Tag Archives: Chappaqua NY Real Estate

Chappaqua NY Real Estate

Builder Confidence Surges in September | Chappaqua Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes in September jumped six points to 65 from a downwardly revised August reading of 59 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This marks the highest HMI level since October 2015.

With the inventory of new and existing homes remaining tight, builders are confident of positive market conditions for new construction. Solid job creation and low interest rates are also fueling demand, while builders continue to be hampered by supply-side constraints that include shortages of labor and building lots.


As household incomes rise, builders in many markets across the nation are reporting they are seeing more serious buyers, a positive sign that the housing market continues to move forward. The single-family market continues to make gradual gains and we expect this upward momentum will build throughout the remainder of the year and into 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.


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Mortgage rates average 3.59% | Chappaqua Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates declining from the previous week and reaching their lowest level since February of last year.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.59 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending April 7, 2016, down from last week when they averaged 3.71 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.66 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.88 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.93 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.82 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.90 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.83 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 link for theDefinitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates this week registered the delayed impact of last week’s sharp drop in Treasury yields as the 30-year mortgage rate fell 12 basis points to 3.59 percent. This rate marks a new low for 2016 and matches last year’s low in February 2015. Low mortgage rates and a positive employment outlook should support a strong housing market in the second quarter of 2016.”

Mortgage rates at 3.71% | Chappaqua Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates mixed and largely unchanged from the previous week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.71 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 31, 2016, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.70 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.96 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.98 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 link for theDefinitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Dovish comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday triggered a rally in Treasury markets and drove the 10-year yield down 13 basis points from last week’s high. Yellen’s comments came too late to affect this week’s mortgage rate survey, and the 30-year mortgage rate remained unchanged at 3.71 percent. However, if the Fed’s cautious tone persists, mortgage rates may register the impact in subsequent weeks.”





US homebuilder sentiment holds steady in March | Chappaqua Real Estate

U.S. home builders remain optimistic that the housing market will improve, but their expectations for sales over the next six months have dimmed just as the spring home-selling season gets under way.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday held steady at 58 this month.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index had been in the low 60s for eight months until February.

Builders’ view of current sales conditions held steady, while a measure of traffic by prospective buyers increased. But builders’ outlook for sales over the next six months declined to the lowest level in 12 months.

The latest readings come as the annual spring buying season ramps up. Typically, the season sets the pattern for residential hiring and construction for much of the rest of the year.

Sales of new homes surged 14.5 percent last year to 501,000, marking the strongest year for this segment of the housing market since 2007.

But that momentum didn’t carry over into January, when new-home sales fell 9.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 494,000. That’s well below the historic 52-year average of 655,200. February’s sales figures are due out next week.

This month’s builder index was based on 288 respondents.

Builders’ view of current sales conditions for single-family homes held steady at 65, while their gauge of traffic by prospective buyers rose four points to 43. Builders’ outlook for sales over the next six months fell three points to 61, the lowest level since a reading of 59 in March 2015.

Even so, this month’s index builder sentiment index remains in line with the NAHB’s forecast of a slow-but-steady improvement for the single-family home market this year.

“Solid job growth, low mortgage rates and improving mortgage availability will help keep the housing market on a gradual upward trajectory in the coming months,” said David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist.

Though new homes represent only a fraction of the housing market, they have an out sized impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to NAHB data.


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Shelter Plants from Winter’s Worst | Chappaqua Real Estate

When it comes to hydrangeas, I’m certifiably loony. Or, at least, I used to be. The source of my obsession was a variegated hydrangea. I bought it in full flower, and the azure, lacecap blooms were simply stunning against the backdrop of broad, spade-shaped leaves edged with creamy white. Then winter hit and it died to the ground. New shoots burst forth in spring, adorned with luscious foliage, but no blooms appeared. Ditto the next spring. And the next. Apparently the plant was root-hardy here, but its stems and flower buds—which form on year-old growth—were not. In my USDA Hardiness Zone 6 Connecticut garden, Old Man Winter prevailed.

But it got me thinking that if I kept my variegated hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla‘Tricolor’) warmer, its stems and buds might survive. So I decided to cover the plant in winter. I bought one of those homely-looking Styrofoam cones sold to protect tea roses in winter, capped the hydrangea, and covered that with a layer of shredded leaf mulch and pine boughs. Then I waited until the next summer when—lo and behold—the hydrangea flowered.

Emboldened by success, I started experimenting with other marginally hardy plants, using everything from small glass domes to homemade, doghouse-sized plastic greenhouses. I soon realized winter cover-ups could provide an extra zone or more of warmth. I’ve used these devices to help late-season transplants get established, protect recently transplanted evergreens, and coddle a few choice perennials that would otherwise never survive winters in my garden. There’s nothing complicated about it. I rarely spend more than 15 minutes prepping a plant for winter, and unveiling it for spring takes even less time. My methods aren’t foolproof. There’s still a casualty or two every season. But even with occasional losses, my efforts are repaid several times over each year.


Everyone knows that plants die if winter temperatures are too frigid for them to endure. But severe weather can pose a threat even to hardy plants. An early-season burst of bitter cold can shatter the cells of woody plants that haven’t yet hardened off. Later in the season, those same plants could march through a similar cold snap in stride. Deeper into winter, cold, dry winds can draw the life from conifers or broad-leaved evergreens. Even warm spells can be perilous. High temperatures can evaporate the last reserves of moisture from the transpiring leaves of evergreens whose roots, locked in frozen ground, are unable to draw replenishing moisture from the soil.

Most hardy perennials could sleep through winter peacefully if tucked under a thick blanket of snow. But where snowfall is iffy, exposure to Jack Frost’s full force may kill marginally hardy plants. In poorly draining soils, winter wet can rot the crown of hardy perennials. And the churning freeze-thaw cycles of early spring can easily heave plants—roots and all—from the ground. To complicate matters further, the tissues of some plants, particularly trees and shrubs, are more susceptible to cold temperatures in their youth or their first year or two after transplanting. Only when they’ve reached a certain level of maturity are they fully hardy.

My garden is subject to just about every one of those threats. So, to prepare marginally hardy or recently planted perennials, trees, and shrubs for winter, I make sure at-risk plants are deeply watered before the ground freezes. In addition, any recently transplanted or marginally hardy evergreens get a spray of an anti-transpirant, like Wilt-Pruf, to seal the microscopic openings in their leaves. When the ground has frozen, I give new plants—even those rated bone-hardy for my garden—a 2- to 4-inch blanket of mulch, either ground bark or, preferably, shredded leaves. I also use pine boughs or branches cut from the Christmas tree. These make an excellent, airy mulch for young hellebores or any fledgling evergreen perennial because they help moderate temperature changes and offer protection from the winter wind and sun.

Plants in need of special coddling—anything unlikely to survive winter’s cold and wet—should be tucked into a custom, seasonal shelter before cold weather settles in, usually about late November in my garden. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. I’ve used overturned plastic pots, lengths of burlap, shredded leaves, even a heavy-duty paper bag. Unless you make the effort to build an artistic shelter, chances are that an array of protected plants is going to look like a hastily abandoned campground. But I can live with the less-than-good looks for a year or two until a newly planted tree or shrub is well-established. Even so, any plantings that will need long-term coddling shouldn’t be positioned prominently in the stark winter landscape. To avoid aesthetic crises, I tuck my tender treasures at the bottom of a gentle slope in the backyard, where they can’t be seen from the house.

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China Home Prices Rise | Chappaqua Real Estate

Chinese cities where home prices rose exceeded those where they declined for the first time in 16 months in July, as authorities removed some property curbs and interest rates fell.

New-home prices rose in 31 cities of the 70 the government monitors, from 27 the previous month, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday. They dropped in 29 and were unchanged in 10.

Prices, led by some of the biggest Chinese cities, extended gains from the second quarter, spurred by the easing of mortgage policies at the end of March and four reductions in borrowing costs since November. The trend will continue this year as liquidity remains ample and expectations of rising prices further prompt more people to buy, overriding any potential impact from a devalued yuan and a stock-market selloff, according to Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd.

“The average price gains may accelerate in the second half as prices in the second- and third-tier cities are just starting to rise,” Alan Jin, a Hong Kong-based real estate analyst at Mizuho, said by phone. “The demand is still there.”

The average price of the 70 cities rose 0.17 percent from June, gaining for a third consecutive month, according to Bloomberg calculations of official data. Prices in Sanya, a tourist city on the southern Hainan island, climbed 0.2 percent, reversing declines since at least August last year.


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Modest Gains for Home Construction | #Chappaqua Real Estate

After a disappointing set of housing data last month, recent reports suggest a return to trend for home building as the nation enters the spring home buying season.

Home builders reversed a one-month decline in sentiment as the April NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI) increased 4 points to 56 in April from a one-point downwardly revised 52 in March. The bounce back up to the January-February average suggests the March observation was an outlier.

All three components of the HMI rebounded to or above the early part of 2015. The current sales index rose three points to 61, matching the February level and standing just one point below the January report. The expected sales component rose five points to 64, the highest in 2015, and the traffic component rose four points to 41. The solid and significant increase in expectations suggests builders are expecting the market to continue growing.

Consistent with this rebound in market sentiment, Census-estimated housing starts increased 2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 926,000 in March. Single-family starts increased 4.4% to a 618,000 rate. Multifamily starts dropped to a 308,000 pace, the lowest monthly rate since September 2013. Most of this decline in apartment construction was concentrated in the West.

Permits were down 5.7% overall, mostly due to a 15.9% loss in multifamily, evenly spread across three of the four regions. Northeast multifamily permits rose 55% to 90,000, the highest since June 2008, when a code change caused a one-time jump. The remaining three regions accounted for a 108,000 fall, offsetting the 48,000 increase in the Northeast. Single-family permits rose 2.1% to a 636,000 rate, with only the West showing a decline of 2% or down 3,000 to a 146,000 permits pace for March


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Property Taxes Make Up 40% of State and Local Tax Revenues | Chappaqua Real Estate

According to NAHB tabulations of the Census Bureau’s quarterly data, property taxes constituted 39.7% of state and local tax receipts among major sources for 2014. Sales taxes had the second largest share at 27.8%, followed closely by individual income tax at 27.9%. At 4.6%, corporate income taxes held the smallest share of state and local tax receipts among major sources.

SALT shares

Further gains are expected in all tax receipts as the economic recovery strengthens, however state and local individual income tax, corporate income tax, and sales tax collections are particularly responsive to changing economic conditions.

Gains in state and local individual income tax, corporate income tax, and sales tax collections had outpaced increases in property tax receipts until recently. This trend pushed the property tax share of total receipts from the four major sources from a high of 44.9% in the third quarter of 2010 to just below 40% as of the end of 2014. The share did stabilize recently as property tax revenues continue to grow. The current property tax share remains higher than pre-housing boom measures.

Revenues from property taxes totaled just under $498 billion for 2014.

prop tax revenues

Lagging property assessments and annual adjustments smooth property tax collections across business cycles. Nominal property tax collections are not as prone to cyclical fluctuations as other tax collections and have tended to increase with minor business cycle fluctuations.


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Builder Sentiment about Multifamily Remains Positive | Chappaqua Real Estate

Builder and developer sentiment about the multifamily market held steady in the fourth quarter, according to results from NAHB’s  Multifamily Production Index (MPI) released earlier today.

The overall MPI—a composite measure of sentiment about production of low-rent apartments, market-rate rental apartments and condominiums—was unchanged at 54 in the fourth quarter.

MPI table 14Q4

The MPI and each of its components is an index that ranges from 0 to 100, where any number over the break-even point of 50 means that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse.  The overall MPI has been above 50 for three straight years, indicating that builders and developers, on balance, believe the market has been improving consistently over that time.

Among the components of the MPI, the index for low-rent apartments increased one point to 52, the index for market-rate rental fell two points to 62, and the index for condominiums held steady at 50.

Historically, the MPI has performed well as a leading indicator of  starts in buildings with five or more apartments, often moving one to three quarters in advance of the construction numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

MPI chart 14Q4

An overall MPI of 54 is consistent with NAHB’s view that the multifamily segment of the industry has largely recovered from the downturn, and that multifamily production has now reached a healthy, sustainable level.

For more information, including detailed tables on the components of the MPI, see the web page for NAHB’sMultifamily Production & Vacancy Indices.


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Preview the Historic Knickerbocker Hotel’s Modern Makeover | Chappaqua Real Estate

The Knickerbocker, the iconic Beaux Arts hotel originally opened in 1906 by John Jacob Astor IV, is set to reopen next Thursday, and we recently got a tour inside the historic building, where the construction crew is putting in the finishing touches. Though The Knickerbocker is an individual landmark, which means that the facade must be meticulously maintained down to the smallest detail, on the inside practically nothing original remains, and the hotel has received a sleek, modern renovation (to the tune of $240 million) feature a lot ofCarrera marble, gold leaf, and other very high-end finishes. So, while the hotel may not look anything like it did back when in the days when Red Sox owner Harry Frazee met the team’s manager in the cafe to inform him that he was selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees, or when the house bartender invented the martini (depending on who you believe), it will be similarly luxurious. The 330 rooms averaging 430 square feet apiece, will start at around $500-$700 per night.


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