Category Archives: Westchester NY

Pending sales drop | Waccabuc Real Estate

The Pending Home Sales Index decreased 2.5% in November 2016 to its lowest level since January 2016, and is 0.4% below November 2015. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased to 107.3 in November 2016 from 110.0 the previous month.

The PHSI increased 0.6% in the Northeast, but fell 1.2% in the South, 2.5% in the Midwest and 6.7% in the West. Year-over-year, the PHSI increased 5.7% in the Northeast, but decreased 1.0% in the West, 1.3% in the South and 2.4% in the Midwest.

NAR recently reported a decline in confidence among renters who are contemplating the best time to buy a home. The election boosted the U.S. 10-year Treasury note from 1.83% the day before the election to 2.54% on December 28, 2016, and mortgage rates followed quickly. The Freddie Mac Weekly Survey reported a 30-year commitment rate of 3.54% on November 3, which increased to 4.30% for the week ending December 22, 2016. However, November existing sales continued a solid year-end path, and total 2016 existing sales are expected to reach the highest level since 2006. As the economy adds jobs, increased demand among first-time buyers will help fuel existing sales into 2017.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/pending-sales-retreat-2/

Serious Delinquency Rates Improve Across Most Household Debts | Waccabuc Real Estate

A recent release by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that, in aggregate, 90 or more day delinquency rates are falling on most household debt products. However, serious delinquency on student loans remains elevated while a greater portion of auto debt held by households with low credit scores is entering serious delinquency. The results indicate that household balance sheets are likely improving on balance but some concerns persist.

As the figure below illustrates, the majority of consumer loan types have seen the share of balances 90 or more days delinquent fall from their cycle peaks. The proportion of credit card debt 90 or more days past due has dropped to 7.1 percent 6.6 percentage points below its peak in 2010, 13.7 percent. The percentage of mortgage debt has dived 7.3 percentage points to 1.6 percent while the portion of 90 or more days late home equity lines of credit has fallen from 4.9 percent to 2.0 percent.

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Although credit card debt, mortgages, and home equity lines of credit have trended downward since reaching their cycle peaks, the share of student loan debt 90 or more days delinquent jumped in 2012 to 11.7 percent and has remained near this level in subsequent years.

Interestingly, the 90 or more day delinquency rate on auto debt followed the same pattern as credit card and mortgage debt, declining in the years immediately after reaching its peak. However, since 2014, the proportion of auto loan debt 90 or more days delinquent has held steady. More precisely, the percent of auto loans 90 or more days delinquent has trended up slightly since the middle of 2014.

Additional analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates that, after declines from their cycle peaks, the flow of auto debt into 90 or more day delinquency has been generally flat for households with a 620 and above. However, as shown in the figure below which was reproduced from the blog post linked to above, the flow of auto loans into 90 or more day delinquency has increased noticeably for consumers with a credit score below a 620.

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More precisely, the flow of auto debt flowing into 90 or more day delinquency for those with a credit score between 620 and 659 rose a bit in 2014 before returning in 2015. In addition, there has been a very slight upward trend in the flow of auto debt into 90 or more day delinquency by borrowers with a credit score between 660 and 719 and a small uptick over 2016 in the flow for consumers with a score between 720 and 759.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/12/serious-delinquency-rates-improve-across-most-household-debts/

Are Trophy Homes Losing their Lustre? | Waccabuc Real Estate

Are Trophy Homes Losing their Lustre?

With pressure on the homebuilding industry to build fewer trophy homes and concentrate on filling the demand for affordable housing, the data does not bode well for builders.

Median prices of new homes have risen steadily during the recession. In September, the median sold price of a new home hit $313,500, 5.5 percent higher than last year’s median of $296,400 and 25.2 percent higher than the median price for existing homes in September.

Even so, over the past two years super expensive homes priced at one million or more are on the decline, according to data from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction.  In 2015, a total of 1,762 homes were started for sale with a price of $1 million or more and new homes started for sale with a price of $1 million or more decreased as a share in absolute number in 2015. That number was significantly lower than in 2013 (3,347 homes) and 2014 (3,019).

 

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In percentage terms, these expensive homes represented 1.06 percent of all new homes started for sale in 2015, from a peak of 1.26 percent in 2014 but about the same as in 2013 (0.99 percent). This represents a much higher percent share compared to other years. For instance, from 2008 to 2012 the percent share of $1 million or more homes started for sale was less than 0.50 percent, while it was at most 0.66 percent during the boom period, reported the National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Housing blog.

To put things in perspective, Trulia reported in May that since 2012 the share of all million dollar homes in the United States has increased from 1.6 percent to 3 percent, but many metros and neighborhoods have seen a much larger increase.

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2016/11/are-trophy-homes-losing-their-lustre/

Garages in New Homes: 2015 Data | Waccabuc Real Estate

A majority of new homes that completed construction in 2015 included two-car garages, according to NAHB analysis of Census Bureau Survey of Construction data.

For new single-family completions in 2015, 61% of homes offered a two-car garage. Another 24% of homes possessed a garage large enough to hold three or more cars. Just 6% of newly-built homes had a one-car garage, and only 1% possessed a carport. Another 9% of new homes had no garage or carport.

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Over the last two decades, there has been a shift in parking options. As home size has grown, the share of homes with a three or more car garage has grown as well. In 1992, 11% of homes had a garage for three or more cars. That share rose to a peak of 20% in 2005, before falling to 16% in 2010.

In contrast, the market share of homes with no garage or carport has been on the decline. In 1992, 15% of new single-family homes had no parking facility. That share fell to 8% in 2005, before rising slightly to 13% in 2010.

There are also clear regional differences for parking options in new homes. In the Northeast, no garage or carport is available in 18% of homes, the highest such share. In the West, that is true in only 3% of homes, the lowest Census region. The Midwest had the highest share of three or more car garages, at 42% of new homes. The Northeast had the lowest market share of three-plus car garages, with just 12% homes completed. The Northeast in contrast leads the share in one-car garages, with 16% of completed single-family homes.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/garages-in-new-homes-2015-data/

NAR says home sales to continue to increase next year | Chappaqua Real Estate

Predictions from the National Association of Realtors, the Mortgage Bankers Association,Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac show that home sales are going to heat up in 2017, according to a blog by NAR.

NAR predicted existing home sales will reach 6 million in 2017, an increase from this year’s forecast of 5.8 million, according to the blog. MBA predicted home sales will reach 5.75 million and Fannie and Freddie forecast home sales will come in at 6.2 million.

From the blog:

A huge wave of Generation Yers, who have delayed home buying, are emerging into their key buying years. They are predicted to keep home sales and condo sales strong well into 2020, according to economists.

Meanwhile, new-home construction starts likely will tick up to about 1.5 million per year to 2024, predicts Forisk Research.

Home builders likely will continue to be more subdued, despite calls for more inventory.

As for the rest of this year, the summer housing market saw high demand next to rising home prices, but don’t expect Fall to bring any relief. In fact, it could bring the hottest fallin a decade, new data from realtor.com shows.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38205-nar-forecasts-heated-housing-market-in-2017?eid=311691494&bid=1549805

Number of baths in new homes increases | Bedford Corners Real Estate

In its Survey of Construction (SOC), the US Census Bureau publishes data on the number of bathrooms in new homes started. In the last several years, the share of new single-family homes with 3 or more full bathrooms has increased, which may reflect the move by builders to focus on higher-end, larger homes in the post-recession period. However, recent data indicate that this trend started to reverse: the median square feet of new homes declined in the second quarter of 2016. Growth in the number of smaller homes, such as townhomes, may emerge going forward in response to first-time buyers returning to the market.

Of new single-family homes started in 2015, 4 percent have 1 or less full bathrooms, 59 percent have 2 full bathrooms, 27 percent have 3 full bathrooms, and 10 percent have four or more full bathrooms.

Figure 1 displays the shares of new single-family homes started by the number of full bathrooms from 2005 to 2015. Over this time frame, the shares of new homes with 2 bathrooms and with 1 or less bathrooms edged downward. Meanwhile, the shares of new homes with 3 bathrooms and with 4 or more bathrooms increased.
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Differences in the share of new single-family homes started in 2015 with 3 or more full bathrooms can be observed by Census Division (Figure 2). Figure 2 shows that the South Atlantic division has the largest share of new homes with 3 or more full bathrooms (42 percent). Other divisions with large shares include the Mountain (39 percent), the Pacific (38 percent), and the West South Central divisions (38 percent). Regions with smaller shares of new homes with 3 or more bathrooms include the New England (30 percent), the West North Central (30 percent), and the East North Central divisions (24 percent).

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/bathrooms-in-2015-new-homes/

Is now really the time to invest in Real Estate? | Armonk Real Estate

According to a recent survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, as many as 89 percent of U.S. investors would strongly consider pursuing real estate as part of a broader investment strategy.

The same study, which was also cited by the National Mortgage Professional’s Magazine, goes on to reveal an even higher percentage of millennial investors — 96% — expressed interest in purchasing real estate for investment purposes. So I thought it would be nice to investigate these claims to find out why this does or does not represent sound strategy.

There are a myriad of reasons to invest in real estate. Likewise, there must be plenty of reasons not to invest. Let’s take a look.

Real Estate Investing: The Pros

  • The timing may be ripe. Given the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming elections, many investment managers are predicting a volatile stock market; this is regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, this January.
  • Hefty Earnings potential. When you reach the level of competence necessary to complete a deal on your own without making mistakes your earnings potential will soar.
  • You call the shots. As a real estate investor, you’re ultimately accountable to you and your checkbook. Of course, you will need to stay on top of your local coding regulations and ordinances. But once you get the hang of it, you really shouldn’t have any problems with ordinances.
  • Nurture your inner builder. Getting into the residential investment business entails lots of renovation work. As such, you can certainly expect to play with your fair share of power tools. Of course, if your favorite pastime is catching re-runs of ‘This Old House’, you probably already love using these tools. Perhaps this explains why so many contractors wind up investing in real estate.
  • A ‘hands on’ investment. Real estate investing is unique in that it’s almost as much a career or a way of life as it is a form of investing. Indeed, the fact that real estate is involves so much sweat equity makes it unique among other investments.

That notwithstanding, the hands-on aspect of buying and rehabbing homes is also why you’ll face less competition from investors than you might expect in stocks or bonds.

Real Estate Investing: The Cons

  • Substantial risk involved. The business side of real estate investing is fraught with risk. Unlike purchasing mutual funds or savings bonds, with real estate you can lose money; this is one of the reasons that seasoned real estate investors caution neophytes never to get too emotional about a property and always be willing to walk away.
  • You could pay dearly for your mistakes. Another thing that’s so different about real estate is that you pay dearly for your errors in this field. For example, if you sign a deal only to realize afterward that the numbers don’t add up – walking away is not always an option.
  • Requires a significant investment. Don’t let the late night infomercials fool you. It takes serious resources to pull off a successful real estate deal from start to finish. Hence, it’s important that you have a plan and stick to it, going into every investment.
  • Demands a well-defined skill set. For anyone used to going into the office every day and ‘punching the clock’, real estate can be a daunting field. Namely, because it requires the investor to become proficient in activities that you may not be accustomed to doing on a daily basis.

So these are the pluses and minuses. As prohibitive as the potential drawbacks might be, real estate still has the potential to offer substantial dividends – both in the form of financial rewards and in the satisfaction that comes from building something with your hands.

Hence, if you’re willing to learn the ropes and put in the effort, you should find your goals very attainable.

Should You Decide to Take the Plunge Know This

  • If you do choose to invest in real estate, don’t go in blind. Prepare a road map first. Determine what it will take to accomplish your goals for each property beforehand; this includes finances, materials, personnel planning, etc. Upon completing your plan be sure to meet with the concerned parties.
  • Always expect the unexpected. When meeting with sellers, buyers or investors be sure to expect the best but plan for the worse. There’s always the potential that the deal may fall through. Doing so will help put all other parties at ease while preventing you from getting too emotionally invested.
  • Find a good CPA and attorney. While you may already be familiar with accounting and various legalities, it helps to have a professional on speed dial in case a problem that you aren’t familiar with crops up.

It’s important to point out that I’m not here to advise you one way or another, as it relates to whether to invest in real estate or not. My job is to bring you the facts and let you decide what to do with them. That said, now that we’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of real estate investing, what do you think?

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-now-really-the-time-to-invest-in-real-estate_us_57f6477de4b0568704999ef7

New Home Sales in September – Continuing Gains, Continuing Headwinds | Cross River Real Estate

The US Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development in a joint release reported that newly constructed single family homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 593 thousand in September, up 3.1% from a downwardly revised August figure, and up 29.8% from September 2015. However, note the monthly data is volatile and September was the lowest point in 2015 and the second highest point in 2016. Year over year growth in the trend in sales was 9.4%. Downward revisions to the July and August figures in no way diminish the upward trend that continues with the September figures.

The inventory of new single family homes for sale was 235 thousand, essentially flat in recent months after modest gains earlier in the year. Prices for new homes rose 3.5% from August and 1.9% from last September. A flat inventory in an environment of rising sales has put upward pressure on prices but expanding inventory has been a challenge given shortages of developed lots and skilled labor (NAHB). Both sales and inventories remain depressed by historical standards but the level of inventory given the pace of sales is in line with historical norms as builders balance caution and available resources in their efforts to meet expanding demand.

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/new-home-sales-in-september-continuing-gains-continuing-headwinds/

U.S. Housing Market Continues Steady Improvement | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released its Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®), showing three additional states — Indiana, Alabama and New Jersey — and one additional metro area — Dayton, Ohio — entering their historic benchmark levels of housing activity.

The national MiMi value stands at 85.7, indicating a housing market that’s on the outer edge of its historic benchmark range of housing activity with a +1.05 percent improvement from July to August and a three-month improvement of +1.22 percent. On a year-over-year basis, the national MiMi value improved +5.44 percent. Since its all-time low in October 2010, the national MiMi has rebounded 43 percent, but remains significantly off its high of 121.7.

News Facts:

  • Forty-one of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia have MiMi values within range of their benchmark averages, with Utah (99.2), Colorado (96.6), Hawaii (96.3), Idaho (96) and North Dakota (95.4) ranking in the top five with scores closest to their historical benchmark index levels of 100.
  • Eighty of the 100 metro areas have MiMi values within range, with Los Angeles, CA (101.1), Honolulu, HI (99.5), Provo, UT (100.8), Dallas, TX (98.9) and Ogden, UT (98.6) ranking in the top five with scores closest to their historical benchmark index levels of 100.
  • The most improving states month over month were Nevada (+2.95%), Florida (+2.14%), Illinois (+1.95%), Washington (+1.91%) and Alabama (+1.90%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Florida (+12.13%), Massachusetts (+9.94%), Nevada (+9.94%), Oregon (+9.43%) and Tennessee (+9.39%).
  • The most improving metro areas month over month were Las Vegas, NV (+3.00%), Palm Bay, FL (+2.63%), Tampa, FL (+2.59%), Orlando, FL (+2.40%) and Sarasota, FL (+2.40%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving metro areas were Orlando, FL (+18.21%), Tampa, FL (+14.78%), Chattanooga, TN (+14.51%), Palm Bay, FL (+14.25%) and Lakeland, FL (+13.66%).
  • In August, 33 of the 50 states and 73 of the top 100 metros were showing an improving three-month trend. The same time last year, all 50 states and 96 of the top 100 metro areas were showing an improving three-month trend.

Quote attributable to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer:

“Housing markets are on track for their best year in a decade, and that’s reflected in MiMi. The National MiMi stands at 85.7, a 5.4 percent year-over-year increase. The MiMi purchase applications indicator is up over 18 percent from last year and is at its highest level since December 2007.

“The housing market is showing strength across the country. The South continues to show some the biggest improvements, especially in Florida. MiMi’s purchase applications indicator is up more than 30 percent in Florida compared to last year. Meanwhile, in the West, the battle between low mortgage rates and rising house prices continues. So far, low mortgage rates have helped on the affordability front, but in hot markets like Denver, Fresno, Provo and Los Angeles it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the typical family to afford a median price home.”

The 2016 MiMi release calendar is available online.

MiMi monitors and measures the stability of the nation’s housing market, as well as the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 100 metro markets. MiMi combines proprietary Freddie Mac data with current local market data to assess where each single-family housing market is relative to its own long-term stable range by looking at home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (changes in home purchasing power based on house prices, mortgage rates and household income), proportion of on-time mortgage payments in each market, and the local employment picture. The four indicators are combined to create a composite MiMi value for each market. Monthly, MiMi uses this data to show, at a glance, where each market stands relative to its own stable range of housing activity. MiMi also indicates how each market is trending, whether it is moving closer to, or further away from, its stable range. A market can fall outside its stable range by being too weak to generate enough demand for a well-balanced housing market or by overheating to an unsustainable level of activity.

Features and Colors of Kitchens in New Homes | Cross River Real Estate

What are the features and colors included in kitchens of newly constructed homes? Data from Houzz, combined with information from the 2016 Builder Practices Survey, provides insight.

The 2016 Builder Practices Survey (BPS) is a national survey of homebuilders, conducted by Home Innovation Research Labs, that captures valuable information on the product features included in new residential construction, both single-family and multifamily.

It is a robust survey of 1,381 respondents who built single-family detached units and 199 respondents who built multifamily or single-family attached units (i.e. townhomes). Results are available on national and regional levels.

Analyzing the BPS can uncover interesting trends in the construction of new kitchens, such as countertop material type, cabinet type, and appliances.

Although the BPS covers a broad range of topics, it does not touch upon the color themes of kitchens in new construction. Houzz, an online platform dedicated to home remodeling and design, conducted an online survey on this very topic. Its survey asked recent buyers of newly constructed homes about the colors themes in their kitchens. The survey is national in scope and had 203 respondents.

Combining data from the BPS with the Houzz survey can provide powerful information on what today’s new kitchens look like. The following provides a snapshot of the 2015 product features and color themes included in kitchens of newly constructed single-family homes:

Countertops & Backsplashes
Figure 1 displays the type of countertop material installed in new kitchens. Granite countertops are overwhelmingly the most popular with 64 percent of new homes having this material type. It is no surprise that only 14 percent of new homes have laminate countertops. Based on NAHB’s Consumer Preference Surveyreport, laminate countertops are the least desired kitchen feature and are likely only installed when affordability is a major concern. Besides these material types, 9 percent each of new homes have engineered stone and solid-surface countertops.

Figure 1: Countertop Material Type (1)
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The Houzz survey provides insight on countertop color. Figure 2 displays the countertop color of those who have granite countertops, the most popular countertop material. Three color choices stand out: 30 percent of respondents have multi-colored countertops, 26 percent have white, and 18 percent have black. Twenty-six percent reported some other color, or were not sure about their countertop color.

Figure 2: Countertop Material Color (2)

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In addition to countertop material color, buyers also noted the color of their backsplashes (Figure 3). Twenty-six percent of respondents reported having white backsplashes, 13 percent reported beige, 12 percent reported multi-colored, and 6 percent reported gray. Forty-three percent reported some other color, or were not sure of their backsplash color.

Figure 3: Backsplash Color (3)

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Cabinetry
Figure 4 displays the types of cabinets installed in new homes. Wood-based cabinets are the most common, but there is variation in the panel type of wood cabinets. Sixty percent of new homes have raised panel wood cabinets, compared to 25 percent that have flat panel wood cabinets. Only 5 percent of new homes have laminate cabinets, and the remaining 10 percent consists of various other types, such as glass cabinets.

Figure 4: Cabinet Type (4)

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Figure 5 displays the cabinet colors reported by respondents in the Houzz survey. The most popular color is white (34 percent), followed by wood – medium tone (20 percent), gray (9 percent), wood – dark tone (7 percent), and multi-colored (6 percent).

Figure 5: Cabinet Color (5)

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Appliances
Figure 6 displays the percentage of new homes that have each appliance listed. Cooktops and ranges are almost always provided in new kitchens with 97 percent of new homes having these features. Features that are also commonly installed include dishwashers (92 percent), microwave ovens and garbage disposals (both 84 percent); and refrigerators and freezer (65 percent).

Items less frequently installed in new homes include clothes dryers and washers (36 and 34 percent, respectively), wall ovens (18 percent), hot water recirculation piping (17 percent), water softeners and central vacuum systems (both 13 percent); hot water dispensers and standby generators (both 8 percent); trash compactors (4 percent), and elevators (2 percent).

Figure 6: Percentage of New Homes that Include Appliance (6)

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Figure 7 displays the colors of appliances installed in new kitchens. Most respondents reported that “stainless steel” is the color theme of their appliances, 6 percent reported black, and 4 percent reported white.

Figure 7: Appliance Colors (7)

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The combination of data from the BPS and the Houzz survey provides a sense of what new kitchens look like. New kitchens tend to have granite countertops, raised panel wood cabinets, and come with a standard set of appliances, such as cooktops & ranges, microwaves, dishwashers and garbage disposals. New kitchens also have white, multi-colored, or wood-based color themes, and are complemented by “stainless steel” appliances.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/features-and-colors-of-kitchens-in-new-homes/