Tag Archives: Armonk NY Homes

Armonk NY Homes

Move Up Buyers are Back: Bigger Homes Now Outsell Smaller Ones | Armonk Real Estate


Just a few months ago, one and two bedroom starter homes topped the price per square foot ratings as investors and first-time home buyer scrambled to buy them, bidding up prices in the process.  Prices rose quickly, especially in markets where no new starter homes had been built in years.

Virtually overnight the picture has changed.  Now larger homes are selling faster and appreciating at rates faster than starter homes, a solid sign that move up buyers are back in the market and taking advantage of low interest rates and equity increases that have made it possible to sell and buy larger homes.

“Higher-end properties are taking up a bigger share of a smaller home sales pie, boosting the median home price nationwide higher even as home price appreciation slows to single digits in many of last year’s red-hot local housing markets,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, in a news release last September reporting August sales. “On the other hand, markets where large institutional investors and other buyers have not picked clean lower-priced inventory are continuing to see strong, double-digit increases in median home prices.”

RealtyTrac said the share of sales in August in the $200,000-and-below price range was down 9 percent from a year ago, while the share of sales in the above-$200,000 price range increased 10 percent from a year ago.  Breaking down the above-$200,000 price range further, the share of sales in the $500,000-to-$1 million price range increased 18 percent from a year ago while the share of sales in the over-$1 million price range increased 38 percent from a year ago. Overall the share of sales above $500,000 increased 23 percent from a year ago.

Now mortgage technology company FNC reports that property appreciation rates for single-family residential home sales are generally much higher for larger homes and older homes.  FNC said a profile of long-term trends in how different types of properties have appreciated over the years shows that larger homes have generally risen in value faster than smaller homes both before and after the last boom-bust housing cycle. The gap persisted, although narrowed quite a bit, during the worst of the housing recession.

The FNC analysis also found that more sales are coming from homes that have been held for ten years or more—a sign of move up buyer activity.  “As the market continues to gain traction through the post-recession recovery, we are seeing significant declines in the turnovers of homes held for short periods. Year to date, nearly one in three residential home sales have come instead from homes that have been held for at least a decade or longer—signs of increased participation by trade-up buyers,” said FNC Director of Research Yanling Mayer.


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The Japanese Porch | Armonk Real Estate

I’ve written in the past about the essential nature of transitional spaces in a home, which are used to link interior and exterior areas. These spaces have been assigned a variety of names throughout the world — loggia, veranda, lanai, portico. Japanese architecture has its own version, called an engawa.

The engawa is a generous hallway, a roofed transition zone, located between the interior rooms in a Japanese home and the garden, created by extending the interior floor outward. It’s a room that defies traditional description — neither completely enclosed nor completely open. In Japanese culture it has a social importance, providing an informal meeting space, a place for sitting, greeting one’s neighbors and sharing a cup of tea. While it’s similar to other architectural elements, it’s also uniquely Japanese. But it’s worth considering in your own project no matter where you live. Here’s why.

Symmetry Can Rescue Your Room | Armonk Real Estate

Human faces, snowflakes, violins, the Eiffel Tower — so much of our world is symmetrical, it’s no wonder the eye is drawn to things with a mirror-image quality, including interiors. No matter your decor style, embracing symmetry can help your space look its best. Whether you’re bringing grandeur to a small space or doing more with your art collection, here are 10 reasons to work symmetry into your rooms.

U.S. existing home sales hit one-year high in October | Armonk Real Estate

U.S. home resales jumped to their highest level in more than a year in October and outpaced the sales level a year ago for the first time in 2014, further evidence the housing market is on a recovery path.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Thursday said existing home sales rose 1.5 percent to an annual rate of 5.26 million units, the highest rate since September of last year. Sales rose 2.5 percent compared to a year ago, the first time since October 2013 that nesales have risen above the prior-year levels.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast sales falling to a 5.16 million-unit pace, from an upwardly revised rate of 5.18 million units in September.

“This is the first time in the year where we have seen a year over year annual gain, which means that existing home sales have made that successful U-turn,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, told reporters.

Housing is slowly regaining its footing after activity stalled in the second half of 2013 following a run-up in mortgage rates. While the sector continues to be hobbled by sluggish wage growth, a recent decline in mortgage rates should help support sales.

A separate report this week from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed applications for loans to purchase homes surged last week as low rates lured potential buyers.


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Farmers Markets | Armonk Real Estate


“Clothes The Loop” Textile Recycling Event in Ossining;
Life Changing Sisters Wicked Good Soap Comes to Croton-on-Hudson;

In Larchmont, Stone & Thistle Farm Offers Farmhouse Beef & Bacon Stew;

November 13-19th, 2014

What’s New, In Season, and On Sale This Week
Farmhouse Beef & Bacon Stew
Stone & Thistle Farm

Honey Whole Wheat
Wave Hill Breads

Lavender Baskets, Bunches, Wreaths, and more
Great items for home & gifts
North Winds Lavender Farm

Marzipan Pear Cake
Christiane’s Backstube

Natural Buttermilk White
Wave Hill Breads

Pate de Campagne
Stone & Thistle Farm

Pork and Ale Pot Pie
Stone & Thistle Farm

Pumpernickel Bread with
Caraway Seeds
$7.00 this weekend (Reg. $7.50)

Wave Hill Breads

Squash (Baby Dumpling) Lentil Samosa
Samosa Shack

Click on a Market to see all vendor and event details…                  




8:30 am-1:00 pm

Indoors at Claremont Elementary School on 1/10/2015!


8:30 am-1:00 pm

Through Dec. 13th


9:30 am-3:00 pm

Through Nov. 23rd


9:00 am-2:00 pm

Through Nov. 23rd


8:30 am-2:00 pm

NOW through Dec. 21st

Spring Valley

8:30 am-3:00 pm

Through Nov. 19th

Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow

8:30 am-1:00 pm

Through Nov. 22nd

New Rochelle

8:30 am-2:30 pm

Through Nov. 21st

Headed to the city soon?

Visit a Down to Earth
Farmers Market in NYC!

Root Vegetable Tastings This Weekend

How fresh the season tastes! Stop by the manager’s tent at your favorite Down to Earth Market to try the season’s best with our root vegetable tasting. Sample a few varieties of root vegetables from producers around the market and then pick up some to enjoy at home.
Please see our event calendar for precise day and times.

Ossining: BIG NEWS – Winter Market to Move Indoors

We are thrilled to announce that Ossining’s Down to Earth Farmers Market will have an indoor home for the 2015 Winter Season. All your favorite vendors will be easy to find at Claremont Elementary School, on Van Corlandt Avenue, off of N. Highland Avenue/Route 9. (For GPS, the address is 2 Claremont Road).  According to Google Maps, it is ONLY a 3 minute drive from our main market home at the corner of Spring and Main Streets in downtown Ossining.

The Ossining Farmers Market will continue to take place in its current location through Saturday, December 27th, 2014. We’ll open in Claremont Elementary on Saturday, January 10th, 2015. Please stay tuned to our website, as well as this weekly email, for upcoming market events and vendor details. We thank our partners who helped to confirm this venue, and we look forward to working with the Claremont community.

Ossining: Recyle Your Unwanted Clothes & Textiles

This Saturday, Down to Earth Markets is happy to host Green Ossining and our local Girl Scout troop for“Clothes the Loop”. This national event is part of America Recycles Day. These groups will collect collect clothing, linens, footwear, and more to be recycled. As part of the effort to eliminate plastic bags at the market, they will also demonstrate how to create reusable bags from t-shirts. Find the full list of what to donate here and please make sure to bring only clean, dry, and odorless items.
See you at the market!

For additional events, visit our Down to Earth Markets Event Calendar.

Stay tuned to all market happenings via our Down to Earth Markets Facebook page
and follow us on Instagram and on Twitter @DowntoEarthMkts.

Rotating* Vendors This Week
*Vendors who rotate through various markets during the season.
They enjoy getting to know many communities, and here’s where to find them this week:


**NEW VENDOR!** – Aroma Roast Coffee
Christiane’s Backstube (Locally sourced, German inspired baked items)
Flourish Baking Company
North Winds Lavender Farm
Pie Lady & Son
Samosa Shack
Simple Eats with Chef T (Healthy prepared foods to go)
Trotta Foods (Italian foods with a seasonal ingredients)


Sisters Wicked Good Soap (Handmade soaps without detergents)
Taiim Falafel Shack (Israeli soul food)
Trotta Foods




(Alpaca fleece, yarn, roving, and more from the Hudson Valley)

Down to Earth Markets 173 Main Street Ossining, NY 10562 Phone: 914-923-4837

Local Representation for North Castle | Armonk Real Estate

Local Representation for North Castle Neighborhoods

Understanding the Ward System – Frequently Asked Questions

Neighborhood Representation on the North Castle Town Board will  make Town Government more accessible and accountable.



A special election considering Neighborhood

Representation on the Town Board will be held on Thursday, November 13, 2014.


Propositions to convert Town Council elections to the Ward System and to increase Councilpersons to six from four will provide a more representative system for North Castle citizens.



What is the Ward System Proposal?


Quite simply, it is changing the way we elect Board Members from town wide elections, to elections based on districts built around neighborhoods.  It is also proposed to increase the number of Councilpersons from four to six to allow more direct representation of the many neighborhoods in the town.  No other aspect of Town government changes.




Why do we need a change?


The current system allows one area of Town to dominate the election process leaving other parts of town underrepresented.


There is no geographic diversity on the Town Board. In recent memory, there has not been a council member from North White Plains, the Middle Patent or Banksville  areas. Other neighborhoods such as Windmill and Whippoorwill have had to  rely on Neighborhood Associations to be heard.


Currently the all  Town Board Members live, on average,  one mile from the Town Hall and this has been the case for decades.  The Armonk centric Board does not understand the needs of the many neighborhoods in the Town. The ward system will provide elected  neighborhood representation and will assure your neighborhood has representation on the Board.



Why is this a problem?  Our town spans a large area with highly diverse communities.  Different geographies – urban, suburban and rural;  different age and economic profiles – middle class, professional, new families, retirees;  different school districts – Byram Hills, Valhalla, Bedford, Harrison, Mt. Pleasant.


Almost 10% of active voters in North Castle signed the Petitions calling for the referendum. They and many more believe that the Town Board structurally “didn’t get it” and would not until there was a reform in the system.




How will this benefit Your Neighborhood?


Your neighborhood will have someone on the Board who understands your needs; will be from your neighborhood; and is accountable to you.



The change to the Ward System will also bring the Town Board back to standard two year terms instead of the current four year.  This will  increase the accountability of councilpersons.




Will we lose influence by voting for our own Councilperson?



You will gain influence.    The current political environment in North Castle is dominated by factions and parties, not by neighborhoods where the need for services reside.


Current Councilpersons are accountable only to the biggest blocs of votes, not to every neighborhood.   A dedicated councilperson will be your representative and and will have a seat at the table.


Without a representative system 51% gets 100% control and 0% for the rest.  That is why we need representative government.


In North Castle you will gain representative government. You will vote for your  councilperson, the Supervisor, the Town Clerk and Tax Receiver.




Why increase the number of Board members?



North Castle is spread over a large and diverse geography with numerous distinct neighborhoods.  Six councilpersons are necessary to create districts built around key neighborhoods



Will there be enough candidates?




More than enough.  The Ward System dramatically lowers the barriers to running for office. Candidates will no longer have to rely on The Democrat or Republican  Political Parties  to effectively launch a campaign.




Candidates need only compete in their neighborhood rather than Town wide, making campaigns closer the the voters, lower cost and easier to conduct.



We currently have four Councilpersons in an area which would be the equivalent size of one ward.  Those councilpersons are arguing that we could not get one “qualified”  candidate from each of the other proposed 6 areas.




Will this Cost the Town More?



It should cost less, not more.  A change in the Board system is an opportunity to adjust Board compensation from $18,000 per year plus benefits to perhaps $10,000 like New Castle or $0 like Scarsdale.  The cost is totally up to the Board and can be reduced substantially.



Will the Ward System create divisiveness on the Board?



Current Board members are arguing that it is now peaceful on the Board and that the Ward System would create divisiveness.



They are somehow assuming that the current set of councilpersons, who live on average just a mile from Town Hall, can work together responsibly, but representatives from other parts of Town cannot.  A Board from all parts of town is not divisive.  It is representative. The implication that a representative from currently unrepresentative neighborhoods could not work constructively on the Board is insulting.



We can be sure that Town Board members will have the wisdom to work together for the benefit of the whole town. Having geographic diversity on the Board will help them to make better decisions.  Some disagreements on the Board may be a good thing.



How will districts be drawn?


Under the law, districts must be made up of approximately the same population.  The petitioners are proposing six districts built around major neighborhoods in Town.  The exact boundaries will be established by the Westchester Board of Elections.  The Town and the public will have input into the final boundaries. 




Who Supports Neighborhood Representations?

Some councilpersons contend that the ward system is a “solution in search of a problem”.  Almost 10% of North Castle active voters signed the petition supporting neighborhood representation via the ward system. They think there is a problem.  These petitioners came heavily from neighborhoods which do not feel represented by the current system.























Informed Citizens | tony@armonk.email | Informed Citizens 2014 | Box 59 | Valhalla, NY 10595




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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