Tag Archives: Armonk Luxury Homes for Sale

Aging in Place Is Fastest-Growing Segment in Residential Remodeling | Armonk Real Estate

The Richmond Times Dispatch’s Carol Hazard writes on the growing trend among baby boomers: aging in place. According to the National Association of Home Builders, home modifications are the fastest-growing segment in residential remodeling.

To look at how one woman is changing her home, Hazard interviewed Donna Edgerton, who had an elevator shaft installed, which she will eventually turn it into an actual elevator. Furthermore, she added an open-plan kitchen and family room. She also widened the doors throughout the home to at least 3 feet to accommodate a wheelchair and a walker, along with choosing drawers over cabinets in her kitchen to better mange things around her home. Edgerton’s home renovation now includes doors and faucet features with lever handles rather than knobs, along with a bathroom that has a built-in bench, sinks that allow for a wheelchair, and tilted mirrors.

Aging in place has allowed baby boomers to not move, continue to enjoy their neighborhoods and communities, and enjoy the new amenities of their homes.

As the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports:

In the Richmond area, the number of people ages 65 and older will outnumber the school-age population for the first time in history over the next 15 years, according to a 2015 report by the Greater Richmond Age Wave, a collaboration of public and private organizations working to prepare for the region’s growing aging population.

By 2040, the number of people 85 and older (40,541) in the area will have more than quadrupled since 2000, according to the report.

“One of the biggest challenges over the next decade is how we will accommodate the growing senior population and make sure the houses they live in and the housing choices they make will be suitable for their changing needs,” said Bob Adams, executive director of Virginia Accessible Housing Solutions, whose EasyLiving Home program is designed to encourage builders to include accessibility features in home design and construction.

The problem is particularly acute in rural areas, as young people leave for urban areas and the number of senior households increases, Adams said.

“The number of seniors who live alone is growing dramatically in these areas,” he said, “and they are more susceptible to being isolated.”

 

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http://www.remodeling.hw.net/newsletter/

Home Prices in March – Bubbles Anyone? | Armonk Real Estate

The Case-Shiller (CS) National Home Price Index, reported by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 1.1% in March, down from 3.8% in February. The Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 8.4% in March, faster than 6.2% in February.

After the boom and bust, home prices have been recovering from the trough since 2012. As of March 2016, the CS national house price index was at 97% of the February 2007 peak. Nine years after their collapse, house prices are re-approaching their housing bubble peak, but now this level is in line with longer term trend growth.

Figure1_Mar16

However, housing markets are local and the pace of price appreciation varied greatly in different markets during the boom, so proximity to earlier peaks may not mean the same thing in different markets.

House prices in Denver and Dallas now exceed their mid-2000s levels but these markets were among the most stable during the boom with the smallest increases and the shallowest declines, so new peaks shouldn’t be seen as warning signs of new bubble conditions.

In contrast several markets have current house prices that are at or near their previous peaks, but these peaks were significantly inflated during the boom, suggesting these markets may have supply and demand imbalances that are re-inflating price bubbles. These markets include San Francisco, Portland OR, and Seattle.

At the same time several markets are at or near peak levels, but the earlier peaks and declines were relatively restrained. This current proximity to earlier peaks suggests price increases reflect house price recovery, not bubbles. These markets include Boston, Charlotte NC, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York and Chicago.

San Diego and Los Angeles are markets that are not as close to their earlier peaks as some markets, but those peaks reflected some of the most inflated house prices. Even a sizable gap between current and peak prices may reflect some ongoing supply and demand imbalance. The Washington DC and Miami markets share a similar distinction.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/05/home-prices-in-march-bubbles-anyone/

U.S. single-family housing starts hit 9-year high | Armonk Real Estate

Construction on new houses rose in February to a five-month high, led by the biggest increase in single-family units in nine years.

Housing starts climbed 5.2% last month to an annual pace of 1.18 million, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected starts to rise at a seasonally adjusted 1.15 million rate.

The faster pace of construction signals that housing will remain one of the best-performing segments of the U.S. economy and help underpin growth in 2016. A surge in new hiring over the past several years has created an expanding pool of potential homeowners who can benefit from ultra-low interest rates.

“Housing continues to be a bright spot for the US economy,” said Steve Blitz, chief economist at ITG Investment Research.

The pickup in construction last month was centered on single-family homes.

Single-family starts jumped 7.2% to an annual rate of 822,000. That’s the highest level since November 2007, one month before the Great Recession started.

Builders were especially busy in the West, where starts hit a nine-year peak. New construction in the Midwest reached the highest level in 1½ years.

Little letup is likely, either. Permits for new construction, a sign of future demand, rose 3.2% to an annual rate of 1.17 million. Permits are running 6.3% above year-ago levels.

Permits for single-family homes, which account for about three-quarters of the housing market, edged up slightly last month and remain near a postrecession high.

 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-single-family-housing-starts-hit-9-year-high-2016-03-16?siteid=bnbh

Mortgage rates average 3.65% | Armonk Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing fixed mortgage rates unchanged from the previous week and remaining near their 2015 lows.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.65 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending February 18, 2016, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.76 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.95 percent with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.05 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.85 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.83 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.97 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 theDefinitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“After another week of financial market oscillations driven by rumors of potential limits on oil production, the 10-year Treasury yield edged up 5 basis points, and the 30-year mortgage rate remained unchanged at 3.65 percent. Despite this week’s uptick in Treasury yields, the 10-year is still 54 basis points lower than it stood at the end of 2015, while the mortgage rate has dropped only 36 basis points over the same period.”

 

 

 

Another housing crisis just around the corner | Armonk Real Estate

Movie sequels are rarely as good as the original films on which they’re based. The same dictum, it appears, holds for finance. The 2008 housing market collapse was bad enough, but it appears now that we’re on the verge of experiencing it all again. And the financial sequel, working from a similar script as its original version, could prove to be just as devastating to the American taxpayer.

The Federal National Mortgage Association (commonly referred to as Fannie Mae) plans a mortgage loan reboot, which could produce the same insane and predictable results as when the mortgage agency loaned so much money to people who had neither the income, nor credit history, to qualify for a traditional loan.

The Obama administration proposes the HomeReady program, a new mortgage program largely targeting high-risk immigrants, which, writes Investors.com, “for the first time lets lenders qualify borrowers by counting income from nonborrowers living in the household. What could go wrong?”

The question should answer itself.

The administration apparently believes that by changing the dirty words “subprime” to “alternative” mortgages, the process will be more palatable to the public. But, as Investor’s notes, instead of the name HomeReady, which will offer the mortgages, “It might as well be called DefaultReady, because it is just as risky as the subprime junk Fannie was peddling on the eve of the crisis.”

Before the 2008 housing bubble burst, one’s mortgage fitness was supposed to be based on the income of the borrower, the person whose name would be on the deed and who was responsible for making timely monthly payments. Under this new scheme — and scheme is what it is — the combined income of everyone living in the house will be considered for a conventional home loan backed by Fannie. One may even claim income from people not living in the home, such as the borrower’s parents.

If, or as recent history proves, when the approved borrower defaults, who will pay? Taxpayers, of course, not the politicians and certainly not those associated with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose leaders made out like the bandits they were during the last mortgage go-round. As CNNMoney reported in 2011, “Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac received the biggest federal bailout of the financial crisis. And nearly $100 million of those tax dollars went to lucrative pay packages for top executives, filings show.”

In case further reminders are needed of the outrageous behavior of financial institutions that contributed to the housing market collapse and a recession whose pain is still being felt by many, Goldman Sachs has agreed to a civil settlement of up to $5 billion for its role associated with the marketing and selling of faulty mortgage securities to investors.

Go see the film “The Big Short” to be reminded of the cynicism of many in the financial industry. It follows on the heels of the HBO film “Too Big to Fail,” which revealed how politicians and banks were part of the scam that harmed just about everyone but themselves. According to The New York Times, only one top banker, Kareem Serageldin, went to prison for concealing hundreds of millions in losses in Credit Suisse’s mortgage-backed securities portfolio. Many more should have joined him.

Under the latest mortgage proposal, it’s no credit, no problem. An immigrant can qualify with a credit score as low as 620. That’s subprime. And the borrower has only to put 3 percent down.

Investor’s reports, “Fannie says that 1 in 4 Hispanic households share dwellings — and finances — with extended families. It says this is a large ‘underserved’ market.”

 

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http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/01/19/is-another-housing-crisis-just-around-corner.html

Are FICO scores becoming a thing of the past? | Armonk Real Estate

While most people can agree that the current credit score system needs work, not everyone can agree on the proper solution.

Take a look at San Francisco-based SoFi as an example. The company operates like a young tech garage in Silicon Valley except it’s a a disrupter in the mortgage industry, pushing the limits by doing things like choosing to not use FICO scores when evaluating applicants.

Here’s a clip from the lender’s blog explaining the reason behind that decision:

The idea of assigning a score based on your dealings with debt makes sense in theory, but in practice there are a few flaws.

The FICO score calculation doesn’t consider things like your savings, your cash flow, your ability to pay non-credit bills like water and electric or your future earnings (for example, if you just landed a job with excellent pay). Plus there’s the fact that a growing number of millennials are forgoing credit cards entirely, which is reflected negatively in their credit scores – even though they may be perfectly able to pay off a loan. All of these factors can have a major impact on your creditworthiness, but your FICO score doesn’t take them into account.

Because of these gaps, SoFi has chosen to not use FICO scores when evaluating the financial wherewithal of applicants. We still consider your track record of meeting financial obligations, but we also look at a more complete picture of your financial situation than what your credit score can provide.

Whether you agree or disagree with this method, SoFi seems to be doing well in its endeavors.

The lender only recently ventured into the mortgage industry, expanding past the world of student loans where it got its start.

Toward the end of 2015, SoFi announced that it had not only officially surpassed $4 billion in funded loans across mortgages, personal loans and student loan refinancing, but it alsoannounced $1 billion in Series E funding shortly after.

“SoFi continues to redefine consumer expectations in financial services. This funding will dramatically advance expansion of our disruptive products and experiences, and in turn, meaningfully benefit financially responsible individuals.  Our trajectory is clear: we are well on our way to becoming the most trusted financial services partner in the U.S.,” Mike Cagney, SoFi CEO and co-founder, said at the time.

It’s not just mortgage lenders questioning the credit scoring model — the government isn’t too fond of the current credit system either.

In December, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that would allowFannie Mae and Freddie Mac to consider alternative credit-scoring models beyond the FICO credit score the government-sponsored enterprises currently use when determining what loans to purchase.

The bill, which is entitled the “Credit Score Competition Act of 2015,” was introduced by Rep. Ed Royce, R-CA., and Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL.

In Royce and Sewell’s view, lower-to-middle income Americans who are qualified to buy a home but are unable to do so because of their FICO score or lack thereof will “specifically benefit from the GSEs using other credit scoring models.”

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/36017-are-fico-scores-becoming-a-thing-of-the-past?eid=311691494&bid=1278399

Are appraisals all wrong? | Armonk Real Estate

A study by a company that analyzes appraisals to reduce lender risk found that 39 percent of more than 300,000 appraisals contained property quality or condition ratings that conflicted with previous ratings of the same property.

Conflicting property condition and quality ratings cause delays that generally range from one day to several days—a costly and risky setback for lenders concerned with rate locks, and deadline-oriented guidelines and regulations. They can result from a number of factors, such as human error, appraiser subjectivity, actual changes in the property’s condition or quality, or even possible appraisal fraud, which has been cited by the GSEs as the top origination fraud scheme trend in 2014.

“More than one in three appraisals contain inconsistencies in property ratings,” said Phil Huff, president and CEO of Platinum Data Solutions. “Causes aren’t easy to determine, so they need to be investigated. Doing this after UCDP submission opens lenders up to numerous issues. Costly delays are just one of them.”

Fannie Mae’s new Collateral Underwriter (CU) identifies rating inconsistencies on loans submitted through the Uniform Collateral Data Portal (UCDP) by comparing the appraisal’s data with its own proprietary data, and flags the appraisal for comments or corrections.

Despite Platinum Data Solutions’ findings, the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported that loans with appraisal or valuation fraud fell to15% or 2,033 incidents in 2014 from 7,641 in 2013, a 50% improvement in 3 years.

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2015/10/are-39-percent-of-appraisals-wrong/

30 Year Mortgage Rates Rise to 3.98% | Armonk Real Estate

Freddie today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates rising amid continued market expectations of a possible rate increase by the Federal Reserve and following a stronger than expected jobs report.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.98 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week endingNovember 12, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.87 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.01 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.20 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.09 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.20 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.03 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.96 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.02 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.65 percent this week with an average 0.2 point, up from 2.62 percent last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.43 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 links for the Regional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

As of January 1, 2016, the PMMS will no longer provide results for the 1-year ARM or the regional breakouts for the 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages, or the 5/1 Hybrid ARM.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“A surprisingly strong October jobs report showed 271,000 jobs added and wage growth of 0.4 percent from last month, exceeding many experts’ expectations. The positive employment reports pushed Treasury yields to about 2.3 percent as investors responded by placing a higher likelihood on a December rate hike. Mortgage rates followed with the 30-year jumping 11 basis points to 3.98 percent, the highest since July. There is only one more employment report before the December FOMC meeting, which will have major implications on whether we see a rate hike in 2015.”

Pending #Homes Sales Down Again | Armonk Real Estate

Although the Pending Home Sales Index decreased for the second consecutive month in September to its second lowest reading in 2015, the PHSI has increased year-over-year for 13 consecutive months. The Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a forward-looking indicator based on signed contracts reported by theNational Association of Realtors (NAR), decreased 2.3% in September to 106.8 from a downwardly revised 109.3 in August. However, the PHSI is up 3.0% from September a year ago.

Pending Home Sales September 2015

The PHSI declined in all four regions in September, ranging from 0.2% in the West to 4.0% in the Northeast. Year- over-year, The West, Midwest and Northeast were up, ranging from 6.6% in the West to 3.9% in the Northeast. The South reported a small 0.1% decline from last September.

Although the PHSI declined the past two months, existing sales increased in September. Coming just three days after a surprisingly weak new home sales report for September, NAR attributed the PHSI decline to the “stubbornly-low inventory.” However, disappointing job creation numbers in August and September suggest the decline is a demand-side issue. Despite these recent reports, builder confidence reached its highest level in ten years, painting the prospect of a good year for builders in 2016.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/10/pending-sales-down-again/

Rising Rents are Backfiring | Armonk Real Estate

A new survey by Freddie Mac finds that soaring rents are not turning renters into homeowners, but actually delaying homeownership for many.

Of those who experienced a rent increase in the past two years, 70 percent would like to buy a home but cannot afford to at this point. Half (51 percent) said that they now have to put off their plans to purchase a home. Some 44 percent indicated they’d like to buy a home and have started looking.

“We’ve found that rising rents do not appear to be playing a significant role in motivating renters to buy a home,” said David Brickman, EVP of Freddie Mac Multifamily. “This contradicts what some in the housing market think as they expect more renters ought to be actively looking to purchase a home. We believe rising rents are primarily a sign dsof increased demand rather than a signal that home purchases will be increasing.”

Brickman added, “Growth in the number of renter households is occurring amid an improving job market and economy. The demand for rental housing is increasing and an estimated 440,000 new apartment units are needed each year to keep up with demand.”

Rents rose 3.6 percent in 2014 and are expected to rise 3.4 percent above inflation this year. More than one-third of U.S. households now rent their homes, and renters account for all net new household growth over the last several years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

More than a third (38 percent) of renters who have lived in their home two years or more experienced a rent increase in the last two years, while 6 percent experienced a decrease.

A third of renters in the survey are very satisfied with their rental experience and another 30 percent indicate they are moderately satisfied.  The top favorable factors about renting are freedom from home maintenance, more flexibility over where you live and protection against declines in home prices.

Moreover, the results show some shared positive views across generations with no significant differences between Millennial, Generation X or Baby Boomer renters in their views that renting provides flexibility over where you live and protection against home price decline.

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2015/05/