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Midterm elections and home builders | Bedford Real Estate

Carolyn Sewell

From the largest publicly traded production firms to small local companies, home builders are at the epicenter of many of today’s most pressing political issues. Across the U.S., residential building pros deal with some of the country’s biggest challenges and opportunities: immigration, taxes, environmental regulations, banking, and Wall Street reform, to name just a few.

Home building’s reach into so many aspects of the nation’s economic health makes the industry a powerful force in U.S. political affairs, and housing issues impact the country in myriad ways, says Jim Tobin, the NAHB’s executive vice president for government affairs and chief lobbyist. “There are home builders in every district in every state. We’re important to the tax base. We offer jobs,” he says. “And our members are community leaders who aren’t just providing shelter, they’re providing stability and community leadership.” (Click here for a list of the top political issues facing builders this year.)

November’s midterm elections will help to shape these issues, and the stakes are high: Up for grabs is the entire House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, and 36 governorships. In what many political insiders consider a bellwether year for U.S. politics, home builders plan to make their voices heard. A recent BUILDER poll found that nearly 99% of respondents said they plan to vote in the upcoming elections, and more than three-quarters of them said home building–related issues will play a large role in their decisionmaking.

Before U.S. builders hit the polls they’ll have to sort through the current political climate, with its rampant party extremism, constantly changing balances of power, robust regulatory environment, and Supreme Court upheaval. In such uncertain times, many will look for guidance from the NAHB, which has long lobbied on behalf of the industry and, in 2016, began to support and endorse political candidates for Congress. (It does not endorse candidates at local or presidential levels).

Tracking the Industry
Founded in 1942, the NAHB’s mission is “to protect the American dream of housing opportunities for all, while working to achieve professional success for its members who build communities, create jobs, and strengthen our economy.” The association’s members construct about 80% of the new homes built in the U.S. every year, and the federation has more than 800 state and local associations throughout the country.

NAHB lobbies on topics from forest management to energy policy, and it issues statements on initiatives from tariffs and codes to Supreme Court justice changes. Staff members also keep tabs on what’s going on in government agencies that deal with housing—a total of 160 federal housing programs administered by 20 different entities at a cost of over $160 million each year, according to independent educational nonprofit Restore Accountability.

The association has a seat at the table at nearly every level of the legislative process, all the way up to the executive office. For instance, when President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order telling the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to rescind or revise the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, then-NAHB chairman of the board Granger MacDonald was by his side. In fact, it’s said that politicians ignore the home building industry at their peril; one Fox News announcer recently quipped that he’d rather have the NAHB with him than against him.

Tobin and his team of 10 lobbyists and 20 government affairs staffers are the soldiers who navigate the tricky terrain in the nation’s capital, working with regulatory agencies such as HUD and the EPA, the White House, and the judiciary on behalf of NAHB’s members. Keeping track of so many issues is no small task, Tobin says. “So many things impact the ability to develop housing in America,” he says.

Tobin starts his day by absorbing what’s driving the news cycle—sometimes a statement from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, often a presidential tweet. After internal strategy meetings at the NAHB’s National Housing Center in downtown D.C., just a few blocks from the K Street hub where Beltway lobby shops have traditionally clustered, Tobin treks over to Capitol Hill or the White House for meetings with members of Congress who could either sign or block legislation on everything from banking regulations to environmental protection. On any given day, Tobin’s team can be tracking 100 different bills.

Donald Trump addresses NAHB members in Miami Beach, Fla., during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty ImagesDonald Trump addresses NAHB members in Miami Beach, Fla., during his 2016 presidential campaign.

“Everything is almost a No. 1 priority when it comes up,” Tobin says. NAHB staff looks at every piece of legislation and change in regulations as soon as it is released and takes immediate action, no matter how unlikely it is to become law. If a bill were introduced to cut the mortgage-interest deduction in half, for example, Tobin’s team would be on it. “There’s no way that bill would make it through Congress, but we will take that bill with one co-sponsor, send a letter, lobby against it, and make sure there are several nails in that coffin so it never sees the light of day,” Tobin explains.

Although many might imagine Tobin having lunch or dinner meetings with members of Congress, those haven’t really been a thing since the 1990s, when a wave of reforms prohibited lobbyists from buying a senator or representative lunch—or anything else, for that matter. Meals at Capitol Hill meeting place Charlie Palmer Steak have been replaced by fundraising events, where Tobin says he can “access members of Congress to talk about current events, what you’re working on, in a smaller setting.”

These days, texts and messages are most congressional staffers’ preferred method of communication, Tobin says, and it better be quick. “You have to boil it down to a page, or a half page. People are busier and attention spans are shorter today,” he says. “Nothing will ever replace shoe-leather lobbying and relationships, but with the fast pace of Capitol Hill and a greater flow of information, Hill staff may not have the time to take a meeting, so you need to know how to get your points across.”

Every two years, Tobin and his staff prepare for shifting sands in Washington, D.C. If Democrats take over the House in the upcoming elections as some predict, Tobin’s staff will need to know the priorities of the new leadership and discern how they fit in with the NAHB’s agenda. “We’re always war gaming what the next two years are going to be based on what the current situation looks like,” he notes.

NAHB works closely with the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors—a trifecta that Tobin calls “the big three of housing”—and sometimes with the National Multifamily Housing Council, the Associated General Contractors of America, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the latter being the biggest spender on federal lobbying, paying out $22.9 million in the first quarter of 2018, according to Roll Call). “Sometimes we’re opposite them,” Tobin says. “But at the end of the day, if we can find like-minded associations to join the coalition, the more the merrier.”

Grassroots Efforts
NAHB’s lobbying efforts are determined by senior officers who represent the nearly 2,500 members who serve on the association’s board of directors, in turn representing NAHB’s 140,000 members. NAHB relies on its members to provide relationships with elected officials, which is why it created the Bringing Housing Home program to develop opportunities for its members to meet with congressional delegations. Local NAHB leaders are encouraged to schedule meetings with their senators and representatives during congressional recesses. NAHB members held hundreds of these meetings across the nation this spring and summer.

“There’s an old saying that most people don’t approve of Congress, but they approve of their member of Congress,” says Michael Everngam, vice president of BUILD-PAC, NAHB’s political action committee that serves to raise and distribute funds for pro-housing candidates. “I think that saying goes a long way. When we do have major issues come up, members are more likely to get involved and talk to their member of Congress because they’ve been involved along the way.”

Home builder Kevin Woodward (third from left) and other NAHB members meet with Tennessee U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (fifth from right).
Courtesy Kevin WoodwardHome builder Kevin Woodward (third from left) and other NAHB members meet with Tennessee U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (fifth from right).

Home builder Kevin Woodward has seen the importance of one-on-one political involvement. Early in his career, the managing partner for Legacy Homes in Nashvillerealized that laws and regulations could make or break his industry and saw that the only way to have any control over them was to get involved in the political process. For decades, Woodward has been part of lobbying efforts, serving twice as state president of the NAHB in Nebraska and three times in Tennessee. He has also been on numerous NAHB committees and is currently the third vice chair of the NAHB’s BUILD-PAC, meaning he will be chair in two years.

If Woodward has learned anything during his experience, it’s that nurturing relationships in the cities and districts where he lives is his most important contribution. “If we don’t participate at a local level, we’re never going to get anything done at a national level,” Woodward says. “What I have done and encourage others to do is meet with local officials, state legislators, and national legislators. Build relationships that will eventually blossom into the ability to reach out to them, so when you call them, they’ll actually answer.”

NAHB offers an advocacy app with an interactive congressional directory to keep members informed of housing news, statistics, and talking points on key issues, but most use “the old-fashioned way of communication—texts, phone calls, and emails—for our calls to action,” Woodward says. When issues come up, NAHB Board of Trustees members send a directive to state leaders, who disseminate the information and enlist help from members.

“They’re just a phenomenal government affairs staff at NAHB,” Woodward says. “They may send us a directive, and we’ll say, ‘Well, why?’ But they’re the experts in the field, and if they send us down a path, they have a reason. They’re in it 24/7/365. We’re involved much less. My job is to build houses.”

For example, when the NAHB asked local leaders in the spring to recruit members of Congress to sign a letter urging the Trump administration to restart lumber trade talks with Canada, Woodward sprang to action. He called all nine of Tennessee’s U.S. representatives and its two senators, then he called local members around the state who know key legislators, asking them to make calls and report back. If they didn’t, he called again—and his tenacity paid off. Seven of Tennessee’s nine representatives, including politically invaluable House Ways and Means member Diane Black, signed the letter. “Two we knew would not,” Woodward says. “That’s just politics.”

Pro-Housing Outreach
While NAHB’s government affairs office steers the ship in Washington, members back home truly drive the organization, says vice president for intergovernmental affairs Karl Eckhart, who oversees NAHB’s grassroots efforts. When members asked for more ways to support pro-housing candidates aside from BUILD-PAC, the association delivered. In 2016, NAHB made its first endorsements of 139 congressional candidates—94% of whom won their races—and launched the Defender of Housing Award for U.S. senators and representatives who have offered unwavering support for the housing sector. NAHB members have given 268 awards so far.

“We want our endorsements and the award to be meaningful,” Tobin says. “We want members of Congress who don’t get an award or endorsement to come to us and say, ‘What do I have to do to get that award? Let’s find areas where we can work together.’”

The criteria for what constitutes a pro-housing candidate takes many factors into consideration, and the selection process is intense. Woodward and other state leaders spend hours scouring candidates’ records and talking with people about congressional members and candidates before they offer a Defender of Housing award, donation, or endorsement.

“When we examine the housing bona fides of a candidate or a member of Congress we look for people that, first and foremost, are supportive of housing and creating conditions for greater housing affordability,” Tobin explains. “We’re looking for people who have relationships with their local home builders and meet regularly to discuss housing issues back home in their communities. We back candidates that support and promote policies of increasing ownership and rental opportunities, reducing regulatory costs, and creating an economic environment where small businesses can be successful. Housing is a bipartisan, middle-of-the-political-spectrum issue. Candidates that work to advance common-sense, bipartisan solutions to complex issues tend to earn NAHB’s support.”

A candidate’s chance of being elected also comes into play, Woodward says, because you want funding to go to candidates who will be in a position to help advance the association’s agenda. “Our PAC money is not a secret,” he says. “Anybody can find out who we give it to. If you keep throwing money at the wrong place, you’re never going to be able to succeed.”

One politician who has earned NAHB’s support is Rep. Keith Rothfus, a PennsylvaniaRepublican who was recently named a Defender of Housing. In Rothfus’ district, the home building industry employs 130,000 people and drives other industries such as raw materials, design services, and furniture sales, and he’s fierce about making sure home builders can do business unencumbered. He’s a vocal opponent of over-regulation, particularly when it comes to community banks, and as vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit and a member of the Financial Services Committee, he has some sway.

Rothfus is constantly in touch with builders, real estate agents, community bankers, and other stakeholders in the home building industry in his district, and he consistently votes the pro-housing party line. “It’s very important that we continue to have feedback from the various players,” he says. “It’s very important for us to stay in touch and hear their pressure points as they continue to offer jobs to people.”

Beyond Party Lines
As influential as the home building industry is in Washington, it’s not immune to the fact that money talks. Completely funded by donations from more than 2,700 members, the association’s BUILD-PAC has more than $3 million to spend this election cycle, and Tobin plans to use every dime. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks PAC spending, shows that as of Aug. 21, BUILD-PAC had contributed $979,000 to more than 300 candidates for the House and Senate, 86% of them Republican and 14% Democrat. The PAC has also contributed $240,000 to the national parties and $439,032 to committees, including $60,000 each to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

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Florida Prices Zoom as Markets Recover | Bedford Real Estate

Florida markets are dominating national price rankings this winter as demand remains strong for properties still priced far below their 2007 peaks.

Florida and New York led gains among the states with 0.8 percent month-over-month appreciation I the Black Knight HPI December index and Florida accounted for every one of the top 10 best performing metro areas in December, with Sarasota leading the way at 1.4 percent month-over-month growth.

Nationally, Black Knight reported home prices were up 0.1 percent for the month, and have gained 5.5 percent from one year ago.  At $253,000, the national level HPI remains 5.3 percent off its June 2006 peak of $268K, and up 27 percent from the market’s bottom in January 2012




Separately, the Florida Association of Realtors announced today that nearly half of the Realtors in U.S. and Canada – some 500,000 real estate professionals – now have access to its Tech Helpline service that provides technical support services for a wide range of software and hardware, from smartphones and tablets to desktops, laptops, email problems, virus issues and more.


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US housing stages ‘lopsided’ recovery | Bedford NY Real Estate

The lasting legacy of the US housing crash has ranked at the top of the so-called “headwinds” that Federal Reserve policy makers such asJanet Yellen cite when discussing America’s economic prospects.

A host of indicators are suggesting now that, even if the property market remains well below its boom-time highs, it is firmly in recovery mode.

The Case-Shiller index of home values in 20 cities rose 4.9 per cent from a year earlier in April, according to data released Tuesday, with values in Denver and San Francisco rising around 10 per cent from a year earlier. That came after the National Association of Realtors index of pending home sales hit its highest level since April 2006.

The problem with the recovery is that it is, in the words of Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, a lopsided one.

An acute lack of construction at the lower end of the market is creating a tight supply of housing, driving up rents and pushing up prices of affordable homes to levels reached in 2006.

With access to credit far more constricted than it was before the financial crisis and income growth depressed, home ownership rates have fallen to 20-year lows, as many younger Americans are locked out of property ownership.

Mr Khater said: “The property market is strengthening, but it’s a complex picture that’s by no means good news for all Americans.”

Back in 2013 US housing hit a setback associated with a 100 basis-point upward lurch in mortgage rates induced by the Fed’s so-called “taper tantrum”. In recent months it has seen renewed momentum, however. Existing home sales rose to an annual rate of 5.35m in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, the fastest pace since 2009.

Rising values are pushing up equity in the housing market, with low interest rates helping for those who can qualify for home loans. In addition, real disposable incomes have risen 4 per cent nationally over the past four quarters.

While an increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve could impact affordability, Tim Hopper, chief economist at TIAA-CREF, a financial services company, argued that US households are better positioned to weather higher borrowing costs. “The consumer is in much better shape than just a few years ago,” he said.

Nevertheless, there were still 5.1m mortgaged houses in negative equity in the first quarter, compared with 5.4m at the end of last year, according to CoreLogic data. Poorer neighbourhoods tend to have very high concentrations of negative equity, underlining the long shadow of the property crash and deeply divided fortunes now characterising the housing market.

Among the lasting legacies of the downturn have been tightening lending standards, a shift to renting, and a decline in rates of home ownership. The home ownership rate at the end of last year was at 64.5 per cent, erasing most of the increase over the previous two decades. Between 2006 and 2013, there was a 3m increase in single family home rentals.

With construction of housing remaining depressed, households are encountering a tight supply and surging rents — with the national vacancy rate near its lowest in 20 years. This is putting acute pressure on many people’s finances. In 2013 almost half of renters had housing cost burdens, including more than a quarter with “severe” burdens — paying more than 50 per cent of income for housing, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.



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U.S. Housing Markets Strengthen | Bedford NY Real Estate

Freddia Mac today released its updated Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®) showing the U.S. housing market continuing to stabilize with the strongest markets realizing the greatest benefits from a spring homebuying season in full swing.

The national MiMi value stands at 78.7, indicating a weak housing market overall but showing an improvement (+0.14%) from March to April and a three-month improvement of (+2.10%). On a year-over-year basis, the national MiMi value has improved (+3.57%). Since its all-time low in October 2010, the national MiMi has rebounded 33 percent, but it’s still significantly off from its high of 121.7.

News Facts:

  • Twenty-six of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia have MiMi values in a stable range, with the District of Columbia (97.8), North Dakota (96.3), Montana (92), Hawaii (91), and Alaska (87.4) ranking in the top five.
  • Thirty-five of the 100 metro areas have MiMi values in a stable range, with Fresno (94.8), Honolulu (92.3), Austin (92.1), Los Angeles (89.1) and Salt Lake City, TX (88.9) ranking in the top five.
  • The most improving states month-over-month were Washington (+1.49%), Indiana (+1.32%), Tennessee (+1.03%), Oregon (+0.83%) and Mississippi (+0.82%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Florida (+10.89%), Nevada (+10.55%), Oregon (10.29%), Colorado (+8.72%), and Michigan (+8.31%).
  • The most improving metro areas month-over-month were Palm Bay, FL (+1.51%), Portland, OR (+1.32%), Indianapolis, IN (+1.22%), Oxnard, CA (+1.22%) and Lakeland, FL (+1.99%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving metro areas were Orlando, FL (+12.6%), Palm Bay, FL (+12.14%), Miami, FL (+11.97%), Cape Coral, FL (+10.73%), and Las Vegas, NV (+11.54%).
  • In April, 43 of the 50 states and 92 of the 100 metros were showing an improving three month trend. The same time last year, all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and 99 of the top 100 metro areas were showing an improving three-month trend.

Quote attributable to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer:

“We saw a significant improvement in housing markets nationwide, with ten more metro areas and nine more states moving within range of their benchmark, stable level of housing activity. The West and Southwest areas of the country continue to lead the way, especially Colorado, Oregon and Utah, and California is right there as well. Unlike a year ago, when the most improving markets were those hardest hit by the Great Recession, we’re now seeing stable markets among the most improving as well. So the strong housing markets are getting stronger, which reflects the better employment picture, rising home values and increased purchase activity in these markets with the spring homebuying season in full swing.”

The 2015 MiMi release calendar is available online.

MiMi monitors and measures the stability of the nation’s housing market, as well as the housing markets of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the top 100 metro markets. MiMi combines proprietary Freddie Mac data with current local market data to assess where each single-family housing market is relative to its own long-term stable range by looking at home purchase applications, payment-to-income ratios (changes in home purchasing power based on house prices, mortgage rates and household income), proportion of on-time mortgage payments in each market, and the local employment picture. The four indicators are combined to create a composite MiMi value for each market. Monthly, MiMi uses this data to show, at a glance, where each market stands relative to its own stable range of housing activity. MiMi also indicates how each market is trending, whether it is moving closer to, or further away from, its stable range. A market can fall outside its stable range by being too weak to generate enough demand for a well-balanced housing market or by overheating to an unsustainable level of activity.

Mortgage Rates Up to 4.04% | #Bedford Real Estate

Freddi Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates reaching new highs for 2015 with the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage above four percent for the first time since November 6, 2014 when it averaged 4.02 percent.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.04 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending June 11, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.87 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.20 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.25 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.08 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.31 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.01 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.96 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.05 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.53 percent this week with an average 0.2 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.59 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.40 percent.

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

Attributed to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates rose above 4 percent for the first time since November 2014 as Treasury yields surged. Markets are responding to strong employment data. In May, the U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs. Moreover, job openings surged to 5.4 million in April, up over 20 percent from a year ago.”

Existing Home Sales Pause | Bedford Real Estate

Existing home sales declined 3.3% in April, despite the fact that almost half of April sales remained on the market less than one month. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported April 2015 total existing home sales at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.04 million units combined for single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, up from an upwardly revised 5.21 million units in March. April existing sales were up 6.1% from the same period a year ago, and have increased year-over-year for seven consecutive months.

Existing Home Sales April 2015

Existing sales in the Midwest increased 1.7% from the previous month, but fell in the other regions, ranging from 1.7% in the West to 6.8% in the South. Year-over-year, all four regions increased, ranging from 13.0% in the Midwest to 1.6% in the Northeast.

The first-time buyer share remained unchanged at 30% in April, compared to 29% in February and 28% in January. The first-time buyer participation remains well below the historically typical 40% share.

Total housing inventory increased 10.0% in April to 2.21 million existing homes, which was still 0.9% below the 2.23 million level during the same month a year ago. At the current sales rate, the April unsold inventory represents a 5.3-month supply, up from a 4.6-month supply last month. NAR also reported that April homes sold in an average of 39 days compared to 52 days in March, and was the shortest time on the market since July 2013.

The distressed sales share remained unchanged at 10% in April, and was down from 15% during the same month a year ago. Distressed sales are defined as foreclosures and short sales sold at deep discounts. April all cash sales remained unchanged at 24% of transactions, down from 26% of transactions in February and 27% in January, and were down from 32% in April 2014. Individual investors purchased a 14% share of homes in April, unchanged from March, and down from 18% during the same month a year ago. Some 71% of investors paid in cash in April, compared to 70% in March, and 67% in February and January. The awaited withdrawal of cash investors will create more opportunity for first-time buyers.


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#FoxLane High School Ranks Among New York’s Best | #Bedford Real Estate

John Jay and Fox Lane high schools have been ranked among the best in New York State in rankings by U.S. News & World Report released Tuesday.

JJHS was ranked 35th in the state, good for 10th-best in Westchester County.

John Jay’s student population of 1,189 exceeded the state average in all of the surveys major metrics, which included: College readiness, mathematics proficiency and English proficiency. The school also boasts an Advanced Placement participation rate of 78 percent.

FLHS was ranked 46th in the state, good for 14th-best in Westchester County.

Fox Lane’s student population of 1,394 met or exceeded the state average in all of the surveys major metrics, which included: College readiness, mathematics proficiency and English proficiency. The school also boasts an Advanced Placement participation rate of 64 percent.

Several other high schools in Westchester County were ranked in the top 50 in the state, including:

  • Blind Brook (No. 9)
  • Rye (No. 11)
  • Yonkers Middle/High School (No. 18)
  • Hastings (No. 24)
  • Horace Greeley (No. 25)
  • Byram Hills (No. 27)
  • Edgemont (No. 29)
  • Briarcliff (No. 31)
  • Irvington (No. 32)
  • John Jay (No. 35)
  • Pleasantville (No. 36)
  • Ardsley (No. 43)
  • Rye Neck (No. 39)
  • North Salem (No. 49)

The top ranked high school in New York was The High School of American Studies in the Bronx.


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Freddie reports average mortgage rates rise | #Bedford Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates following 10-year Treasury yields higher.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.80 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 7, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.68 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.21 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.02 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.32 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.46 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.49 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.43 percent.

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

Attributed to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates rose this week to the highest level since the week of March 12 as a selloff in German bunds helped drive U.S. Treasury yields above 2.2 percent. The U.S. trade deficit reached $51.4 billion in March to the highest level since 2008. Also, the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index was unchanged in April, but manufacturing employment contracted as the index fell below 50 for the first time since May 2013.”

New-home sales jump to 539,000 rate in February, highest in 7 years | Bedford NY Real Estate

New U.S. homes sold at an annual rate of 539,000 in February to mark the best month of sales in seven years, the government reported Tuesday. The pace of sales for January was also revised up sharply to 500,000. It’s the first time annualized sales have hit 500,000 or more for two straight months since early 2008, though demand is still far lower compared to the years prior to the Great Recession. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast sales to total a seasonally adjusted 455,000 last month. The median sales price climbed 2.6% to $275,500 in February from a year ago. All the homes now on the market would be sold in 4.7 months at the current sales pace, down from 5.7 months in January. That leaves the supply of new homes for sale at the lowest point since June 2013. Unless more homes are built soon, the lack of supply could force prices higher in the spring months when home buying is typically at a peak and potentially constrain sales. Builders have filed permits to increase construction, though they have been focusing more on condos and townhouses than single-family homes. The rise in new home sales in February is at odds with other reports on existing home sales and new construction that showed a decline last month owing to heavy snow in large swaths of the eastern United States.


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