Tag Archives: Chappaqua Luxury Real Estate

Did LeBron James tip his L.A. arrival through real estate? | Chappaqua Real Estate

The Los Angeles Lakers finally reeled in its prized free agent over the weekend when four-time league MVP LeBron James agreed to a four-year deal with the team.

The addition of James, who leaves behind his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, is a major coup for the Lakers, but should it come as a huge surprise? Not if you consider his business and real estate ties to the L.A. area.

Some began to predict that James would eventually land in Los Angeles in 2015 after the basketball superstar’s production company SpringHill Entertainment inked a deal with a Burbank studio to create television, film and other digital content. The company has since built up a strong portfolio of projects, including the Disney series “Becoming,” an upcoming “House Party” reboot and a rumored “Space Jam” sequel starring James.

The arrival of SpringHill wasn’t the only one that year. Months after the production company set up shop, James purchased his first home in the area, paying about $21 million for a gated estate in Brentwood.

The Traditional-style home, designed by Ken Ungar, was built in 2011 and has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms and nearly 9,500 square feet of living space. Lawn and a swimming pool and a semi-circular spa/fountain make up the grounds.

Many basketball players own real estate in Los Angeles and spend the off-season there, but James appeared to double down on the area in December when he bought a second home in Brentwood for $23 million.

Sitting up from the street, with city-to-ocean views, the 15,846-square-foot home is furnished with an elevator, a home theater and a custom kitchen with a La Cornue range. A lower level was designed for entertaining and holds a home theater, wine cellar, cigar room and onyx-lined wet bar.

The second house has a total of eight bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms. A spa with a steam room, sauna and massage room are among other features.

Similar to James’ own purchases and investments, those of his inner circle also offered clues. One by one, his closest advisors and friends have joined the 14-time all-star out West.

Two years ago, Rich Paul, a longtime friend and agent to James, bought a newly built house in the Beverly Grove area for $3.47 million. James’ business manager, Maverick Carter, also owns a home in the Hollywood Hills, which he recently put on the market for $4.695 million.

Now that he has settled on a home base for the next four years, the next question is whether his two Brentwood estates will be enough home for the King.

In Akron, Ohio, his hometown, James resides in a massive 30,000-square-foot mansion that has six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, according to Busted Coverage. The property, which reportedly boasts a two-lane bowling alley and a casino, is two to three times as large than either of his Brentwood properties and has more square footage than both homes combined.

In other words, perhaps L.A.’s top real estate agents should get ready to bring their A-game.

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http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/hot-property/la-fi-hotprop-lebron-james-real-estate-los-angeles-20180702-story.html

Americans haven’t been this optimistic about house prices since just before the crash | Chappaqua Real Estate

House prices are soaring and, despite warnings from some analysts, most Americans believe they will continue to soar.

A majority of U.S. adults (64%) continue to believe home prices in their local area will increase over the next year, a survey released Monday by polling firm Gallup concluded. That’s up nine percentage points over the past two years and is the highest percentage since before the housing market crash and Great Recession in the mid-2000s.

The level of optimism is edging closer to the 70% of adults in 2005 who said prices would continue rising. That, of course, was less than one year before the peak of the housing market bubble in early 2006, which was largely fueled by a wave of subprime lending. (Roughly one-quarter of respondents in both 2005 and 2018 said they believed house prices would remain the same.)

In 2009, during the depths of the Great Recession, only 22% of Americans believed house prices would rise. But optimism about the housing market has made a slow recovery—along with the market itself—in the intervening years. Today, only 10% in the Gallup survey believe prices will fall. That compares to 5% who felt similarly pessimistic in 2005, just two years before the crash.

 

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https://www.marketwatch.com/story/americans-havent-been-this-optimistic-about-buying-property-since-just-before-the-housing-crash-2018-05-07

Single-family housing starts, permits hit 10-year high | Chappaqua Real Estate

U.S. single-family homebuilding and permits surged to more than 10-year highs in November, in a hopeful sign for a housing market that has been hobbled by supply constraints.

Builders have struggled to meet robust demand for housing, which is being fueled by a labor market near full employment. Land and skilled labor have been in short supply, while lumber price increases have accelerated.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, jumped 5.3 percent to a rate of 930,000 units. That was the highest level since September 2007.

Pointing to further gains, single-family home permits rose 1.4 percent to a pace of 862,000 units, a level not seen since August 2007. The jump in groundbreaking on single-family housing units suggests housing could contribute to gross domestic product in the fourth quarter.

Investment in residential construction has declined for two straight quarters, weighing on economic growth. A survey on Monday showed confidence among homebuilders soaring to near an 18-1/2-year high in December, amid optimism over buyer traffic and sales over the next six months.

Prices of U.S. Treasuries remained at session lows after the data while the dollar .DXY pared declines against a basket of currencies. U.S. stock index futures were mixed. Last month, single-family home construction in the densely-populated South shot up 8.4 percent to the highest level since July 2007 as disruptions from recent hurricanes continued to fade and communities in the region replaced houses damaged by flooding.

Single-family starts in the West increased 11.4 percent to their highest level since July 2007. They were unchanged in the Northeast and fell 11.1 percent in the Midwest.

Overall housing starts increased 3.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.297 million units. While that was the highest level since October 2016, October’s sales pace was revised down to 1.256 million units from the previously reported 1.290 million units.

 

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https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-economy-housingstarts/single-family-housing-starts-permits-hit-10-year-high-idUSKBN1ED1NQ

Holiday home repairs before your holiday | Chappaqua Real Estate

This is no time for major updates, so stick with simple tasks to make for a festive celebration.

Hosting a holiday gathering can be a lot of fun, but perhaps a bit intimidating, too. You want your house to look its best, but now isn’t the time to undertake any major updates.

Chances are, you’re busy enough just preparing for the event. So, focus on just the areas of your house where your guests will spend time.

Whether you’re a first-time party host with a few jitters, or an old pro looking for some new ideas, these tips will help you ensure that your home is ready for any gathering.

Light the way

The sun sets early this time of year, so it’s important to make sure the entrance to your home is clean and well-lit.

Courtesy of Bill Fry.
Courtesy of Bill Fry.

If you have a large front yard, try to focus on just the front entryway and the path leading up to it. Install porch lights, or replace the bulbs on existing lighting. Cut back any shrubbery that is obstructing the walkway.

On the day of your party, open the blinds on the front windows so your guests can see into your warm, festive-looking home as they approach. It’s a great way to create a sense of welcoming anticipation.

Pro tip: The easiest possible way to create instant lighting for walkways and paths is with the solar lights that you just stick into the ground. The sun does the rest of the work!

Take care of the bottom line

Our mothers used to say this, and it’s true: If your floors are spotless, they make your whole house look cleaner.

Even if you’re unable to do an in-depth house cleaning before your gathering, you will certainly want to make sure that all floors have been cleaned before that first guest steps over the threshold.

Pro tip: If you have carpeting, clean the carpets a minimum of three days ahead of your affair to make sure they have dried fully.

Brighten up your bathroom

If you’re bothered by grimy-looking grout in your bathroom, try this easy, inexpensive, and non-toxic method to get rid of it nearly instantly: Just spray on some full-strength hydrogen peroxide, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe clean. That’s it!

Next, add some flowers, holiday decorations, or pictures on the wall to further spiff up your powder room, and it will be ready for your guests.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Pro tip: Instantly de-clog a slow-moving sink drain with a Zip-It. This inexpensive tool looks like a giant zip-tie. You just work it down into the drain to pull up hair clogs — all the other gunky stuff will come up with it.

Tune up kitchen appliances

Your kitchen appliances will be the workhorses of your holiday party, whether you’re hosting a full family dinner or a cocktail party. You want them to be fully functioning and ready for action.

Make sure all stove burners are working. Now’s the time to clean the oven if you haven’t done that for a while.

Clean out the refrigerator, and make sure that both the fridge and freezer are running at their optimal temperatures.

Make sure your dishwasher is in good working order. You can clean it easily with a dishwasher cleaner that you run through a cycle.

Pro tip: Sharp knives will make easy work of preparing the big meal. Make sure all your kitchen knives are newly sharpened, and also check the batteries in your electric carving knife, if you have one.

Make your space kid-friendly

If you make your home welcoming for children, you will ensure that their parents have a great time as well.

If you happen to have kids that are the same ages as your young guests, you’re in luck. But if not, consider adding some considerate touches that will make parents more comfortable, and alleviate kid boredom.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Turn a spare room or an upstairs bedroom into a private nursing/changing area for a new mom.
  • Toddlers and younger children will want to be near their parents, so a good idea for them is to set up a corner of your living or dining room with toys, books, a tablet for watching cartoons, and some comfy pillows or throws.
  • One of our favorite strategies for older kids is to turn the dessert course into an activity. For instance, you could bake a huge batch of sugar cookies in holiday shapes, and then put out different colors of icing to let kids (and adults) go to town with decorating their own cookies.

Pro tip: If you don’t already have children, or if yours are older, don’t forget to kid-proof your space. Put away anything expensive, breakable, or unstable. Do some baby-proofing, if necessary. This way you and the parents can relax and not have to worry about safety hazards.

Hopefully these ideas will take some of the worry out of holiday entertaining, and ensure that you and your guests can relax and enjoy each other’s company this season.

 

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https://www.zillow.com/blog/home-repairs-before-holiday-party-207284/

Builder confidence at a high | Chappaqua Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points to a level of 70 in November on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This was the highest report since March. Despite the increase, builders continue to face supply-side constraints, such as lot and labor shortages and ongoing building material price increases.

Nonetheless, demand for single-family housing is increasing at a consistent pace, driven by job and economic growth, rising homeownership rates and limited housing inventory. With these economic fundamentals in place, we should see continued upward movement of the single-family housing market as we close out 2017.

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

Two out of the three HMI components registered gains in November. The component gauging current sales conditions rose two points to 77 and the index measuring buyer traffic increased two points to 50.  Meanwhile, the index charting sales expectations in the next six months dropped a single point to 77.

Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast jumped five points to 54 and the South rose one point to 69. Both the West and Midwest remained unchanged at 77 and 63, respectively.

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

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/11/builder-confidence-climbs-to-8-month-high-in-november/

Builder Confidence Rises in October | Chappaqua Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose four points to a level of 68 in October on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This was the highest reading since May.

This current reading shows that home builder sentiment is rebounding from the initial reaction of concern due to hurricanes in Florida and Texas, including the anticipated effects of repair and restoration work. However, builders need to be mindful of long-term, regional impacts from the storms, such as intensified material price increases and labor shortages.

It nonetheless is encouraging to see builder confidence return to the high 60s levels we saw in the spring and summer. With a tight inventory of existing homes and promising growth in household formation, we can expect the new home market continue to strengthen at a modest rate in the months ahead.

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

All three HMI components posted gains in October. The component gauging current sales conditions rose five points to 75 and the index charting sales expectations in the next six months increased five points to 78. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic ticked up a single point to 48.  Looking at the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the South rose two points to 68 and the Northeast rose one point to 50. Both the West and Midwest remained unchanged at 77 and 63, respectively.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/10/builder-confidence-rises-four-points-in-october/

 

Millennials are buying homes | Chappaqua Real Estate

Low housing inventory continues to increase competition among homebuyers, but that isn’t deterring Millennials, according to the latest Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker report.

Even in some of the most expensive markets, purchase loans among Millennials continued to increase in April. Purchase loans increased to 89% of the market share in April, up from 88% the month before.

And as purchase loans increased, refinances continued to drop. Closed refinance loans fell to 10% of all loans, down from 11% the previous month.

Millennials even accounted for the majority of closed loans in several metropolitan statistical areas including Bardstown, Kentucky, where Millennials made up 73% of closed loans, Hobbs, New Mexico, with 71%, Dalton, Georgia, with 65%, Victoria, Texas, with 63% and Appleton, Wisconsin, with 63%.

Millennials tend to gravitate toward affordable housing markets in the Midwest and Southeast, however, they are also showing a strong presence in some expensive big cities. Over the past three years, the number of Millennials who closed loans increased in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“This new generation of homebuyers is making its presence felt across the country,” said Joe Tyrrell, Ellie Mae executive vice president of corporate strategy. “Since the beginning of 2016, the percentage of Millennials purchasing homes in the Bay Area has actually increased from 16% to 20%.”

The New York area saw an increase from 19% in 2015 to 24% in 2017. The growth is even higher in areas such as Chicago and Dallas, which increased from 22% to 31% and 21% to 31% for the same time period respectively.

“In this purchase centric market, we anticipate a continued rise in more creative lending products to help increase Millennials’ access to credit and continue to counter concerns that rising interest rates will stifle volume,” Tyrrell said.

 

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/40374-millennials-undaunted-by-competitive-housing-market?eid=311691494&bid=1780366

Teatown donation | Chappaqua Real Estate

OSI Donates 40 Acres to Teatown

On April 27, the Open Space Institute donated 40 acres, known as the “Overlook Parcel” to Teatown. Under a conservation easement held by Westchester Land Trust, it is now permanently protected.

We made it official this past Thursday with a ribbon-cutting, attended by Teatown board members, Merrilee Ingui of Open Space Institute, and Lori Ensigner of Westchester Land Trust.

You may already be familiar with this parcel, which is home to one of our popular trails: the Overlook Trail. Teatown has been managing this land for twenty years, making it an instrumental piece of our preserve.

Camp

 

Teatown Natural Science Day Camp
Our camp’s mission is to provide a safe, non-competitive summer haven where kids can be kids, learn by exploring, discover new things about themselves, each other and the earth, and develop friendships and respect for all living things. Click here to learn more.
Experience Wildflower Island

 

June 3
11am-1pm, FREE (ages 10+, no dogs)

Stroll the winding paths and enjoy the beauty of Teatown from a different perspective! Guides will be stationed in the Gatehouse to answer questions.

Teatown Dog Park

 

Teatown is evaluating the possibility of creating a members-only dog park. We’re interested in your feedback!
In the Gallery
May & June

 

Photography literally means “writing with light”. In May and June, H. David Stein presents his photographs in “Flowers in a Different Light” at Teatown’s Nature Center. Through innovative use of different types of light directed from different directions, his flowers appear to glow from within.
Teatown Request for Proposals for Master Planning Project
Opened on May 19. Bids due on June 12.
 
Upcoming Programs
Online registration is here!
Please register by visiting teatown.eventbrite.com or by calling (914) 762-2912, ext.110.
Advanced registration is required for all programs. $7 per person or free for members, unless otherwise noted.
PESTICIDES ALL AROUND US: SOLUTIONS TO THIS POLLUTION
June 2, Friday, 8:30am-10:30am FREE
Join Conservation Café—a consortium of seven Westchester County-based partners—for a discussion on pesticides. Learn about the current status of pesticide use regionally and statewide, the impact of pesticides, and community-based efforts to reduce the use of pesticides. For adults. Taking place at Pace University, Kessel Student Center, Gottesman Room.
HIKE TO TEATOWN HILL
June 4, Sunday, 10am-12pm
Teatown’s new Hilltop Trail climbs the highest point at Teatown for a great view of the Hudson Highlands. We’ll be on the lookout for hawks, and warblers, snakes and butterflies. For everyone.
POLLINATION STATION
June 10, Saturday, 11am-12pm

Flowers are pollination stations! Just how does pollen get to where it has to go? What role do animals play in pollination? By dissecting a flower we’ll see what the buzz is about, and learn why protecting our native pollinators is vital. For families.

BREEDING BIRDS AT FAHNESTOCK STATE PARK
June 12, Monday, 7am FREE

Fahnestock’s higher elevation and forested paths offer many opportunities to spot a variety of warblers, vireos, hawks and other birds. For Adults. Meet at the Pelton Pond Parking area on Rte. 301.

INVASIVE FOREST PEST WORKSHOP
June 14, Wednesday, 10am-3pm
Learn how to identify new forest pests invading our region, long-term mitigation and management strategies for Hemlock Woolly Adelgid or Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), and how to become involved in efforts to monitor pests, block pathways of introduction or locate EAB-resistant ash. For adults.
Unless otherwise noted, all programs meet in the Nature Center. Some programs fill up, so please register early.
Your support matters
Your donation can make an immediate impact and help support our environmental education programs and the stewardship of our 1,000 acre
preserve.

FHFA: Home prices continue climbing in first quarter | Chappaqua Real Estate

Home prices rose during each month of the first quarter, continuing a climb that began in the early part of this decade, a new report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed.

The FHFA’s House Price Index for March, which is the most recent data available, showed that seasonally adjusted monthly index for March was up 0.6% from February.

Overall, house prices rose 1.4% during the first quarter of 2017, the FHFA report showed. On a year-over-year basis, house prices rose 6% from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2017.

“The steep, multi-year rise in U.S. home prices continued in the first quarter,” FHFA Deputy Chief Economist Andrew Leventis said.

“Mortgage rates during the quarter remained slightly elevated relative to most of last year, but demand for homes remained very strong,” Leventis added. “With housing inventories still languishing at extremely low levels, the strong demand led to another exceptionally large quarterly price increase.”

Low inventory is also a concern of the National Association of Realtors, as its latest existing home sales report showed that home sales fell in April and homes flew off the market at a rate not seen since 2011.

The FHFA report also showed that home prices rose in 48 states and the District of Columbia between the first quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017.

FHFA monthly home price index March 2017

(Click the image to enlarge. Image courtesy of the FHFA.)

According to the FHFA report, the top five areas in annual appreciation were: District of Columbia at 13.9% Colorado at 10.7%; Idaho at 10.3%; Washington at 10.2%; and New Hampshire at 9.5%.

The FHFA report also showed that among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., the annual price increase in Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Michigan was the highest in the nation, at 13.7%.

Prices were weakest in San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, California, where prices fell by 2.5%.

Of the nine census divisions, the Pacific division showed the strongest increase in the first quarter, with a 2% quarterly increase and a 7.7% increase since the first quarter of 2016, the FHFA report showed.

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/40199-fhfa-home-prices-continue-climbing-in-first-quarter?eid=311691494&bid=1765052

NAR: Existing home sales will see best year since 2006 | Chappaqua Real Estate

Single-family existing home sales are set to see their best year since 2006, driven by robust job gains and improving household confidence, according to the forecast from the National Association of Realtors.

While existing home sales are increasing, low levels of supply and rising affordability concerns are creating headwinds for sales and threatening the low homeownership rate.

The first quarter came in with the best sales pace for existing homes in a decade; NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun expects that pace to continue, finishing off 2017 with 5.62 million sales, the best pace since 2006. This would represent an increase of 3.5% from 2016.

And home sales aren’t the only thing predicted to rise. NAR also forecasts an increase of 5% in existing home prices in 2017.

However, starter home shortage continue to plague the housing market and discourage would-be first time homebuyers.

“We have been under the 50-year average of single-family housing starts for 10 years now,” Yun said. “Limited lots, labor shortages, tight construction lending and higher lumber costs are impeding the building industry’s ability to produce more single-family homes.”

“There’s little doubt first-time buyer participation would improve and the homeownership rate would rise if there was simply more inventory,” he said.

Yun predicted new home starts will rise 8.4% to 1.27 million in 2017. While an increase from the current pace, this is still 1.5 million homes below the amount needed to make up for insufficient building in recent years. New home sales are also expected to rise 8.4% from last year to 620,000 sales.

Jonathan Spader, Joint Center for Housing Studies senior research associate at Harvard University, joined Yun at the 2017 Realtors Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo to discuss the 2017 forecast. He explained the homeownership rate will hover between 61% and 65.1% as it faces headwinds such as an aging population, changes in family type and increasing diversity by race and ethnicity.

“Stagnant household incomes, rising rental costs, student loan debt and limited supply have all contributed to slower purchasing activity,” Spader said. “When the homeownership rate stabilizes, there will be an increase in homeowner households. Young and minority households’ ability to reach the market will play a big role in how much the actual rate can rise in coming years.”

But while home sales continue to rise to decade highs, economic growth is at its slowest since World War II. Mark Calabria, chief economist and assistant to Vice President Mike Pence, explained at the conference the housing market cannot be strong without a solid economic foundation.

“A strong labor market will drive a strong housing market, but you can’t have a strong housing market without a strong economic foundation,” Calabria said. “The recovery has been uneven with roughly 70 counties making up roughly half of all job growth.”

And while the first quarter gross domestic product did come in at a disappointing 0.7% growth, the second quarter will see an increase to about 2.2%, Yun said.

Yun predicts two more rate hikes this year to bring mortgage rates to an average 4.3% by the end of 2017, and climbing towards 5% in 2018.

“There was a lot of uncertainty at the start of the year, but a very strong first quarter sets the stage for a modest sales increase compared to last year,” Yun said. “However, prices are still rising too fast in many areas and are outpacing incomes.”

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/40160-nar-existing-home-sales-will-see-best-year-since-2006?eid=311691494&bid=1759920