to move away from costly housing markets

A trend that picked up pace in 2018 was the exodus from some of the nation’s priciest housing markets. Millions of people have chosen to leave California, for instance, and have headed toward Sunbelt cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix.

That trend won’t stop in 2019, which is good news for people looking to sell homes in smaller cities. “Home buyers are going to look for affordability and, often times, that will mean moving from a high cost major market to a lower cost secondary market,” Hale said. Many of these cities, such as Raleigh, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn., have growing economies and healthy job markets, further sweetening the deal.

Another factor that could fuel migration in the future is the new tax code signed into law by President Trump in 2017, which removed the deductions for state and local taxes. Taxpayers will only fully feel the effects of that change for the first time next spring as they receive their refund checks in the mail, said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow ZG, -1.57%

“You’ve already seen some of the backlash to the tax bill in the elections that happened in New Jersey and Orange County,” Terrazas said. “Whether or not it spurs migrations, that’s something that happens pretty slowly. People certainly get upset and vote. Actually picking up and moving is a whole other level of seriousness.”

The threat of a recession remains a big question mark

The economy is still strong, but it’s unclear for how long that will continue to be the case. Economists have predicted that a recession could come as soon as late 2019.

Whenever it occurs, the recession is sure to shrink demand for homes and cause prices and sales to drop. The magnitude of those effects will depend on how bad the recession is. In short, the more jobs that are lost, the more hard-hit the housing market will be.

And the housing market may begin to feel the recession before it even starts. With memories of the pre-2008 housing bubble still fresh in people’s minds, would-be homebuyers may be hesitant to purchase a property if they believe they’d be buying at the top of the market in doing so.

“That could be more detrimental to the housing market than the actual underlying issues,” Blomquist said.

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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-2019-wont-lead-to-a-home-buyers-market-2018-11-28