Tag Archives: Bedford Hills Real Estate

Bedford Hills Real Estate

Bedford Town Hall news | Bedford Hills Real Estate

FOR THE MAY 16 TOWN BOARD AGENDA
 
CALENDARS 
For the Community Events Calendar click here
For the Town Calendar click here
FLAGS AT HALF STAFF
On May 15,  Peace Officer Memorial Day, flags will be flown at half staff.
 
CONTINUING POSTS
 
POTHOLE REPAIRS SEASON HAS OPENED
As to potholes you find in our Town roads, please call our Pothole Hotline at 666-7669 or feel free to contact me at 666-6530 or Supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
For potholes on state roads in our Town, such as Routes 22, 117, 121, 137 and 172 we would suggest that you call NYS’s pothole line at 1-800-POTHOLE.  
MARK YOUR CALENDARS ~ MEMORIAL DAY EVENTS IN THE TOWN OF BEDFORD
click here for the flyer
ACQUISITION OF WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT FOR $1 MOVES FORWARD
As has been recently reported, the property owners in the Bedford Hills-Katonah Business Sewer District on March 30 approved a referendum for the creation of the district and a $1.1 million bond issue.   The sewer system will utilize the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) for the Bedford Hills correctional facilities.  The agreement between the Town of Bedford and DOCCS provides for conveying to the Town title to the WWTP, which has excess capacity and can accommodate the other properties in the district.   The procedure for conveying title is the enactment of a Home Rule Law by the NYS Legislature and signed by the Governor, which would authorize the conveyance.   This is the regular procedure which DOCCS has followed in other instances in which a municipality received land from DOCCS; for example, DOCCS conveyed land to Greene County to construct a County jail; and to Beacon for athletic fields.   Special thanks to Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn, Planning Director Jeff Osterman, DOCCS and especially State Senator George Latimer and State Assemblyman David Buchwald and their respective staffs for turning around very quickly the proposed law.  I also wish to thank Town Clerk Boo Fumagalli who is familiar with the process and has been handling the documentation.   Accordingly, the Town Board approved at the May 2 meeting the Home Rule Request for the enactment of S5786 & A7559 to vest authority to the commissioner of the NYS Office of General Services subject to the consent of the commissioner of the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Services to convey title to the Town of Bedford to approximately 9 acres of unappropriated state lands in Bedford Hills on which is located the wastewater treatment plant presently operated by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. 
2016 AUDIT REPORT
The Town’s financial operations for the year ended December 31, 2016.  Click here for the audited financial statements that have been prepared by PKF O’Connor Davies LLC.  In addition to the Town’s audited financials, click here for the results of the review of the Town’s Justice Court.   Among the highlights are that the Town spent less than the adopted 2016 budget and revenues in most areas were higher than budgeted, resulting in a substantial increase in General Fund balances (over $1.1 million) and in Highway Fund balances (over $400,000).   The Town Board adopted a policy last year which states in part “The Town of Bedford finances will be managed so as to maintain balances of the various funds at levels sufficient to mitigate current and future risks, such as revenue shortfalls, unanticipated expenditures, stabilization of tax rates and user fees, protection of the Town’s creditworthiness, and to provide for adequate cash flow needs.”    The General Fund balance now is at approximately 35% of 2017 budgeted expenditures and the Highway Fund balance at approximately 20% of 2017 budgeted expenditures.   The Town Board believes that such levels are responsible, prudent and not excessive.
 
PROCUREMENT POLICY & BEST VALUE PROCUREMENT
The Town Board discussed a new proposed procurement policy which would be adopted at the same time as a local law allowing “Best Value Procurement”.  The proposed procurement policy would clarify sections of the current policy that may be unclear or outdated.  As written, the proposed procurement policy would also streamline the internal process for purchasing in preparation for the implementation of the Town’s new financial software.  The proposed procurement policy includes a new section for “Best Value Procurement”.  New York General Municipal Law allows Towns to authorize, by local law, the award of certain purchase contracts, including contracts for services, subject to competitive bidding on the basis of “best value” as defined in New York Finance Law.   The proposed “Best Value Procurement” local law will provide flexibility in obtaining good and services at favorable prices and will reduce the time to procure such goods and services.   The Town Board set a public hearing on the proposed law for May 16 at 8:10 PM.
PROPOSED REVISIONS TO LOCAL LAW AMENDING CHAPTER 76 OF THE TOWN CODE – THE LANDLORD REGISTRY LAW (“LLRL”)
The LLRL requires owners of two-family and multi-family residential rental buildings to register with the Town Building Department, pay a fee for each unit that is covered by the LLRL and requires the units to be inspected by the Building Department.  The primary changes to the LLRL we are proposing are as follows:
  • The definition of a “Residential Rental Property” in Section 76-2 is being revised to clarify that the LLRL applies to all units located in two-family or multi-family buildings, including mixed use commercial buildings. It also clarifies that unoccupied rental units are subject to registration, fees and inspection requirements.
  • Section 76-3 of the current LLRL requires every owner of a two-family or multi-family building to register with the Building Department upon taking ownership of a qualifying property and to file a recertification every two (2) years. The revised Section 76-3(B) requires recertification to be filed every three (3) years.
  • Section 76-3(C) of the revised LLRL only requires payment of the registry fee at the time of the initial registration and every three (3) years thereafter. In the current law, the registration / recertification fee must be paid every two (2) years.
  • Section 76-3(C) of the revised LLRL does not require a registration fees to be paid for units that are owner occupied or that are occupied by an owner’s immediate family (parents or children).
  • Section 76-4 (C) of the revised LLRL provides for a recertification form to confirm that all previously submitted information is still accurate.
  • Section 76-3(D) allows the Building Department to stagger the scheduled recertification filings and inspections during the first two years the revised law is in effect. This will allow the inspections to be spread out over a three year period, rather than having to conduct all inspections in the same year.
  • Section 76-5 of the current LLRL requires the owner of qualified rental units to schedule an inspection with the Building Department within 60 days of either the initial registration or any recertification filing which previously occurred every two (2) years.  Under the revised Section 76-5(A), inspections are now only required every three (3) years.
  • Under the revised version of Section 76-5(A), if an owner does not contact the Building Department within the appropriate time, then they could be subject to penalties under the revised LLRL. Previously, it was unclear whether the Owner or the Building Department had the burden of scheduling inspections. The Building Department will continue to check to make sure that inspections are scheduled and conducted as required. The revised Local Law clarifies that the burden of scheduling inspections is on the Owners, rather than the Building Department.
The Town Board set a public hearing on the proposed amendments for May 16 at 8:00 PM.
 
ALLIED COMMUNITY ENTERPRISES (ACE)
 a local affordable housing organization, has received funding for a Septic Repair/Replacement Program.  ACE is led by Joan Arnold and has as its board members Katonah residents Don Scott and Betsy Weir.  This Grant is administered by ACE and funded by New York State Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) to provide eligible homeowners with funding for septic repair/replacement. Grants are for systems that are in failure or failing, not for expansion.
Click here for Supervisor Chris Burdick’s letter explaining the program
Click here  for the link to the repair/replacement program

EMS AND FIRE DEPARTMENT LIFE MEMBERS VOLUNTEERS
I am pleased to report that the Town Board at its May 2 meeting adopted a policy to extend “free” pool membership to “life” members of each fire department and to the Katonah-bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corp.
 
BEDFORD PLAYHOUSE UPDATE
Click here for the press release and photos

SUPERVISOR’S NEWS & NOTES
For the most recent video (click here) on the Historic Preservation Law, 2016 Audit, and the Restoration of the Bedford Hills Train Station.


FOR THE SUPERVISOR’S MONTHLY REPORT (APRIL) click here
UPDATE ON PROPOSAL FOR BIKE PARK AT KATONAH MEMORIAL PARK
 Several Katonah residents, both those favoring the proposal and those opposing it, have asked about the status and the process.   Ultimately, the Town Board will make the decision.  We follow a process and rely heavily on our staff and the Recreation Parks Advisory Committee (RPAC).   We have asked staff and RPAC to review the proposal together with comments and concerns raised.   Below are questions and concerns which have been raised and need to be addressed.  This will require time.  While staff and RPAC will proceed diligently, I would not consider it reasonable for us to expect due diligence to be completed and a report with recommendations for either the May 2 or the May 16 Town Board meeting.  I am hopeful that the Town Board can consider the matter at either the June 7 or June 21 meeting.  All interested parties will have an opportunity to address the Board at such time. 
In answer to questions raised by those opposed to the proposal, I wish to assure you that we have received many valid and legitimate comments and concerns, and as detailed below from Recreation and Parks Superintendent Bill Heidepriem, they all will be considered and addressed.   In answer to questions raised by those supporting the proposal, even if the Board were to approve the proposal, the actual creation of the park would need to await the fall after the conclusion of the summer park season.    

Among points/questions to be considered: 
  • The appropriateness of this new park amenity in a hamlet park
  • Family Bike area size of 1 acre – it doesn’t seem big enough for the three areas and the potential number of users
  • “Good neighbor” impact
  • Traffic impact on Wildwood Road & neighbor concerns
  • Parking impact – new parking area and by the shelter
  • Insurance questions – rate increase, liability issues, additional requirements from our carrier
  • Storm water discharge from the shelter access road to the wooded area proposed for the family bike area
  • Trail walker vs bike ride – potential conflicts
  • Bikers going “off course” into undesignated areas of the woods as well as onto the trails
  • Supervision, monitoring concerns – who, how etc.
  • Impact to the environment – wooded area – trees – soils – habitat
  • Erosion concerns – down the hill 
Bike Area Trails:
  • Construction – who reviews and approves the design drawings?
  • Pump & Strider track material – Clay proposed – maintenance requirements, run off, etc.
  • What amount of money needs to be budgeted for yearly maintenance/repairs improvements etc?
  • Maintenance – need to better understand the maintenance requirements associated with the trails as well as perimeter area
  • Are there maintenance standards that exist?
  • What are the maintenance requirements?
  • Yearly
  • Seasonal
  • Weekly
  • Daily
  • Weather impacts:
  • Freeze/thaw
  • Heavy rains
  • Bike Area season – what is the season?
  • Teamster vs volunteer work
  • Staff impact
Other Options:
  • Within Katonah Memorial Park
  • Other Town Parks
  • Other Areas
MISSION 16, Saturday, May 20, 2017 – HONOR FLIGHT FOR WWII VETERANS
Come cheer on veterans from the greatest generation as they depart on Hudson Valley Honor Flight’s Mission 16 to Washington D.C. on May 20, 2017. All are welcome to honor our heroes and give them the sendoff and welcome home that many of them never received but they so rightfully deserve. Click here for the flyer.
NOTES FROM THE APRIL 18 TOWN BOARD
  1. Overhaul of Historic Building Preservation Law   The Town Board, following a well- attended public hearing with many presenting their views, adopted amendments to the Historic Building Preservation Law.  Each property owner subject to the law was mailed notice of the public hearing (and had previously been notified of public information sessions held last year and one held this year).  The amendments include adoption of a list of historic properties; reduction in the number of historic properties subject to regulation; reduction in the authority of the Historic Building Preservation Commission (the HBPC review authority is limited to the 258 properties in “Tier 1”), clear establishment of “as of right” activities (no historic approval required); a new administrative permit to cut time and expense; and plain English rewrites of several provisions of the law.   The Town Board also adopted a resolution for a partial rebate in building permit fees for historic work.   The following summarizes the changes adopted in the HBPL:
SCOPE & PROCEDURES PRIOR TO AMENDMENTS
NEW SCOPE & PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AMENDMENTS
Properties subject to HBPC review:      807
Subject to administrative permit only:     0
HBPC applications/year (average):        12
Properties subject to HBPC review:           258
Subject to administrative permit only:        349
HBPC applications/year (estimated):          5
Total number Historic Buildings:          807*
The law requires that all permit applications affecting any of these Historic Buildings be referred to the HBPC
Tier I:                                                        258 properties
  • As-of-right projects are defined and will require no application or review
  • Substantial alteration or demolition will be subject to HBPC review
Tier II –                                                   349 properties
  • Only demolition will require approval; approval will be by administrative permit (no HBPC review)
2.    Support for Installation of Replacement Fire Tower at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation   The Board adopted a resolution urging Westchester County to proceed with the largely community-funded effort to install a replacement fire tower a short distance for Pell Hill in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.  The tower would provide a magnificent view of the tristate area, draw visitors and be a boon financially for the park and local businesses.  Click here for the resolution.
3.    Proposed amendments to Landlord Registry Law   The Board discussed further changes being recommended by Town Counsel and the Building Inspector providing the following: changing inspection period from every two years to every three years; adding mixed used commercial/residential properties (about 15 to 20); exempting owner-occupied units from the inspection fee (but they would be subject to inspection; and clarifying certain language.

APRIL 20 UPDATE FROM THE TRAFFIC SAFETY WORKING GROUP COMMITTEE
1.  Update from DPW:
a.  Bedford Village Traffic Calming Measures Along Village Green – Kevin Winn gave an update. The design for the traffic calming measures has been approved. The existing crosswalk will be changed to a raised concrete block crosswalk that looks like brick. A speed hump is also set to be added near the church on the Route 172 side. Hahn Engineering drafted the design and presented it to the Bedford Village Historic District Review Commission. After some minor modifications, the plan was presented again to the commission and was approved. These measures are set to be implemented in summer 2017 and coincide with the paving in the Village Green area.
b. Haines Road/Bedford Road Crosswalk – Kevin Winn gave an update. NYS DOT has given its permission to place a rapid-flash beacon at the crosswalk. The beacon goes below the sign indicating the crosswalk. They are currently trying to secure funding.
c. Parkway/Katonah Avenue – Kevin Winn gave an update. The island on the east side of Parkway is slated to be extended out to create a “refuge island” in summer 2017. The northeast corner of the intersection has been changed to a parking spot. The parking spot idea has seemed to work better than the previous idea of placing flower baskets in the area. Don Scott reports that the spot is used frequently during the late morning and afternoon hours.
2.  Update from Police Department:
a.  Vehicle Weight Scales – Mel Padilla gave an update. A second set of scales has been acquired. There was a delay in the state certifying the scales; however, both sets are now ready to be deployed. One commercial vehicle detail has been scheduled each month between May and September. The officers will be checking for gross vehicle weight, in addition to other items such as uncovered loads and missing placards. The goal of these inspections is to reduce truck traffic in the hamlets and throughout the town. Don Scott brought up the local delivery only signs which are placed in certain locations in the town. Chief Padilla stated that the law, as written, is too ambiguous to enforce properly. Chris Burdick and Jeff Osterman will look at the previous research done on the signs and law and see if there are any improvements that can be made.
b. Speed Limit Enforcement on Route 172 – Mel Padilla gave an update. The last speed study was done in October 2016. This study found that the 85% of drivers were doing an average speed of 47 MPH on this stretch of road. Chief Padilla brought up that officers have mentioned that one side of the roadway is 35 MPH and the other side is 30 MPH. The same situation exists on Route 35. Kevin Winn said he would look into the signage and bring any inconsistencies to the attention of NYS DOT. A traffic study is currently being conducted now to see if there has been any abatement in speed in this area. Once the study is completed next week, the speed board will be deployed to this area as a short-term fix. A lengthy discussion followed regarding the feasibility of installing speed camera signs or actual speed cameras to deter speeding in the area. There were questions regarding the legality of doing so and Chris Burdick stated he would be able to gather more information on the topic. Don Scott mentioned that other municipalities such as Yonkers and New York City have successfully implemented cameras. He also mentioned that he would be including a question on the speed cameras on a survey he is planning to send to Katonah residents and would share the results.
VACANCIES ~ BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
The Town of Bedford is looking to fill a vacancy (open only to a resident of the Katonah park district) on the Recreation and Parks Advisory (RPAC) Committee – for more information on the Committee click here.  The Town is also looking to fill a vacancy on the Tree Advisory Board (TAB) with preferably a certified arborist. for more information on the Board click here.  If you are interested in serving, please e-mail your resume with a cover letter to supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
You also may mail it to me at Supervisor, 321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills, New York 10507.   We also have two vacancies on the Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee, click here for more information on the committee or email the committee at veterans@bedfordny.gov  .
GREAT NEWS – ALL OF I-684 RUNNING THROUGH BEDFORD TO BE PAVED 
I am delighted to share with you some great news.  In a follow up call with NYS Department of Transportation Regional Director Todd Westhuis, he reported that DOT in 2018 will proceed with the paving of I-684 from Harris Road to the Exit 5/6 interchange (at Route 35).   This is in addition to the funding which Assemblyman Buchwald helped secure for the portion from the Route 172 interchange to Harris Road which will be carried out in 2017.
     My thanks goes to the community for making your voices heard.  The petition drive, the letter writing, the phone calls, the lobbying, the work of our elected representatives collectively paid off.

Click here for the press release

BEDFORD HILLS TRAIN STATION GRAND RE-OPENING RECEPTION
On Thursday evening, April 6, 2017, we celebrated the grand re-opening of the Bedford Hills train station following its restoration to its former glory from the early 20th century. The event, which the Bedford Hills Neighborhood Association co-sponsored with and the Town, was well attended.  Folks who had seen the before station marveled at the restoration of the high ceilings, ceiling lighting, ceiling fans, wall sconces and wainscoting. The event was hosted by Chris Burdick Town Supervisor; Lee V.A. Roberts Deputy Supervisor; Maryann Carr Councilwoman; and Don Scott Councilman. Our Superintendent of Recreation and Parks did his usual fabulous job as MC and arranging the reception. Many who contributed so heavily to this project were thanked and acknowledged.  We also thank the Bedford Hills merchants who supported this event.  Pizza, deserts, wine, sparkling water, flowers were all in abundance.
We are delighted that the newly renovated station now is available for Town activities, community events and use by community organizations and even for private parties (imagine a birthday party in the beautiful venue).  Superintendent of Recreation & Parks Bill Heidepriem has posted to the Town’s website a facility use forms and fee schedule should you be interested, click here.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF MARCH 30 SEWER VOTE – IT PASSES OVERWHELMINGLY
Property owners in the central business districts of Bedford Hills and Katonah voted yesterday on whether to create a sewer district and approve the issuance of $1.2 million in bonds toward the estimated $20.5 million to build the sewer system.
I am pleased to report that the referendum was approved by 94% of the vote with 97 voting yes and 6 voting no. Most gratifying is that 86% of the eligible votes were cast.
I wish to thank those who have made this possible, especially the strong support of my colleagues on the Town Board.  I also wish to thank our tireless staff with Planning Director Jeff Osterman and Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn doing a superb job in developing an affordable and intelligent plan, with the able assistance of our consulting engineers, Arcadis.  Thanks, too, to Town Clerk Boo Fumagalli and Deputy Town Clerk Nina Kellogg and the Election Inspectors who did an excellent job running the election and handling all the procedures, mailings, ballots and election rules.  Our counsel, Joel Sachs, and bond counsel, Doug Goodfriend, ably navigated us through the intricacies of New York State sewer law, election law and SEQRA.  Most of all, thanks to the voters who approved our moving ahead with this plan so crucial to protecting water quality and ensuring the vitality of our business districts.   Please see my March 31, 2017 Supervisor’s Report on next steps.
TOWN BOARD ACTIONS ON PARKING AT COMMUTER LOTS
The Town Board met on March 27 with Comptroller Abe Zambrano, who heads the Town’s Parking Bureau, to consider recommendations for the Town’s commuter lots, including strategies for reducing waiting lists at certain lots, a modest rate increase (there has been no increase since 2011) and a modest increase in the parking spaces.   There is a more detailed discussion in my March 31, 2017 report.
NEW FAIR & AFFORDABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN WESTCHESTER
            Applications are now being accepted for more than 30 new, fair and affordable homes in Westchester. These homes are single-family properties and condominiums, ranging in size, from one to five bedrooms. All of the homes are in good condition and located in the following communities: Bedford, Buchanan, Cortlandt, Harrison, Lewisboro, Mount Pleasant, North Castle, Pelham Manor, Peekskill, Pound Ridge, Somers, and Yorktown. “The county is pleased to offer these homes at discounted prices to families that want to live in Westchester County, but may not have been able to afford it in the past,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “I urge anyone who is interested to apply to purchase these homes.”
            Westchester County purchased these homes at market value and is selling them at affordable prices to qualified individuals and families. The price for fair and affordable homes range $125,000 to $300,000.
Qualifications for buyers to purchase an affordable home include:
  • A  household income at or less than 80% of the Area Median Income for Westchester County:  $60,400 for a one-person household; $69,000 for a two-person household; $77,650 for a three-person household; $86,250 for a four-person household ; $93,150 for a five-person household.
  •  Households must also have savings for a down payment and closing costs, satisfactory credit, and incomes sufficient to carry the monthly mortgage payments.
            These 30-plus homes are among the 790 units that the county is developing in accordance with the 2009 housing settlement.  The settlement permitted the county to satisfy up to 25% of the required 750 units with existing housing.  The properties will remain affordable for 50 years.
   Information on each unit is available on the county’s Homeseeker website at www.westchestergov.com/homeseeker, where interested families can view the information, download the application and sign up to receive information on additional properties and open houses.
The county’s housing marketing consultant, the Housing Action Council (HAC), is handling the marketing of each unit. Rose Noonan, executive director of the HAC, said the available homes have a number of options for potential buyers, such as proximity to public transportation, amount of yard space, and communities with a pool or near a lake.
“There are also the condominiums with amenities and common areas cared for by management companies,” said Noonan. “Each home has its own style ranging from townhomes and flats to raised ranches to Cape Cod style and colonials.”
The HAC is a not-for-profit organization that helps the county identify and qualify prospective purchasers.  As a member of the New York Mortgage Coalition, the HAC also provides homeownership counseling and assists buyers through the mortgage approval process.
            The buyers will be selected through a lottery process. Applications will be accepted through April 24, after which public lotteries will be held for each property. Buyers can expect to be in their homes by the end of the year.
            For additional information about the homes and their communities, contact the HAC at (914) 332-4144 or hac@affordablehomes.org or go to http://homes.westchestergov.com/homeownership/homeseeker-opportunities.
FOR THE SUPERVISOR’S LATEST VIDEO WITH COMPTROLLER ABRAHAM ZAMBRANO click here
S&P GLOBAL RATINGS – REAFFIRMS BEDFORD’S AAA BOND RATING
I’m pleased to inform you that S&P Global Ratings has assigned a AAA Bond Rating to the Town. Fewer than 3% of municipalities are awarded this coveted rating which has a direct impact on taxpayers by providing a lower rate of interest than those municipalities whose ratings are not as high.  We are delighted that we received on our $10 million bond issue to finance 2016 and 2017 Capital Projects a 3.078% interest rate, well below the 3.5% which Comptroller Abe Zambrano used for budgeting purposes.
TOWN BOARD ADOPTS RESOLUTION REAFFIRMING MORAL STANCE
The resolution referred to below has now also been posted in Spanish, for both the English and Spanish Versions – The Town Board adopted the resolution which I proposed setting forth the Town’s Moral Stance on Recent Events and Related Town Policies.  I am grateful to my colleagues on the Board for their unanimous support and for the community for their involvement in the discussion which led to the development of the resolution and its adoption.  I do wish to emphasize the need for understanding, tolerance and civility for all members of the community regardless of their background and viewpoints, as the resolution recognizes.  While the great majority of those in attendance at the Town Board meeting on March 4 at which the resolution was adopted, there were some opposed.  To paraphrase Voltaire, I may disagree with your viewpoint, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
VACANCY ON BLUE MOUNTAIN DEVELOPMENT BOARD AND BEDFORD HOUSING AGENCY
This Board and the Agency was created by the Bedford Town Board over thirty years ago to promote the creation of affordable housing stock.  The Board has worked tirelessly with not for profits (such as A Home, Habitat for Humanity and ACE), religious institutions (such as Antioch Baptist Church), New York State and Westchester County.  Most recently Blue Mountain has been partnering with Antioch Baptist Church for the creation of 12 affordable housing units at the Church’s property on Railroad Avenue which the Church will be conveying to a separate not-for-profit corporation.   It has been a long standing practice for the Town Board to consult with its boards and commissions when vacancies arise, particularly for suggestions as to skill sets and experience desired.   In the case of Blue Mountain, the individual leaving the Board is an attorney, and it would be helpful to replace him as well with an attorney.  For those interested in the vacancy, kindly e-mail your resume and cover letter (or e-mail) to supervisor@bedfordny.gov.
 
LOOKING FOR AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS AND CARING LANDLORDS
“A safe and peaceful home is the dream of every domestic violence victim.
Hope’s Door has a wonderful opportunity to make their dream come true.
We received a 3-year grant award to provide rental subsidies for victims fleeing abuse.
During their subsidy period, we will work with victims to become economically self-sufficient. We have all the victims we need and all the funding we need. What we do need are reasonably-priced apartments with landlords who want to make a difference in the lives of victims and their children. Please help us. If you know any landlords that would be interested in partnering with us, please have them contact: Debbie Lauro Conn
Director of Community Services DLauroConn@HopesDoorNY.org
(914) 747-0828 x 1017.”
ALLIED COMMUNITY ENTERPRISES’ (ACE) SEPTIC REPAIR/REPLACEMENT PROGRAM   We are delighted to be partnering with ACE on its exciting new Septic Repair /Replacement Program.  Under this program, homeowners who are income qualified in Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge are eligible to have their septic systems repaired or replaced under a program funded by New York State’s Affordable Housing Corporation.  Homeowners under the enhanced star program and other homeowners who may be lower income may be eligible.  Click here for the steps.  Click here for the application. More information can be found by going to the ACE website.
2017 MOBILE SHREDDER EVENTS – MARK YOUR CALENDARS
The Town of Bedford is pleased to announce that in response to requests from members of the community, the Town is providing four mobile paper shredder events in 2017:
  • March 18, September 16, and November 18 at the Town Recycling Center at 343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
  • May 6 at our Crusher Road highway yard off Crusher Road in Bedford Village from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, as part of spring cleanup days.
At the event, a Mobile Shredding Trucks will securely destroy documents. The company’s customer service professionals never physically touch your documents so the entire process is “touch-free”. The company can shred paper, paper clips, rubber bands, staples and even the black clips. They cannot shred 3-ring binders, or anything that is non paper (CDs, tapes, DVDs, hard drives, etc…).  There will be no charge to residents for the service.
 
SAVE THE DATES FOR ANNUAL CLEAN UP WEEKEND – MAY 6 AND 7
The Town will be alive with activity in this time honored tradition as we work to clean out our attics and garages, buy treasures at rummage sales and tag sales (for next year’s Clean Up weekend), buy and plant flowers and generally beautify our wonderful Town.  We applaud Chowder & Marching Club, Katonah Village Improvement Society, the Katonah Presbyterian Church, to name only a few who make it such a great event.  The Town’s highway facility off of Crusher Road in Bedford Village will be open.   Click here for more information
CANTITOE 282 CIRCUIT ROADS TO BE TRIMMED TOWN OF BEDFORD
New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) will be trimming the vegetation around our facilities on the Cantitoe 282 circuit during March 2017 to May 2017.  The contractor that has been awarded the contract is Nelson Tree Service.  Attached is the list of roads that we will be working on in your town.   NYSEG does this routine maintenance to insure the safe and reliable distribution of power.  If you have any questions about the schedule work or vegetation related concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
1.   Bayberry Ln;
2.    Baylis Ln;
3.    Bedford Center Rd;
4.    Brett Ln;
5.    Brundage Ridge Rd;
6.    Cantitoe St;
7.    Captain Theale Rd;
8.    Crusher Rd;
9.    David Lapsley Rd;
10.  East Way;
11.  Ferris Ln;
12.  Gordon Ave;
13.  Greenwich Rd;
14.  Grove Rd;
15.  Guard Hill Rd;
16.  Hollyhock Ln; Homestead Ln;
17.  Jefferson Ln;
18.  Lake Ave;
19.  Lincoln Ave;
20.  Locust Dr;
21.  Marys Ln;
22.  Millbrook Pl;
23.  Millbrook Rd;
24.  Old Post Rd;
25.  Oliver Rd;
26.  Pleasant St
27.  Pound Ridge Rd;
28.  Route 172;
29.  Route 22;
30.  S Bedford Rd;
31.  S Brook Rd;
32.  Spruce Pond Ln;
33.  Stone Paddock Pl;
34.  Tarleton Rd;
35.  The Farms Rd;
36.  Train Band Rd;
37.  Turtlepond Ln;
38.  Village Grn;
39.  Vinton Ave;
40.  Virginia Ave;
41.  W Circle Rd;
42.  Washington Ave;
43.  West Cir
FIVE YEAR UNAUDITED FINANCIAL PROJECTION 2017-2021
Click here for our projections prepared by our Town Comptroller Abe Zambrano.
2016 ANNUAL REPORT NOW POSTED TO WEBSITE!
Please take a few minutes to review our 2016 Annual Report, which summarizes what your Town government did to serve the community in 2016.  You’ll find a department by department summary of continuing to provide a high level of service and highlights of improvements made. Click here .
FAIR & AFFORDABLE HOME OWNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES IN THE TOWN
                 In a market where the median sale price of homes in Westchester County are at $600,000 – and even higher in Bedford — there are affordable homeownership opportunities in Bedford.  The Housing Action Council, a nonprofit organization, is accepting applications for single family properties and condos throughout Westchester including six  in Bedford.    These include one bedroom condos at Bedford Terrace, a one and two bedroom condo at Bedford Mews, a two bedroom single family property on Ridge St. and a 3 bedroom single family home on Church St.
             The affordable sale prices were made possible with financial help from Westchester County.  Maximum household incomes, minimum occupancy, primary residency and resale requirements apply.  For more information, applications and requirements, go to www.housingactioncouncil.org  or email hac@affordablehomes.org or call (914) 332-4144.
                   Three of the Bedford properties have an application deadline of
April 24;  others are on a first come first serve basis.
CON EDISON PRUNING
Con Ed is pruning branches around power lines on the Mt. Kisco electrical loop, this week and next weather permitting.  Con Ed has notified the abutting residents. At present they are only pruning branches and there are no actual tree removals to be done. They have a wood chipper crew with them and they are removing debris as they go. However, Con Ed will be assessing the health of the trees as they proceed and there could be a request for actual tree take-downs.   The roads are: Bedford Rd; Valeria Ct; S. Beechwood Rd, Green La, Edna St,  Center St,  Norm Ave,  Mclain St, Springhurst Rd,  W. Patent Rd, Broad Brook Rd, Guard Hill Rd,  Darlington Rd Christopher Rd, Rock Gate Farm Rd, Letitia  La, Charles Rd,
S. Bedford Rd,  Old Wagon Rd,  Chestnut Ridge Rd, Linden La, Sarles St, Deer Knoll Rd
MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MAP)
A new program offered by the NY AG’s Office. The program will provide up to $40k to homeowners facing foreclosure due to delinquent mortgage payments, property taxes or Gmaintenance fees.  If they qualify, they do not need to pay it back monthly.  It is paid back if the homeowner refinances or sells the house over the life of the loan.   Westchester Residential Opportunities Inc. (WRO) is designated to process the application from their office.  Homeowners can call Veronica Raphael,
Director of Foreclosure Prevention to see if they qualify for this program.  914-428-4507 x334 or vraphael@wroinc.org.
LIMITED PARKING AT TOWN OFFICES DURING POLICE STATION CONSTRUCTION
Please be advised that during the renovation work at the Police Station, parking at both 425 Cherry Street and 321 Bedford Road will be limited.  Please note that starting on Monday, February 6, there will be “Resident Parking Only” for certain spaces in the parking lots.   We would also strongly recommend that if you need to visit the Town Offices, you consider doing so on a day other than when the Justice Court is in session.  For the Justice Court schedule and other information regarding parking, please click here.
THREE MAJOR INTERSECTIONS IN KATONAH: ROUTES 35 AND 22, ROUTE 35 AND THE I-684 OVERPASS AND ROUTE 25 AND WOODBRIDGE ROAD
I have been working with Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and Police Chief Mel Padilla to address the danger posed with power outages knocking out the traffic lights at the three major intersections in Katonah: Routes 35 and 22, Route 35 and the I-684 overpass and Route 25 and Woodbridge Road.
As was recognized in the discussion of the outage, posting officers either to direct traffic or place flares in a multi lane highway with additional turning lanes in dark rainy/icing conditions is extremely dangerous (especially with some careless, heedless drivers disregarding the intersections and basic traffic law).
We are exploring other means of addressing the problem. Because there have been previous incidences of power outages at these locations, I have contacted NYSEG to ask what measures NYSEG is taking to “harden” the circuit which power the traffic lights. I have also asked whether there might be a “dual feed” whereby if one circuit goes down, another circuit might pick up the load. It’s not a likelihood, but I still felt I should ask. I also placed a call to the regional office of the NYS Department of Transportation to discuss our concerns, given that the traffic lights are owned by and the responsibility of DOT.
Most important is getting the traffic lights back into operation as quickly as possible. Given that FEMA did not grant our post-Sandy request for funding generators, we purchased them ourselves. The generators are portable and may be used in emergency situations throughout town. As such, the generators are not fixed in a given location but are transported from safe storage to where most needed. Commissioner Winn and Chief Padilla are instituting new procedures for mobilizing the generators more quickly. They are confident that doing so should significantly reduce the time that the traffic lights are out.
POLICE STATION RENOVATIONS  
            This is the second installment of the explanation of the project to renovate the station building to which there hasn’t been any significant work in over 30 years.  The $7 million project is comprised of the renovation of the lower level of the Town Offices at 321 Bedford Road to house the police department while the one-year renovation project is being carried out; the gut renovation of the station building; the removal of a portion of the adjacent building (known as the “Milk Building”) to allow room for an addition to the station building; and a second addition to the station building.   The following describes the improvements/renovations to the interior of the station building and the facilities to be housed in it with the additions:
  • Increased security measures will include electronic access control to secure areas and increased video surveillance of sensitive areas.
  • Locate Interview room in lobby to limit entry to the inner secure area of building.
  • Dedicated office space for sergeants to conduct their secondary duties and counsel officers under their command
  • Larger lockers for officers to accommodate all equipment and uniforms (current lockers are insufficient in size).
  • Location of lieutenant offices, detective division and records office to be consolidated into one area to facilitate efficiency of operations.
  • Conference area to be added for executive-level meetings as well as in-house emergency operations management center capabilities.
  • Classroom to be expanded and updated with modern A/V equipment.  This will give the ability to host regional training and reduce training costs for Bedford Officers.
  • Access to classroom from lobby to be added to limit unnecessary entry to the inner secure area of building.
  • Training area for defensive tactics and dynamic tactical training t. Having this capability will reduce scheduling and training overtime costs by conducting smaller trainings with on-duty officers.
  • Health and wellness area included for officers to stay in good physical condition; area will also include provisions for officers held overnight during inclement weather/emergency situations.
  • Larger evidence room to allow for appropriate secure storage in accordance with state accreditation requirements.
  • Secure prisoner intake to maintain the safety and security of the arresting officers and the defendant.
  • Centralized server room for all departmental IT and telecommunications equipment.
  • Secure enclosed space for weapons maintenance and storage
  • Garage for storage of specialty vehicles and equipment (UTV, Motorcycle, Message Boards, etc..)
  • Report writing, muster, and break areas combined and located near dispatch to facilitate communication between the oncoming and outgoing tour.
             Also the Better Business Bureau offers other Scam Alerts at https://www.bbb.org/council/news-events/lists/bbb-scam-alerts/
NYSEG ~ EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS UPDATE
To report an outage or an electrical emergency, please call us at 1.800.572.1131 or go to our Emergency Preparedness web page, “Outage Central,” at
You can sign up for Outage Alerts to receive notifications regarding power outages and the estimated restoration time at  http://www.nyseg.com/YourAccount/AboutAlerts.html
NYSEG urges customers to stay away from downed power lines – even lines that appear dead can be deadly. NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131 to report downed power lines or other hazardous conditions.
DAILY PARKING RATE CHANGE 
Effective 1/2/17 the daily parking rate is $8 per calendar day
For more information on Parking Permits click here
.
TEXT MESSAGES FROM NYSEG AND CON EDISON -outages and emergencies
You can sign up for text alerts from NYSEG by going to http://www.nyseg.com/youraccount/aboutalerts.html  and from Con Edison by going to
http://www.coned.com/mobileapp/. In addition, here is some useful information if you need to contact either NYSEG or Con Edison. Both NYSEG and Con Edison encourage customers with special needs to enroll in special services for them.  “NYSEG is committed to providing their customers with safe, reliable energy delivery. They also offer many services for special need customers, including: Special Identification for households where everyone is elderly, blind or disabled. Large print, sight-saver Bills for visually-impaired customers.  Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grants  NYSEG’s Energy Assistance Program (EAP) Project SHARE emergency energy assistance program. If you or someone in your household relies on life-sustaining equipment, you should contact NYSEG immediately! How to call NYSEG: Electricity interruptions or emergencies: 1.800.572.1131 (24 hours a day, every day) Customer relations center: 1.800.572.1111 Payment arrangements: 1.888.315.1755 Hearing and speech-impaired: Dial 711 (New York Relay Service)” Message from Con Edison: Customer Central Special Services Safety for Special Customers: It is important that we have a record of everyone who uses electrically operated life-support equipment or has medical hardships so we can contact them in an emergency. To learn more and complete the survey, please visit the link below. You can also let us know by calling 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). Con Edison customers can enroll for this service by visiting www.conEd.com, clicking on Customer Central, and then the “special services” link. You will need your account number. To keep our records current, each year we send a letter asking you to recertify. http://www.coned.com/customercentral/specialservices.asp
Customers with Special Needs: We recognize that senior citizens and people with disabilities need special attention. That’s why we offer a variety of services and billing and payment options that make life a little bit easier for the elderly, visually or hearing-impaired, or customers with permanent disabilities. Please visit the link below to view the Customers With Special Needs brochure. http://www.coned.com/customercentral/specialservices.asp
SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
 I would like to take this opportunity to urge residents to check their smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
            A regular reader of this weekly newsletter asked why I repeat certain posts from week to week.   I do so because not everyone reads my newsletter on a weekly basis, much information provided remains relevant and I wish to continue to alert the community about it.    In response to the comment, however, you will see that I’ve divided the newsletter into two sections “New Posts” and “Continuing Posts”.   Both sections are relevant and, I believe, worthy of review.    I wish to thank readers for making suggestions and comments; over the years, I’ve not only changed format but added content based on them (for example, why the flags are flow at half-mast).
CON EDISON 
Warns Customers Not To Fall for Scam Callers
Refer Suspicious Calls to Police or 1-800-75CONED
NEW YORK – Con Edison is warning customers not to fall for scams in which a caller threatens a service turnoff unless the customer purchases a pre-paid card or arranges for a transfer via MoneyGram to pay a bill.
These callers are not from Con Edison and Con Edison does not accept payments of electric or gas bills by pre-paid debit cards, or by MoneyGram or similar transfers.
The company has recently seen a spike in reports from customers who were contacted by the scammers. Con Edison believes the scammers are calling customers randomly, not targeting just those who owe back payments. The company has received complaints from residential and business customers.
The scammers sometimes even tell the customer about a store near the customer’s home that sells pre-paid cards. The scammer instructs the customer to pay cash to put money on the card and to then provide the number on the card to the person who called.
Once the customer provides the scammer with the card number, the scammer steals the money on the card.
There have even been reports of these scammers making a Con Edison phone number show up on the customer’s caller ID.
With MoneyGram, scammers may ask a customer to provide money from a bank account, credit card or debit card by going online or to a specified location. The money goes into someone else’s bank account or is available for the receiver to pick up in cash.
Be alert if anyone asks you by telephone to arrange for pre-paid debit cards or a MoneyGram transfer as payment for your bill, or to send money to an out-of-state address. Never arrange payment or divulge account or personal information, including debit or credit card information, over the telephone, unless you are certain you are speaking to a Con Edison representative.
Anyone who feels they may have been a target of an impostor or a payment scam should call their local police department. They may also call Con Edison at 1-800-75CONED.
Con Edison’s website, http://www.coned.com/customercentral/managemybill.asp, offers a variety of approved and convenient options for bill payment.
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT   
Over the last couple of years, I have brought together about quarterly the chiefs of our fire departments and the president of the Katonah Bedford Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps to discuss matters of mutual concern. Results of some of the last couple of meetings was the Town agreeing to assume the expense of a larger monitor and certain other improvements to the OEM center housed on the second floor of the Bedford Hills Fire House. In addition, we have discussed ways to reduce false alarms which result in unnecessary deployment of emergency forces and unnecessary charges to property owners.
TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS click here
POW-MIA FLAG NOW BEING FLOWN ON ALL TOWN OF BEDFORD FLAGPOLES
In 1990 a federal law was enacted which recognized the National League of Families POW/MIA Flag which identified it “as a symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.”   The flag has become a symbol for prisoners of war and those missing in action from all American wars.  Joining the Westchester County and other Westchester municipalities, I have directed that the POW/MIA flag be flown on all Town of Bedford flagpoles.   This began on Monday, December 5.

Single-Family Housing Starts Up 9% in 2016 | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Housing starts rebounded in December, as monthly volatility for multifamily starts continued. Total starts were up 11.3%, rising to a 1.226 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. However, single-family starts posted a small monthly decline in December, albeit recording the fourth strongest monthly pace since the end of the recession.

According to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, single-family starts declined 4% to a 795,000 annual rate. For 2016 as a whole, single-family construction improved 9.3% over the 2015 level of starts. And as measured on a three-month moving average, single-family starts are at a post-cycle high, as seen on the graph below. This increase is consistent with recent growth in the NAHB/Wells Fargo measure of single-family builder confidence.

Single-family permits also point to more growth in 2017. Single-family permits grew 4.7% in December, reaching an annual rate of 817,000, the fastest pace in the current cycle.

Multifamily development was the primary reason the headline starts number rose in December. Total multifamily starts were up 57% for the month at a 431,000 annual rate, after posting a nearly 40% drop in November. Monthly volatility for multifamily starts has been a factor in the data since August. Nonetheless, for 2016 the apartment sector realized a small production decline for the year, in line with our expectations that 2015 will be the peak year of development for multifamily housing in this cycle.

 

Focusing on housing’s economic impact, in December 57% of homes under construction were multifamily (604,000). This multifamily count is 8% higher than a year ago. There were 450,000 single-family units under construction, a gain of 7% from this time in 2015. This is the highest count of single-family units under construction since 2008.

 

read more…

http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/01/single-family-housing-starts-up-9-in-2016/

Share of Past Due Mortgages Drop Significantly | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Information released by the Mortgage Bankers’ Association (MBA) indicates that the share of all 1-4 family mortgage loans past due has returned to a level of normality. According to the MBA’s National Delinquency Survey, the share of all 1-4 family mortgages considered past due fell by 14 basis points to 4.52 percent. One year ago 4.99 percent of loans were considered past due.

The current share of loans past due has fallen significantly from its recession-related peak of 10.1 percent in 2010. Moreover, the current share of past due mortgages is below the average percentage between 1980, the beginning of the series, and 2006, 4.8 percent. Additionally, the average between 1987 and 2006 was 4.6 percent.

presentation1

Deeper analysis finds that the underlying composition of mortgages past due has improved, but has not fully recovered. Mortgages considered past due include those that are 30-59 days past due, 60-89 days late, and 90 or more days delinquent. It excludes mortgages that have entered foreclosure.

The figure below presents the distribution of mortgages past due by the 3 categories of lateness. Currently, about half of past due mortgages, 52 percent, are 30-59 days past due, 17 percent are 60-89 days past due, while 31 percent are 90 or more days delinquent. The present composition is better than the distribution at the peak in 2010, when mortgages 90 or more days past due accounted for half, 50 percent, of all past due mortgages.

However, the composition of past due mortgages on average between 1980 and 2006 was even more concentrated in the 30-59 day late category. On average, over the 1980-2006 period, mortgages 30-59 days past due accounted 67 percent of all past due mortgages while mortgages 90 or more days past due represented 16 percent. Also at 16 percent, the share of mortgages 60-89 days past due between 1980 and 2006 is similar to its current percentage of 17 percent.

presentation2

 

 

read more…

 

http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/share-of-past-due-mortgages-reaches-post-recession-low/

Housing Starts Fall in November | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Housing Starts Fall in November

 

Housing starts posted a notable drop in November after a strong October pace. Total starts were down 18.7%, falling to a 1.09 million seasonally adjusted annual rate after a 1.34 million rate in October. However, the decline was concentrated in the volatile multifamily sector. The single-family sector continues to show anon improving trend, consistent with rising home builder confidence.

According to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, single-family starts declined 4.1% to an 828,000 annual rate from a robust October pace of 863,000. Year-to-date, single-family construction is 9.6% higher than this time of 2015. And as measured on a three-month moving average, single-family starts are at a post-cycle high, as seen on the graph below.

Single-family permits point to more growth in 2017. Single-family permits, as measured on a three-month moving average, are also at a cycle high (778,000 annual rate) and are 8.1% higher on a year-to-date basis.

Multifamily development was the primary reason the headline starts number declined in November. Total multifamily starts were down 45% for the month, dropping from a strong but unsustainable October pace of 477,000 to a 262,000 annual rate in November. On a year-to-date basis, multifamily starts are approximately 4% lower than this time in 2015, as the market levels off and finds a balance between supply and demand.

On a monthly basis in November, single-family starts were up 19.8% in the Midwest, but fell by 4.6% in the South, 7.6% in the Northeast and 15.3% in the West. However, the monthly numbers mask the improvement seen around the county during 2016 for single-family construction. On a year-to-date basis, single-family construction is up 12.4% in the Midwest, 10.9% in the Northeast, 9.5% in the South, and 7.6% in the West.

Focusing on housing’s economic impact, in November 57% of homes under construction were multifamily (599,000). This multifamily count is 9% higher than a year ago. There were 445,000 single-family units under construction, a gain of 7% from this time in 2015. This is the highest count of single-family units under construction since September of 2008.

 

read more…

 

http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/12/behind-the-november-starts-headline/

Composition of New Home Sales Financing Shifts in Third Quarter | Bedford Hills Real Estate

NAHB analysis of the most recent Census estimates concerning sources of financing for new home salesreveals that the composition of mortgages by financing method shifted over the third quarter of 2016. The share of new home sales financed with conventional loans expanded at the expense of FHA-insured and VA-backed mortgages. The shift to conventional mortgages indicates continued return to health in the mortgage market.

presentation8

The Census Bureau’s Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing reports that the conventional share fell to 57% in the third quarter of 2010. Since then, the conventional share has trended upward, reaching 74% in the third quarter of 2016, 6 percentage points above its level in the previous quarter, 68%. However, as Figure 1 illustrates, in quarters prior to the most recent one, the conventional share remained relatively steady.

The expanded conventional share of new home sales over the third quarter of 2016 was partially offset by a decline in the percentage of sales financed with FHA-insured mortgages. After rising from 10% in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 17% in the second quarter of 2016, largely reflecting a decline in the annual MIP, the share held steady at or near this level until second quarter of 2016 before falling 3 percentage points to 14% in the third quarter.

In addition, the share of new home sales backed by VA mortgages fell to 7% over the third quarter after holding steady at or near 9% since the fourth quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, the share of homes financed with all cash was unchanged over the third quarter at 5% near its average level in 2002, 4%. However, while cash sales account for 5% of total new home sales, new construction accounts for 15% of all-cash sales.

The future evolution of the financing composition remains is worth tracking. On the one hand, the compositional shift recorded over the third quarter of 2016 may point to return to the mix of financing seen in the years just prior to the most recent recession. On the other hand, the shift in composition may be a temporary occurrence and components may return to the steady proportions that steadily prevailed over 2015 and the first half of 2016.

 

read more…

 

http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/composition-of-new-home-sales-financing-shifts-in-third-quarter/

Homeownership Rate Edges Up | Bedford Hills Real Estate

According to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the U.S. homeownership rate rose to 63.5% in the third quarter 2016, reversing the downward trend of homeownership rate nationwide. It is 60 basis points higher than the rate in the second quarter 2016, which is largely driven by the increase in the millennial and 65+ homeownership rates.

Compared to the peak at the end of 2004, the homeownership rate has steadily decreased by 5.7 percentage points and remains below the 25-year average rate of 66.2%.
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The millennial homeownership rate increased by 1.1% after reaching its own historically lowest level of 34.1% in the second quarter 2016. It suggests that millennials are gradually returning to the housing market.

Compared to a year ago, homeownership declined among all age groups except for those ages 35 to 44 and over 65 since a year ago. The homeownership rate for 44-45 age group decreased from 69.9% in the third quarter of 2015 to 69.1%, which is the largest drop among all age groups.

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The nonseasonally adjusted homeowner vacancy rate remained low at 1.8% in the third quarter 2016. At the same time, the national rental vacancy rate held at 6.8%, around the historical lowest level ever since 1990s.
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The HVS also provides a timely measure of household formations – the key driver of housing demand. Although it is not perfectly consistent with other Census Bureau surveys (Current Population Survey’s March ASEC, American Community Survey, and Decennial Census), the HVS remains a useful source of relatively real-time data.

The housing stock-based HVS revealed that the number of households increased to 118.6 million for the third quarter 2016. This is 1.2 million higher than a year ago and sustains gains recorded at the end of 2015. Growth in household formations will spur rental housing demand first, and ultimately, home sales.

read more…

 

http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/10/homeownership-rate-edges-up/

U.S. mortgage application activity falls to five-month low | Bedford Hills Real Estate

A measure of U.S. mortgage application activity decreased for a second week to a five-month low as 30-year mortgage rates rose to their highest since June, data from the Mortgage Bankers Association released on Wednesday showed.

The Washington-based industry group’s mortgage market index fell 1.2 percent to 486.2 in the week ended Oct. 28, which was the lowest level since the week of May 27.

Interest rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, which are the most widely held type of U.S. home loans, averaged 3.75 percent in the latest week, matching the level last seen in June, MBA said.

Mortgage rates increased with higher U.S. Treasury yields with 10-year yields hitting their highest levels in about five month last week. US10YT=RR

U.S. bond yields climbed on speculation about whether overseas central banks may refrain from injecting more monetary stimulus to help their economies.

The group’s seasonally adjusted index on weekly applications to buy a home edged down 0.4 percent to 207.0 last week, which was the lowest since January.

The purchase activity gauge is seen as a proxy on home sales.

MBA’s weekly barometer on refinancing requests declined by 1.6 percent to 2,088.0, which was the weakest since June

 

read more…

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mortgages-idUSKBN12X1I0?il=0

New York requires maintenance of zombie homes | Bedford Hills Real Estate

The state of New York is taking its fight against zombies homes to the next level, as the state announced a series of new regulations for mortgage lenders and servicers that aim to hold the companies “accountable” for the maintenance of abandoned foreclosures.

Earlier this year, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed what the state called “sweeping” legislation to reform the state’s foreclosure process and address the state’s issues with zombie homes.

The state’s new laws impose a pre-foreclosure duty on banks and servicers to maintain zombie homes, creates an electronic registry of abandoned properties, and expedites foreclosure for vacant and abandoned properties to get them back on the market, among other requirements.

Cuomo’s office announced Tuesday what lenders and servicers will be required to do under the new laws and what punishment the companies will face if they don’t comply.

According to Cuomo’s office, the New York Department of Financial Services proposed a new regulation that mandates lenders and mortgage services report vacant and abandoned properties, in accordance with the state’s new laws.

Under the state’s new laws, lenders and mortgage servicers must complete an inspection of a property subject to delinquency within 90 days and must secure and maintain the property where the bank or servicer has a reasonable basis to believe that the property is vacant and abandoned, the NYDFS said.

Additionally, lenders and mortgage servicers will now be required to report all vacant and abandoned properties to the NYDSFS and submit quarterly reports detailing their efforts to secure and maintain the properties and any foreclosure proceedings.

According to the announcement, if the NYDFS determines that an abandoned or vacant house not “properly maintained” by the lender or mortgage servicer, the NYDFS will “exercise its authority” to hold the bank or mortgage servicer “accountable.”

According to the NYDFS, that means that lenders and servicers will face a civil penalty of $500 per day per property for violations of the new regulations.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York passed groundbreaking ‘zombie’ legislation that will provide real relief to communities all across the state,” NYDFS Superintendent Maria Vullo said. “DFS will take necessary and appropriate action to make sure this law is followed and those responsible are held accountable.”

These new laws and regulations aren’t the only steps undertaken recently by New York in its fight against zombie homes and neighborhood blight.

In July, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a new program that will help New York’s city governments track and address zombie homes in their respective cities.

According to Schneiderman’s office, the Zombie Remediation and Prevention Initiative will provide $13 million in grants to local governments to fight zombie homes.

And earlier in July, New York City announced plans to launch a “first of its kind” program to buy a number of delinquent loans from the Federal Housing Administration as part of an effort to keep struggling homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure.

 

read more…

 

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38149-new-york-announces-new-requirements-for-maintenance-of-zombie-homes?eid=311691494&bid=1541935

Marcel Breuer-Designed House Hits The Market | Bedford Hills Real Estate

A three-bedroom, two-bathroom single-family house designed by Marcel Breuer was quietly listed by ReeceNichols in June, according to real estate firm’s website. The asking price for the Snower Residence at 6701 Belinder Ave. in Mission Hill’s, Kan., is $925,000.

Completed in 1954, the polygonal residence features an open floor plan atop a cantilever base, a now-ubiquitous structural design element that Breuer first championed in furniture design and later in architecture. The Bauhaus alum also designed the home’s interior, much of which remained intact when the residence was purchased by Rob Barnes and Karen Bisset in 2013, according to the Kansas City Star. Furnishings include a Herman Miller rocking chair designed by Charles and Ray Eames and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Sofa for Knoll Furniture (below). The couple installed a new roof, refinished the cedar-plank ceilings, and repainted the exterior to its original blue and orange hues.

The current owners restored the living room's cedar-plank ceilings and kept much of Breuer's furnishings, including Mies' Barcelona Sofa (left.)
ReeceNicholsThe current owners restored the living room’s cedar-plank ceilings and kept much of Breuer’s furnishings, including Mies’ Barcelona Sofa (left.)
A bedroom in the Snower Residence with Breuer's signature sliding windows and an Eames Rocking Chair (right.)
ReeceNicholsA bedroom in the Snower Residence with Breuer’s signature sliding windows and an Eames Rocking Chair (right.)

According to ReeceNichols’ website, Robert Snower asked Breuer to design a house that would stand alone among the sea of his Ranch-style neighbors. “Of course I am asking the impossible,” wrote Snower, who first saw Breuer’s residential work in the 1952 edition of House and Home Magazine. “[My wife and I] hope for a house which we will consider exceedingly handsome, yet which will not too seriously offend what in our opinion are duller eyes than our own. Most of the newer houses around here fit the description of what I believe are called ‘Sunset Ranch Homes,’ ” a variation of the Colonial Ranch style that was popular at the time. “This we do not want.” Snower owned the home until his death in 2013.

 

read more…

 

http://www.residentialarchitect.com/projects/marcel-breuer-designed-house

Mortgage rates average 3.41% | Bedford Hills Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates dropping further to new 2016 lows in the wake of the Brexit vote. At 3.41 percent, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is just 10 basis points from its November 2012 all-time record low of 3.31 percent.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.41 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending July 7, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.48 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.04 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.74 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.78 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.20 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.68 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.70 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.93.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

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

“Continuing fallout from the Brexit vote drove Treasury yields lower again this week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage followed Treasury yields, falling 7 basis points to 3.41 percent in this week’s survey. Mortgage rates have now dropped 15 basis points over the past two weeks, leaving them only 10 basis points above the all-time low.”