3D printed homes for the poor | North Salem Real Estate

Imagine building a stronger, cheaper home in as little as 12 hours. That goal now appears feasible with the help of a 3-D printer. A 3-D-printed home was unveiled in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest (SXSW) technology conference and music festival this week.

“So I’m standing in front of the first permanent 3-D-printed home in America,” said Jason Ballard, co-founder of Austin-based ICON, a construction company that uses robotics, software and advanced materials to build houses.

The two-bedroom prototype contains space that can be used as a living/dining area, as well as three rooms that can be converted into bedrooms, a study or a bathroom, depending on where the home is located and the resources available. The homes will be anywhere from 56 square meters to 74 square meters in size.

At 35 square meters, the prototype home was successfully printed in a neighborhood near downtown Austin during a rainstorm, as strong winds kicked up dust in the area, according to Ballard.

3-D-printed homes for the poor

The goal is to print homes in developing countries during extreme weather conditions and amid the unpredictability of having electricity and water.

“We work with really the poorest families in the world that don’t have shelters,” said Brett Hagler, founder and chief executive officer with the nonprofit organization New Story. It aims to bring 3-D-printed homes first to Latin America and then expand to other developing countries. Hagler notes that using innovation and new technology will change how homes are manufactured to meet the need for housing around the world.

“The magnitude of the problem that we face is so big, it’s about a billion people that don’t have one of life’s most basic human needs, and that’s safe shelter,” he said.

“What we really need for the size of the issue is exponential growth,” he added, “and that has to come through significantly decreasing cost, increasing speed while doing that without sacrificing quality.”

ICON says the 3-D printer is 4.5-meters tall, 9 meters wide and made of lightweight aluminum. ICON created the device, software and unique mortar material it describes as “proprietary small-aggregate cementitious material” used to print the house. The 3-D printer is transportable because homes are printed on site. Ballard said he can imagine having many 3-D printers scattered around the world making homes.

“It’s actually a lot more simple to build a printer than it is to build a house,” Ballard said.

This rendering shows how a 3-D printer can print homes and create communities. A construction company based in Austin, Texas, and New Story, a nonprofit that aims to end homelessness globally, have teamed up to provide safe, permanent shelters.
This rendering shows how a 3-D printer can print homes and create communities. A construction company based in Austin, Texas, and New Story, a nonprofit that aims to end homelessness globally, have teamed up to provide safe, permanent shelters.

Faster and cheaper

“We ran this printer at about a quarter speed to print this house, and we were able to complete the house in less than 48 hours of print time,” Ballard said.

At full speed it could be as little as 12 hours to print a house. Building a traditional New Story home would take 15 days.

“Instead of it taking about a year to build a community, we could do it in just a few months,” Hagler said.

A 3-D-printed home is also less expensive.

“Traditional style on a New Story home is about $6,500 per home. We believe over time, we can get the new home below $4,000,” Hagler said.

Ballard said the material used to print the home is another highlight to this innovative way of building the property.

“We believe the comfort and the energy dynamics of this building are actually going to be once again better than conventional buildings. These houses should be more comfortable and they should require less energy to stay comfortable.”

Ballard said that a 3-D-printed house, “is a complete paradigm shift that has unbelievable advantages in speed, affordability, resiliency, sustainability, waste reduction, you name it. This isn’t just a slight improvement. This is a revolutionary improvement that I think is going to be quite disruptive in the industry.”

This new building technology will be brought to the world’s poorest and underserved first. New Story is working with local nonprofits, governments and families to help fund these homes. The nonprofit plans to start printing homes in El Salvador this year.

The goal is to create permanent 3-D-printed homes and communities in developing countries and beyond that will last for generations.

 

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https://www.voanews.com/a/three-d-printed-house-quick-cheap-solution-poor-worldwide/4301324.html?trk1&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=2018-03-16&utm_source=archives

 

 

 

New home sales fall again | Waccabuc Real Estate

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States shrank 0.6 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618 thousand in February of 2018 from an upwardly revised 622 thousand in January. It is the lowest reading in four months and compares with market forecasts of a 4.4 percent rise to 623 thousand. Sales fell in the West and the Midwest. New Home Sales in the United States averaged 650.65 Thousand from 1963 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 1389 Thousand in July of 2005 and a record low of 270 Thousand in February of 2011.

 

US New Home Sales Fall for 3rd Month

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States shrank 0.6 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 618 thousand in February of 2018 from an upwardly revised 622 thousand in January. It is the lowest reading in four months and compares with market forecasts of a 4.4 percent rise to 623 thousand. Sales fell in the West and the Midwest.

Sales fell in the West (-17.6 percent to 164 thousand) and the Midwest (-3.7 percent to 79 thousand) but rose in the South (9 percent to 338 thousand) and the Northeast (19.4 percent to 37 thousand).
The median sales price of new houses sold was $326,800, above $298,000 a year earlier. The average sales price was $376,700, also higher than $370,500 in February of 2017.
The stock of new houses for sale went up 2 percent from the previous month to 305 thousand, the highest level since March of 2009. This represents a supply of 5.9 months at the current sales rate.
Year-on-year, new home sales edged up 0.5 percent.
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https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/new-home-sales

U. S. homebuilding falls | Mt Kisco Real Estate

U.S. homebuilding fell more than expected in February as a plunge in the construction of multi-family housing units offset a second straight monthly increase in single-family projects.

Housing starts declined 7.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.236 million units, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Data for January was revised up slightly to show groundbreaking increasing to a 1.329 million-unit pace instead of the previously reported 1.326 million units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts falling to a pace of 1.290 million units last month. Permits for future home building decreased 5.7 percent to a rate of 1.298 million units in February.

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

While the volatile multi-family housing segment accounted for the decline in home building last month, the broader housing market appears to be slowing.

Sales of both new and previously owned homes have slumped in recent months as a dearth of properties on the market pushed up prices, sidelining some first-time home buyers. House price gains topped 6.0 percent in December.

Mortgage rates have also risen, with the 30-year fixed-rate currently averaging 4.44 percent, not too far from a four-year high of 4.46 percent, according to mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. But the housing market remains underpinned by a robust labor market.

There is growing optimism that tightening job market conditions will translate into faster wage growth in the second half of this year. Annual wage growth has been stuck below 3.0 percent even as the unemployment rate has dropped to a 17-year low of 4.1 percent.

Single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, increased 2.9 percent to a rate of 902,000 units in February. Single-family home construction rose in the Northeast, South and West, but tumbled in the Midwest.

Permits to build single-family homes slipped 0.6 percent in February to a 872,000 unit-pace. With permits lagging starts, single-family home construction could slow in the months ahead.

A survey on Thursday showed confidence among homebuilders dipping in March, but remaining in strong territory. Builders were less upbeat about sales and buyer traffic over the next six months.

Starts for the volatile multi-family housing segment tumbled 26.1 percent to a rate of 334,000 units in February, the lowest level since September 2017. Permits for the construction of multi-family homes dropped 14.8 percent to a 426,000 unit-pace.

Housing completions increased 7.8 percent to a rate of 1.319 million units in February. That was the highest level since January 2008. The number of single-family houses completed last month was the highest since March 2008.

There were 501,000 single-family housing units under construction in February, the most since June 2008. This should help to alleviate some of the property shortage and probably slow the house price inflation.

 

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https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/16/housing-starts-february.html

Current mortgage rates | South Salem Real Estate

30-year fixed mortgages

The average rate you’ll pay for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 4.33 percent, an increase of 2 basis points over the last week. A month ago, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage was lower, at 4.31 percent.

At the current average rate, you’ll pay a combined $496.63 per month in principal and interest for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s $1.17 higher compared with last week.

You can use Bankrate’s mortgage calculator to estimate your monthly payments and find out how much you’ll save by adding extra payments. It will also help you calculate how much interest you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

15-year fixed mortgages

The average 15-year fixed-mortgage rate is 3.76 percent, up 3 basis points over the last seven days.

Monthly payments on a 15-year fixed mortgage at that rate will cost around $728 per $100,000 borrowed. The bigger payment may be a little harder to find room for in your monthly budget than a 30-year mortgage payment would, but it comes with some big advantages: You’ll save thousands of dollars over the life of the loan in total interest paid and build equity much more rapidly.

5/1 ARMs

The average rate on a 5/1 ARM is 4.11 percent, sliding 10 basis points over the last 7 days.

These types of loans are best for those who expect to sell or refinance before the first or second adjustment. Rates could be substantially higher when the loan first adjusts, and thereafter.

Monthly payments on a 5/1 ARM at 4.11 percent would cost about $484 for each $100,000 borrowed over the initial five years, but could increase by hundreds of dollars afterward, depending on the loan’s terms.

Where rates are headed

To see where Bankrate’s panel of experts expect rates to go from here, check out our Rate Trend Index.

Want to see where rates are right now? See local mortgage rates.

Average mortgage rates
Product Rate Change Last week
30-year fixed 4.33% +0.02 4.31%
15-year fixed 3.76% -0.03 3.73%
30-year fixed jumbo 4.59% -0.01 4.60%
30-year fixed refinance 4.31% +0.03 4.28%

Last updated: March 21, 2018.

Methodology: The rates you see above are Bankrate.com Site Averages. These calculations are run after the close of the previous business day and include rates and/or yields we have collected that day for a specific banking product. Bankrate.com site averages tend to be volatile — they help consumers see the movement of rates day to day. The institutions included in the “Bankrate.com Site Average” tables will be different from one day to the next, depending on which institutions’ rates we gather on a particular day for presentation on the site.

 

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https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/rates/mortgage-rates-for-wednesday-march-21/

Fed raises rates | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Federal Reserve officials, meeting for the first time under Chairman Jerome Powell, raised the benchmark lending rate a quarter-point and forecast a steeper path of hikes in 2019 and 2020, citing an improving economic outlook. Policy makers continued to project a total of three increases this year.

“The economic outlook has strengthened in recent months,” the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement Wednesday in Washington. Officials repeated previous language that they anticipate “further gradual adjustments in the stance of monetary policy.”

The upward revision in their rate path suggests Fed officials are looking through soft first-quarter economic reports and expect a lift this year and next from tax cuts passed by Republicans in December. Financial conditions have tightened since late January as investors look for signs that the central bank might raise rates at a faster pace, while forecasters predict stronger U.S. growth and tight labor markets.

The vote to lift the federal funds rate target range to 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent was a unanimous 8-0.

The latest set of quarterly forecasts forecasts showed that policy makers were divided over the outlook for the benchmark interest rate in 2018. Seven officials projected at least four quarter-point hikes would be appropriate this year, while eight expected three or fewer increases to be warranted.

In the forecasts, U.S. central bankers projected a median federal funds rate of 2.9 percent by the end of 2019, implying three rate increases next year, compared with two 2019 moves seen in the last round of forecasts in December. They saw rates at 3.4 percent in 2020, up from 3.1 percent in December, according to the median estimate.

Inflation Pickup

In another change to the statement, the Fed said inflation on an annual basis is “expected to move up in coming months,” after saying “move up this year” in the January statement. Price gains are still expected to stabilize around the Fed’s 2 percent target over the medium term, the FOMC said.

The central bank’s preferred price gauge rose 1.7 percent in the 12 months through January and officials projected it to rise to 2 percent in 2019 and hit 2.1 percent the following year, the latest estimates showed. The estimates for inflation excluding food and energy, which officials see as a better way to gauge underlying price trends, rose to 2.1 percent in 2019 and 2020 from 2 percent seen in December.

“Job gains have been strong in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low,” the FOMC said. The statement said that household spending and business investment “have moderated” from strong fourth-quarter readings.

The statement also repeated previous language that “near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.”

Powell will hold his first post-FOMC press conference at 2:30 p.m. local time.

Supply, Demand

The Fed’s goal is to keep supply and demand in balance in the economy amid a tight labor market, without lifting borrowing costs so quickly that the economy stalls.

Officials have had to factor in the impact of fiscal stimulus signed by President Donald Trump since their previous projections.

The median estimate for economic growth this year rose to 2.7 percent from 2.5 percent in December, signaling confidence in U.S. consumers despite recent weak readings on retail sales that have pushed down tracking estimates of first-quarter activity. The 2019 estimate rose to 2.4 percent from 2.1 percent.

The committee’s forecast for the long-run sustainable growth rate of the economy was unchanged at 1.8 percent, suggesting policy makers are still skeptical of the effect of tax cuts on the economy’s capacity for growth. The 2020 gross domestic product growth median projection was also unchanged at 2 percent.

While U.S. unemployment of 4.1 percent is the lowest since 2000, wage growth has remained moderate and inflation has been below the Fed’s target for most of the last five years.

The median projection for the long-run fed funds rate ticked up to 2.9 percent from 2.8 percent in December. The Fed had been gradually reducing its estimate of the long-run neutral fed funds rate since it began publishing its calculations in January 2012.

 

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-20/

Consumer sentiment at 14 year high | South Salem Real Estate

The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment for the US jumped to 102 in March from 99.7 in February, beating expectations of 99.3. It is the strongest reading since January 2004 as the assessment of current economic conditions reached a record high. Consumer Confidence in the United States averaged 86.27 Index Points from 1952 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 111.40 Index Points in January of 2000 and a record low of 51.70 Index Points in May of 1980.

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https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/consumer-confidence

Canada home prices fall | Cross River Real Estate

Canadian home prices dipped in February after two consecutive months of gains, weighed by declines in Toronto and a number of other cities, data showed on Wednesday.

The Teranet-National Bank Composite House Price Index, which measures changes for repeat sales of single-family homes, showed prices were down 0.1 percent last month compared to January.

Price growth also continued to decelerate on an annual basis. Home prices were up 7.5 percent compared to last year, the smallest annual increase since March 2016.

On a monthly basis, prices were down in seven out of the 11 cities surveyed, including a 0.1 percent decline in Toronto. Home sales in Canada’s largest city have been dampened by tighter mortgages rules and moves taken by the Ontario government last year to try to cool the market.

The retreat in Toronto prices, which had climbed in January, may have been due to buyers rushing into the market ahead of the new mortgage rules that came into effect at the start of the year, the report said.

In Vancouver, one of the most expensive markets in the country, prices rose 0.4 percent to hit a record. However, the unadjusted figures, which are not smoothed to remove volatility, showed prices were down 1.3 percent, in line with cooler home sales last month.

Economists are watching to see how Canada’s housing market adjusts to the tighter lending rules and local government regulations that have come as the central bank is also raising interest rates.

 

read more…

 

https://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCAKCN1GQ1NW-OCABS

London prices falling | Waccabuc Real Estate

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

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

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

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

The biggest drops were logged in the priciest boroughs.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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www.mansionhomes.com

Rising real estate tax burden | Katonah Real Estate

The good news for some homeowners in one town: The average assessed value of a house in your neighborhood has skyrocketed by more than eightfold, climbing from about $212,000 to $1.8 million.

Now for the bad news: Your property taxes are going up as well, to just over $29,000 from an average of about $16,500 — and you’ll only be able to deduct the first $10,000 on your taxes.

That’s the situation facing some homeowners in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the rapidly gentrifying city performs its first round of reassessments since 1988.

The traditionally blue collar town, which sits directly across the Hudson River from New York City, is an extreme example, but it isn’t alone.

Property taxes, for instance, are up 38 percent year-over-year in Clark County, Nevada – home to Las Vegas – raising the average 2017 tax bill on a single family home to $2,445 from $1,774, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a provider of real estate data.

Home prices there have risen by 100 percent over the last five years, according to ATTOM.

Las Vegas, Nevada

RebeccaAng | Getty Images
Las Vegas, Nevada

Meanwhile, homeowners in Williamson County, Texas — just outside of Austin — experienced a 15 percent tax increase last year. Owners of single family homes paid an average of $6,697 in property taxes, up from $5,837, according to ATTOM.

Over the last five years, home prices there have risen by 80 percent.

“The story is that people are moving to these markets, and they’re experiencing rapid home price appreciation,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM.

“It doesn’t just affect the people who are willing to pay for the homes and the property taxes,” he said. “There is a ripple effect on neighbors who might have been there for 20 years, and their taxes go up as well.”

Here’s how to contend with skyrocketing property taxes.

Monthly crunch

For Keren Vered, a Jersey City resident, community activist and fashion industry consultant, the $18,000 tax hike on her townhouse translates to an additional outlay of about $1,500 a month.

That’s on top of the $10,000 she already paid annually in property taxes prior to the city’s reassessment. Then there are other regular monthly costs she’ll need to weigh.

“For me, it’s not just the $1,500 a month, but the private school part of it, too,” said the mother of two, ages 2 and 4. “Year over year, plus private school, I worry about the long-term sustainability of it.”

The family has a lever available to help contend with the tax increase: They already rent out one floor of their three-story townhouse. Even so, tenants can only handle so much of an increase in their rent.

“I’m trying to get the city to where other families like mine would want it to be,” said Vered. “Rents going up create a barrier to entry.”

Tax strategies

Homeowners like Vered face an additional difficulty: Prior to 2018, they were able to claim all of their property tax liability if they itemized on their taxes.

With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act now in place, residents can now only claim up to $10,000 in state and local tax deductions.

Residents in New York, New Jersey and California are among the hardest hit.

SALT in the wound. The $10,000 cap on state and local taxes are a blow to just a handful of states.

Plus, fewer filers are expected to itemize in 2018 because the new tax law has doubled the standard deduction to $24,000 for a married couple filing jointly. Under the previous law, about 49 million taxpayers — roughly 3 in 10 individuals — filed itemized returns, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

Accountants point to a couple of strategies homeowners facing big tax hikes can take.

Home office break

An entrepreneur working from home can take a home office deduction in one of two ways. First, there’s the “safe harbor” method in which you deduct $5 per square foot for an office that’s up to 300 square feet.

You can also calculate your deduction based on your actual expenses, figuring out the percentage of your home used for the business.

20140928154139_1220_IMG_2341.JPG_126115

Loic Lagarde | Getty Images

This method considers the percentage of home costs, including real estate taxes, attributable to the office, according to S. Andrew Smith, a CPA and principal at Baker Newman Noyes in Portland, Maine.

The “actual expense” method also deducts for depreciation, and you will pay taxes on that when you sell your home, Smith warned.

You do not need to itemize on your taxes to grab the home office deduction, but you do need to show a profit from a home business in order to take it.

Rent it out

Whether you have a duplex or a spare room, consider taking on a tenant.

“You’ll pay the property tax one way or the other, but at least you have some rental income to help pay for it,” said Tim Steffen, director of advanced planning for R.W. Baird’s private wealth management group in Milwaukee.

High-tax states on 'SALT' diet after tax reform

High-tax states on ‘SALT’ diet after tax reform  

As a landlord and a small business, if you become a pass-through entity— an LLC or an S-corporation — you may be eligible for a 20 percent deduction for qualified business income.

If you rent out your home, be sure to track your expenses and talk to your insurance agent. “If you use it as a rental property, even partially, your insurance coverage needs will change,” said Smith.

Report your rental income or loss on Schedule E when you file your taxes.

On the other hand, if your rapidly appreciating property is in a prime destination, consider that you won’t have to claim the rental income if you rent your space for less than 14 days over the year.

Fight back

Finally, if you disagree with your municipality’s assessment on your home, you can contest the findings.

Get to know your city’s appeal’s process, which can be deadline sensitive and will vary from one town to the next.

Expect to gather evidence of your home’s market value, too.

You can hire an appraiser to provide your city’s tax assessor with reports and comparable property values to back up your findings, said Brigid D’Souza, a CPA and founder of Civic Parent, a website that follows property tax developments in Jersey City.

The national average cost of hiring an appraiser is about $329, according to HomeAdvisor, a home improvement website.

You can also hire an attorney on a contingency basis to represent you through the appeals process, which typically costs one-third to one-half of your first year’s tax savings, D’Souza said.

While a licensed realtor can’t give you an appraisal, he or she can provide you with comparative sales which can act as evidence of market value, said D’Souza.

read more…

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/02/your-property-taxes-just-jumped-by-more-than-50-percent-now-what.html

Construction spending at all time high | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Construction spending in the US was unchanged at an all-time high of USD 1.26 trillion in January 2018, following an upwardly revised 0.8 percent increase in December and missing market expectations of 0.3 percent. Spending on private construction fell 0.5 percent to USD 962.7 billion after hitting a record high of USD 967.9 billion in the previous month, due to a decline in nonresidential projects (-1.5 percent). Meanwhile, outlays on public construction projects increased 1.8 percent to USD 300.0 billion in January, the highest level since August 2015, as spending on federal government construction projects surged 14.9 percent to the highest level since September 2011 and that on state and local government construction rose 0.5 percent to a near two-year high. Construction Spending in the United States averaged 0.45 percent from 1964 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 5.90 percent in April of 1978 and a record low of -4.80 percent in February of 1975.

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/construction-spending