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Armonk NY Homes

Huge Downward Revision In August New Home Sales | Armonk Real Estate

New home sales were flat in September after a big downward revision to August’s report.

New home sales rose 0.2% to an annualized pace of 467,000 in September, while August’s blowout number was revised down to a pace of 466,000 from a prior report of 504,000.

Expectations were for new home sales to fall 6.8% in September to an annualized selling rate of 470,000, down from August’s 18% increase to an annualized rate of 504,000.

According to the latest report from the Census, the median home sales price in September was $259,000 and the average was $313,200.

The report also showed that the current rate of sales represents 5.3 months supply at the current sales rate.

In a note to clients following the report, Ian Shepherdson at Pantheon Macro wrote, “I n one line: Revisions mean no clear breakout from the range yet.”

Shepherdson added, ”  Given the size and frequency of large revisions to the data, we wonder why the numbers are published so early; they’d be much more reliable if  they were released with a longer delay. Taking the revisions into account, we cannot now say with any conviction that sales have broken definitively above the 400-to-460K trend in place since late 2012, though the rebound in the NAHB survey over the summer suggests it is just a matter of time.”


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See New York’s Stunningly Ornate Movie Palace-Turned-Church | Armonk Real Estate


In the 1920s, Loew’s built five Wonder Theaters: movie palaces that were, quite literally, palaces, bedecked with ornate architecture meant to awe, instill hope, and provide an escape from the depressing world outside. That was the aim of Marcus Loew, of the eponymous chain and the founder of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. One of these cinemas, the historic Leow’s Valencia Theatre in Queens, exists to this day—it just doesn’t show films anymore. A Pentecostal church, the Tabernacle of Prayer For All People, bought the then-abandoned 3,500-seattheater on Jamaica Avenue. The congregation donated $200,000 (about $758,303 in 2013 dollars) to restore the eclectic Spanish-Mexican-Moroccan interior to its original splendor.

It has used the theater ever since, and continues to maintain elaborate-theater savant John Eberson’s ridiculously detailed ornamentation. Notice the gilded lion carvings scattered throughout the hall? “Because we are Pentecostal, we had all sorts of religious reasons for it,” says Sister Forbes, the church’s pastoral secretary. “It’s just that Eberson was a good employee. What’s the symbol for MGM? A roaring lion.”


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Housing is biggest expense for retirees | Armonk Real Estate

It’s become fashionable these days for advisers to warn retirees and pre-retirees to set aside enough money to pay for health care in their golden years.

Folks might be better served if they were told to make sure they first have enough income and assets to pay for housing and home-related expenses after age 65.

That’s because those expenses — mortgages, property taxes, insurance, utilities, home maintenance, and the like — comprise the largest spending category for older Americans, according to a new report published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit research institute based in Washington, D.C.

Yes, health-care expenses increase steadily with age, and remain a big cause of concern, but the cost of maintaining a home is typically the biggest expense for older people. EBRI said.

Women typically live longer than men, often have less saved for retirement and interact differently with financial planners, says Eve Kaplan of Kaplan Financial Advisors in Berkeley Heights, N.J.

To be fair, the dollar amount spent on housing and home-related expenses decreases with age. But the share of these costs in household budgets remain stable at between 40% to 45%, depending on age group, EBRI said in a release.

Consider: Households age 60-64 spent on average $18,720 or 43% of total expenses on housing in 2011, adjusted for 2013 dollars; households age 65-74 spent $14,732 or 42%; and households age 75-plus spent $13,111 or 44%. Or put another way: you’ll need roughly $250,000 set aside at age 65 to pay for 20 years of housing expenses.

To be fair, EBRI found in its analysis that health expenses increase steadily with age. In 2011, for instance, households with at least one member between ages 50‒64 spent 8% of their total budget (or $4,176) on health items, compared with 19% (or $6,603) for those age 85 or over. And health-related expenses do occupy the second-largest share of total expenditure for those over age 75, EBRI noted.

But housing is the cost no one is really talking about.

Of course, health care can be a budget buster, too. For instance, EBRI also found a large increase in spending at the 95th percentile for those age 90 or older, which can be attributed to very high health-care expenses.

But much of that expense is associated with end-of-life care. “For some, health-care expenses can be heavily skewed toward the end of life,” Sudipto Banerjee, EBRI research associate and author of the report, said in a release.

For example, Banerjee said, in 2011, the (midpoint, half above and half below) health-care expenditure for households with at least one member 85 and above was $2,814, while the average was much higher at $6,603.

And costs can be especially troublesome for households that fall in the 95th percentile, the worst-case folks. In that percentile, health-care expenses ranged from $13,918 for those households age 65-79 to $28,339 for those ages 90 and above. “If withdrawals are not well managed then by that time many (retirees) may have little left in their nest eggs,” said Banerjee.



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Scotland Without the Pound Seen as a Threat to Housing | Armonk NY Real Estate


A vote in favor of Scottish independence tomorrow threatens to weigh down a booming housing market should thousands of homeowners become debtors of foreign lenders.

Political leaders in the U.K. are sparring over whether an independent Scotland would keep the pound, with the outcome having major consequences for the economy and housing. If Scottish homeowners eventually have to repay pound-denominated loans in a foreign currency, they would face the risk of higher costs and possible default.

Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Sept. 14 the breakup would be akin to a “painful divorce,” and said the U.K. won’t share its currency with an independent Scotland. Independence leaders dismiss the government’s threat, insisting that Scotland and the rest of the U.K. would form a currency union to benefit both nations.


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How Rare are Housing Bubbles? | #Armonk Real Estate

Do house prices experience periodic bull and bear markets like the stock market?  Or are they stable in real (inflation-adjusted) terms most of the time, with big disruptions once or twice in a century?  Two popular house price series tell these very different stories.  Knowing which is better will lead to superior investment outcomes and improved policy decisions.

Karl (Chip) Case, of Wellesley College, and the Nobel Prize-winning Yale professor Robert Shiller, have constructed the most widely-known suite of indices, which are now part of the S&P index family. Here is the Case-Shiller national house price index in real terms from 1890 through December 2013:

Figure 1
Case-Shiller National House Price Index in Constant Dollars, 1890-2013

Housing bubbles

Source: http://www.multpl.com/case-shiller-home-price-index-inflation-adjusted/

And here is a house price series distributed by the data firm of Crandall, Pierce & Co., consisting of the median new home sales price in constant dollars collected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (For brevity, we call this the “Crandall” series.)

Figure 2
Crandall, Pierce Median New Home Sale Prices in Constant Dollars, March 1963-March 2014.03

Housing bubbles

Source: Crandall, Pierce & Co., Libertyville, IL.  Reprinted with permission.

Could any two charts describing the same underlying phenomenon look more different?  In the Case-Shiller chart, there was one great bear market in the last 50 years, from late 2006 to early 2012, following a massive price expansion or bubble.1

In the Crandall chart, however, bull and bear markets have alternated in a remarkably regular pattern.  All of the bear markets represent losses of roughly 20%, with the crash of 2008-2011 only a little worse than the three other housing bear markets that occurred in 1968-1970, 1979-1982, and 1988-1992.  The Crandall chart also shows real prices rising pretty smartly – 1.35% per year – while the Case-Shiller chart shows a much slower rise.

Note that the two price series do not purport to measure the same thing.  The Crandall data are for new houses only; the Case-Shiller data are intended to reflect the entire stock of housing capital.2 The Crandall data are for a median house, the size and quality of which are constantly changing; Case and Shiller explicitly adjust for changes in the size and quality of a house. There are many other differences, so it’s understandable that the two series disagree somewhat – but they’re both intended to track house prices, so the contrast between them is striking and troubling.



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Key Biscayne’s Mashta Point Will List for $60-Fricken-Million | Armonk Real Estate


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Mashta Point, originally built by William J. Matheson as his private cove and deepwater anchorage when he owned much of Key Biscayne, is hitting the market for a whopping $60 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. This makes it Mashta Point Dade County’s most expensive listing, and will be Miami’s most expensive residential sale ever if it gets near its asking price.

Matheson built himself a lavish Moorish house, known as Mashta House, on the southern arm of the cove back in 1917, but it was demolished at some point in the 1950s (coincidentally by Mackle Construction, owned by relatives of Curbed Miami’s Editor, Sean McCaughan). Mashta House was known for its fabulous parties, and was said to host the likes of the Vanderbilts, Carnagies, and Mellons during the Roaring 20s, who would alight from their yachts waiting in the cove. In the 1990s Mashta House was replaced by the current house, built on the northern arm of the cove, a 12,000 square foot boxy beige house, with (if we’re counting right) five floors, an elevator, six bedrooms, eight baths, a pool, and a gazebo. Of course the real allure of the property is the land, a long hook-shaped peninsula at the tip of Mashta Island, and that cove. Ohhh that cove.


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Tour a Totally Livable 242-Square-Foot West Village Apartment | Armonk Real Estate


[All photos by Max Touhey.]
27 images

Jourdan Lawlor bought her tiny apartment on West 12th Street, in a quaint former dormitory for Hudson River dockworkers, in 2011—three weeks before she met Tobin Ludwig. The director of sales development at The Daily Meal, she was tired of renting and decided to buy, scouring the city for a downtown apartment under $300,000 before settling on this prewar option, a high-ceilinged ground-floor studio that clocks in at a diminutive 242 square feet. That includes closets, cabinets, and a 29-square-foot storage nook above the bathroom door.

Of the 425-square-foot Upper West Side apartment Curbed toured earlier this year, Lawlor said, “That’s huge!”

Having eyed a snazzy Murphy bed from Resource Furniture for about five years, she said, “buying the bed was almost an excuse to buy the apartment.” Lawlor and Ludwig, who heads up a bitters purveyor called Hella Bitter, had been dating nine months before they decided to move in together. “We agreed to renovate and maximize the space,” Lawlor said. “If one if us said the safe word, I would put the apartment on the market the next day. But no one said it. We forget what the word was.” Added Ludwig: “I had not envisioned living here with Jourdan. I thought it would ruin my relationship with her.” (Spoiler alert: it did not.)



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Buying and selling homes could soon be as easy as trading stocks | Armonk Homes

HomeUnion wants to level the playing field for smaller investors, helping them compete with institutional giants to identify bargain-priced single-family rental properties in markets around the country, and then buy and manage them from afar.

Institutional investors try to make a killing by snatching up undervalued homes and renting them out. But it can be harder for smaller investors to get in on the action if they don’t live near the markets with the best deals, or don’t want to be landlords.



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Mortgage Rates Remain Largely Unchanged | Armonk Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage once again showing very little change while remaining near their 2014 lows prior to a better than expected second quarter gross domestic product reading.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.12 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending July 31, 2014, down from last week when it averaged 4.13 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.39 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.23 percent with an average 0.7 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.26 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.43 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.01 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.99 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.18 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.38 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.39 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.64 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.

Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates were little changed this week with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate at 4.12 percent, just a basis point lower from the previous week. Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon the yield on the 10-year Treasury surged as data showed gross domestic product for the second quarter at a 4.0 percent annualized rate, above expectations.”

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