NYS median sales price rises 11.5% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Homebuyer activity remained strong in May, driving the New York State housing market to the second-highest sales total for the month with 10,348 closings, according to the housing market report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS. May 2018 closed sales were 8.6 percent lower than the record of 11,322 set in May 2017. The median sales price growth trend continued, increasing by 11.5 percent compared to last May, ending the month at $262,000.

“Robust buyer demand continues to keep homes across the Empire State selling at a brisk pace, despite the lower number of homes listed for sale,” said Duncan R. MacKenzie, CEO of the New York State Association of REALTORS. “Newly listed homes are selling more quickly than a year ago as buyers faced with fewer options are eager to get to the closing table. We believe that without the headwind of lower inventory sales would be near the record-setting levels of a year ago.”

“While growing sales prices may entice current owners to bring greatly needed inventory to the market, the combination of higher prices and growing mortgage rates will begin to erode affordability, potentially dampening buyer enthusiasm,” said MacKenzie.

The May 2018 sales total of 10,348 represents a decrease of 8.6 percent from the May 2017 total of 11,322. Year-to-date (Jan. 1 – May 31) sales were 45,005, a decrease of 3 percent from the same period in 2017.

The May 2018 statewide median sales price was $262,000, an increase of 11.5 percent from the May 2017 median of $235,000. The year-to-date (Jan. 1 – May 31) median sales price was $259,000, an increase of 8.6 percent from the same period in 2017.

Pending sales decreased 4.3 percent in May compared to a year ago to reach 13,633.

The average days on market for home sales closed during May 2018 was 80, a decrease from 87 in May 2017. Year-to-date (Jan. 1 – May 31) days on market for closed sales was 85, down from 93 during the same period in 2017.

The months supply of homes for sale dropped 7.8 percent at the end of May to 5.9 months supply. It was at 6.4 months at the end of May 2017. A 6 month to 6.5 month supply is considered to be a balanced market. Inventory stood at 66,682, a decrease of 6.7 percent compared to May 2017.

Additional data is available at http://www.nysar.com/industry-resources/market-dataOpens a New Window.

Editor’s Note: All data is compiled from multiple listing services in the state of New York and the data include townhomes, condominiums and existing single-family homes.

Here’s Why Epoxy is Considered the Ideal for Garage Floor Coating

Those in the know in the real estate scene can attest that epoxy coating provides one of the
toughest and durable finishes on garage floors. Incredibly, they not only protect the sanctity of
garage floors, but they also help transform the outlook from ugly and boring cement to a
professionally looking and picturesque floor.

Given the fact that the garage has quickly become a place where individuals simply park the car
and leave, the benefits of having garage floor epoxy have steadily risen. All through American
homes, more people are now spending quality time in their garages doing a bunch of things.
Whether it’s band practice, science experiments, lounging or meeting sessions for Silicon
Valley-themed startups, the garage has grown in value and utility through the years.

Epoxy is considered fantastic because it can comfortably be used in both residential and
commercial applications to give a garage or shop floor a luxurious showroom shine that is
bound to leave many speechless. Even better is the fact that epoxy comes in a variety of solid
colors and hues in order to match various styles and preferences.

The Root

Naturally, when most people hear of Best Garage Floor Epoxy coating, their minds tend to drift
to the association of the term with paint. In truth, nothing could be further from the truth.

Paints in garage floors use latex acrylic products. At times, some paints ship with tiny fractions of epoxy added to the mix in order to make the entire concoction more durable when compared to standard paint versions. However, even with the incorporation of epoxy, these products are still regarded as paints and referred to as 1-part epoxy paints or simply just epoxy paints.

Epoxy is, in fact, a real thermosetting resin that is applied as a coating. To form epoxy, one
needs to combine one-part epoxide resin with one-part polyamide hardener which acts as the
catalyst to give epoxy its characteristic strength. Once applied, epoxy does not dry like normal
paint does, instead, it cures in order to come up with the superior strength and durability
qualities that enthusiasts have come to highly regard the product for.

The moisture resistant quality of epoxy makes it ideal for those in snowy climates. This is
because it is much easier to clean icy brines and road salts that collect on the floor during winter time. All one needs in order to perform a clean wipe is some mild soap and water. Once this is done, dust and other debris can easily be picked with a soft broom and/or dust mops once the floor becomes sufficiently dry.

Epoxy tends to harden floor to great degrees that even the dropping of wrenches and metallic
objects leave the floor spotless. Thicker coatings are perfect to cover minor imperfections like
tiny spider cracks and concrete flaws. The sealer quality of epoxy also makes it perfect for antidusting around the garage. To push the limits of epoxy, slip-resistant elements can be
introduced in order to create non-skid surfaces.


Best Garage Floor Epoxy Review

U. S. housing starts rise again | South Salem Real Estate

The U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have now published their findings for May new residential housing starts. The latest reading of 1.350M was above the Investing.com forecast of 1.310M and an increase from the previous month’s revised 1.286M. March figures were also revised.

Here is the opening of this morning’s monthly report:

Housing Starts

Privately-owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,350,000. This is 5.0 percent (±10.2 percent)* above the revised April estimate of 1,286,000 and is 20.3 percent (±14.4 percent) above the May 2017 rate of 1,122,000. Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 936,000; this is 3.9 percent (±10.6 percent)* above the revised April figure of 901,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 404,000. [link to report]

Here is the historical series for total privately owned housing starts, which dates from 1959. Because of the extreme volatility of the monthly data points, a 6-month moving average has been included.

The Population-Adjusted Reality

Here is the data with a simple population adjustment. The Census Bureau’s mid-month population estimates show substantial growth in the US population since 1959. Here is a chart of housing starts as a percent of the population. We’ve added a linear regression through the monthly data to highlight the trend.

read more…



Home values increase in all 50 states | Cross River Real Estate

Home prices showed yet another surge in April as year over year values increased for all  50 states, according to the latest Home Price Index report from CoreLogica global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider.

Home prices increased 6.9% nationally from April 2017 to April 2018, and increased 1.2% from the prior month, according to the report.

The chart below shows home prices have been steadily increasing at the same rate for the past several years.

CoreLogic- April Home Prices

(Source: CoreLogic)

“The best antidote for rising home prices is additional supply,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said. “New construction has failed to keep up with and meet new housing growth or replace existing inventory. More construction of for-sale and rental housing will alleviate housing cost pressures.”

An analysis of home values in the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on housing stock, indicates 40% of metropolitan areas had an overvalued housing market as of April 2018, CoreLogic reported.

Another 28% of the top 100 metropolitan areas were undervalued while 32% were at value. When looking at only the top 50 markets, 52% were overvalued, 14% were undervalued and 34% were at-value.

The national home-price index is projected to increase by 5.3% from April 2018 to April 2019, according to the CoreLogic HPI Forecast.

The forecast is an econometric model that projects calculations from analyzing state level forecast, which are measured by the number of owner-occupied households for each state.

As of April, Florida’s recovery is promising, but experts say another natural disaster could hinder its growth.

“Florida continues to show price resiliency after Hurricane Irma in 2017. Despite the impact of the hurricane, prices were up 5.8% across the state compared to a year ago,” CoreLogic President and CEO Frank Martell said. “CoreLogic data projects continued gains to home prices in Florida for the remainder of 2018. However, gains could be erased if a significant storm makes landfall again.”


read more…



Homebuyer demand may be weakening | Katonah Real Estate

Home values have been rising for six straight years, and the gains have been accelerating for the past two years. Unlike the last housing boom, the gains are not driven by fast and easy mortgage money, but instead by solid buyer demand and very low supply. Still, like the last housing boom, some are starting to warn these price gains cannot continue.

“The continuing run-up in home prices above the pace of income growth is simply not sustainable,” wrote Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, in response to the latest price reading from the much-watched S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Indices. “From the cyclical low point in home prices six years ago, a typical home price has increased by 48 percent while the average wage rate has grown by only 14 percent.”

Yun also pointed to rising mortgage interest rates as a factor that would weaken affordability. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage is nearly a full percentage point higher today than it was at its most recent low in September 2017.

How to use your home as a source of cash

Some argue that despite weakened affordability, demand is just so strong that it can support higher home prices. Improving economic factors are seeing to that.

“A generally strong economy and favorable demographic tailwinds driven by the huge millennial generation aging into their home buying prime will help ensure that demand stays high, even as prices rise,” wrote Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. “Getting a mortgage remains incredibly affordable compared to paying rent each month.”

But he admits that the “advantage is starting to erode, as mortgage interest rates rise alongside prices and income growth lags behind.”

Weakening demand

And demand may in fact be weakening. A monthly survey from Redfin found fewer potential buyers requesting home tours or making offers.

“April was the first time in 27 months that we saw a year-over-year decline in the number of customers touring homes,” said Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson. “We believe this was driven by the low levels of new listings in March.”

Richardson points to an increase in new listings in April is a positive turn for homebuyers, which could bode well for futures sales. Prices, however, still stand in the way, and the increased inventory was more pronounced in higher-priced tiers.

Meanwhile the home price gains are widest on the low end of the market, where supply is leanest. That is why home sales have been dropping most on the low end. Evidence is now mounting that a growing number of first-time buyers are giving up and dropping out of the market altogether. Sales to first-time buyers dropped 2 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the first quarter of 2017, according to Genworth Mortgage Insurance.

“This quarter’s decline in first-time homebuyer sales reflects a slowdown in cyclical momentum as the first-time homebuyer market approached its historical norms. It also reflects a shortage of available homes priced at or below the median first-time homebuyer market price of $250,000,” wrote Tian Liu, Genworth’s chief economist. “Supply pressures will continue to drive price appreciation and freeze out a large percentage of the 2.7 million first-time homebuyers who are still missing from the market.”

Competition from all-cash investors continues to thwart first-time buyers, most of whom are reliant on mortgage financing. With so little supply available, bidding wars are the rule, rather than the exception.

“When you’re competing against 10 other offers, you have to stand out, so sometimes a letter to the sellers can pull on the emotional heartstrings, but really it’s all about the dollars,” said Karen Kelly, a real estate agent with Compass in the Washington, D.C., area.

Measuring affordability

Half of the homes on the market in D.C. in April sold in eight days or less, according to the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors. Home prices in D.C. were over 13 percent higher in April of this year compared with a year ago. The number of listings was down more than 3 percent.

Affordability continues to be a tricky metric to monitor. Some economists argue that housing is no less affordable than it was in the early part of this century, when adjusting for inflation. No question, though, even if home prices are still lower than they were during the last housing boom, adjusting for inflation, the mortgage market today is nothing like it was then.

read more…


Mortgage Rates Move Up to Highest Level in Seven Years | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB:FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that after plateauing in recent weeks, mortgage rates reversed course and reached a new high last seen eight years ago.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says the 30-year fixed mortgage rate edged up to 4.61 percent, which matches the highest level since May 19, 2011. “Healthy consumer spending and higher commodity prices spooked the bond markets and led to higher mortgage rates over the past week,” he said. “Not only are buyers facing higher borrowing costs, gas prices are currently at four-year highs just as we enter the important peak home sales season.”

Added Khater, “While this year’s higher mortgage rates have not caused much of a ripple in the strong demand levels for buying a home seen in most markets, inflationary pressures and the prospect of rates approaching 5 percent could begin to hit the psyche of some prospective buyers.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.61 percent with an average 0.4 point for the week ending May 17, 2018, up from last week when it averaged 4.55 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.02 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.08 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.01 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.27 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.82 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.77 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.13 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.

Bedford Town news | Bedford Real Estate

Click here for the agenda
As previously mentioned, the Town Board has been considering taking action on adopting a local law to regulate leaf blower use and to reduce waste created by the distribution primarily at grocery stores of single use plastic bags and paper grocery bags.   We have had excellent work performed by our Leaf Blower Task Force (LBTF) and Reusable Bag Task Force (RBTF), each of which has presented recommendations to the Town Board. Each Task Force extensively researched the issues, sought and obtained input from stakeholders and the community generally, including several public meetings.   The Task Forces and the Board also has been consulting closely with Town staff.
Leaf Blowers
The Board is moving ahead on developing a balanced local law from the good work of the LBTF, comments from the public and input from staff. We plan to schedule a public hearing for the June 19 meeting to allow ample time for further public input.
Reusable Bags
The RBTF recommends that the Town Board adopt a local law adapted from the reusable bag law in Suffolk County which set a one-year “ramp up” of large-scale distribution of reusable bags and encouragement of their use. There would be no ban on either single-use plastic bags or paper grocery bags, but rather a 10c fee charge for either type of bag should the customer arrive at the check-out counter without a reusable bag. The law would not apply to smaller stores, as their distribution of single-use plastic bags and disposable paper bags was not found to be significant.
Other recommendations of the RBTF:
  • Stores subject to the law pledge to participate in education efforts and make an investment in signage on their premises and in reusable bags to distribute to customers during the ramp-up period.
  • The Town Board should review the law within 12 months following effective date with respect to actual reduction of single-use plastic bags and paper grocery bags.
  • Stores subject to the law be required to cooperate in benchmarking plastic and paper bag usage over the implementation year, and that the measurements for success should be clear and quantifiable.
  • If single-use disposable bag use does not decrease in the stores subject to the law by 50% or more at the 12-month benchmarking period, then the Town Board should consider either one or more of the following additions to the law: an increase in the fee, an outright ban on single-use plastic bags, and potential expansion to delis, restaurants and smaller stores.
  • While smaller stores should be exempt, efforts to encourage reusable bag use (signage, reusable bag distribution, education) should be extended to these locations.
  • While this law exempts delis and restaurants, the RBTF recommends a pilot with 5-7 delis and restaurants that voluntarily decrease plastic/Styrofoam containers and plastic bags in these locations as part of an effort to decrease litter in Town. If the pilot is successful, the Town Board should consider adding delis and restaurants to the list of non-exempt stores or consider a plastic ban at the 12-month review.
We have held public meetings with retailers, individual meetings with grocery store representatives and a public meeting with the general public. We plan to set a public hearing for June 5 on the RBTF recommendations.
Part-Time Senior Outreach Position   The Senior Advisory Committee will present recommendations to the Town Board regarding creation of a part-time senior outreach position to assist the Town’s growing senior population.
Proposed Changes in the Parking Code
The Town Board will be considering proposed changes to the parking chapter of the Town Code to update the parking chapter for changes in technology, address non-residential weekday use of the commuter lots in “off hours” and to update/increase the fines/penalties for violations.
Updated Fee Schedule for Filming Permits
The Board will be considering a new fee schedule to correspond to the new Filming law. The fee schedule could not be adopted at the May 1 meeting since the new law is not effective until filed with the NYS Secretary of State. The schedule includes discounts for multiple days’ use and other incentives to encourage filming in Bedford, consistent with protecting the community from excessive noise, traffic, light and other disturbance from such activities.
Nissan Leaf Discount Program
Electric vehicles save money and reduce fossil fuel usage and emissions.  Click the link below to see how you can save up to $12,500 on a 2018 all electric Nissan Leaf through the Sustainable Westchester bulk discount program. Sign Up for Discount
Community Solar
Now everyone can be a part of the transition to local, clean solar energy, even if you don’t have access to your roof because you are in an apartment or it’s too shady. Currently in con Ed Territory only. Click Here to sign up for Local solar – and save money on your Con Ed bill!
Sign up at WestchesterCommunitySolar.org

Customers are receiving automated calls from “NYSEG” telling them that their electricity will be shut off later that day.   The customer is instructed to call back to prevent this.  The callback numbers, which vary, answer with “NYSEG automated service line,” and prompt you to push 3.
These calls are not from NYSEG and are an attempt to scam residents and businesses.
Some precautions to take to avoid falling victim to a scam:
  • Always type NYSEG’s Web address when making an online payment at nyseg.com.  Do not rely on email links. While at nyseg.com, you can also check your account balance and any past-due amount status.
  • When making a payment by phone, always ensure that you are dialing NYSEG phone numbers: 1.800.572.1111 (customer service); 1.888.315.1755 (payment arrangements) or 1.800.600.2275 (self-service line). You can also check your account status by phone.
  • Do not make any payments over the phone to anyone who has contacted you or asked you to dial a different number.
  • Never provide your Social Security number, credit card number or bank information to anyone requesting it (over the phone or in person) unless you initiated the contact and feel confident that the transaction is legitimate.
  • NYSEG does not ask customers to purchase debit cards (like Green Dot cards) to make payments.
  • If you have fallen victim to a scam, immediately contact the Federal Trade Commission and your local police.
I am delighted to report that Antioch Homes Affordable Housing Project has been chosen to be honored with a Commendation for Outstanding Planning Achievement by the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF) for its annual planning awards competition.   The award will be presented at next month’s WMPF annual awards dinner.

The Town has been working closely with Con Edison, the Village of Mt. Kisco and the NYS Department of Transportation regarding the condition of Route 117 in Bedford Hills which had been dug up and very roughly patched following Con Edison gas line work.
As those following this newsletter may know, we learned a few weeks ago that the Village of Mt. Kisco plans to replace its water line, which also will require digging up Route 117.  Upon learning of this development, we urged the Village and Con Edison to coordinate and to discuss it with DOT.   We want to avoid the havoc that took place over Thanksgiving and into the holidays last November/December in connection with Con Edison’s work in which ingress/egress to the Shop Rite mall was blocked; daytime work was taking place at the height of retailers busiest season resulting in significant loss of business; and traffic into and out of Bedford Hills was tied up for upwards of an hour.
Here’s the status of requests we have made to the parties:
  1. DOT advises us that it has required Con Edison to perform the curb to curb restoration.
  2. Work to be done at night from 7:00 PM through 6:00 AM.  Minimizing the loudest work (i.e., saw cut and jackhammering).  Con Edison has stated: “We will ask our contractors to try their best to get the saw cut and jackhammering work done before 10 pm, but it is an inevitable part of this work.”
Timing: we don’t know yet, because the water line work schedule has not yet been set as the engineers design and staging the work have to complete DOT review and approval.   What we do know is that the previous schedule of Con Edison completing its restoration in the next couple of weeks is not at all possible.   Our objective now is to avoid disruption as much as possible.  As soon as we learn of the schedule, we will advise the community.
This is the time of year when residents ask me about our paving plans and how the Town Board determines it. Shortly after I came onto the Town Board in 2008, the Department of Public Works instituted a fair and equitable system for identifying the roads to be paved from year to year. It is based on the condition of the road, with the roads in the worst condition to be paved first before they deteriorate further and results in far more costly paving. Each Spring the DPW updates its assessment of the condition of all 97 miles of the paved Town roads (since roads deteriorate at different rates over the winter).   The condition assessment uses a rating system with 1 being the best condition and 5 being the worst.   As a result of higher appropriation levels, we have been able to pave all Town roads rated at 4 and 5 and now are working away at a lengthy list of roads rated at 3.5. In 2014, the paving budget was approximately $800,000. Each year thereafter, the Town Board gradually has increased the budget. The figure now stands at approximately $1.2 million for 2018. We anticipate that in the next month DPW Commissioner Kevin Winn will submit a recommended paving list to the Town Board for approval.
Consistent with the Town’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by 2020, on October 3, 2017, the Town Board responded to the New York League of Conservation Voters/Sustainable Westchester challenge by being the only municipality in Westchester County to adopt Gold Tier Pledge under which we commit to purchase Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV’s) for at least 10% of our new light-duty municipal fleet purchases by the end of 202 and revisit this level annual to consider adopting a higher purchasing commitment. At its May 1, 2018 Town Board meeting the Town Board approved the purchase of the highly rated Chevy Bolt, which has an excellent driving range of 238 miles on a single charge.  The Town is able to purchase the vehicle under procurement through NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services in which the Town may participate.
Let your voices be heard – Let us know what is on your mind
Katonah Village Library, May 17 at 7:30 PM. Click here for the flyer
Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee – Resident of Katonah Memorial Park District
There is a vacancy on the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee for a resident of the Katonah Park District.  Send your resume and a cover letter via e-mail to supervisor@bedfordny.gov and please copy Recreation and Parks Superintendent Bill Heidepriem atwheidepriem@bedfordny.gov and RPAC chairman, Brian McCabe atcoach10536@aol.com.  You also may mail your cover letter and resume to the attention of Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.  For information on the RPAC, please see http://www.bedfordny.gov/town-government/boards-commissions-committees/boards/recreation-parks-advisory/
Drug Abuse Prevention Council (DAPC)
The Town of Bedford is looking to fill two vacancies on the Drug Abuse Prevention Council. If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to Supervisor Chris Burdick, supervisor@bedfordny.gov and also to DAPC Coordinator Kathryn Ferrara, kathryn.dapc@gmail.com  .  You also may mail it the attention of Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.  For more information on the DAPC, click here.
Traffic Safety Work Group
There is a vacancy on the Traffic Safety Working Group (TSWG)for a resident of Bedford Hills. Send your resume and a cover letter via e-mail to supervisor@bedfordny.gov  You also may mail your cover letter and resume to the attention of Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.  For information on the TSWG please click here.
Please consider your neighbor when you go to work with your lawn mower or weed whacker (or your lawn service uses them). We realize that your busy schedule makes it difficult to find time to get work done on your property. We all try to squeeze in time to do it. But please not too early and not too late…

Please be reminded that Westchester County regulates the idling time of motor vehicles to not more than three minutes (with certain exceptions – click here for the law
Let’s all obey the law to avoid unnecessary pollution.
            It’s been a long haul trying to persuade New York State to pave the concrete portion of I-684 that runs through Bedford (the same original surface from the late 1960s).   You may remember that in early 2014 shortly after coming into office, I started working with Assembly David Buchwald and then State Senator George Latimer to urge the re-paving of the portion of I-684 which runs through Bedford.  We also worked with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to press for funds from Washington, since 80% to 90% of the funds to repair our State’s highways comes from the federal government.   Thanks principally to the efforts of Assemblyman Buchwald a portion of the Bedford section was paved (the southerly portion up to Harris Road).   But the portion from Harris Road through a bit north of Exit 6 is in terrible condition. One of our residents who is an engineer and works on major road projects described it in an e-mail earlier this week: “Spring has arrived!! Please take the time to drive northbound and southbound on I-684, including the exit ramps. The pavement deterioration has become very severe in some areas due to the harsh winters. You may see large chucks of concrete in the shoulders that have broken free from the mainline pavement. Perhaps the board can urge the NYSDOT Highway Department to have maintenance crews fill the pot holes in the Katonah corridor as a priority.”
            Here, too, conditions on the road have deteriorated.   I’m especially concerned about the portion between the Bedford Cross and the intersection with Pea Pond Road. Several residents have contacted me about it.
I’ll be meeting with the Regional Director of the DOT on Monday and members of his staff to press for work to get done. I’d like to ask your help so that the powers that be know that it’s not just me asking for action.  You can send e-mails and make calls – and many thanks to those who already have done so (yes you may get a “form” response, but they all keep track of it and it really makes a difference that you take the time):
DOT Albany office: 518-457-6195
DOT Region 8 Acting Regional Director Lance MacMillan: 845-431-5750
If you send an e-mail, please consider copying me and our legislators:
State Assemblyman Buchwald: buchwaldd@assembly.state.ny.us, 914-244-4450
And thank you!
As to potholes you find in our Town roads, please call our Pothole Hotline at 666-7669 or feel free to contact me at 666-6530 or Supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
For potholes on state roads in our Town, such as Routes 22, 117, 121, 137 and 172 we would suggest that you call NYS’s pothole line at 1-800-POTHOLE.
For Saturdays and Sundays, April 28-29, May 5-6 and May 19-20 substitute bus service will be in effect between Southeast, Brewster, Croton Falls, Purdy’s and Goldens Bridge due to ongoing repairs to multiple downed power poles and lines in the area that occurred as a result of the March nor’easters.
All buses will depart approximately 20 minutes ahead of the regularly scheduled southbound train departure times in order to connect with train service at Goldens Bridge. Regular train service will resume each day with the 7:10 PM train to Southeast and the 9:08 PM train from Southeast.
Harlem Line train service continues to operate between Grand Central Terminal and Goldens Bridge and between Southeast and Wassaic.
Substitute bus service is being provided between Southeast and Goldens Bridge as follows:
Wassaic Branch Customers: Trains will depart 10 minutes ahead of the regularly scheduled southbound train departure times at all stations between Wassaic and Patterson in order to connect with bus service at Southeast. Additional bus service/ times will be provided at Southeast and Goldens Bridge. For full schedule details, please see http://web.mta.info/mnr/pdf/Wassaic Bus May_2018.pdf
Southeast, Brewster, Croton Falls and Purdy’s Customers: All buses will depart about 20 minutes ahead of the regularly scheduled southbound train departures in order to connect with train service at Goldens Bridge. Regular train service will resume with the 7:10 PM train to Southeast and the 9:08 train from Southeast. For a full schedule, please see: http://web.mta.info/mnr/pdf/Upper
Please refer to our interactive schedules at http://as0.mta.info/mnr/schedules/sched_form.cfm
or download Train Time for train/bus times.
Customers can also use the Hudson Line, where tickets will be cross-honored.
Please listen for station announcements and check back to this website for updates. Thank you for your patience while we perform this critical repair work.
Many have asked us about what action is being taken in response to the December federal tax law revisions which caps SALT tax deductions for federal income tax purposes to $10,000.
The following is brief description of the new law that can be provided to the public regarding the New York budget bill that provides offsets for Federal SALT tax deductions: The New York State Legislature has adopted new state law provisions designed to offset the impact of the recently enacted federal tax limitation on state and local taxes (SALT) to $10,000. Specifically, the legislation creates a vehicle for taxpayers to contribute to certain charitable funds that, in turn, would be applied for local tax purposes. The concept is that, as a charitable contribution, the amount paid by taxpayers who itemize their tax returns could be claimed as a charitable deduction on federal taxes. Under the new law, a New York State tax credit would also be provided on a percentage of each contribution. Under the new law, each taxing jurisdiction, including school districts, villages, towns, cities and counties, is responsible for establishing and managing such charitable funds. The funds collected would then be used by each taxing jurisdiction and applied to the taxing jurisdiction’s annual tax levy. The law also provides a mechanism for the taxpayer to receive a tax credit based upon the amount contributed to a school district’s or other municipal corporation’s charitable fund. The exact procedures for making payments into the charitable funds and receiving a credit against taxes owed are still being formulated.
New York State, by being the first state to enact a “workaround” to ameliorate the limitation on the federal SALT deductions, has positioned itself to be the legal test case for whether such an arrangement will pass legal muster. The Town and other government agencies, school districts and municipalities throughout New York State are in the process of reviewing the proposed bill provisions to determine what action should be taken and whether to implement the provisions of this new law. Similarly, tax experts are in the process of reviewing whether or not these new charitable funds will be treated as legitimate charitable contributions that are deductible for filers who itemize their federal tax returns. New York’s Governor and Legislature appear to believe the provisions are sound. However, a final answer has yet to be obtained and we recommend that you consult with your personal tax consultant before taking any action.
We will keep you advised as the situation develops.


Town residents can bring household debris and metal waste to the Crusher Road Yard during the following periods:
Thursday, May 3, 2018 7:30 AM-3:00 PM            Friday, May 4, 2018 7:30 AM-3:00 PM        
Saturday, May 5, 2018 7:30 AM-4:30 PM
Residents can also take brush and tree debris to the Beaver Dam Highway facility on Beaver Dam road off Harris Road during the same days and hours listed above. THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR THIS!
The Highway Department will not accept any of the following items: tires, batteries, refrigerators, freezers, pressure treated lumber, air conditioners, propane tanks, paint, varnish, chemicals, medical waste, or other toxic materials. No E-Waste – televisions, computers (desktops, monitors, and notebooks), computer mice and keyboards, printers, scanners, fax machines, cell phones, VCRs – ***E-WASTE CAN BE BROUGHT TO THE RECYCLING CENTER ON TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS AND SATURDAYS BETWEEN 8AM AND 3PM – E-WASTE CONTAINING CRT’S MUST FIRST GO TO THE TOWN CLERK’S OFFICE AND COMPLETE A CRT RECYCLING APPLICATION AND PAY THE APPROPRIATE FEE BEFORE GOING TO THE RECYCLING CENTER***
Proof of Bedford residency is required, and fees are as follows:
*           $25 per carload
*           $60 per pickup truck load
*           $115 for small dump trucks (<6 yd)
*           $230 and up for large dump trucks (>6 yd)
Bedford Village Chowder & Marching Club will hold their Tag Sale on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5 at the Crusher Road Highway Facility.
In addition to the normal clean-up activities, the Town will provide a mobile paper shredder to safely recycle unwanted personal papers and documents. The Mobile Shredder will be available on May 5 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Crusher Road Highway Yard. This free public service is intended for residents to shred their personal documents. Papers from businesses or commercial enterprises will not be accepted. Residents may bring a maximum of two file boxes. To speed up shredding and reduce waiting time, residents must remove all metal clips, fasteners, binders, folders and hard covers and place the papers loosely in a box. Hard covers – cardboard or plastic covers on items such as ledger books, marble composition books and hard-cover books – are not acceptable. Residents may rip away pages from these hard cover books for shredding and throw the covers in their household trash.
Please call the DPW Highway Division at 666-7669 with any questions.

If you lost Cablevision/Optimum service during the recent storms, you may qualify for a credit on your bill. Cablevision has records by address on power outages.  We have been advised that if your outage was for fewer than four hours you would not qualify for a credit.  If you the outage was for a longer period of time, you do qualify.  You will need to contact them.  We suggest that you also provide your service outage period according to your records (be specific with dates and times, to the extent you can).   Call them at 718-860-3513 or via Chat at https://www.optimum.net/support/outage/
 We have contacted our Verizon representative inquiring about a credit for their customers impacted by service interruptions during the March storms.  She advises us that if you reported the service interruption to Verizon, you will receive a credit automatically on your bill.  We advise that you check your bill.   If you did not receive a credit, please call Verizon customer service at 1-800-Verizon to request it.  Also, for customers who did not report the outage, it may not be too late, contact customer service letting them know when you lost service and when it was restored.
On Saturday May 5, 2018 at 3 p.m. Cub Scout Pack 170, and Bedford Boy Scouts will recognize National Police Memorial week by honoring the memory ofBedford P.D. Sgt. Thomas Wade who made the ultimate sacrifice on May 9, 1925.The public is invited to join with us, law enforcement officers, and the family of Sgt. Wade for a ceremony at Bedford, NY Police station 321 Bedford Rd. Bedford Hills, NY 10507.
The ceremony will feature the presentation of colors, lowering of US flag in Sgt. Wade’s memory, presentation of thank you cards to Police Officers by Scouts, police equipment, and Police K-9 demonstration. For further information please contact William McCormack at wfmccormack@optonline.net
I am pleased to report that the Town Board approved construction of a new Veterans Memorial in Katonah, which will honor the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the men and women from Bedford and around America who served in our military. The Memorial will be located on the Katonah Green, directly across from the Katonah Village Library, and will be funded entirely through private contributions. Information regarding the Memorial can be found at http://www.bedfordny.gov/veterans-advisory-committee/.
We recognize that residents are coping with a great deal of clean-up of storm debris, so we are opening the Town’s Beaver Dam Compost Facility for a few Saturdays over the next couple of months: The facility is normally open for residents in non-commercial vehicles to dispose of recyclable wood waste (logs and branches up to 6″ diameter, brush, and leaves) Monday to Friday from 7:30 AM to 3:00 PM, excluding town holidays. Due to the recent storms, the Town will open the compost facility from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday April 14, April 21, April 28, and June 2. In addition, the compost facility will be open on Saturday May 5 from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM as part of the Town’s clean up days.
The Town Supervisors in the Brewster Division of NYSEG which encompasses northern Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties met earlier this week with senior NYSEG management.   The discussion primarily focused on NYSEG’s program to reduce the incidence of outages including reliability targets, identification of major contributing causes, vegetation management, maintenance programs, planned work, resiliency plans, capital improvements and future initiatives. We will continue to press NYSEG for improving its performance.
click here for the letter
Horse Properties – As scheduled, the Town Board held a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the Zoning Code to allow for a half bath in accessory structures, including barns and stables, the purpose of which is to enable property owners to engage daytime grooms..   The proposed Zoning Code amendment expressly prohibits sleeping facilities and kitchens.   As I mentioned at the outset of the hearing the proposal comes after nearly two years of discussions with horse property owners and others supporting the horse community.   Earlier this year, the Town Board had referred to the Planning Board their petition requesting revisions in the Zoning Code to relax restrictions affecting the horse community. A number of residents spoke on the need to ensure that Bedford is “horse friendly” and we do not continue to lose horse owners.   Following the public hearing the Town Board unanimously adopted the amendments.
Congratulations to Amy Carelli At the recommendation of Police Chief Melvin Padilla, the Town Board approved the appointment of Amy N. Carelli to Police Officer effective on or about April 26, 2018. We are pleased to have Ms. Carelli join the force.
Moving ahead on Electric Vehicles In the first installment of fulfilling the Town’s New York League of Conservation Voters/Sustainable Westchester Gold Pledge on purchase of electric passenger vehicles for its municipal fleet, the Town Board authorized going out to bid for the purchase of a Chevy Bolt, an all-electric vehicle that has received excellent reviews for its range of over 230 miles and durability.
Bedford Village Parking   As I mentioned in this space last week, the Town has been in discussions with the Bedford Presbyterian Church regarding acquiring the Church’s vacant land off of Court Road for the purposes of constructing a municipal parking lot.   Last year environmental evaluation of the site showed no issues. We held a public meeting earlier this year at which comments we received showed positive support. We then commissioned an appraisal of the property which was just concluded this week and shows a fair market value of $150,000.   Following discussions with representatives of the Church, I postponed Town Board consideration of approving an offer, so as to allow time for the Church to obtain its own appraisal – a step which is customary and the right action.
Bedford 2020 and Energize Bedford’s limited time campaign in partnership with the Town of Bedford drove an increase in energy efficient homes in Bedford. From September 1, 2017- January 15, 2018, we collected more than 70 leads, helped set up 27 assessments and 11 jobs were completed in the 5 month time frame. Although the limited time discount is over, leads are still coming through and homeowners who entered the program during the campaign are working toward completing their projects.
The Town of Bedford Beaver Dam Compost Facility is normally open for residents in non-commercial vehicles to dispose of recyclable wood waste (logs and branches up to 6″ diameter, brush, and leaves) Monday to Friday from 7:30 to 3:00, excluding town holidays. Due to the recent storms, the Town will open the compost facility from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturday April 14, April 21, April 28, and June 2. In addition, the compost facility will be open on Saturday May 5 from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM as part of the Town’s clean up days.
Paramedics are trained and prepared to operate with law enforcement in active shooter situations. This additional stop the bleed program is intended to provide a level of basic quick action from the public before help arrives. We have certified trainers in this program and want to start offering it up to various public institutions such as schools. Click here for the booklet.
on the Zoning Code Amendment, Reducing Plastic Waste, and Recent Storm Response
click here

  You may recall that last July the Town issued a Request for Proposals for solar panels and other systems for Town facilities. We received no proposals, which we learned was due to the fact that New York State had not settled with the electric industry on incentives and utility obligations regarding solar power provided back to the grid. So, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, the Town went ahead to re-issue an RFP. In late 2017, New York State published guidelines that define the future value of distributed energy resources (a/k/a, the VDER value stack). As of early 2018, solar developers can now use this value stack to estimate future project income from the local utilities, based on specific project locations. We understand that New York’s resolving these future values of solar electricity means that solar developers will be more attracted to investing in potential solar projects such as those in our RFP
The NYS Public Service Commission issued an “implementation order” in September on the “value of distributed energy resources,” following which was substantial work in sorting out valuations with electric utility distributors in the State, such as NYSEG and Con Edison. We understand that there now is a “level playing field” and basis on which solar developers would take an interest in our RFP.
However, the VDER provides greater incentives to solar developers in Con Edison service area where rates are higher.   Our Town facilities, however, are located in NYSEG service area.   One of the solar developers with whom we had worked closely took the time to explain why it was financially not possible to submit a proposal – due to the difference in VDER between the two service areas. Please click here for the letter.  I have recently met with a commercial property owner in Bedford Hills and a solar developer about the possibility of rooftop solar panels for “community solar”. Stay tuned.
NOW THAT THE SPRING HAS ARRIVED – PLEASE CONSIDER ATTENDING TO YOUR SEPTIC SYSTEM: septic pump out – if you haven’t done it within the last five years, the law requires you do so.  And, if you have a problem with your system, please check out the Town’s Septic System Repair and Replacement program to deal with failing septic systems. The program allows Bedford property owners in the Croton Watershed (about 85% of the Town’s land area) for a 50% reimbursement of repair/replacement costs.  If you have a failing septic system, contact the Planning Department at 666-4434 for further information or visit our website.

Mount Kisco is preparing to replace the 90-year old water main on New York State Route 117 from Preston Way in Mount Kisco to Green Lane in Bedford Hills and continuing to the end of Green Lane.
The construction work is planned for the fall of 2018 and will take place during the night (hours have not yet been determined). The project’s engineering will consider everything that is feasible in the design to minimize disturbance to the public and the property owners.   Currently, the project is in the preliminary design phase, which includes survey and soil boring work along the road right-of-way.   Soil boring work will take place in April during the working day between 9 am and 3 pm and is not expected to result in any lane closures.
We met today with Mount Kisco’s engineers to emphasize the need for full coordination among Mount Kisco, Con Edison (with regard to restoration work on the southbound lane of Route 117 – SEE POST IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THIS ONE), NYS Department of Transportation, Westchester County Health Department and Bedford in both the design and the execution of the project.   We made it clear that the Mount Kisco project must avoid the significant disruptions which the Con Edison gas line project caused last fall.   It is also critical that restoration be complete.
We will keep you informed on the status both of the Mount Kisco project and Con Edison’s gas line project.
The Town is pleased to provide once again this year mobile paper shredder events:
  • at the Town Recycling Center at 343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM on September 15, and November 17;
  • at 1 Crusher Road, Bedford Village (Crusher Road highway yard), Bedford Village from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM on May 5;
  • at the Town Office at 425 Cherry Street on Monday October 22 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
A Mobile Shredding Truck will securely destroy documents. The company’s customer service professionals never physically touch your documents so the entire process is “touch-free”. The company can shred paper, paper clips, rubber bands, staples and even the black clips. They cannot shred 3-ring binders, or anything that is non paper (CDs, tapes, DVDs, hard drives, etc.)
In consultation with the Bedford Veterans Advisory Committee, develop and implement a professional-grade communications plan that identifies local veteran-related events, programs, issues, and concerns and effectively promotes this material via appropriate print, broadcast, and electronic media.
The successful candidate should have a skill-set sufficient to demonstrate an ability to write effective press releases along with appropriate research, planning and organizational skills to develop and implement a plan that ensures general public awareness.
The plan should encompass an audience that includes: *     Print media* Broadcast media* Social media networks (Facebook, Instagram, etc.)* Local elected officials *Social service agencies * Veterans service organizations
Junior or senior level undergraduate, or graduate level. Hours to be determined, along with attendance at monthly Veterans Advisory Committee meetings. Unpaid. Supervision: Chair, Bedford Veterans Advisory Committee. Contact: Mark Sindeband, 914-260-4188,aegisresources@optonline.net
FOR THE 2017 ANNUAL REPORT click here
There’s been some discussion on Katonah Parents Facebook and questions I regularly receive regarding the Westchester Power (also known as Community Choice Aggregation or CCA).   By way of background, the Town Board unanimously adopted Bedford’s participation in this program sponsored by Sustainable Westchester and placed us among those Westchester municipalities choosing the “Green Option”.   At the time, we insisted that the rates must be less than the previous twelve month cost for each utility, provide fixed prices (rather than a “bait and switch” of a great rate at the outset only to pop up later) and an opt out provision at any time without charge or penalty, a common complaint at the time against many energy service companies (ESCOs). Westchester Power residential and small business electric customers in Bedford have a rate of 8.00 cents per kilowatt hour in Con Edison’s service area and 7.42 cents per kilowatt hour in NYSEG’s service area.   These are fixed rates, rather than rates which vary month by month (which is the way NYSEG and Con Edison bills).   I’ve received e-mails and calls from NYSEG and Con Edison customers who saw a spike in rates this winter. Just yesterday I received a call from a resident in Con Edison service area who is signed up with an ESCO at over 11 cents per kilowatt hour and was dismayed at her large utility bills.
So how’s Westchester Power been doing here in Bedford? I turned to Dan Welsh, Director of Westchester Power, for an analysis and he provided the following:
“Here is my estimate of the savings for Bedford residents and small businesses through the end of January. We are including the avoided sales tax now when we talk about this as you know, and that’s a significant piece. February saw a low price for Con Ed which would bring this down, but now March is looking that it’s bounced back and so I would look to the end of March for the next update.”

Should you have questions, please contact Dan at dan@westchesterpower.org or 914-242-4725

From the Office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
  • Never give out personal information to people who call you unsolicited. That includes your Social Security number, bank account information, or credit card information.
  • If you do owe money, you will receive a legitimate notice in the mail that tells you who you owe money to and why. If you haven’t gotten a legitimate piece of mail like that, the collection call is bogus.
  • Last but not least, remember that no legitimate government organization will ever threaten arrest or deportation if you fail to pay a debt.
If someone is threatening you or you are targeted for a scam, please contact my office immediately. We are here to help: 1-800-771-7755.
The IRS, the AARP, NYS Attorney General and many others are issuing warnings about scams particularly directed at the elderly.   Please don’t fall prey.  See https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts
Each utility is providing on a limited basis reimbursement for food and prescription medicine spoilage.
Con Edison
Con Edison’s March 15, 2018 notice is as follows:
Customers Impacted by Nor’easters Riley and Quinn
We regret that we were unable to provide reliable restoration times for many customers during these storms. Con Edison may reimburse customers for food and prescription medicine spoilage if they lost power for at least three consecutive days or more during the two nor’easters that slammed the region recently.
Customers may receive reimbursement for up to $225, or up to $515 with receipts.
Business owners are eligible for food spoilage reimbursements up to $10,200 with receipts.
Link to the claim forms: https://www.coned.com/en/services-and-outages/claim-form
NYSEG – appears to be limited to food spoilage
 NYSEG did not issue a specific notice regarding claims for storm outage food or prescription medicine spoilage, but there appears to be an avenue for reimbursement for food spoilage. Click on http://www.nyseg.com/youraccount/claimform.html?stop_mobi=yes  
The Town is pleased to provide once again this year mobile paper shredder events at the Town Recycling Center at 343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM on March 17, September 15, and November 17; and at 1 Crusher Road, Bedford Village (Crusher Road highway yard), Bedford Village from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM on May 5. A Mobile Shredding Truck will securely destroy documents. The company’s customer service professionals never physically touch your documents so the entire process is “touch-free”. The company can shred paper, paper clips, rubber bands, staples and even the black clips. They cannot shred 3-ring binders, or anything that is non paper (CDs, tapes, DVDs, hard drives, etc.).
Westmoreland Sanctuary has recently received a $20,000 Grant from Con Edison allowing local school children to use STEM education based principles toward environmental studies.  Click here for the press release
Click here for the flyer
Are you interested in a terrific community service opportunity? Would you like to receive state-of-the art lifesaving and firefighting training?
Katonah Fire Department eagerly welcomes applications from 16-year-olds for its Under 18 Program. Interested candidates can fulfill their John Jay High School Community Service obligation, as well as service hours required for other organizations, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Membership in the department as a firefighter is a great way to have your college application stand out as well!
Any person who is between the ages of 16 and 18, who is physically fit, morally and mentally sound, and who, having met with the membership committee and satisfactorily passed the committee’s investigation (as established in the Katonah Fire Department, Inc. Constitution and By-Laws), may be selected for membership status.
The goal of this program is to carefully instill, enforce, and monitor the practices that lead to well trained, respectful, hardworking members once they reach their 18th birthdays and/or the conclusion of their first year of membership.
In addition, it creates a culture in which these members both realize their age- and experience-related limitations, but also feel as though they are learning and being prepared for taking on the duties of full-fledged, non-probationary members of the Katonah Fire Department.
An oversight committee and a training coordinator act as a resource to these members – in all aspects of KFD membership: firefighting, training, rules and regulations, etc. – and set example for the types of behaviors expected from our entire membership.
Applicants who join receive all training and equipment at no expense to them. They also become eligible for various scholarship opportunities. If you’re interested in finding out more, please sent an e-mail to chief2211@katonahfd.org
is now available in Spanish. We have added a plug-in allowing for the website’s automatic translation to Spanish.  Please note that this does not apply to linked PDF documents. http://www.bedfordny.gov/
Summer months are away months and many of our residents are unable to attend two meetings in July and two in August. The Town Board approved the following changes to these summer month meetings. We have cancelled the July 3 meeting and retained the July 17 meeting which was previously scheduled. We cancelled the August 7 and August 21 meetings and have replaced them with a single meeting to be held on August 14.
I wish to augment the below information (e-news 8/25) with the following request for motorists:
Sharing the road with bicyclists. When parked on the street, check for bicyclists approaching from behind you before opening your car door. Always exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person walking or bicycling. Always be vigilant when pedestrians are present, especially those with visual or physical impairments. Bicyclists are fully entitled to use the road and have the right to “take the lane” by positioning themselves at or near the center of the lane when needed to avoid hazards or if the lane is too narrow  to safely travel side by side with motorists.
Pass bicycles only when necessary and safe: pass to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear. When in doubt, wait until you can pass at a safe speed. Before making a right turn, let bicyclists clear the intersection. When turning left or entering a roadway, yield to oncoming bicyclists as you would to any vehicle.

Free-Falling New York Rents Plunge 12% in Queens | Pound Ridge Real Estate

For New York City apartment hunters, April was another good month to find a deal on rents. But no one fared better than those in northwest Queens.

Rents there dropped 12 percent from a year earlier, to a median of $2,646 a month after landlord giveaways were subtracted, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Those giveaways were offered on 65 percent of all new leases signed in the area, excluding renewals, a record share in data going back to the beginning of 2016.

The enticements brought in more renters. New leases in northwest Queens — Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside — jumped 11 percent to 272, the firms said.

“More customers who were originally looking in Manhattan and Brooklyn are considering Queens,” said Hal Gavzie, Douglas Elliman’s executive manager of leasing. “It used to be just 100 percent a different consumer.”

Take the 7 Train

A glut of apartment supply is pushing rents down in New York City, with northwest Queens plunging 12% in April.

New York City tenants are crossing borders to compare deals in a market groaning under the weight of new supply. Landlords, who’ve accepted they need to compete to keep their units filled, are working to attract new tenants and offering sweeter renewal terms to keep the ones they have, Gavzie said. In Manhattan, 44 percent of all new leases came with a landlord concession, such as a free month of rent or payment of broker fees. In Brooklyn, the share was 51 percent, a record for the borough.

Still, the number of new leases in Manhattan and Brooklyn fell 3.5 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, a sign that renters there found good reason to stay in their current apartments, Gavzie said.

“Tenants negotiating a renewal, they’ve looked around to see what deals they can get,” he said. “So their landlord gives them a sweet offer to stay.”

Manhattan rents in April, after subtracting concessions, fell 2.2 percent, to a median of $3,236, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. In Brooklyn, where rents have also fallen for five months, the decline was 2.9 percent, to a median of $2,686.

For Queens, the report tracks only the northwest, the part of the borough nearest Manhattan.


real estate…



California panel approves historic plan to require solar panels on new homes | Bedford Corners Real Estate

New homes and low-rise apartment buildings across California would include solar panels under first-in-the-nation rules approved Wednesday by the California Energy Commission.

The rules now go to the state Building Standards Commission, where they were expected to easily win approval.

“This is groundbreaking,” said Pierre Delforge, senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council. He said the rules “will save energy, lower customer bills, keep homes comfortable in increasing heat waves and reduce pollution from California’s homes and buildings.”

The requirements, which would go into effect in 2020, could add more than $10,000 to the construction costs of new homes, the commission says. Some builders say the costs could be more than twice that.

But the commission and most builders agree that the costs should be more than made up in energy savings over the life of the solar energy system. And the plan has drawn generally positive reviews from the construction industry.

“Adoption of these standards represents a quantum leap in statewide buildings standards,” said Robert Raymer, technical director for the California Building Industry Association. “No other state in the nation will have anything close to this, and you can bet 49 other states will be watching to see what happens here in California.”

Some conservatives were not so enthusiastic, noting that the state already has some of the nation’s most expensive housing markets. A National Association of Realtors survey for the fourth quarter of 2017 listed four California markets among the nation’s five most expensive.

San Jose topped the list with a median price in excess of $1.2 million.

“The state’s housing crisis is real,” State Assemblyman Brian Dahle said. “California’s affordability problem is making it more and more difficult for people to afford to live here.”

The commission projects that more than 100,000 single-family homes and almost 50,000 multi-family buildings will be built across the state in 2020. Raymer acknowledged that the ambitious plan will probably roll in with some “hiccups.” Less than 20% of homes built in the state now include the panels.

The rules also address insulation and appliance efficiency. And they include efforts to increase battery storage and increase use of electricity over natural gas. Use of batteries to store solar energy will be crucial to cost savings, Raymer said.

“Battery storage technology will allow the homeowner to capture the cheaper electricity … the middle of the day,” Raymer said. “And keep that power on-site for use in the early evening hours when electrical rates go way up.”

The rules apply to building permits issued after Jan. 1, 2020. There are some exceptions to the solar panel rule, such as homes that would be shaded by trees or buildings or when roofs are too small for the panels.

Abigail Ross, CEO of the national Solar Energy Industries Association, said solar prices in the state have fallen by more than 50% in the last five years.

“Other states may not be ready for this step yet,” she said. “But this is a precedent-setting policy, one that will bring enormous benefits and cost savings to consumers.”

For more than a decade, the commission has been operating under goals that would provide “net-zero” energy for new residents by 2020 and for new commercial buildings a decade later.


read more…



Americans haven’t been this optimistic about house prices since just before the crash | Chappaqua Real Estate

House prices are soaring and, despite warnings from some analysts, most Americans believe they will continue to soar.

A majority of U.S. adults (64%) continue to believe home prices in their local area will increase over the next year, a survey released Monday by polling firm Gallup concluded. That’s up nine percentage points over the past two years and is the highest percentage since before the housing market crash and Great Recession in the mid-2000s.

The level of optimism is edging closer to the 70% of adults in 2005 who said prices would continue rising. That, of course, was less than one year before the peak of the housing market bubble in early 2006, which was largely fueled by a wave of subprime lending. (Roughly one-quarter of respondents in both 2005 and 2018 said they believed house prices would remain the same.)

In 2009, during the depths of the Great Recession, only 22% of Americans believed house prices would rise. But optimism about the housing market has made a slow recovery—along with the market itself—in the intervening years. Today, only 10% in the Gallup survey believe prices will fall. That compares to 5% who felt similarly pessimistic in 2005, just two years before the crash.


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