Category Archives: Westchester NY

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.

Quote
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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https://www.nar.realtor/washington-report/senate-takes-a-stab-at-tax-reform?om_rid=AAAAAA&om_mid=&om_ntype=NARWeekly&om_rid=AACWMk&om_mid=_BaFb17B9iRicam&om_ntype=NARWeekly

HVAC Issues | South Salem Real Estate

An efficient HVAC system can you save you loads of money in the long run and keep your home nice and comfortable throughout the year. Problems in the ductwork, however, can quickly consume your energy budget and make it hard to heat and cool certain areas of the home. If you suspect your HVAC system is not working properly, follow this short guide to help identify and fix common ductwork problems.

Abnormal Energy Bills

A collection of gas bills with a calculator and pen on a desk.

A sudden spike in your energy bill is a good sign that your home’s HVAC system is compromised. Leaky connectors and poor designs lead to air flow loss, which makes the system work harder to heat and cool the home. This in turn expends more energy and runs up the electricity bill.

Noisy Ductwork

Another good indication of a bad HVAC system is noisy ductwork. In rectangular ducting, these noises are usually the result of the metal expanding and contracting. It should be noted that noises are typical when the system first turns on or off. You should be concerned, however, if the noises continue while the system is running. If you hear a whistling sound, for example, you are likely dealing with vent covers that are too small for the system.

Uneven Temperatures

A lady wearing a furry coat holding a blanket.

If you have areas of the home that are hard to heat and cool or get overly stuffy, your HVAC system probably has a leak or two. Uneven temperatures are caused by poor air flow because the system is simply losing too much air to properly do its job. In extreme cases, you will not be able to heat or cool certain areas of the home even if the thermostat is turned to its highest setting.

Finding Problem Areas

Detecting problems in the ducting is a straightforward process. The biggest issues typically include bad seals around joints, improperly seated vents, and poorly supported ducts. You might also examine the overall design of the ductwork as the installer may have made mistakes in the original installation. Look for areas that feature sharp turns in the ducting as this can significantly reduce air flow.

Feeling

Feeling airflow from a vent.

You can also feel for air loss with your hands. Start by feeling the air pressure coming out of vents in multiple rooms. If you detect a difference between vents, then you know you have a leak somewhere in line with that vent. You can narrow down the location of the leak by using some incense, toilet paper, or wet fingertips. The incense and toilet paper will move or your fingers will get cold when coming in contact with the leak.

Visual Examination

Examine the ducting for any obvious signs of gaps, holes, and cracks. The most likely problem areas include connections and seams, and places where the ducting links up with the ceiling, floor, registers, and vents. For flexible ducting, ensure the pieces are not crimped or tangled.

Fixing Ductwork Leaks

Once you locate the problem area, it’s time for a little repair. All you need to repair leaky ductwork is some HVAC-grade aluminum foil, a putty knife, gloves, and a few cloths. Begin by cleaning the area with a damp cloth and keep a lookout for any sharp edges. It’s recommended to use mastic for loose fittings, though foil tape can also prevent air loss. Just make sure the connection is tightened up and the screws are back in place before you apply tape. If you detect any major cracks in the ducting, you may need to replace the section with a new piece of sheet metal.

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http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-identify-ductwork-problems?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=

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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https://www.curbed.com/2017/10/5/16432426/shipping-container-house-amazon-for-sale?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Curbed%20Dotcom%2010062017&utm_content=Curbed%20Dotcom%2010062017+CID_8e143a874c7f0365bd8ea5684e714d36&utm_source=cm_email&utm_term=Shipping%20container%20house%20now%20available%20on%20Amazon%20for%2036K

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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https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/mortgage-applications

Westchester Parks this weekend | Westchester Real Estate

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NY — Looking for something to do for the weekend? Here’s a list of events at Westchester’s public parks.

Friday, June 16
Playland Park, Playland Parkway, Rye – (914) 813-7010
$15 Friday Nights – 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
All rides $15 from 5 p.m. to closing. Parking fee applies.

Croton Point Nature Center, Croton Point Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson – (914) 862-5297
Riverlovers Pot Luck Supper – 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Sign up to help out at the Clearwater Festival. Info at Riverlovers.org.

Muscoot Farm, Route 100, Somers – (914) 864-7282
Muscoot Movies – 8:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Enjoy a late night movie in the historic barn. Title to be announced.

Saturday, June 17
Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary, Playland Parkway, Rye – (914) 967-8720
Volunteer Corps Work Day – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Invasive plant removal, trail maintenance, beach clean-up and more.

Trailside Nature Museum at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, Routes 35 and 121 South, Cross River – (914) 864-7322
Orienteering for Kids – 1 p.m.
Children ages 10 to 12 can learn how to find their way through guided waypoints along the trail. Registration required.

Cranberry Lake Preserve, Old Orchard Street, North White Plains – (914) 428-1005
Orienteering Scavenger Hunt – 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Find hidden flags at the preserve by using only a map and compass.

Marshlands Conservancy, Route 1 (Boston Post Road), Rye – (914) 835-4466
Volunteer Work Project: Removing Tidal Debris from the Salt Marsh – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Bring work gloves; hand tools provided. Great for any type of service credit hours.

Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18
Lasdon Park, Arboretum and Veterans Memorial, Route 35, Somers – (914) 864-7268
Opening of the New Lasdon Conservatory: “The Rainforest: Tropical Treasures” – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Grand opening of the new conservatory with tours, entertainment, face painting, food for sale and more. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children. Info at LasdonPark.org.

Croton Point Park, Croton Point Avenue, Croton-on-Hudson – (914) 864-5290
Clearwater Festival – 11 a.m. – 8:45 p.m.
Music and environment festival. Tickets at Clearwaterfestival.org.

Muscoot Farm, Route 100, Somers – (914) 864-7282
Art Show – Noon – 4 p.m.
Works by local artist Hope Friedland on view in the Main House Gallery on weekends through June 25.

Sunday, June 18
Muscoot Farm, Route 100, Somers – (914) 864-7282
Farmers Market – 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
More than 20 vendors offer fresh produce and local food products every Sunday through October. Vendors at muscootfarm.org.
-and-
Big Equipment Day – 1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
See the equipment that is used to get some of the biggest jobs done at the farm.

Bronx River Parkway, White Plains to Yonkers – (914) 995-4050
Bicycle Sundays – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Weather permitting)
Parkway closes to vehicular traffic for the exclusive use of cyclists, walkers, joggers and those with strollers, from the Westchester County Center to Scarsdale Road, a 13.5-mile loop. Parking at the County Center. Also 6/25.

Ridge Road Park, 287 Ridge Road, Hartsdale – (914) 946-8133
Portuguese-American Heritage Festival – (914) Noon – 7 p.m.
Music and dance, arts and crafts and food vendors.

Playland Park, Playland Parkway, Rye – (914) 813-7010
Father’s Day at Playland – Noon –10 p.m.
Dads ride free, families pay $15 for unlimited rides all day.

More info at parks.westchestergov.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expats living in Cotacachi Ecuador | Waccabuc Real Estate

Cotacachi, in the Imbabura province, is getting the lion’s share of expat attention these days. Many, especially those of retirement age, are finding their way here to enjoy the perfect weather, beautiful scenery, low cost of living, and especially the tranquil, slow-paced small-town lifestyle.

Like Otavalo and many other villages in this part of Ecuador, Cotacachi (population: about 8,000) is an artisan town. Just 20 minutes northwest of Otavalo, Cotacachi is Ecuador’s famous “leather” town. Artisan shops line the main street and you can buy any type of leather item, from shoes, boots and jackets to coin purses, bags, and suitcases…even upholstered furniture. Prices for all these items are 50% to 75% less than you would pay in the U.S.

Cotacachi has always enjoyed a reputation as a clean, peaceful village, and its plazas are kept neat and tidy. At night the artisan shops close up and only a few restaurants and small mom-and-pop shops are open. On the corners, you may find families congregating around a hot grill, where ears of corn are roasting along with pork and chicken kabobs. The cool, crisp air smells faintly of wood smoke, roasting corn, and eucalyptus. Eucalyptus trees grow abundantly wild, as do palm trees.

Cotacachi has become one of Ecuador’s most active expat communities in recent years, as many foreigners have chosen to locate here—and they enjoy a great lifestyle in Cotacachi. It’s a small, mostly indigenous town with a strong sense of community.

Largely dependent on agriculture, it is the sort of town many of us remember from our childhoods. Fresh raw milk can be bought from local farms, along with eggs laid by free-range chickens. Children still help with the family businesses after school and are well-mannered.

In the quaint downtown, you’ll find a couple of barbers, a small health clinic, and a pavilion for the town band. Ethnic restaurants and cozy cafés make welcoming spots to catch up with friends or just sit and watch life unfold in the Ecuadorian highlands.

Though Cotacachi has a slow and relaxed pace there are constant events and activities to take part in. Every month at least one parade or festival takes place. There are live music events, dances, and even horse processions to be watched and photographed. Seed exchanges, food fairs, and leather expos are all annual events too.

Of course it’s always nice to explore other areas too and there are plenty of great day-trips to choose from. Within two hours you could be at Chachimbiro Hot Springs relaxing in the thermal springs, or enjoying a mud bath at the spa. Lake Cuicocha is just a 15-minute taxi ride from town where you can marvel at the deep blue volcanic crater lake. If you’re up for some physical activity you can take a four-hour hike around the rim, or if you prefer to relax, take the boat tour around the islands in the center of the lake.

The famed market town of Otavalo is nearby, where you can explore the streets filled with craft items, food, and even animals for sale. Ibarra is a larger city just 45 minutes away with shopping malls, dining options, and large parks and plazas to enjoy.

When the sun sets in Cotacachi, the artisan shops close up and only a few restaurants and small mom-and-pop shops are open. That’s all you need, really. After a day of sunshine in the 8,000-foot-elevation, mountain climate, night-time is for sleeping.

Retire in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Retire in CotacachiCotacachi is becoming something of an expat magnet. Estimates are that about 100 expats live full-time in Cotacachi now. It’s a diverse group—not all American. There are Israelis, Cubans, Brits, and more among them, who get together regularly to discuss topics of interest or just to celebrate life. This makes retirement in Cotacachi enjoyable. The expats here are outgoing and relaxed, since there’s not much to worry about. No traffic, no temperature swings, no pesky insects, and certainly no money problems.

The town is also scenic. Two of the most majestic cordilleras of the Andes flank either side of the small village of Cotacachi. And several of Ecuador’s most famous volcanoes can be seen from just about anywhere in town, including Volcan Cotacachi to the west and Imbabura to the east. On a clear day, you can see Volcan Pichincha to the south.

If you want to enjoy good weather, clean air, great scenery, and a rich indigenous culture, but still be within two hours of the international airport in Quito, then retirement in Cotacachi could fit the bill.

Lifestyle in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Lifestyle In CotacachiCotacachi is a fabulous place to improve your health. The moderate climate with little variation throughout the year means that nearly every fruit and vegetable can be grown within a hundred miles. Not only is healthy produce readily available, but it’s also very affordable. With avocados priced at 3 for a dollar, organic leaf lettuce at 25 cents, and 6 plump carrots for 50 cents there is no monetary reason not to eat right.

In addition, the small size of the town makes it perfect for walking. Instead of jumping in your car to run to the grocery store, pay bills, or meet a friend for lunch you can easily accomplish it all with your own two feet. Many folks find that they lose weight without even trying after being in Cotacachi for only a few months. The healthy food choices and extra walking each day help shed excess pounds.

For a small town there are few things lacking. Residents can take advantage of spas, fitness centers, and basic medical needs all within a few blocks of each other. They can also participate in art classes, hiking groups, dance lessons, live musical events, yoga, foreign films, and science courses.

If you’re a social person, Cotacachi is the place for you. There are plenty of other expats to get to know, but the locals are friendly and welcoming too. It’s tough to spend much time in this town without quickly and easily making friends.

Real Estate in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Real Estate in CotacachiThis influx of foreigners has caused something of a building boom in Cotacachi in recent years, and if you come to look for real estate, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Older homes and apartments in need of renovation can be had for the price of a good used car.

Recognizing the trend of foreign baby boomers looking for an unspoiled and inexpensive retirement destination, local builders offer appealing homes and condos with features like large modern kitchens, elegant bathrooms, fireplaces, and more.

Rentals go for as little as $150 a month for a modern, three-bedroom apartment while furnished units with all utilities included go for $600.

Cost of Living in Cotacachi, Ecuador

Cost of Living in CotacachiThe cost of living is low in Ecuador, but especially so in smaller towns like Cotacachi. If you’re living on a budget or just looking to save money, this is a great place to do so.

Sunday is market day, when the villagers bring their wares to sell. Everything from fruits and vegetables to ground spices, woven baskets, and rope made of woven plastic shopping bags—recycling at its best. And then there are the roses…you pay $2 for one dozen, long-stemmed roses that are so fresh they last nearly three weeks.

On Saturdays head to Otavalo—to the largest open-air indigenous market in South America. If you’re a good negotiator, you can buy scarves, woolen socks, and hats for $2 each, or pretty wool and alpaca sweaters for $8 ($4 for kids’ sizes). The 30-minute bus ride from Cotacachi to Otavalo costs 35 cents; a taxi costs $5.

You can hire a maid to clean your condo for $10, and gardeners or landscapers charge around $4 per hour. Furnishing that same condo can be fun and inexpensive as well. There are master carpenters right in town that will build furniture to your specs for 50% to 75% of U.S. costs. Artistic paintings, colorful weavings, and wooden carvings are all easily found in the area and are priced at or below half of what you would pay back home.

Unless you must have imported food items or expensive cuts of meat you’ll save on your grocery bill here. Five dollars at the farmers’ market will get you an extra-large grocery bag filled to the brim with good healthy produce. Bananas, pineapples, mangos, avocados, tomatoes, leafy greens, and dozens of varieties of potatoes are just a few things you’ll find for sale. Whole chickens range from $5 to $8 depending on the size while fresh free-range eggs cost around $1.30 per dozen.

Many restaurants in town serve a menu del dia that consists of a beverage, soup, salad, main course, and dessert. How much? $2.50 each. It’s almost cheaper to eat out than to cook at home.

There are several good doctors in Cotacachi who typically charge $10 for an office visit. An eye exam costs $5 while a dental cleaning and exam will run around $20.

With the lack of severe temperature fluxes you’ll find that heating and air conditioning aren’t necessary, saving you plenty of money. Average electric costs for a household run between $15 and $20 per month. Monthly bills for water and propane gas usually come in at around $5 each. A package of cable TV, internet, and landline phone service can be had for around $100 per month.

Many folks live without a vehicle which eliminates fuel, maintenance, and insurance expenses. Bus fare usually averages around $1 per hour of travel time, and taxis are cheap too, charging $5 to nearby Otavalo (20 minute drive) and $12 to Ibarra (40 minute drive).

Depending upon the lifestyle you want a couple can easily live on $1,200 to $1,800 per month here. Of course frequent dining at high-end restaurants and traveling will require more income, but can still be done for far less than what it would cost in many other parts of the world. Don’t forget to factor in extra funds for trips back home, initial moving and visa costs, and for routine medical care.

 

read more…

 

https://internationalliving.com/countries/ecuador/cotacachi-ecuador/

 

Price it right and they will come | Mt Kisco Real Estate

No, that’s not a typo: Douglas Elliman’s profits dipped to just $100,000 during the first quarter of 2017, down from $7.1 million during the same period last year, parent company Vector Group reported Friday. The paltry sum was attributed to fewer closings at new development projects, Vector executives said.

Elliman closed sales worth $5.6 billion during the first quarter, compared to last year’s $5.7 billion, the company said. That resulted in $155.5 million in first-quarter revenue, down slightly from $157.6 million last year.

“There were less new development closings. That’s a higher-margin business so that hurt us,” said Douglas Elliman CEO Howard Lorber, during an earnings call Friday.

While the firm’s net income for the quarter was $100,000, its adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was $1.8 million, compared to $9.1 million in 2016’s first quarter.

Overall, Vector’s first-quarter revenue was $415.2 million, up from $380.8 million in 2016’s first quarter. Vector reported a net loss of $4.2 million compared with net income of $19.3 million during the first quarter of last year.

Lorber told investors that New Valley, the real estate investment vehicle of Vector, would continue to take an “opportunistic” approach. “If there’s something that makes sense, that’s an opportunistic type of investment or a troubled project where we think we can add value, we’re interested,” he said.

In general, he said, the New York market has picked up — a sentiment shared by others in recent weeks.

Real estate conglomerate Realogy Holdings Corp., which reported its first-quarter results on Thursday, generated $1.2 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 6 percent improvement from the prior year, the company said. New Jersey-based Realogy had an adjusted net loss of $23 million compared to an adjusted loss of $17 million in 2016’s first quarter — both attributed to low seasonal transaction volume.

During an earnings call Thursday, Realogy CEO Richard Smith said there are “early signs of stabilization” in the luxury market, with sales in the $2.5 million-and-up segment up 10 percent from this time last year. “New product in New York City continues to be particularly strong,” he said.

NRT — the division that owns the Corcoran Group, Sotheby’s International Realty and Citi Habitats — saw revenue jump seven percent year-over-year to $897 million for the first quarter.

But Smith cautioned that there isn’t enough inventory on the low end of the market, and he described a recent bidding war for a $1 million New York City apartment as an example. Some 200 people showed up at the open house, 25 of them made bids and the apartment sold for 20 percent above the asking price, he said. “Listen, we don’t see that play out in every market,” he said. “The good news is, when something is priced right… it’s selling.”

 

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https://therealdeal.com/2017/05/05/elliman-only-made-100k-in-profits-in-q1/?utm_source=The+Real+Deal+E-Lerts&utm_campaign=5e50cfa7fe-New_York_Weekend_Update_10.18.2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6e806bb87a-5e50cfa7fe-385733629

Housing bubble, then and now | South Salem Real Estate

You can’t blame a homeowner in Fresno, California, for viewing the thriving metropolis to its northwest with both envy and dismay. While San Francisco home values have surged since the recession, Fresno’s housing market is stuck in a rut. Less than 3 percent of homes in the city and its environs have returned to their pre-recession peak, according to a new study from Trulia. Median home values are a teeth-clenching $78,000 below their pre-recession peak.

The difference between the two California markets helps explain a key dynamic of U.S. housing a decade after the foreclosure crisis. Popular measures of the landscape, like S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index and the FHFA House Price Index, show the market has recovered to levels last seen before the housing market went bust. But according to Trulia, this isn’t the whole, significantly bleaker picture.

Nationally, just 1 in 3 homes are worth more now than they were at their peak. While tech hubs in the Bay Area and Denver and job centers like Dallas or Nashville have seen home values explode past earlier highs, there are more losers than winners when you look across the country, Trulia’s analysis shows. And it’s really bad news if you live in Las Vegas, Tucson—or Fresno.

Many of the losers aren’t just losing—they’re getting trounced. There were 28 metros where fewer than 10 percent of homes have recovered their value since the bubble burst. Las Vegas has seen less than 1 percent of its homes returning to or surpassing what they were worth before the recession. The median sales price there is down a full $91,000 from its peak.

“It’s a reflection of just how well a metro area has recovered, broadly speaking,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at Trulia, adding that his findings largely correlate with other measures of metro-level growth, such as gains in income and total population.

As a result, it’s tempting to view these results through the prism of the 2016 election. Many of the metropolitan areas where home values lag the most are Rust Belt towns with little prospect for an immediate comeback, or Sunbelt cities whose peak home values were a product of the bubble that preceded the collapse.

McLaughlin says a zip code-level analysis offers a more nuanced view of the haves and have-nots. In much of the middle of the country, cities have stagnated while less populated regions lead the recovery. While it’s true coastal markets have experienced the lion’s share of appreciation, the majority of homes in pricey markets like New York, Los Angeles, Silver Spring, Maryland, and Fairfield County, Connecticut, are still worth less than a decade ago.

To be sure, Trulia’s research is based on its own estimates of home values, while the big indices are based on actual sales. Other research suggests a hot economy gives rural workers more choice, causing an outflow of potential employees to better jobs, often in the cities or on the coasts, potentially speeding a decline in home value elsewhere.

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-03/most-u-s-homes-are-worth-less-than-before-the-crash