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Armonk Real Estate for Sale

Zillow kickback problem | Armonk Real Estate

Earlier this month, Zillow Group Z, +0.39%  , the popular online real estate data provider, reported blowout earnings. Revenue rose 32% compared to a year ago, and online visits were up 18%.

But there was a note of caution in its earnings release. In April, the company said, it had received a notice from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that questioned whether some of Zillow’s advertising revenues violated regulations against kickbacks.

At issue is the question of how a real estate service provider, like a real-estate agent or lender, gets business from a home buyer. Congress passed the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, also known as RESPA, in 1974 to make sure those providers weren’t funneling customers to each other in exchange for kickbacks or other inappropriate rewards.

Real estate market observers say that while Zillow’s broad footprint and accessible data have been a boon for customers, deciding whom to hire for the transaction is often a fraught process that could benefit from more transparency and less of the old handshake-deal approach that has often characterized real estate.

In Zillow’s case, what’s called “co-marketing” works by allowing a real estate agent to share the cost of an ad on the web site with a preferred lender.

Zillow

This practice makes it seem as though those lenders or agents are receiving a seal of approval from each other or from Zillow itself. Many industry participants see the co-marketing process as little more than advertising that may appear like due diligence to a captive and uninformed customer.

There’s broad recognition among consumer advocates – and the CFPB itself – that would-be home buyers don’t shop for mortgages. It’s hard to spend the time required with more than one lender, and there are concerns about checking credit scores too frequently. And many lenders use confusing jargon that makes it hard for consumers to compare one offer to another.

“People do real estate transactions rarely, a couple times in their lifetime, so it’s not like people can gain experience, and it’s hard to shop around because you don’t know what you’re asking for,” said Andrew Pizor, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center.

“It’s opaque and there’s very little competition,” Pizor continued. “It’s a horrible market. As a consumer advocate I have my doubts about the free market, but this is not a free market in terms of supply and demand and transparency. It just puts consumers even more at risk.”

As Pizor puts it, “you only want people to be making a referral for reasons based on the merits of the product or the service: they’re good and you trust them or they have a product you can’t get elsewhere, not because you’re getting referrals.”

The CFPB’s interest dates back to 2015. The agency has requested information several times since then, with the most recent request, a civil investigative demand, coming in April. “We are continuing to cooperate with the CFPB in connection with their most recent request for information,” Zillow’s earnings report noted. “We continue to believe that our acts and practices are lawful and that our co-marketing program allows lenders and agents to comply with RESPA.”

The next step, Zillow added, could be what’s known as an “enforcement action,” which could include “restitution, civil monetary penalties, injunctive relief or other corrective action. We cannot provide assurance that the CFPB will not ultimately commence a legal action against us in this matter, nor are we able to predict the likely outcome of the investigation into this matter.”

A Zillow spokeswoman declined to answer MarketWatch questions on the scale of the co-marketing program. Company management fielded four analyst questions on the CFPB review on its quarterly earnings call and said little except that “it’s a small portion of overall revenue.”

But the prepared remarks for the earnings release noted that customer leads rose 30% compared to a year ago in the first quarter, and “we continue to expect that growth in contacts sent to Premier Agent advertisers will outpace unique user growth.”

In an emailed statement, the spokeswoman wrote, “Zillow offers myriad ways for consumers to comparison shop for lenders and agents. Rather than offer a few service providers, consumers can browse more than a million reviews for agents and lenders, including published, up-to-the-minute mortgage rates being offered and skill sets of particular agents. Zillow Group’s mission is to give consumers lots of information so they can make good choices when choosing agents and lenders for one of the most important transactions of their lives.”

The CFPB also declined to discuss the matter with MarketWatch.

The agency usually only takes actions like the ones against Zillow when it believes its case is “pretty clear-cut,” Pizor told MarketWatch. “I think the CFPB is being generous. I think the law is pretty clear.”

Still, Pizor said, a ruling from the CFPB would help bring clarity to the market – a step many real estate professionals would welcome. The National Association of Realtors has released best practices materials recommendations and industry lawyers are watching carefully.

The CFPB earlier this year fined Prospect Mortgage, a lender, with failing to comply with RESPA. It also fined two real estate brokers and a mortgage servicer, all of whom it said took kickbacks from Prospect.

To many industry participants, it seems clear that the co-marketing arrangement must be very profitable for Zillow. Why else would a new-media company founded to, as it says in its mission statement, “empower” customers with new ways of shopping for and maintaining a home cling to an outdated way of doing business, rather than trying to disrupt it with a newer, better model?

“Nobody is doing referral fees any more. They were done away with. Marketing service agreements are the next wave of that,” said Brian Faux, CEO of Morty, an online mortgage brokerage.

Faux describes Zillow as a “great web site with a lot of data that’s good for consumers,” including data that helps them understand the cost of owning a home.

 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/zillow-advertising-under-cfpb-fire-sets-real-estate-industry-on-edge-2017-05-18

Fight Brewing Over the Mortgage-Interest Tax Deduction | Armonk Real Estate

A tax-reform proposal by House Republicans that would make the mortgage-interest deduction moot for most Americans is starting to set off alarm bells across the housing, lending and real estate industries.

The right to take a deduction for interest paid on your mortgage has always been a political third rail, and the reforms introduced last June would not directly eliminate the write-off.

Instead, the Better Way tax-reform “Blueprint” of Speaker Paul Ryan and his cohorts would make the deduction irrelevant for about 95 percent of homeowners. By “doubling the standard deduction that taxpayers receive…most people would have no need to take the mortgage interest deduction,” according to National Mortgage News.

The specific language in the Better Way says: “This Blueprint will preserve a mortgage interest deduction for homeowners. …For those taxpayers who continue to itemize deductions, no existing mortgage will be affected by any changes in the tax code. Similarly, no changes will affect re-financings of existing mortgages. But just as importantly, because of the other provisions included in the new tax system, far fewer taxpayers will choose to itemize deductions, with the vast majority of taxpayers finding they are better off by taking advantage of the larger, simpler standard deduction instead.”

Before the election, when it did not look as though Republicans would control both houses of Congress and the White House, the future of the Blueprint seemed far from certain, and even given the GOP sweep in Washington, it is nowhere near a done deal.

But National Mortgage News says the National Association of Homebuilders, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) have all woken up to what they see as an “indirect threat” to the mortgage-interest deduction.

National Mortgage News quoted Lawrence Yun, chief NAR economist, as a warning against any moves that might derail the housing recovery. “Even a discussion of mortgage interest deduction is counterproductive right now,” he said.

A spokesperson for the NAR said Yun was unavailable to expand on that view given that under the Blueprint, most homeowners would still get the same break on their taxes.

But homebuilders, lenders and realtors may have more to worry about than House Republican attempts to neuter the mortgage-interest deduction.

In a CNBC interview on Nov. 30, Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary said in the context of a discussion on tax reform: “…We’ll cap mortgage interest but allow some deductibility.”

CNBC real estate reporter Diana Olick explained later that “The mortgage interest deduction is already capped at loans up to $1 million if you’re married and filing jointly and at $500,000 if you file separately. That said, the median price of a home in the United States is just more than $200,000, so not a lot of people make it to that cap.”

But, she added, the mortgage-interest deduction is seen as a key selling point for the housing industry and therefore is “a hot potato that lawmakers really don’t want to touch.”

 

read more…

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/2016/12/16/There-s-Big-Fight-Brewing-Over-Mortgage-Interest-Tax-Deduction

Home price index reaches all-time high | Armonk Real Estate

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index for September blew past the peak set in July 2006, with the national index posting a 5.5% annual gain in September, up from 5.1% last month, S&P reported Tuesday morning. The 10-City Composite posted a 4.3% annual increase, up from 4.2% the previous month. The 20-City Composite reported a year- over-year gain of 5.1%, unchanged from August.

Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.4% in September. Both the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite posted a 0.1% increase in September. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.8% month-over-month increase, the 10-City Composite posted a 0.2% month-over-month increase, and the 20-City Composite reported a 0.4% month-over-month increase. 15 of 20 cities reported increases in September before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, all 20 cities saw prices rise.


Seattle, Portland, and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over each of the last eight months. In September, Seattle led the way with an 11.0% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 10.9%, and Denver with an 8.7% increase. 12 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending September 2016 versus the year ending August 2016.

“The new peak set by the S&P Case-Shiller CoreLogic National Index will be seen as marking a shift from the housing recovery to the hoped-for start of a new advance,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “ While seven of the 20 cities previously reached new post-recession peaks, those that experienced the biggest booms — Miami, Tampa, Phoenix and Las Vegas — remain well below their all-time highs. Other housing indicators are also giving positive signals: sales of existing and new homes are rising and housing starts at an annual rate of 1.3 million units are at a post-recession peak.


Rents Cooled in the Third Quarter | Armonk Real Estate

Record levels of new multi-family construction are meeting demand in the nation’s hottest market, cutting in half the pace of rent increases nationwide and driving down median rents in more markets during the third quarter, according to rental analytics firm Axiometrics.

Nationally, rents rose only 3% for the third quarter of 2016, more than 2 percentage points below the robust 5.2% rent growth of one year ago. This marked the fourth straight quarter in which the annual rent growth rate decreased.  The average effective rent nationwide was $1,289 per unit per month, compared to $1,251 in the third quarter of 2015.

“While the national apartment market is still performing above the long-term average, the moderation from the unsustainable levels of 2014 and 2015 has come, as Axiometrics predicted,” said Jay Denton, Axiometrics Senior Vice President of Analytics. “In particular, rent growth has declined precipitously in markets with the highest rents in the country, such as New York and the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Rent levels declined year over year in the three major markets with the highest rents — San Francisco, New York and San Jose — and increased by less than 2% in the fourth highest rent-growth metro, Oakland. Although Houston isn’t a high-rent market, its -2.8% rent growth in the third quarter also helped weigh down the national rate.  Hartford, Birmingham and Oklahoma City also experienced negative annual rent growth.

Third-Quarter 2016 Rent, Rent Growth in Highest-Priced Markets

Market

Average Effective Rent

Annual Effective Rent Growth

San Francisco

$3,292

-0.5%

New York

$3,036

-0.2%

San Jose

$2,817

-0.8%

Oakland

$2,413

1.8%

 

“Urban cores in general are showing slowing performance,” Denton said. “The market is feeling the effects of the concentrated new supply in these submarkets. Nationwide, however, supply is just keeping up with the demand.”

The slower performance of high-priced markets is somewhat counteracted by robust fundamentals in secondary markets. For example, annual effective rent growth in Sacramento; Riverside, CA; Salt Lake City; Las Vegas; Fort Worth; Tampa-St. Petersburg; and Nashville are among the 10 highest in major markets.

Other Third-Quarter Highlights

•             Effective rents increased 1.2% in the third quarter over the second quarter. The rent-growth rates for the past four quarters have been lower than the previous corresponding quarters.

•             Occupancy was 95.1% in the third quarter, compared to 95.2% in the second quarter and 95.4% in the third quarter of 2015.

 

  • 95.4% in the third quarter of 2015.

Top 25 Markets for Rent Growth and Occupancy

The top 25 Metropolitan Statistical Areas or Metropolitan Divisions — among Axiometrics’ top 50 markets with the most apartments — in various third-quarter 2016 categories:

Top 25 Markets by Annual Effective Rent Growth for 3Q16

MSA/Metropolitan Division

Annual Effective Rent Growth

Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA

11.9%

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

7.9%

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA

6.7%

Salt Lake City, UT

6.7%

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

6.4%

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV

5.7%

Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

5.6%

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

5.5%

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

5.4%

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

5.4%

San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

5.3%

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA

4.9%

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

4.9%

Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX

4.6%

Charleston-North Charleston, SC

4.4%

Memphis, TN-MS-AR

4.3%

Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI

4.2%

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

4.1%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA

4.0%

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

4.0%

Raleigh, NC

3.7%

Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI

3.7%

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN

3.5%

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

3.5%

West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, FL

3.3%

National

3.0%

Top 25 Markets by Quarterly Effective Rent Growth for 3Q16

MSA/Metropolitan Division

Quarterly Effective Rent Growth

Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA

4.2%

Salt Lake City, UT

3.0%

San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA

2.6%

Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH

2.5%

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA

2.4%

San Diego-Carlsbad, CA

2.3%

Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA

2.1%

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL

2.0%

Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI

2.0%

Charleston-North Charleston, SC

2.0%

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA

1.9%

Raleigh, NC

1.9%

San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

1.9%

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA

1.9%

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA

1.8%

Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, MD

1.8%

Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

1.7%

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, CA

1.7%

Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO

1.5%

Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

1.5%

Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN

1.4%

Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX

1.4%

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL

1.3%

Memphis, TN-MS-AR

1.2%

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

1.2%

National

1.2%

 

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2016/09/rents-cooled-in-the-third-quarter/

Is now really the time to invest in Real Estate? | Armonk Real Estate

According to a recent survey conducted by Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, as many as 89 percent of U.S. investors would strongly consider pursuing real estate as part of a broader investment strategy.

The same study, which was also cited by the National Mortgage Professional’s Magazine, goes on to reveal an even higher percentage of millennial investors — 96% — expressed interest in purchasing real estate for investment purposes. So I thought it would be nice to investigate these claims to find out why this does or does not represent sound strategy.

There are a myriad of reasons to invest in real estate. Likewise, there must be plenty of reasons not to invest. Let’s take a look.

Real Estate Investing: The Pros

  • The timing may be ripe. Given the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming elections, many investment managers are predicting a volatile stock market; this is regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, this January.
  • Hefty Earnings potential. When you reach the level of competence necessary to complete a deal on your own without making mistakes your earnings potential will soar.
  • You call the shots. As a real estate investor, you’re ultimately accountable to you and your checkbook. Of course, you will need to stay on top of your local coding regulations and ordinances. But once you get the hang of it, you really shouldn’t have any problems with ordinances.
  • Nurture your inner builder. Getting into the residential investment business entails lots of renovation work. As such, you can certainly expect to play with your fair share of power tools. Of course, if your favorite pastime is catching re-runs of ‘This Old House’, you probably already love using these tools. Perhaps this explains why so many contractors wind up investing in real estate.
  • A ‘hands on’ investment. Real estate investing is unique in that it’s almost as much a career or a way of life as it is a form of investing. Indeed, the fact that real estate is involves so much sweat equity makes it unique among other investments.

That notwithstanding, the hands-on aspect of buying and rehabbing homes is also why you’ll face less competition from investors than you might expect in stocks or bonds.

Real Estate Investing: The Cons

  • Substantial risk involved. The business side of real estate investing is fraught with risk. Unlike purchasing mutual funds or savings bonds, with real estate you can lose money; this is one of the reasons that seasoned real estate investors caution neophytes never to get too emotional about a property and always be willing to walk away.
  • You could pay dearly for your mistakes. Another thing that’s so different about real estate is that you pay dearly for your errors in this field. For example, if you sign a deal only to realize afterward that the numbers don’t add up – walking away is not always an option.
  • Requires a significant investment. Don’t let the late night infomercials fool you. It takes serious resources to pull off a successful real estate deal from start to finish. Hence, it’s important that you have a plan and stick to it, going into every investment.
  • Demands a well-defined skill set. For anyone used to going into the office every day and ‘punching the clock’, real estate can be a daunting field. Namely, because it requires the investor to become proficient in activities that you may not be accustomed to doing on a daily basis.

So these are the pluses and minuses. As prohibitive as the potential drawbacks might be, real estate still has the potential to offer substantial dividends – both in the form of financial rewards and in the satisfaction that comes from building something with your hands.

Hence, if you’re willing to learn the ropes and put in the effort, you should find your goals very attainable.

Should You Decide to Take the Plunge Know This

  • If you do choose to invest in real estate, don’t go in blind. Prepare a road map first. Determine what it will take to accomplish your goals for each property beforehand; this includes finances, materials, personnel planning, etc. Upon completing your plan be sure to meet with the concerned parties.
  • Always expect the unexpected. When meeting with sellers, buyers or investors be sure to expect the best but plan for the worse. There’s always the potential that the deal may fall through. Doing so will help put all other parties at ease while preventing you from getting too emotionally invested.
  • Find a good CPA and attorney. While you may already be familiar with accounting and various legalities, it helps to have a professional on speed dial in case a problem that you aren’t familiar with crops up.

It’s important to point out that I’m not here to advise you one way or another, as it relates to whether to invest in real estate or not. My job is to bring you the facts and let you decide what to do with them. That said, now that we’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of real estate investing, what do you think?

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/is-now-really-the-time-to-invest-in-real-estate_us_57f6477de4b0568704999ef7

Freddie Mac real estate outlook | Armonk Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) released today its monthly Outlook for October showing that housing remains a bright spot in the face of a marginally improving U.S. economy and tight inventories of for-sale homes. However, mortgage activity, which has benefited greatly from low mortgage rates post-Brexit, is starting to see a slowdown in refinance activity that will persist into next year as the mortgage market transitions to a purchase-dominated mix.

Outlook Highlights

  • Continued strength in consumer spending and a reduction in the drag from inventory spending should boost second half growth, resulting in full-year 2016 GDP growth of 1.6 percent. The economy should do modestly better in 2017, posting 1.9 percent year-over-year growth.
  • A mature expansion operating near full employment only needs to generate enough jobs to keep the unemployment rate steady. Expect the unemployment rate to decline slightly over the next year-and-a-half, ending 2017 at 4.7 percent.
  • Even if worldwide bond yields recover to the pre-Brexit status quo, mortgage interest rates are likely to remain low for an extended period. Expect a gradual rise in rates throughout the remainder of 2016 and into 2017, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • Don’t expect much increase in total home sales going forward with a slight decline in seasonally-adjusted sales in the fourth quarter. Next year, rising new home sales driven by increases in new single-family housing construction will push total home sales slightly higher, to 6.16 million in 2017 compared to 6.04 million in 2016.
  • Forecasting house prices will grow at a 5.6 percent annual rate in 2016, moderating to 4.7 percent in 2017.

Quote: Attributed to Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac.

“The economy and labor markets are looking better. We’re even seeing modest wage gains. And Fed watchers are increasingly predicting a December rate hike as things improve. However, worldwide economic growth is weak and its prospects have gotten worse. This may all sound familiar because we’ve been here before… last year.

“As the economy sputters along a little bit faster than stall speed, the U.S. housing market continues to be a bright spot, though there’s less room to run than in the prior few years. Unlike new home sales, existing home sales have nearly recovered back to pre-recession norms. Regardless, we see new home sales improving some next year driven by increases in new single-family housing construction which will push total home sales slightly higher.”

 

 

 

 

Will Airbnb disrupt the housing market? | Armonk Real Estate

Crowds press together in the streets of New Orleans as people gather to see the city’s festivities, but this year, there’s something different about the tourists. This year, instead of staying in the city’s hotels, more tourists are pouring into residential areas after using an app to quickly book a home for the week.

Airbnb, founded in 2008 as an online marketplace for short-term rentals, has seen its business grow exponentially in the last few years. In 2014, rooms available through the site jumped from 300,000 in February to more than 1 million in December, outpacing many of the largest hotel groups in the world. In May of 2016 Airbnb had almost 1.4 listings on the site and raised its revenue projection for this year to more than $900 million.

But the site impacts more than just hotel chains. As more investors, not just homeowners, use the site to rent out spare rooms — and even spare couches — it strains the supply of rental houses.

This is especially true in a place like New Orleans, where rising home prices have caused serious affordability problems. Home prices have risen 46% since Hurricane Katrina hit, according to an article by Katherine Sayre for The Times-Picayune.

Besides the number of lives lost, the most tangible impact the hurricane had on the city was the demolition of its housing stock, where 26% to 34% of its housing was lost or damaged, according to an article by Allison Plyer for The Data Center. The Center’s “The New Orleans Index” was the most widely used means of tracking rebuilding efforts in the months and years following Hurricane Katrina.

As of February 2016, Airbnb had a total of 3,621 active listings in New Orleans, according to data from Inside Airbnb, a non-commercial set of tools and data that shows how Airbnb is being used in different cities around the world.

Of course, there would seem to be a correlation between the rise in home prices and the gains in the app’s popularity, however, correlation does not always equal causation.

In order to truly understand the app’s effects, or lack thereof, you have to look deeper.

One letter circulating on Facebook entitled “Dear Airbnb Renter!” talks about what it sees as the dangers of Airbnb.

“The spread of tourism into residential neighborhoods is pushing out the people who live there,” the letter stated. “When landlords can get so much more for a property on Airbnb they no longer want to rent to actual working New Orleanians. Even residents that own their home are finding it difficult to pay their taxes because of the rising property values.”

That kind of outcry has reached lawmakers. In a letter sent on July 13 to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, several prominent senators expressed their concern. Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif, stated that they are especially concerned that short-term rentals are not only making housing more expensive in certain communities, but also making it harder to buy a house in the first place.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/37909-will-airbnb-disrupt-the-housing-market?eid=311691494&bid=1540391

House Prices to Median Household Income | Armonk Real Estate

The Census Bureau released the Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015 this morning. The report showed a significant increase in the real median household income and a decline in poverty.  For an overview, see from Nick Timiraos and Janet Adamy at the WSJ: U.S. Household Incomes Surged 5.2% in 2015, First Gain Since 2007 and from Jason Furman, Sandra Black, and Matt Fiedler at the CEA: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance in the United States in 2015

One of the metrics to follow is a ratio of house prices to incomes.   The following graphs use annual averages of house prices indexes – Case-Shiller and CoreLogic – and the nominal median household income (and the mean for the fourth fifth income) through 2015.

Note: Most reporting today is on the REAL median household income (adjusted for inflation over time).  These graphs use nominal income since we are comparing to nominal house prices.

House Prices and Median Household IncomeClick on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the ratio of house price indexes divided by the Median Household Income through 2015 (the HPI is first multiplied by 1000).

This uses the annual average CoreLogic and the National Case-Shiller index since 1976.

As of 2015, house prices were above the median historical ratio – but far below the bubble peak.

The second graph is similar but uses the mean of the fourth fifth household income (if we separate households into fifths, this is the second highest income group).

House Prices and WagesThese are key households since they are more likely to be homeowners (and home buyers).

Using this group, prices are well below the bubble peak.

Going forward, I think it would be a positive if incomes outpaced house prices, or at least kept pace with house prices increases for a few years.

 

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http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/

Home builder confidence surged in September | Armonk Real Estate

Home builder confidence surged in September to match its highest reading in a decade, an industry group said Monday.

The National Association of Home Builders’ index jumped six points to 65 in September. That was the highest since last October, which was the highest since the height of the housing boom. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 60 reading.

The gauge of current sales conditions soared 6 points to a cycle high of 71 and the index of future sales jumped 5 points, also touching 71. The index that tracks buyer traffic rose four points to 48. It hasn’t topped the neutral 50 mark since mid-2005.

In a release, NAHB noted that builder sentiment is being bolstered by the presence of “more serious buyers.”

 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-builder-confidence-roars-to-a-cycle-high-in-september-nahb-says-2016-09-19?siteid=bnbh

Greenwich Ct. Is Worst U.S. Home Market | Armonk Real Estate

Barry Sternlicht, chairman and chief executive officer of Starwood Capital Group LLC, said his former town of Greenwich, Connecticut, may be the worst housing market in the U.S.

“You can’t give away a house in Greenwich,” Sternlicht said Tuesday at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York.

The town — about 45 minutes north of Manhattan and home to some of the country’s largest hedge funds — is seeing a pile-up of houses on the market and prices that are faltering as properties linger. Home sales in the second quarter fell 18 percent from a year earlier to 169 deals, according to a report by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

At the same time, new listings surged 27 percent. The absorption period, or the time it would take to sell all the homes on the market at the current pace, was 12 months, compared with 7.7 months a year earlier, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman said.

 

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-13/starwood-s-sternlicht-says-greenwich-is-worst-u-s-housing-market