In the wake of being accused of allowing landlords and homeowners to discriminate against prospective renters and buyers, Facebook is making changes to its advertising policies to remove thousands of targeting options that may have been used to engage in discriminatory advertising.
Late last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development filed a complaint against Facebook, claiming that the social media giant’s advertising platform enabled property owners to discriminate against prospective renters and buyers based on their race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin, disability, or other factors.
Facebook, for its part, responded to HUD’s allegations by stating that “there is no place for discrimination” on its platform and said that it planned to both respond in court and continue working with HUD to address its concerns.
But the company is doing more than that.
Facebook announced this week that it is removing more than 5,000 ad target options to “help prevent misuse.” And that’s not all. The company also announced that all U.S. advertisers will be required to comply with the company’s non-discrimination policy in order to advertise on Facebook.
“While these options have been used in legitimate ways to reach people interested in a certain product or service, we think minimizing the risk of abuse is more important,” Facebook said of the removed ad target options.
According to Facebook, the removed options include “limiting the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion.”
But Digiday reported that advertisers may still be able to find their way around these new limitations.
A Facebook spokesperson told Digiday the majority of the targeting options being removed are exclusions, which allow advertisers to select certain audiences they do not want seeing their ads. Advertisers will no longer be able to include terms including “Passover,” “Evangelicalism,” “Native American culture,” “Islamic culture” and “Buddhism,” Facebook said.
Jesse Math, group director of paid social and display at PMX Agency said that if an advertiser was trying to exclude Hispanic audiences using the term “Hispanic” — one of the terms that Facebook likely cut — an advertiser could use common interests instead such as “Telemundo interest” or specific Hispanic artists that are less known by other communities.
If that ends up being the case, Facebook would likely utilize its non-discrimination policy to punish the offending advertiser.
As stated above, the site will soon require all advertisers to comply with its non-discrimination policy. Previously, only advertisers the site identified as offering housing, employment or credit ads were required to certify their compliance with the site’s non-discrimination policy.
“In the coming weeks, this new certification will roll out gradually to all U.S. advertisers via our Ads Manager tool,” Facebook said in its post announcing the changes. “Advertisers will be required to complete this certification in order to continue advertising on Facebook. We’ve designed this education in consultation with outside experts to underscore the difference between acceptable ad targeting and ad discrimination.
Storm Watch The National Weather Service forecasts for our area heavy rain Saturday with winds gusting as high as 32 MPH, bringing with them the possibility of downed trees and power lines. The Town is preparing for possible power outages and has coordinated with NYSEG and Con Edison which is mobilizing line crews in the event they are needed. Please be safe. Please stay away from downed lines and report them to NYSEG at 1-800-572-1131 and to Con Edison at www.coned.com as well as on mobile devices or by calling 1-800-75-coned We are closely monitoring the forecasts and will keep you advised.
Update on 2019 Town BudgetTentative Budget to Be Filed Next Week Comptroller Abraham Zambrano, in his capacity as Budget Officer, will file the tentative 2019 budget with the Town Clerk on Wednesday, October 30 (prior to the end of the month, as required by state law). At the direction of the Town Board, he tentative will be property tax cap compliant and, as noted earlier, reflects increases required under contractual obligations (such as the collective bargaining agreements with our employees); increases for debt service to finance capital improvements (such as the police station renovation project); and modest increases from the 2018 budget in certain areas such as paving, support for libraries and community activities, a restored position in the Building Department (beginning July 1); an additional part-time parking enforcement officer; full funding for a senior outreach program. I attach the 2019 budget estimates of revenue & expenses changes from 2018. The tentative budget will be posted to the Finance Department page of the Town’s website just as soon as it is available. Click chart to view it:
Special Town Board Meeting on November 15Wireless Communications Law The Board has scheduled a Special Town Board meeting for Thursday, November 15 for 7:00 PM in the Court Room to focus on a new wireless communications law to replace the present law. We will meet in Work Session with members of the Communications Committee, our counsel, Planning Director and by conference call with the Cohen Law Group. I’ve scheduled this as Town Board meeting in the event we finish our work and are prepared to schedule a public
Continuation of Public Hearing on Sewer Law As noted last week, we held open the public comment period on the proposed sewer law and also will continue on November 8 the public hearing on the law. Please see last week’s newsletter for a discussion of the presentations made at the October 16 Town Board meeting by our staff and consulting engineers, Woodard & Curran. Also please consider attending the update meeting on the sewer project for November 14, 2018 at 6:00 PM at the Katonah Village Library. We thank the Katonah Chamber of Commerce and Bedford Hills LIVE forco-sponsoring this meeting with the Town. Woodard & Curran, the Town’s engineers preparing the design and plans for the sewer system, will provide a project update, as will members of the Town staff and myself.
Safety First Rules of the Road for Cyclists;Safety Tips for Walkers;Tips for Crossing the Street First, thanks for the comments on Facebook regarding last week’s post regarding road etiquette. Let’s all be safe and be mindful and considerate of others sharing the road – whether we’re motorists, cyclists, walkers or joggers. Motorists: please be patient – with Fall offering wonderful riding opportunities for cyclists, we’ll see cyclists enjoying our beautiful roads and lanes. Yes, many of the roads are narrow. And yes, some cyclists are riding three abreast, but most understand and observe the rules of the road. That said, some motorists are not considerate (or worse). (My guess is it’s not you who are reading this). Cyclists – please observe the rules of the road. While you are permitted to ride two abreast, oftentimes, it’s not safe and results in stacking of traffic behind you and, as may apply, your riding group. (My guess is it’s not you who are reading this). The information below re-publishes and re-orders prior posts which certainly continue to be relevant. Thanks to all for helping us all be safe and sound.
Motorists – Sharing the Road Sharing the road with bicyclists.When parked on the street, check for bicyclists approaching from behind you before opening your car door. Always exercise due care to avoid colliding with any person walking or bicycling. Always be vigilant when pedestrians are present, especially those with visual or physical impairments. Bicyclists are fully entitled to use the road and have the right to “take the lane” by positioning themselves at or near the center of the lane when needed to avoid hazards or if the lane is too narrow to safely travel side by side with motorists. Pass bicycles only when necessary and safe: pass to the left of the bicycle at a safe distance until safely clear. When in doubt, wait until you can pass at a safe speed. Before making a right turn, let bicyclists clear the intersection. When turning left or entering a roadway, yield to oncoming bicyclists as you would to any vehicle. Some of you may have heard of the tragic death earlier this year of a cyclist in Stony Point. We also are concerned about the safety of walkers and pedestrians. While we implore drivers to observe speed limits and other rules of the road, we also wish to share with you rules and tips for cyclists and pedestrians some of which a Bedford resident compiled and sent to me.
Cyclists – Sharing the RoadNew York State law mandates the following related to cyclists: Travel WITH traffic (i.e. on the same side of the road) and obey all vehicle laws (stop at stop lights, etc.) Are not allowed on sidewalks Helmets (protective head gear) are required No headphones, ear buds, or other noise cancelling devices areallowed in more than 1 ear Horn/bell audible for 100 feet Lighting required a half hour before dusk until a half hour after dawn Cyclists are required to use appropriate hand signals.
Safety Tips for Walkers Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk always walkfacing traffic.Dress to be seen. Brightly colored clothing makes it easier for drivers tosee you during the daytime. At night, wear special reflective materialon your shoes, cap or jacket to reflect the headlights of cars comingtowards you.
Tips for Crossing the Street 1. Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks. 2. Stop at the curb, or the edge of the road. 3. Stop and look left, then right, then left again, before you step into the street. 4. If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right and left againuntil no cars are coming. 5. Keep looking for cars while you are crossing, and remember, walk, don’trun. If a car is parked where you are crossing, make sure there is no driverin the car. Then go to the edge of the car and look left-right- left again untilno cars are coming.
Updates Route 117 We have been advised that the Village of Mount Kisco remains on schedule to complete its work in November. Between Con Edison (which has completed its gas main replacement project) and the Village of Mount Kisco, Route 117 and Green Lane and will be re-paved curb to curb in the next month or so, but in any event with the intention of completion prior to ice and snow. We are in regular communication with Con Edison and the Village regarding the status and I will continue to keep the community advised.
Cherry Street Speed Tables As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, the Town Board at its November 8 meeting will review the speed tables which have been in place since late summer. We will consider the results of a survey sent to over 750 residents of Cherry Street and side streets leading into Cherry Street (we have received over 290 replies which are being tabulated), the results of speed studies in the immediate area of the speed tables as well as further distant from them and recommendations from an ad hoc committee comprised of Police Chief Melvin Padilla, Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and Planning Director Jeff Osterman along with a couple of members of the Town Board (they will review the data, the information received and the tabulated questionnaire results and make their recommendation to the Town Board). The temporary speed tables need to be removed prior to winter because snow plows likely would damage them and cause them to be unsafe for motorists. The Board will consider whether to replace some or all of them with permanent speed tables or take no further action following removal of the temporary tables. Please note that as this is a matter of keen interest to many, the work session on the new wireless telecommunications law originally scheduled for November 8, has been re-scheduled, as noted above. While the Town Board’s consideration of the matter is not a public hearing, we certainly will entertain comments from the public, but will limit comments to three minutes for each speaker. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
Single Stream Recycling Bedford 2020 has been enormously successful in promoting Single Stream recycling having advocated its establishment and helped the community embrace it. As noted below under “Further News on Recycling”, Westchester County awarded Bedford its “Eco Award” for Bedford’s having the highest recycling rate in the County. We strive to further increase recycling rates. To that end representatives of Bedford 2020 and I met earlier this week with representatives of the carters serving Bedford. We are pleased to enjoy a strong partnership with the carters, without whom Single Stream would not be successful. We discussed various strategies for making further progress. I also explained that some residents had contacted me about disturbance from very early morning collections in residential neighborhoods. The carters are amenable to a simple change to the Town’s law providing that there be no pick-ups on Sundays and federal holidays and that pick up in residential neighbors be limited to Monday through Saturday between the hour of 7 AM and 7 PM. I will propose this change to the Town Board.
PRIOR POSTS OF CONTINUED RELEVANCEREMINDER: November 8 Work Session on I-684 The Board set a special work session for 5:30 PM on November 8 to discuss the unacceptable lack of progress in getting New York Department of Transportation to repave the concrete portion of I-684 running through Katonah – the original road surface nearly 50 years old. We are pleased that State Senator Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman David Buchwald, County Legislator Kitley Covill and Joe Donat, representing Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney will join us in the work session. Our emergency responders, including a recent letter from the Katonah Fire Department, have expressed great concern over the safety hazards posed by the poor condition of the roadbed. Our Police Department recently obtained from NYS accident data between 2014 and 2018 showing 230 accidents on that short stretch of I-684, 54 of which involved injuries and 7 of the injuries were serious. While it may be difficult to correlate accidents with road condition, commonsense dictates that a highly deteriorated road surface is unsafe. This is a dangerous road which must be fixed. Please see below under “I-684 We’re Not Letting Up” for contact information for our elected representatives. Please let them know you want it fixed. Writing or calling them truly helps.
Town’s Leaf Pick Up The Town’s leaf pick up for certain streets in the hamlets begins on October 29. Read the schedule here.
Possible Acquisition fromNYC of Community Center Site As I’ve reported previously, the property on which the Community Center of Northern Westchester is located is owned by New York City under the auspices of the NYC Department of Envronmental Protection. For nearly twenty years the Town has had the use of the property through what’s known asa revocable permit from the DEP. In turn the Town has provided a lease, subject to the revocable permit, to the Community Center. Last year the Center’s director, Clare Murray, explained to me that it’s not possible for the Center, whose needs have grown considerable, to undertake any kind of capital campaign to finance expansion of the building without certainty that the Center may remain in place for the long term. Acting upon these concerns, Deputy Supervisor Lee Roberts and I met with DEP Assistant Commissioner David Warne earlier this year about the prospects for a long term solution. Following the meeting, David Warne investigated the matter internally. In following up on the matter with Mr. Warne, he suggested that the Town Board formally request NYC to convey title to the property to the Town at $1.00/waived (which would be subject to certain conditions). The solution would be ideal both for the Town as well as the Community Center. The Town promptly made the request and it is in process. I wish to recognize the effective work of Geraldine Tortorella, Board member and attorney, who has been working assiduously on the proposed conveyance. We received excellent news last week that the NYC Water Board voted unanimously to recommend the conveyance. Mr. Warne personally presented the proposal to the Water Board. There are several steps which remain. We are cautiously optimistic that the conveyance ultimately will be approved sometime in 2019.
Westchester Power (a/k/a Community Choice Aggregation) As a brief overview, Westchester Power is a unit of the not-for-profit Sustainable Westchester which is a consortium of all but three municipalities in Westchester County. Westchester Power is responsible for administering Sustainable Westchester’s Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program. CCA is simply a electricity purchasing program under which the municipalities which chose to participate have the marketplace benefit of purchasing electricity in bulk. In addition to the large market which CCA brings to the energy service companies (ESCOs) which are interested in bidding for the business, the ESCOs marketing costs are significantly less. Under the terms of the RFP, the bidders must beat the price thresholds set, guarantee a fixed price for two years and provide that customers may cancel or “opt out” at any time without penalty or charge. Bidders also must provide pricing for renewable energy and standard energy for residential as well as small commercial customers. To date CCA in the Con Edison service area has saved residential customers nearly $14 million. Dan Welsh, director of Westchester Power, presented to the Board an explanation of the successful proposal from Constellation Energy for the renewal of Community Choice Aggregation in the Con Edison service area. Read the full presentation here. As in the previous contract, Constellation’s pricing was the lowest submitted. The residential rate for renewable energy under the new contact is 7.96 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) compared to 8.00 cents per kWh under the current contract. Residential standard energy mix is 7.71 cent per kWh. The Town Board earlier had authorized me to enter into an Electricity Service Agreement to re-join the consortium. Bedford was the first municipality to re-join the consortium and we did so with renewable energy option which is promotes New York State sourced renewable energy. A notification letter will be sent to inform customers of the pricing, their choices and their right to opt-out of the program. Mr. Welsh previously had explained the RFP process as follows:“Many thanks to Supervisor Levenberg of the Town of Ossining, Supervisor (and SW Vice-Chair) Burdick and Karl Rabago, Executive Director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center who joined our team in the review process.Out of the full list of ESCO suppliers registered with the Department of Public Service, our RFI process yielded 5 that had the interest in participating.Two of these dropped out along the way leaving three firms submitting proposals today.We received the bids by our declared deadline of 11 AM, and after one round of review, we went back to the bidders all of which improved their bids. Constellation offered the best rates in both rounds, and in the end, we selected Constellation’s 24 month quote.The rates for the new contract will be 7.709 cents for standard power and 7.959 for the 100% renewable option. Perhaps most exciting is the fact that the Constellation proposal is including the small commercial class at the same rates as residential – significant savings for our small businesses! Rates for residential have been held essentially flat, which means as we go into 2019 we will have prices less than the average Con Ed rate from 2015.” Westchester Power is happy to answer any questions. Feel free to call them at 914-242-4725. Price comparison chart below:
Vacancy on the Board ofBlue Mountain Housing Development The Blue Mountain Housing Development Corp, formed in 1980, has been a pioneer in the development of affordable housing. It’s successes are considerable. The Town Board appoints members of the Blue Mountain board and its sister agency, the Bedford Housing Agency. The Board is seeking a real estate lawyer, if possible. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. Please include your resume and a cover letter or e-mail.
Single Stream Recycling We are delighted with the community’s embrace of Single Stream recycling which has led to Bedford being awarded Westchester County’s eco award for the highest recycling rate of any of the 42 municipalities in the County. Like you, we are perplexed by the change in recycling rules emanating from the precipitous decline in the amount of recyclables accepted in the global marketplace. We are distressed over the drastic drop in the value of recycled paper. The marketplace for plastic recycling may be even more daunting than paper as supply now is greatly outstripping demand with China, the largest importer of plastic scrap, slashing the volume it would accept. Notwithstanding these challenges we are committed to our efforts to hold down carting costs for property owners and also hold down the Town’s costs for disposal of recyclables. The fact remains that it still is less expensive to recycle than to send more waste to the landfill. To make the task feasible for the carters who are on very tight pick-up schedules, please be sure to use either the carter’s or your own separate recycling bin which are available at Bedford’s hardware stores. If you’ve been using clear plastic recycling bags to hold your recyclables, you can continue to do so. The developments in the marketplace has led to new rules on what carters will accept for recycling. The good news is that nearly all of what was accepted previously still is being accepted. So what has changed? Thin film plastics, such as single use plastic bags from the grocery store, no longer are accepted. We recognize that the new rules are confusing. We thank Bedford 2020 for helping to sort it all out. Please click here for their guide. Please also see below under “Recycling Updates” for additional information. Thanks again for continuing to put Bedford at the top in recycling.
Leaf Blower Information – Leaf Season is Here Relaxed rules apply during leaf season which began on September 16, 2018. For your convenience the Leaf Blowers Task Force created a palm card with the information you may want to keep handy. They can be found in our local libraries, or you can pick one up in my office. You also can access it here Leaf Blower informationwhere you also can find the law, Hamlet Zones list and other helpful information. Questions or comments? Please e-mail the Leaf Blower Task Force at LeafBlowers@Bedfordny.gov
2019 BudgetNew Cell Tower LawI-684 RepavingThe New Police Station with Chief Padilla.
FOR THE COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR click here FOR THE TOWN CALENDAR click here TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS click here
OtherTown Board Actions
November 8 Work Session on I-684 The Board set a special work session for 5:30 PM on November 8 to discuss the unacceptable lack of progress in getting New York Department of Transportation to repave the concrete portion of I-684 running through Katonah – the original road surface nearly 50 years old. We are pleased that State Senator Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman David Buchwald, County Legislator Kitley Covill and Joe Donat, representing Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney will join us in the work session. Our emergency responders, including a recent letter from the Katonah Fire Department, have expressed great concern over the safety hazards posed by the poor condition of the roadbed. Our Police Department recently obtained from NYS accident data between 2014 and 2018 showing 230 accidents on that short stretch of I-684, 54 of which involved injuries and 7 of the injuries were serious. While it may be difficult to correlate accidents with road condition, commonsense dictates that a highly deteriorated road surface is unsafe. This is a dangerous road which must be fixed. Please see below under “I-684 We’re Not Letting Up” for contact information for our elected representatives. Please let them know you want it fixed. Writing or calling them truly helps.
New PostsUpdate on Single Stream Recycling Bedford 2020 has been enormously successful in promotingSingle Stream recycling having advocated its establishment and helped the community embrace it. As noted below under “Further News on Recycling”, Westchester County awarded Bedford its “Eco Award” for Bedford’s having the highest recycling rate in the County. We strive to further increase recycling rates. To that end representatives of Bedford 2020 and I met earlier this week with representatives of the carters serving Bedford. We are pleased to enjoy a strong partnership with the carters, without whom Single Stream would not be successful. We discussed various strategies for making further progress. I also explained that some residents had contacted me about disturbance from very early morning collections in residential neighborhoods. The carters are amenable to a simple change to the Town’s law providing that there be no pick-ups on Sundays and federal holidays and that pick up in residential neighbors be limited to Monday through Saturday between the hour of 7 AM and 7 PM. I will propose this change to the Town Board.
Update on Speed Tables on Cherry Street The Town Board will consider at our November 8 meeting action on the speed tables which are temporary and removable. The temporary speed tables need to be removed prior to winter because snow plows likely would damage them and cause them to be unsafe for motorists. The Board will consider whether to replace some or all of them with permanent speed tables or take no further action following removal of the temporary tables. We also may consider changing location of the speed tables. As earlier noted, in evaluating the appropriate action, we will consider the efficacy of the speed tables in calming traffic as well as community response. As to the latter we mailed last week to 751 households on Cherry Street and side streets my explanatory letter regarding the process with a questionnaire on the reverse side. I have asked staff members comprised of Police Chief Melvin Padilla, Public Works Commissioner Kevin Winn and Planning Director Jeff Osterman along with a couple of members of the Town Board to review the data, the information received and the tabulated questionnaire results and make a recommendation to the Town Board. As I mentioned in my cover letter to the survey questionnaire, I will advise the community in advance of the November 8 meeting of the results of the studies and tabulated questionnaires as well as the recommendations to the Town Board. Stay tuned.
FOR THE COMMUNITY EVENTS CALENDAR click here FOR THE TOWN CALENDAR click here TO SIGN-UP FOR NIXLE ALERTS click here
Prior Posts of Continued Relevance Vacancy on the Board ofBlue Mountain Housing Development The Blue Mountain Housing Development Corp, formed in 1980, has been a pioneer in the development of affordable housing. It’s successes are considerable. The Town Board appoints members of the Blue Mountain board and its sister agency, the Bedford Housing Agency. The Board is seeking a real estate lawyer, if possible. Please e-mail email@example.com if you are interested. Please include your resume and a cover letter or e-mail.
Further News on Recycling We are delighted with the community’s embrace of Single Stream recycling which has led to Bedford being awarded Westchester County’s eco award for the highest recycling rate of any of the 42 municipalities in the County. Like you, we are perplexed by the change in recycling rules emanating from the precipitous decline in the amount of recyclables accepted in the global marketplace. We are distressed over the drastic drop in the value of recycled paper. The marketplace for plastic recycling may be even more daunting than paper as supply now is greatly outstripping demand with China, the largest importer of plastic scrap, slashing the volume it would accept. Notwithstanding these challenges we are committed to our efforts to hold down carting costs for property owners and also hold down the Town’s costs for disposal of recyclables. The fact remains that it still is less expensive to recycle than to send more waste to the landfill. To make the task feasible for the carters who are on very tight pick-up schedules, please be sure to use either the carter’s or your own separate recycling bin which are available at Bedford’s hardware stores. If you’ve been using clear plastic recycling bags to hold your recyclables, you can continue to do so. The developments in the marketplace has led to new rules on what carters will accept for recycling. The good news is that nearly all of what was accepted previously still is being accepted. So what has changed? Thin film plastics, such as single use plastic bags from the grocery store, no longer are accepted. We recognize that the new rules are confusing. We thank Bedford 2020 for helping to sort it all out. Please click here for their guide. Please also see below under “Recycling Updates” for additional information. Thanks again for continuing to put Bedford at the top in recycling.
Save the Dates:
November 2 Westmoreland Sanctuary Fundraiser
This presentation is perfect for anyone trying to navigate our complicated healthcare system for older adults. It will help those who already have Medicare, as well as people soon to be 65, planning their retirement, or assisting relatives and friends with their medical decisions. The program explains the various parts of Medicare and lays out the costs associated with the medical and drug insurance provided by the government and private companies. Topics will include original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans, prescription drug plans (Part D), Medigaps (supplemental plans), and cost-saving programs like EPIC that can help seniors with limited resources. Come and get a handle on this thorny subject in a user-friendly atmosphere. Walk-ins welcome, but registration is requested at (914) 231-3236. This program is sponsored by the Katonah Village Library and the Town of Bedford Recreation Department. For more information and other dates of this presentation (mostly in the Fall), please visithttp://www.westchesterlibraries.org/westchester-seniors-out-speaking/,or call (914) 231-3260.
Recycling Updates Books, DVDs and CDs can now be brought to the Recycling CenterMany thanks to Filippine de Haan for discovering Discover Books, an organization that will recycle our gently used books, DVDs and CDs.
The Railroad Avenue Recycling Center is located at343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills, NY 10507.Hours are 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays
The dos & don’ts of Plastic Bag RecyclingNow that thin film plastics are no longer accepted in Single Stream Recycling, we have had some questions from local residents about this. A resident came in today to ask which type of plastic bags the grocery stores will accept in their bins for plastic bag recycling. She asked whether, in addition to plastic bags used for carrying groceries, she could put any other plastic bags, such as produce bags or bread bags, in these bins. Another person explained his confusion over not placing your recyclable items in a clear plastic bag for the carters, stating how they are a practical necessity vs carrying loose materials to the curbside bin, especially for an elderly person. We hope that the information belowwill help to dispel some questions:Our carters have informed us that we may no longer put plastic bags, thin plastic wrap, or wax paper in Single Stream recycling. Thin, film plastic now may be placed in the trash to go to the Peekskill incinerator. However, if you want this material to be recycled, you may deliver your plastic bags to the containers provided for this purpose at the bigger grocery stores and at the Town Recycling Center. These locations accept all types of polyethylene PE HDPE plastic. These plastics often have a recycle symbol number 4 on the bottom. Without a visible number, you can use the following as a guideline:
Recyclables should be loose, clean, and dry in your recycling toter. Bedford 2020 suggests that if you use a plastic bag liner in your indoor receptacle, use it to carry out your recyclables and when you arrive at your outside bin, dump them out. Then you may reuse the plastic liner in your indoor recycling receptacle. If the bag eventually gets dirty, then use it to line your trash. To learn more, please visit the Bedford 2020 website:bedford2020.org/single-stream-recycling/ For information on how to dispose of non-recyclable items safely and legally,visit the Recyclopedia:http://bedford2020.org/recyclopedia/
The “Take It or Leave It” (TIOLI) Shed The community has been very generous in donating items to the shedas well as to the FB page where photos of larger items (i.e. furniture) can be listed, but the organizers are asking the community to spread the word of the shed to reach more customers. It would be great to deplete their inventory before they close down for business at the end of October. Speaking of October, here is TIOLI’s latest request for donations:(click image to expand)
The TIOLI will take Halloween items all the way through the end of October.To learn more about the Take It or Leave It Shed, read here.
After Hours Rules for Commuter Lots Town of Bedford Residents that do not have a commuter parking permit are allowed to park for free in the commuter lots Monday to through Thursday from 6:00 pm to 5:00 provided that they have a resident parking decal. Parking is free on weekends to everyone starting on Fridays at 6:00 pm and on the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
I-684 We’re Not Letting Up With the further deterioration of the concrete portion of I-684 that runs through Bedford (the same original surface from the late 1960s), safety concerns have become paramount. We are compiling accident data from emergency responders and local and state data. We also are working closely with a professional engineer in the community with significant experience in major roadway projects to document the safety issues. We continue to work with Assemblyman David Buchwald and State Senator Shelley Mayer who are working with the NYS Department of Transportation both in Albany and with its regional office. For my part I am working to explain our concerns to the new Acting Regional Director Lance Macmillan. In the past the Department has asserted that any work on that stretch of I-684 should await a study of the interchange at Exit 5. We argued and Mr. Mac Millan’s predecessor agreed, at least in concept, that given that the completion of the study and funding of its tens of millions of recommended capital improvements would take upward of a decade, a sensible interim measure would be a 3” asphalt resurfacing with an anticipated life of 7 to 10 years. In a recent meeting with the Mr. MacMillan and members of his staff, he reported that the scope of the study has been expanded, is broader than the Exit 5 interchange and now includes the 684 corridor from Exit 5 to Exit 9, at the 84 interchange, and east to the Connecticut state line. He said that the study is funded, and the next step will be awarding the consultant contract this fall with the delivery of the completed study to be in 2019. We now are working to persuade NYS DOT that especially in light of the expanded and more ambitious scope of the study, the interim measure is appropriate, the Department should be support it and be receptive to our state legislators working to secure funding for it. Many in the community have asked me for contact information for our elected representatives and NYS officials involved in the process so that they can reach out to them to let them know the concerns: Governor Cuomo: https://www.governor.ny.gov/contact1-518-474-8390 DOT Albany office: 518-457-6195DOT Region 8 Acting Regional Director Lance MacMillan: 845-431-5750 State Assemblyman David Buchwald: firstname.lastname@example.org,914-244-4450 State Senator Shelley Mayer: email@example.com If you send an e-mail, please consider copying me and our legislators
Town Facilities for recycling, yard waste and E-wasteMost of the following services are free to Town residents: The Railroad Avenue Recycling Center is located at343 Railroad Avenue, Bedford Hills, NY 10507.Hours are 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Carters are obligated to collect single stream recyclablesat your property along with trash for all customers. For those who wish to drop off recyclable materials,the Railroad Avenue Recycling Center accepts single stream recyclables(metal, plastic, glass, cardboard and paper).
Ewaste, Metals, Textiles; Trash Drop Off for Seniors Residents may bring electronic waste to the Recycling Center, but please note that for CRTs (TVs and old monitors), residents first must obtain from the coupon from the Town Clerk after paying a modest fee (to cover the costs to the Town). In addition, the Railroad Avenue Recycling Center accepts e-waste of all kinds (see below for details), bulk metals of all kinds, textiles, and trash for seniors (60+) who purchase Senior Refuse Coupons (book of 5 for $25) at the Town Clerk’s office. Each coupon can be used for up to a 33-gallon trash bag of household refuse (do not include recyclables in the refuse bag). Town Clerk Hours8:30 AM to 4:30 PMMonday – Friday321 Bedford Road, Bedford Hills
Beaver Dam Yard Waste and Compost Facility The Town of Bedford Beaver Dam Compost Facility processes recyclable wood waste and leaves from the Town and provides beneficial reuse of the waste as compost and mulch. The facility provides an extremely cost effective method for this recycling as well as an environmental benefit of local recycling with minimal transportation requirements. It is open for residents to dispose of recyclable wood waste (logs and branches up to 6” diameter, brush, and leaves), as well as pick up wood mulch and leaf compost. This service is free to Town of Bedford residents between 7:30 AM and 3:00 PM Monday to Friday, excluding Town holidays.
Looking for an emergency volunteer opportunity butFire Fighting or Medical Tech not your thing? Emergency communications might be for you.Click here for the flyer
Katonah Fire Department under-18 Recruitment Program Are you interested in a terrific community service opportunity? Would you like to receive state-of-the art lifesaving and firefighting training?Katonah Fire Department eagerly welcomes applications from 16-year-olds for its Under 18 Program. Interested candidates can fulfill their John Jay High School Community Service obligation, as well as service hours required for other organizations, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. Membership in the department as a firefighter is a great way to have your college application stand out as well! Any person who is between the ages of 16 and 18, who is physically fit, morally and mentally sound, and who, having met with the membership committee and satisfactorily passed the committee’s investigation (as established in the Katonah Fire Department, Inc. Constitution and By-Laws), may be selected for membership status. The goal of this program is to carefully instill, enforce, and monitor the practices that lead to well trained, respectful, hardworking members once they reach their 18th birthdays and/or the conclusion of their first year of membership. In addition, it creates a culture in which these members both realize their age- and experience-related limitations, but also feel as though they are learning and being prepared for taking on the duties of full-fledged, non-probationary members of the Katonah Fire Department. An oversight committee and a training coordinator act as a resource to these members – in all aspects of KFD membership: firefighting, training, rules and regulations, etc. – and set example for the types of behaviors expected from our entire membership. Applicants who join receive all training and equipment at no expense to them. They also become eligible for various scholarship opportunities. If you’re interested in finding out more, please sent an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Town’s Website is now available in Spanish We have added a plug-in allowing for the website’s automatic translation to Spanish. Please note that this does not apply to linked PDF documents. http://www.bedfordny.gov/
Stop the Bleed Paramedics are trained and prepared to operate with law enforcement in active shooter situations. This additional stop the bleed program is intended to provide a level of basic quick action from the public before help arrives. We have certified trainers in this program and want to start offering it up to various public institutions such as schools. Click here for the booklet.
REMINDER For information on parking at the Town of Bedford Offices During Police Department Construction click here 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 flown at half-staff.
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.
“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 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.
The Case-Shiller (CS) National Home Price Index, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices, rose in August. The index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 7.6%, faster than the 4.9% reported in July. After the deceleration in the beginning of 2016, house prices have accelerated since May due to tight inventory and the increases in existing home sales in the early part of this year.
The Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 8.9% in August, after the 5.7% increase in July, confirming the reacceleration in home prices.
After the tumultuous boom and bust the increases of recent months have brought home prices more in line with long term trend levels and home prices are reaching the pre-recession peak in 2006.
Along with the gradual increases in national home prices, home prices gained in most metro areas in August. Figure 2 shows home price appreciation for 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas in August.
Among the 20 metro areas, San Francisco had the highest home price appreciation (12.2%), followed by Seattle (10.1%), Miami (7.2%) and Dallas (6.6%). Fifteen out of the 20 metro areas had positive home price appreciation, more metro areas reporting home prices increased than last month. Home price appreciation in the remaining five metro areas was negative. They are Minneapolis, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago and Detroit, with the highest decline of 1.8% in Detroit.
Not so long ago, when prices were plummeting and foreclosures pumped up the inventory counts with discounted values, homeowners and real estate professionals would have welcomed one of the chronic problems plaguing markets today; inventories so low that they inflate prices and keep move up buyers in homes they want to leave.
The question everyone is asking: “What’s happened to supply and demand dynamics? Demand is stronger, so where’s the supply/”
Recently the California Association of Realtors released a study that answered that question what another one. About 35 percent of homeowners surveyed by the CAR said they have considered selling their home in the past year. But among that group, 64 percent said they decided against it because they couldn’t afford the home they’d like to buy as a replacement. So move up sellers are caught in the same circular trap as first-time buyers. Where are the affordable listings that will halt this merry-go-round?
In 2013, when tight inventories switched from being a national blessing to a curse, Zillow’s Stan Humphries provided an explanation at the National Association of Real Editors’ annual meeting and the scales fell from my eyes. He outlined how deficient equitied owners were frozen in place—not just those under water but also those lacking the 20 percent positive equity necessary to sell. When you added up the under watered and the under equitied, it was a huge chunk of all homeowners with a mortgage at that time.
Less than 20 percent of homes today are under-equitied or under water
Price appreciation has whittled down that number over the past two years. RealtyTrac recently reported that only about 13.3 percent of all properties with a mortgage have less than 25 percent positive equity. CoreLogic puts the percentage of underwater and homes with less than 20 percent equity at 19.4 percent of all homes with a mortgage. Zillow puts the negative equity rate at less than 15 percent through the second quarter.
Still a big factor, the equity barrier hurts some markets more than others. It is worse in those markets that suffered most in the housing crash—the ‘sand’ states of California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida. It is also higher among entry level and mid-level price tiers than the top levels.
Housing prices in Turkey increased at a rate surpassed by only one other country in the world in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago, the Global House Price Index published recently by the real estate consultation firm Knight Frank has revealed.
Turkish housing prices rose by 18.6 percent year-on-year in Q1 of this year, the second highest behind Hong Kong, where prices increased by 18.7 percent in the same period, based on provisional data. While Ireland saw the greatest increase — 16.8 percent — after Turkey, fourth place belonged to Luxemburg, where prices surged in value by 12.1 percent. Ukraine came last, with housing prices in the country dropping by as much as 15.5 percent in the first quarter compared to Q1 of 2014. Cyprus and China followed Ukraine with declines of 8.2 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively. Turkey tops the list in Europe.
The index uses official governmental statistics or central bank data where available.
Despite the recent surge in prices, sector representatives often warn that further appreciation may occur amid unfavorable market conditions. Issuing a written statement on Monday, Mert Yıldızhan, a board member at construction firm Elit Yapı, said consumers may have to allocate a larger budget for housing expenditures due to a weakening Turkish lira against the US dollar.
Underscoring that some construction projects contain imported materials amounting to 60 or 70 percent of all their inputs, the depreciation in Turkish lira-US dollar parity — 20 percent since January — is likely to be reflected in prices as of the autumn months. “The rise in the price of construction materials will prompt sector representatives running out of stocks on hand to move to increase prices. There are several imported items in the sector including paint, plastic joints, elevators and iron,” Yıldızhan said.
U.S. homes are by in large undervalued, even as national price measures show a modest overvaluation due to skewing effects from a few large markets, according to new research from Goldman Sachs.
Homes in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego metropolitan areas, for example, are about 20% above fair value. Meanwhile, prices elsewhere are still falling, and homes in areas such as Buffalo and St. Louis are undervalued, the analysts wrote.
“The broad national indexes are skewed by high prices in a small number of large markets,” Goldman Sachs economists Zach Pandl and Hui Shan wrote. “While there appears to be some evidence of regional froth, in our view the broader national picture is one of leaders and laggards, with strong rebounds in some markets but still-soft prices in many others.”
In the first quarter, most metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Goldman had undervalued properties. There were 202 housing markets that were undervalued by at least 1%, compared with 140 markets that were overvalued by at least 1%.
“Large cities drag up the national indexes, even if real estate markets in many smaller [metropolitan areas] have yet to fully recover,” Goldman analysts wrote.
Analysts looked at valuation in several ways. They compared home prices to gauges of consumer inflation, rent, income and population.
Most metropolitan statistical areas tracked by Goldman have undervalued homes.
Interest among would-be borrowers in buying a home recently hit a two-year high. Even as home prices have grown, a strengthening U.S. jobs market and still-low interest rates are supporting sales. In hot markets, low inventory is driving prices higher.
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.
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.
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.
Quotes 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.”
In 1915 the 38-story Equitable Building in New York City was the largest office building in the world. Containing 1.2 million square feet of office space, it consumed nearly every available square foot of its diminutive lot and cast an equally large shadow on its neighborhood in lower Manhattan. Its construction inspired the enactment of the city’s 1916 Zoning Resolution, which was designed to preserve access to light and air at the street level. The resolution prescribed specific limitations for a building’s envelope — its outer walls — and would go on to shape the stepped forms that you see today on many of the iconic towers in the city.This underscores the importance that access to daylight had in shaping even the largest of cities, the individual buildings that make up those cities and, more broadly, sensible building design. With an increasing focus on sustainable design practices, the smart use of natural daylight in our homes is no longer a luxury — it has become a necessity. At the heart of any good daylighting strategy is a concept of “borrowed” light: the capture of light falling on the exterior of a home and transporting it to the spaces where it’s needed.
The sun delivers an incredible amount of light energy to us each day. To get an idea of just how much, it helps to understand the standard by which we use to measure light intensity: the foot-candle. The light from a full moon is roughly 1 foot-candle, while the sun’s illuminance on a cloudless day is roughly 10,000 foot-candles. Of course, clouds and the filtering effects of glass can reduce the actual amount of light that reaches the interiors of our homes by 50 to 90 percent. But 1,000 to 5,000 foot-candles is still an amazing amount of light, given that we need only around 35 foot-candles to comfortably read by.
Harnessing this light energy isn’t as simple as placing a window on an exterior wall. Interior rooms without access to an exterior wall or spaces oriented in a way that restricts access to adequate daylight are common problems, each with a unique solution. Here’s a look at some solutions.Walls. Interior walls built to collect and disperse light rather than restrict it are one solution. The wall shown here gathers indirect light from an adjacent light-filled bathroom and capitalizes on the reflective nature of the bath’s wall surfaces to diffuse it into the bedroom. Clear glass will transmit the greatest amount of light into adjacent spaces. And because the glass here is positioned above eye level, the bath remains private and sound-isolated.
The white walls of the same bathroom act as the indirect light source for the nearby bedroom. Bright, neutral colors work well for an indirect borrowed-lighting strategy.Good solar exposure is borrowed by the bedroom simply via the glazed upper wall.
Because translucent materials reflect, absorb and scatter light, they make great walls for borrowing light. The degree of translucency will affect just how much light is scattered. The effect is similar to obscuring direct sight but preserving the passage of daylight. Diffused light is comfortable and limits eyestrain.
Mortgage rates crept higher last week, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. The benchmark 30-year fixed rate mortgage averaged 3.66% in the week ending Jan. 29, up from 3.63%. A year ago, the 30-year averaged 4.32%. The 15-year fixed-rate averaged 2.98%, up from 2.93%; the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.86%, up from 2.83%; and the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.38%, up from 2.37%.