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Bedford Hills NY Real Estate

California progressives get what they want | Bedford Hills Real Estate

A firefighting helicopter flies over the Getty Fire as it burns in the hills west of the 405 freeway in the hills of West Los Angeles, Calif., October 28, 2019. (Gene Blevins/Reuters)

Making the click-through worthwhile: California burns, but the state’s politicians don’t want to look at the policy choices that led to this point; Kamala Harris starts to see that the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train; the U.S. Army feels compelled to respond to a presidential tweet; and Twitter announces a ban on political advertising that includes at least one glaring loophole.

Watching California Burn

It’s an overstatement to declare that progressivism or the Democrats ruined California — at least by themselves. But as the state burns from gargantuan wildfires, California Democrats are going to have to confront the fact that their state’s serious troubles reflect more than just bad luck. Policy decisions have consequences, and the full consequences are rarely seen clearly by advocates of particular policies.

New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo is in an apocalyptic mood about his home state, blaming the state’s worsening problems on “a failure to live sustainably.”

I’m starting to suspect we’re over. It’s the end of California as we know it. I don’t feel fine.

It isn’t just the fires — although, my God, the fires. Is this what life in America’s most populous, most prosperous state is going to be like from now on? Every year, hundreds of thousands evacuating, millions losing power, hundreds losing property and lives? Last year, the air near where I live in Northern California — within driving distance of some of the largest and most powerful and advanced corporations in the history of the world — was more hazardous than the air in Beijing and New Delhi. There’s a good chance that will happen again this month, and that it will keep happening every year from now on. Is this really the best America can do?

Probably, because it’s only going to get worse. The fires and the blackouts aren’t like the earthquakes, a natural threat we’ve all chosen to ignore. They are more like California’s other problems, like housing affordability and homelessness and traffic — human-made catastrophes we’ve all chosen to ignore, connected to the larger dysfunction at the heart of our state’s rot: a failure to live sustainably.

Eh, that’s part of it, but it’s not just the usual suspects of not enough environmental regulations and greedy rich people. But don’t knock Manjoo too much, and not just because his state is burning down. He’s among the few left-of-center writers willing to point out that a lot of progressive ideas get blocked by wealthy progressives who don’t want them enacted near their neighborhoods. They embrace grand schemes in theory but turn into vehement activists touting local control as soon as affordable housing proposals get too close to their posh neighborhoods. (He’s also pointed out that America’s biggest and most prestigious universities swoon when any billionaire comes along, even Jeffrey Epstein, and that economic engagement with China has corrupted our values, as demonstrated by the NBA. Are you noticing a theme here?)

You don’t hear as much about Calexit these days, do you? There are currently ten fires burning.

The boss recalled that “In 2016, then-governor Jerry Brown actually vetoed a bill that had unanimously passed the state legislature to promote the clearing of trees dangerously close to power lines. Brown’s team says this legislation was no big deal, but one progressive watchdog called the bill ‘neither insignificant or small.’” How often do you see a bill that passed unanimously get vetoed?

Most progressives blame the wildfires as an inevitable side effect of climate change, which gets their public policy decisions off the hook. Noah Rothman writes, “While utility providers make a convenient scapegoat, public policy is more to blame for California’s conundrum. Most wildfires are not caused by faulty electrical equipment but natural factors and human error. The state’s utilities are required by law to extend their networks to housing developed in high-risk areas, and, in a state with an acute housing shortage, more and more residences are built inside danger zones. What’s more, the patchwork of federal, state, local, tribal, and private interests that are responsible for forestry management have run up against the state’s onerous regulatory environment.” If you can’t clear out underbrush or clear out any trees, you end up with a ton of underbrush that burns quickly and hotter.Stay Updated with Morning Jolt

A guided tour of the news and politics driving the day, by Jim Geraghty.

If you want to find a surprising development in all of this, it’s that this disaster is bad enough to interrupt the usual partisan passions: “His team is performing above and beyond expectation,’’ [California Gov. Gavin] Newsom said of Trump, following a visit to meet with the senior residents of Las Casitas Mobile Home Park in American Canyon, which has been without power since Saturday. “Every single request we’ve had to the administration has been met.’’

Many parts of California look like paradise — nice weather year-round, a beautiful coast, redwood forests, gorgeous mountain ranges. This leads to many, many people wanting to live there, probably more than the region could reasonably manage, in terms of effective governance, the economy, and ecologically. The progressive response to this is schizophrenic. California’s Democratic political establishment believes that efforts to find and deport illegal immigrants are xenophobic and wrong. They offer driver’s licenses and Medicaid coverage to those who enter the country illegally. Then they lament strained state services, overcrowded schools, sprawl, and unmanageable population growth.

As Kevin observed, “California is great if you are too rich or too poor to care about the marginal costs of living there, but if you have a more average income (and are looking to raise a family on it) then hopping across the border to Nevada must look attractive.” Earlier this year, the New York Times noted the growing philosophy that California was a place for young, bright, ambitious people to make their fortune, which they would then enjoy spending somewhere else.

Despite some folks missing the point, earlier this year I observed that California’s cities earning the worst grades on air quality despite the toughest emissions laws in the country revealed the limits of regulation. Few rules can overcome geography: California’s cities have a lot of people, a lot of cars and traffic, and a lot of sunny days. When you live in a valley surrounded by high mountains, the smog doesn’t disperse easily. And that’s before accounting for the wildfires.

When I was in Silicon Valley in 2015, I remember a pre-apocalyptic mood from strict water use restrictions from a serious drought. This is not the California of a generation ago; as recently as Steve Martin’s L.A. Story in 1991, a filmmaker could plausibly tout California and specifically Los Angeles as a sort of quirky libertarian paradise, where everyone is free to pursue his American dream as he sees fit. In an era when California cities are attempting to ban fireplaces, plastic bags are banned, when Fresno banned permanent markersSan Francisco makes armed self-defense legally impossible, and campus speech codes, could a character plausibly describe the state that way today?

read more…

https://www.nationalreview.com/the-morning-jolt/policymakers-played-a-hand-in-californias-wildfire-issues/

US homebuilder confidence surges | Bedford Hills Real Estate

US homebuilder confidence rises to 20 month high with lower interest rates

The nation’s low-interest-rate environment and strong job market propelled homebuilder confidence to 71 points in October, the National Association of Home Builders and Wells Fargo said in this month’s Housing Market Index.

According to the index, October’s level now marks the highest reading since February of last year.

“The housing rebound that began in the spring continues, supported by low mortgage ratessolid job growth and a reduction in new home inventory,” NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde said.

In October, the index measuring current sales conditions rose to 78 points, while buyer traffic increased to 54 points and sales expectations over the next six months jumped to 76.

“The second half of 2019 has seen steady gains in single-family construction, and this is mirrored by the gradual uptick in builder sentiment over the past few months,” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz said. “However, builders continue to remain cautious due to ongoing supply-side constraints and concerns about a slowing economy.”

Despite these concerns, the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores show the Northeast grew to 60 points, the South rose to 73 points, the West climbed to 78 points and the Midwest inched forward to 58 points.

NOTE: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder opinions of single-family home sales and expectations, asking for a rating of good, fair or poor. Builders are also asked to rate prospective buyer traffic from very low to very high. The scores are used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index with a rating of 50 or over indicating positive sentiment.

NYC developers constantly lie about how tall their buildings are | Bedford Hills Real Estate

You ain’t dreaming. New York’s toniest buildings really are bigger on the inside than the outside.

For a small pool of New York buyers, a floor in the 90s is the new Park Avenue address — and developers are fudging numbers to accommodate them.

In 2013, Saudi retail magnate Fawaz Al Hokair signed an $87.7 million contract for a splendiferous privilege: owning the top floor of the Western Hemisphere’s tallest residential tower, 432 Park Ave. Al Hokair could boast that his 8,255-square-foot penthouse is on the 96th floor — six floors higher than billionaire Michael Dell’s then-record-breaking spread on the 90th floor of One57 (previously the city’s tallest residential tower).

Splendiferous, that is, if you ­ignore the fact that 432 Park is an 88-floor tower, eight floors less than advertised.

That’s not a fluke, it’s a power move. Nearly every new luxury condo in the city’s latest wave of super-tall construction mislabels floors to stroke buyers’ vanity.

“If you have the 95th floor in your address, that’s going to be impressive to pretty much everyone,” said Leonard Steinberg of Compass Real Estate. “Being on the 95th floor is unbelievable. In how many cities can you even live on the 95th floor?”

432 Park
432 ParkProvided by DBOX for CIM Group/Macklowe Properties

Like a short man in Cuban heels, One57 boasts a 90th-floor penthouse that is, technically, on the 75th floor. For more than a decade, billionaire developer Stephen Ross occupied the 80th-floor penthouse of his Time Warner Center, but has since moved up to the 92nd floor of his latest tower, 35 Hudson Yards. In reality, the Time Warner Center has 53 floors. His Hudson Yards building has 71.

“When [brokers] go see buildings under construction, we say, ‘Go to the top floor’ — which is often marketed as the 90th, but there will be a sign in the elevator that reads 63,” said broker Tristan Harper of Douglas Elliman.

This sleight of hand is achieved by developers in different ways, Harper and other experts explained. For one, most new residential skyscrapers have lobbies with tremendous ceiling heights. They might be counted as 10 or more stories. Many also have several floors of building ­mechanicals and amenity spaces that are counted.

Some — like One57 or 35 Hudson Yards — have hotels on the first couple dozen floors. Instead of counting from the first apartment, developers will divide building height by eight feet (the measure of a typical New York ceiling height) to get a total floor count that is higher than the actual number of residential floors. Or they count from the ground to determine on which floor an apartment would theoretically be.

That’s why residences at One57 start on the 22nd floor, while 35 Hudson Yards begins on the 53rd. In the industry, it’s known as marketing floors versus real floor, or “construction counting.”

“If we lived by the letter, buildings in New York would have a 13th floor — and I haven’t seen a 13th floor in a long time,” Steinberg said, adding that he considers the practice of embellishing floor numbers to be a mostly harmless example of “truthful hyperbole . . . Every developer wants to maximize value.”

Harry Macklowe is often credited with inventing vanity numbering with his Metropolitan Tower, which opened in 1985 on the south end of Central Park, now considered “Billionaires Row.” Macklowe advertised the building as having 78 floors, when it really has 66.

Trump World Tower
The Trump World Tower was the first building to claim it had 90 floors.Seth Gottfried

But it was Donald Trump who introduced 90th-floor fever. When Trump World Tower opened in 2001, he proclaimed it the “tallest residential building in the world” at 90 floors. (If you count them up, there are 72.)

“I chose 90 because I thought it was a good number,’’ Trump told The New York Times in 2003.

While the city allows developers to label floors as they please, it requires that the real number be disclosed on official offering plans.

But experts agree that, in a market where higher floors equal higher prestige and higher dollars, the rubber ruler is here to stay.

“If you repeat something often enough, it becomes the new normal,” said Steinberg. “There was a moment when a Botoxed face looked really weird. Now a face without Botox looks weird. It’s like that with real estate.”

read more…

https://nypost.com/2019/09/14/nyc-developers-constantly-lie-about-how-tall-their-buildings-are/

Bedford area apple picking | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Apple Picking Guide 2019 In The Hudson Valley
(Rick Uldricks/Patch)

HUDSON VALLEY, NY — Cooler temps, what a relief! That means it’s time to plan a trip this weekend to an orchard for a bushel or two of the season’s finest apples (and in some cases the last of the blackberries, pears and peaches).

You’ll love how most of these “pick your own” orchards offer a chance to pick up many other seasonal vegetables, select farm fresh foods, and enjoy some family-style events and activities.

The kinds of apples ready for picking changes over the season, so you’ll be able to visit several of these wonderful orchards and farms this fall. Look at their lovely websites and start planning trips!

Here’s a list you can take a bite out of:

Westchester:
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Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm
1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights.
914 245-5111
The farm offers more than a dozen varieties of apples. The season started in August with peaches and runs into December when you can hunt for the perfect Christmas trees. Pumpkin picking season starts in October. Stop by the gift shop for freshly baked cookies, doughnuts and strudel sticks.

Stuart’s Fruit Farm
62 Granite Springs Road, Granite Springs
914 245-2784
The 200-acre family-owned farm offers nine different varieties of apples as well as pumpkins. On weekends you can take a hayride through the orchards. You can end the visit by enjoying a freshly baked pie or doughnut with a glass of apple cider.

Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard
130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem
914 485-1210
The family-run farm lets visitors pick McIntosh and Front Hill apples but also sells Gala and Ginger Gold. The farm holds a Fall Festival on Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 7 through Oct. 27 10am-5pm as well as Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 9 and Oct. 14. Entertainment for kids include farm animals, bouncy castles and hayrides. You can also buy homemade doughnuts, cider, produce and fresh eggs. Dogs are not allowed; service animals with proper identification are allowed.

Rockland:

Dr. Davies Farm
306 Route 304, Congers
845 268-7020
Not only are there apples galore at Dr. Davies 35-acre farm, but there are apple themed T-shirts for sale, as well as homemade doughnuts and fresh pressed cider, vegetables and decorative pumpkins. Bring cash or a check as the farm does not accept credit cards.

The Orchards of Concklin
2 South Mountain Road, Pomona
845 354-0369
At The Orchards of Concklin, iyou can pick your own produce, visit the farm stand, and taste the fresh pressed apple cider. The bakery offers delicious pies, cookies, and pastries. If you can’t make it there this year, they can ship to you.

Mid-Hudson Valley:

Meadowbrook Farm
29 Old Myers Corners Road, Wappingers falls
845 297-3002
The farm has been a local favorite for over 70 years. They offer a large variety of apples for picking and uses their own apples to make fresh cider.

Fishkill Farms
9 Fishkill Farm Road, Hopewell Junction
845-897-4377
The farm offers several varieties of apples for picking, hayrides, a farm market, cider doughnuts, and barbecued jerk chicken for lunch. In addition to 40 acres of apples, they grow peaches, nectarines, black currants, cherries and pumpkins, all of which are available in season for pick-your-own. They sell New York state hard cider, wine, beer and spirits, roasted coffee and local ice cream.

Apple Hill Farm
124 Route 32, New Paltz
845 255-1605
Apple Hill Farm overlooks the picturesque Shawangunk and Catskill Mountains. The apple picking season begins in September with McIntosh, Cortland, Opalescent and Spartan and end the season with Red and Golden Delicious. Pick-your-own hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visitors can also check out the restored 1859 barn for fresh pressed apple cider and mulled apple cider donuts, as well as wreaths, dried and fresh-cut flowers. Hayrides.

Hurds Family Farm
2185 Route 32, Modena
845 883-6300
At Hurds Family Farm you can pick a variety of apples, including Ginger Gold, gala, Honeycrisp, Empire, Cortland, Jonagold and Golden Delicious, as well as Fuji, Rome Beauties and the flavorful Ruby Frost. You can find out which apples are being picked at the moment by visiting the site. There’s also a lot for kids to do, too.

Wilklow Orchards
341 Pancake Hollow Road, Highland
845 691-2339
The family who runs Wilklow Orchards has been farming the spot for six generations. They try to be sustainable and ecologically minded because they want the farm to last for another six generations. Besides picking your own apples, when you visit the site, you can also shop at their bakery. New York State flour and regional butter and eggs are used to make muffins and bread. Fruit from the farm is used to make jam and cider. There are 13 different varieties of apples to pick so call and find out what’s ripe.

Greig Farm
227 Pitcher Lane, Red Hook
845 758-1234
The farm is open for picking blackberries and apples, including Jonamac, Gala and McIntosh, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. The farm has been open to the public for more than 60 years. You can also pick raspberries and other vegetables. Kids may appreciate feeding the goats. There’s also a nursery/garden shop and Christmas shop. The farm organizes wine tastings.

Rose Hill Farm, 1798
19 Rose Hill, Red Hook
845 758-4215
Established in 1798, the farm offers cherries, blueberries, peaches, apples and pumpkins in a peaceful and scenic slice of the Hudson Valley. Gingergolds and Paula Reds apples are ripe. The farm also offers flowers, fresh eggs, meat and jam.

Lawrence Farms Orchards
39 Colandrea Road, Newburgh
845 562-4268
The family farm is a family-friendly location with “show chickens,” playful goats, a”Little Village” and hay bale maze. The farm has been doing “pick your own” fruits and vegetables for 30 years. Brand-new this year are milkshakes and frozen cider.

read more…

https://patch.com/new-york/bedford/apple-picking-guide-2019-hudson-valley?utm_source=alert-breakingnews&utm_medium=email&utm_term=around-town&utm_campaign=alert

Most homebuyers would sacrifice a big yard for a shorter commute, realtor.com says | Bedford Hills Real Estate

aerial neighborhood houses

Realtor.com added a new filter that allows people to look at homes for sale based on the commuting distance to their work. 

The new search option, created in response to user feedback, is designed to help buyers understand how long it will take to drive to and from work before pulling the trigger on a home purchase, realtor.com said in a statement. About 85% of people in a survey of 600 users of realtor.com said they would compromise on various home features, including lot size, square footage, and style of the home, to reduce their commute time. 

“Buyers would choose to save their sanity and sacrifice various home amenities in turn for a shorter commute,” realtor.com said.

The new feature currently is available only on the company’s IOS app, meaning right now you can only see it on iPhones, which represent about a third of the mobile market. In coming days it will be added to realtor.com’s Android app as well as its website, according to Shannon Baker, a spokeswoman for realtor.com.

The average American’s commute inched up to 26.9 minutes from 26.6 minutes in 2018 from the previous year, according to Census data. While that 18-second increase was small, it added up to two and a half extra hours on the road when tallied over the course of the year. 

Washington, D.C., has the nation’s worst commute, at an average 41 minutes each way, according to Geotab, a company that sells GPS fleet management systems, based on its computation of Census data. That’s followed by Boston and New York, both at 40 minutes. San Francisco is fourth, at 36 minutes, followed by Atlanta and Chicago, at 35 minutes. Los Angeles and Miami are seventh and eighth, at 33 minutes. Rounding out the top 10 is Philadelphia and Seattle, both at 32 minutes. 

This is what the filter looks like:

realtor.com's new filter

read more…

https://www.housingwire.com/articles/49485-most-homebuyers-would-sacrifice-a-big-yard-for-a-shorter-commute-realtorcom-says?utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingWire%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=74291785&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9j58HHTMliEJmwZipM5rhh_O4VD6CzS9EkZVIHI7VToGUFvt5LIsNcWzip68L6WdCbZpAtAHtmu061zfsIR8Kj1ZsByg&_hsmi=74291785

These solar-powered prefab cabins can be set up in just 4 hours | Bedford Hills Real Estate

VIEW SLIDESHOW

Canadian company DROP Structures is on a mission to allow people to “drop” the company’s incredible cabins (almost) hassle-free in just about any location. One of the most versatile designs is the minimalist Mono, a tiny prefab cabin that runs on solar power and can be set up in just a few hours.

tiny cabin with gabled roof and glazed facades

Although the minuscule 106-square-foot cabins take on a very minimalist appearance, the structures are the culmination of years of engineering and design savvy. According to Drop Structures, the cabins, which start at $24,500, typically require no permit. Thanks to their prefabricated assembly, they can be installed in a matter of hours.

Related: Low-energy prefab cabins are inspired by the Nordic concept of ‘friluftsliv’

tiny cabin with pitched roof and glass walls
tiny cabin with pitched roof and wood and glass walls

Built to be tiny, but tough, the Mono tiny cabins are clad in a standing seam metal exterior, which was chosen because the material is resilient to most types of climates and is low-maintenance. The cabins also boast a tight thermal envelope thanks to a solid core insulation that keeps the interior temperatures stable year-round in most climates.

tiny cabin with pitched roof and glazed facades lit from within
tiny cabin with pitched roof and wood covering glass wall

The Mono features a pitched roof with two floor-to-ceiling glazed walls at either side. This standard design enables natural light to flood the interior space and create a seamless connection between the cabin and its surroundings.

wood-lined room with desk and easel
wall with peg holes and shelving

The interior space is quite compact but offers everything needed for a serene retreat away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The walls and vaulted ceilings are made out of Baltic Birch panels that give the space a warm, cozy feel.

suspended shelf with various items
two people sitting outside a tiny cabin

The biggest advantage of these tiny cabins is versatility. The structures can be customized with various add-ons including extra windows or skylights, a built-in loft, a Murphy bed and more. They can can also go off the grid with the addition of solar panels.

+ DROP Structures

Via Dwell

Images via DROP Structures

tiny cabin lit up at night beside a lake

read more…

10 metros where prices have dropped | Bedford Hills Real Estate

markets-down-2019
iStock; realtor.com

The tectonic plates of America’s major real estate markets continue to shift beneath our feet. Little more than a year ago, unstoppable home price increases seemed to be the new normal just about everywhere. Go, go, go! It was a never-ending party for sellers, and mass anxiety for price-squeezed buyers. But then last fall came signs of a housing slowdown, as big-city prices began to level off—or in some markets actually drop. Was a housing bubble about to burst?

Well, not quite. Nationally home prices still rose 6.9% year over year in April. But here’s the thing: That’s actually the lowest price growth in five years. And according to the latest data, 1 in 5 metropolitan areas is now seeing decreases in home prices, compared with half as many a year ago. So what are the places moving from a seller’s market to a buyer’s? The realtor.com® data team set out to find those metros where home prices are falling the most.

“In a lot of markets buyers are hitting an affordability ceiling,” says Chief Economist Danielle Hale of realtor.com. “Prices just can’t keep rising if buyers can’t keep up. They are dropping out, and that’s why we’re seeing prices adjust [down] in some markets.H

There are some surprises on this list—including some of the highest-profile markets in the country (hello, San Francisco Bay Area!). It turns out there is a limit to how high home prices can go, even in some of America’s most alluring, if overheated, places.

Some markets are seeing price drops due to overbuilding: This creates too much supply and not enough demand, so prices naturally fall. And just like in past years, in other areas, natural disasters devastated lives, communities, and local real estate.

“A disaster will affect your ability to market” your home, says Orell Anderson, president of Strategic Property Analytics, in Laguna Beach, CA. It can boost home prices and rents in unaffected pockets as locals compete for housing. But it can also hurt an area’s image as folks don’t want to suffer through another disaster. “The market will demand a discount.”

To figure out where prices are down the most, we looked at the change in median list prices on realtor.com from April 2018 to April 2019 in the 250 biggest metropolitan areas.* We filtered out markets where price per square footage was up over that period. And we limited the ranking to no more than three metros per state.

So where are prices declining the most? Buckle up, let’s take a cross-country trip.

Where home prices have fallen the most
Where home prices have fallen the mostTony Frenzel

1. San Jose, CA

Median list price: $1.1 million
Median list price change: -8.4%

Santana Row in San Jose, CA
Santana Row in San Jose, CAalacatr/iStock

Yes, you read that right. Perennial hottest market in the U.S., San Jose is seeing the steepest declines in home prices these days. For the past few years, home prices in this city at the heart of Silicon Valley have soared at double-digit rates. But last fall, red flags started to appear. Sellers began slashing list prices, with the number of price reductions jumping 200% over the previous year. Now prices are plummeting faster than anywhere else in the U.S.

Time for a quick reality check: None of this means that San Jose has become a bargain. It’s still America’s most expensive real estate market. But therein lies the problem—prices just shot up too high. From April 2017 to April 2018, median list prices soared a remarkable 28%. And even in the San Francisco Bay Area, what comes up must come down. Eventually.

“When [prices] jump that quick, it can produce a reaction with buyers, who say, ‘I can’t do it anymore, that is just too expensive,'” says Patrick Carlisle, Bay Area chief marketing analyst at the real estate firm Compass.

Federal tax law changes also played a role. Homeowners can now deduct only up to $10,000 in property and income taxes combined. Plus, the amount of mortgage interest deduction folks can write off on their taxes was reduced. In pricey areas like San Jose, that can translate into a big financial hit.

This has led dwellings to sit longer on the market, climbing from a median 19 days to 27 from April 2018 to April 2019. Meanwhile, the amount of abodes currently for sale has jumped 92%.

2. Oxnard, CA

Median list price: $681,100
Median list price change: -5.4%

Waterfront homes in Oxnard, CA
Waterfront homes in Oxnard, CAbenedek/iStock

In late 2017, the Thomas fire burned almost 300,000 acres, destroying more than 1,000 homes in Ventura County, part of the Oxnard metro, and surrounding areas (including Santa Barbara County). At the time it was the largest wildfire in California history. And that was just the beginning of the widespread damage—the conflagration damaged ground soil and tree roots, leading to mudslides that wiped out still more homes.

In the disaster’s wake, some displaced victims left the area altogether instead of going through the long, painful process of rebuilding. Others who were thinking of moving to the area changed their plans altogether.

Overall rising prices in the area north of Los Angeles are also to blame. Last spring, buyers hit their breaking point, says local real estate agent Kevin Paffrath, of meetkevin.com. With high prices, mortgage rates, and the tax changes, many stayed on the sidelines, lessening demand in the area.

3. College Station, TX

Median list price: $265,000
Median list price change: -5.4%

Three-bedroom home in College Station, TX
Three-bedroom home in College Station, TXrealtor.com

The 64,000 Texas A&M University students that pour into College Station every fall—plus all of the faculty and staff—need lots of places to live. But builders in pro-development Texas went a bit overboard in recent years. That resulted in a glut of new homes in this market two hours northwest of Houston, pushing inventory up 18.3% year over year and causing prices to tumble.

Eventually, investors are expected to snap up many of these properties and rent them out to students. But it also means buyers have options. So they can take their time finding the right one—and then negotiating the price down.

Folks here can snag a new home for a bargain compared with those in bigger cities such as Austin and Dallas. A new three-bedroom home with a granite-topped island and walk-in closets in the master-planned community of Creek Meadows is listed at just $241,200.

4. Bridgeport, CT (Fairfield County)

Median list price: $750,000
Median list price change: -4.9%

Bridgeport, CT
Bridgeport, CTDenisTangneyJr/iStock

Prices are sky-high in this golden metro encompassing all of wealthy Fairfield County, home to some of the toniest enclaves just outside of New York City. But as in California, tax law changes made buying sprawling mansions in uber-wealthy communities such as Greenwich more expensive. That’s because the state has some of the highest property taxes in the nation—and now homeowners can’t write off nearly as much.

Plus, many of the affluent buyers who might normally head for Fairfield County may be choosing to go to Manhattan instead. That’s because the city has had an influx of new, luxury towers going up in recent years—including the flashy, massive development Hudson Yards.

The cooling in the Bridgeport metro has helped push inventory up 8.5% year over year in Fairfield County. Keep in mind prices in this market have a huge range. There are three-bedroom ’60s ranches priced at $185,000in the city of Bridgeport itself, and Colonial-style estates priced just under $3 million in Greenwich.

5. San Francisco, CA

Median list price: $948,300
Median list price change: -4.1%

Homes in San Francisco, CA
Homes in San Francisco, CAAndia/Getty Images

When California home prices overheated late last year, it was no surprise that San Francisco—the second-most expensive metro in the nation, after San Jose—took a big hit.

Prices here jumped 10% from April 1, 2017, to April 1, 2018, making homeownership a steeper-than-ever climb for ordinary people. And more homes are going up for sale in lower-priced areas nearby, like Oakland, which is pulling the metro’s median list price down, says Carlisle of Compass.

But prices may soon surge again. San Francisco–based Uber and Lyft just went public, and Pinterest, Slack, Postmates, and Airbnb might soon follow suit. With all of those initial public offerings, workers could be in line for some windfalls. And what better way to spend all that money than on real estate?

“Some sellers have stopped putting their homes on the market because they want to wait for the supposed rush of [IPO] buyers,” Carlisle says.

6. Hilo, HI

Median list price: $481,600
Median list price change: -3.5%

New home in Hilo, HI
New home in Hilo, HIrealtor.com

The Kilauea Volcano spewed a miles-long lava stream through the Big Island of Hawaii last May. The news was plastered with images of magma tearing through Hawaiian homes, about 700 of which were destroyed. Recovery efforts are expected to cost more than $800 million.

It shattered the image of a Polynesian paradise for many foreign investors, wealthy professionals, and rich retirees drawn to Hawaii as a dreamy second-home destination. And in the months following the eruption, tourism dropped off—a huge deal for a market that relies heavily on the business.

But price declines haven’t been substantial enough to create many great bargains here. This brand-new, three-bedroom home with a chef’s kitchenis still going for $545,000.

7. Cape Coral, FL

Median list price: $300,000
Median list price change: -3.3%

Cape Coral, FL
Cape Coral, FLTriggerPhoto/iStock

Last year, a massive algae bloom turned Cape Coral’s 400-plus-mile canal system, the crown jewel of the city, into a stinking, toxic green waterway. That wasn’t exactly an inducement for buyers in this fast-growing retirement town, and real estate prices fell accordingly.

“It was smelly and ugly,” says Mike Lombardo, a local real estate agent at Old Glory Realty. “You couldn’t go to the beach because of all the algae. And you couldn’t go fishing because the algae was killing the fish. The whole [real estate] system here is built off people coming down here to enjoy the weather and beach.”

The Army Corps of Engineers released excess water from Lake Okeechobee in 2018 to lessen the risk of flooding, bringing nutrient-rich water to Cape Coral and spurring the bloom. In March President Donald Trump toured Herbert Hoover Dike at Lake Okeechobee, promising to speed up infrastructure improvements that would prevent a repeat of 2018’s algae bloom.

The contamination was a double whammy for a market hit in 2017 by Hurricane Irma, which flooded homes and also hurt prices.

8. Laredo, TX

Median list price: $180,100
Median list price change: -2.9%

Laredo, TX
Laredo, TXDenisTangneyJr/iStock

Located on the U.S.-Mexico border on the banks of the Rio Grande River, Laredo is one of America’s largest inland ports, with more than $200 billion in goods passing through every year. So why is this city packed with customs and border security gigs seeing home prices drop?

It boils down to overbuilding, particularly at the higher end of the market. There’s no shortage of new homes sprouting up here, which means existing homes competing for those buyers have to lower their prices.

“Homes for over $300,000 are on the market longer than usual,” says Sandra Mendiola Alaniz, local broker/owner of Re/Max Real Estate Services.

9. Huntington, WV

Median list price: $143,300
Median list price change: -2.3%

Downtown Huntington, WV
Downtown Huntington, WVDenisTangneyJr/iStock

Huntington is a struggling metro that’s been badly affected by the opioid crisis. Many are leaving the city, on the Ohio River, for better-paying jobs and opportunities elsewhere. That means there aren’t exactly a lot of people clamoring to buy real estate, which keeps prices down.

Prices were low to begin with, so even a small decline can move the needle quite a bit. The median price here dropped $3,300—compared with $105,000 in San Jose.

Home to public research university Marshall University, this college town’s greatest selling point is its affordability. This month, realtor.com named Huntington among the top places for finding a mortgage under $1,000 per month. A lovely three-bedroom home built in the ’30s with a landscaped front yard can go for just $125,000.

10. Iowa City, IA

Median list price: $275,000
Median list price change: -1.8%

Iowa City winter
Iowa City winterChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When the polar vortex rolled into the Midwest earlier this year, it brought minus 20 degrees to Iowa, turning boiling water to ice in seconds. That rough winter meant the spring buying season got off to a very late start.

“People weren’t listing,” says Emily Farber, a Realtor at Lepic-Kroeger Realtors. “It was harder for them to take care of exterior maintenance because the weather was so atrocious.”

Plus, there wasn’t as much new construction in the cold. So other would-be sellers couldn’t find a new or trade-up home to buy—so they waited, too.

“It created a snowball effect,” says Farber. As it were.

read more…

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/2019-where-home-prices-falling-the-most/

Builder confidence up | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose three points to 66 in May, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Builder sentiment is at its highest level since October 2018 after declines in late 2018 due to higher interest rates and concerns over slower growth. Builders are catching up after a wet winter and many characterize sales as solid, driven by improved demand and ongoing low overall supply. However, affordability challenges persist.

Mortgage rates are hovering just above 4 percent following a challenging fourth quarter of 2018 when they peaked near 5 percent. This lower-interest rate environment, along with ongoing job growth and rising wages, is contributing to a gradual improvement in the marketplace. At the same time, builders continue to deal with ongoing labor and lot shortages and rising material costs that are holding back supply and harming affordability.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

All the HMI indices posted gains in May. The index measuring current sales conditions rose three points to 72, the component gauging expectations in the next six months edged one point higher to 72 and the metric charting buyer traffic moved up two points to 49.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast posted a six-point gain to 57, the West increased two points to 71, the Midwest gained one point to 54, and the South rose a single point to 68.

The HMI tables can be found at nahb.org/hmi.

read more…

New smoke detector law in NY April 1 | Bedford Hills Real Estate

We’re not trying to fool anyone — especially for something as serious as having smoke detectors. This coming April 1 is the day a new law goes into effect that bans the sale or installation of any smoke detecting device that has a battery that can be replaced or removed.

The law states that, as of April 1, any new or replacement smoke detectors in the state have to powered by a non-removable battery that lasts for at least 10 years, or it must be hardwired to the home’s electricity, localsyr.com said.

New smoke detecting units have a sealed lithium battery that people cannot take out.

The upgraded smoke detectors cost more than the ones you may still have in your home, but you will no longer need to spring for new batteries, making them likely cheaper over the long run, news10.com said.

Legislators originally passed a Jan. 1, 2017, effective date for the law, but it was amended to be in force April 1, 2019.Subscribe

The New York State Association of Realtors, Inc., noted that the law does not require smoke detectors that are already in use to be in compliance, just ones that are being newly installed or replaced.

The New York State Association of Fire Chiefs said all smoke detectorsthat are more than 10 years old should be replaced, even if you think it’s still working.

Besides testing them on a regular basis, the alarms need to be cleaned to remove any dust, cobwebs, pet fur or other substances that may have made their way into the unit.

Cleaning could be as simple as using a hair dryer to blow air at the smoke alarm for a few seconds to get rid of any debris.

If you are concerned about the cost of the new smoke detectors, the Red Cross is giving some away for free as part of the Sound the Alarm program.

There will be a mega-install day in Yonkers in Westchester County May 11, according to a Red Cross spokeswoman.

To have a smoke detector installed, people can call 845-673-1198 to schedule an appointment or visit www.soundthealarm.org/mnyn and fill out the online form.

read more…

https://patch.com/new-york/bedford/new-smoke-detector-law-set-go-effect-new-york

Best and worst mortgage rates for homebuyers, by state | Bedford Hills Real Estate

U.S. homebuyers are facing affordabilityOpens a New Window. challenges as home prices continue rising, however everything from mortgageOpens a New Window. rate terms to average down payments can vary markedly from state to state.

The average interest rate offered in the U.S. is 4.84 percent, according to findings from online lending exchange LendingTree. Rates tended to fall within a fairly narrow range across the country – there were no states with rates below 4.74 percent or in excess of 4.96 percent.

The average down payment across all 50 states is about $28,000, while the average loan offered in the U.S. is $224,297.

Here’s a look at the conditions prospective homebuyers are currently facing in the housing market, as compiled by LendingTree:

Highest interest rates

The states with the highest average interest rates are:

New York: Average interest rates in the Empire State are 4.96 percent, the highest in the country.

Iowa: In Iowa, residents face the second-highest interest rates, at 4.93 percent.

Arkansas: At 4.92 percent, residents in Arkansas only face slightly lower rates than Iowans.

Lowest interest rates

The states where interest rates are the lowest include:

California: The Golden State has the lowest interest rates, on average, at 4.74 percent.

New Jersey: Follows California with the second-lowest rates of 4.75 percent.

Washington & Massachusetts are tied for the third place spot, each state offering average rates of 4.76 percent.

Highest down payment

The states where consumers tend to put down the highest average down payment is New York, at $43,404.

Lowest down payment

On the flip side, residents in West Virginia typically only need to put down a little bit more than $15,000.

Lowest APR

The state with the lowest average APR is California at 4.83 percent.

Highest APR

New York had the highest APR at 5.07 percent.C

Highest offered loan

California homebuyers were offered the highest average loan, at $313,508.

Lowest offered loan

In Oklahoma, the average loan offered was the lowest out of all 50 states, at $186,502.

read more…

https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/best-and-worst-rates-for-prospective-homebuyers-by-state