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Katonah Homes

How New Home Buyers Financed Their Homes in 2015 | Katonah Real Estate

NAHB analysis of the Census Bureau Survey of Construction (SOC) data shows that non-conventional forms of financing new single-family home purchases remained elevated in 2015, accounting for more than a third of the market.

Looking at new single-family homes started in 2015, the South Atlantic division was most dependent on non-conventional financing, with its share exceeding 40% of the market. The West South Central and New England divisions registered similarly high shares but relied on very different types of non-conventional financing. In New England, a third of all homes started in 2015 were cash purchases, while loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) accounted for less than 3% of the market. In contrast, homebuyers in the South Atlantic and West South Central division relied more heavily on FHA- and VA-backed loans that together accounted for more than 26% and 21% of the market, respectively.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the East South Central division where only 16% of new homes started in 2015 were financed using non-conventional methods. This share is less than half of the US average of 34.5%, making it the lowest share of non-conventional financing in the nation.

The Pacific and Mountain divisions registered shares of non-conventional financing methods close to the US average, 34% and 36%, respectively. In the middle Atlantic division, one in four single-family homes started in 2015 was financed by non-conventional means. While in the West North Central and East North Central divisions, only one in five new home buyers relied on non-conventional financing.
For homes started in 2015, the share of mortgages insured by the FHA bumped up, especially in the Pacific and South Atlantic divisions where FHA loans accounted for 19% and 18%, respectively. This was largely due to a reduction in FHA mortgage insurance premiums implemented at the start of 2015. As a result, FHA-backed loans regained their status as the most prevalent form of non-conventional financing of new home purchases – the status they temporarily lost to cash purchases a year earlier following the implemented decline in the 2014 FHA loan limits.

The share of VA-backed loans remained relatively stable in 2015, accounting for just over 6% of the market. However, their share was almost twice as high, approaching 12%, in the Mountain division, the only region in the nation where the share of VA-backed loans exceeded that of cash purchases and other types of financing combined.

The share of cash purchases declined in 2015, most dramatically in the Mountain division, where cash purchases lost half of its market share. Overall, cash purchases accounted for 10 percent of the market. New England registered the nation’s highest share, with one in three new homes started in 2015 purchased with cash. The Middle Atlantic and East North Central divisions registered the second and third highest shares – 15% and 14%, respectively. At the other end of the spectrum is the East South Central division where less than 7% of single-family starts were financed with cash.

The high prevalence of cash financing in the New England, East North Central and Middle Atlantic divisions can be partially explained by the popularity of custom homebuilding in these divisions, with all three claimingthe top three custom home market shares in 2015. Custom homes are more likely to be financed with cash, especially if built by the owner acting as the general contractor. In 2015, more than 36% of custom homes built by the owner were financed with cash, while less than 7 percent of spec homes were purchased with cash.
Other types of non-conventional financing methods – such as the Rural Housing Service, Habitat for Humanity, loans from individuals, state or local government mortgage-backed bonds and other – are particularly popular in the West South Central division (7.6%) and South Atlantic division (5.7%), both exceeding the national average of 4.5%.


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Great reasons to build a geodesic dome home | Katonah Real Estate


Dome homes. They’re kind of weird looking and they don’t exactly fit into those perfect little neighborhoods you see when walking around a cute downtown area or a clean-cut suburban gated community. But Buckminster Fuller saw the potential is those triangles: With the goal of creating a structure analogous to nature’s own designs, Fuller began to experiment with geometry in the late 1940s. In 1951, he patented the geodesic dome, and while you may not see a lot of on a normal city street, geodesic domes are known to be the most efficient building system available. So, why should you want a dome home anyway?

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Fuller, a philosopher, mathematician, engineer, historian, and poet, is known for popularizing the geodesic dome in architectural projects. One of his ambitions was to do more with less, knowing that eventually a housing crisis may endanger the planet’s growing population. He also noticed problems inherent in conventional construction techniques whereas natural structures seemed to have less trouble adapting to Mother Nature’s various issues.


1. Energy Efficiency

The sphere is nature’s most efficient shape, covering the most living area with the least amount of surface area. When compared with a similar sized rectangularly-shaped house, the dome home will have 30 percent less surface area. A dome home will actually use about 1 /3 less lumber to build than a similar sized box house, according to Linda Boothe, owner of Oregon Dome, so even though the dome uses less material, it’s about five times stronger than a rectangular-shaped house. Additionally, a third less surface area means that a third less heat is transferred to and from its surroundings, saving the average dome homeowner about 30 percent or more on their average heating and cooling bill.


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2. They’re Disaster-Proof

Well, just about. When the Loma Prieta earthquake in the Santa Cruz mountains hit in 1989, it hit 7.1 on Richter scale and over 500 conventional homes in the area were destroyed or needed extensive repair. Many more were damaged or needed major repair after the aftershocks rolled through. The only home to survive that quake in the area was an Oregon Dome geodesic dome home, Boothe said, and it was set up as a shelter for local earthquake survivors. Time and time again, dome homes have survived earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes when all other homes were destroyed. Why?

According to Boothe: “You can begin to see the intrinsic strength of this design by trying the following: Nail four boards together replicating box house framing and then nail three boards together in a triangle. You’ll find you can easily bend, twist, and skew the conventional square shape into many different shapes. This is what happens to your house in an earthquake. Now try to change the shape of the triangle. You can’t. The triangle is the strongest shape.”


3. Cheaper to Build than Traditional Houses

also save you on building materials, making them cheaper to build. Think of it like a soap bubble. Less surface area equals less lumber— which is cheaper for you all around.


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4. Endless Design Possibilities

The design possibilities are almost endless. While it may seem odd at first to try and figure out how to design a round home, the open floor plan allows you to insert or remove walls almost anywhere. A dome home is structurally independent of interior framing, so you don’t have to worry about that kitchen wall being “load-bearing”. Further, natural openings that occur within the construction of the dome allow for large openings and windows to the outside, letting light in throughout.

A dome home is an odd thing, certainly, and you may never see them lining the grid of regular city streets. However, every community that is hit, with tornadoes, earthquakes or hurricanes, however infrequently, would be smart to put a large dome structure near their town where they can gather and seek shelter during storms, much like the city of Tupelo, Mississippi is now doing.


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#Mortgage rates rise | #Katonah Real Estate

Freddie today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates rising amid market expectations of possible rate increase by the Federal Reserve.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.87 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending November 5, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.76 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.02 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.09 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.21 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.62 percent this week with an average 0.2 point, up from 2.54 percent last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.45 percent.

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

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Treasury yields climbed nearly 20 basis points over the past week, capturing the market movement following last week’s FOMC meeting. In response, the 30-year mortgage rate experienced its largest increase since June, up 11 basis points to 3.87 percent. Recent commentary suggests interest rates may rise in the near future. Janet Yellen referred to a December rate hike as a ‘live possibility’ if incoming information supports it. The October jobs report to be released this Friday will be one crucial factor influencing the FOMC’s decision.”



Las Vegas housing prices dip | Katonah Real Estate

Las Vegas housing resale prices dipped in July but remained higher than they were a year ago, while sales volume continued to climb, according to a new report.

The median sales price of single-family homes sold in Southern Nevada last month was $218,000, down 0.9 percent from June but up 9 percent from July 2014, according to the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors.

Buyers picked up 3,180 single-family homes last month, up 4 percent from June and 20.4 percent from July 2014.

The number of ignored listings, however, also rose. There were 7,636 single-family homes on the market without offers by the end of July, up 2.7 percent from June and 5 percent from a year ago, the GLVAR reported.

The trade association reports data from its listing service, which largely comprises previously owned homes.

In the report, GLVAR President Keith Lynam said he likes to compare the housing market to a marriage: “It’s a good thing when it’s stable.”

“For the most part, that’s what we’ve seen so far this year,” he said.

Prices are rising at a much slower pace than in recent years. After the economy tanked, investors gobbled up cheap homes to turn into rentals and pushed up housing values at one of the fastest rates nationally, raising fears of another bubble. However, the housing marketcooled considerably last year as investors, faced with higher prices, backed out.


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Interest Only Mortgages are back | Katonah Real Estate

They were the villains of the housing crash. Federal regulators called them toxic. Now interest-only mortgages are making a comeback, but these are not the loans of yesteryear or yester-housing booms.

“I think it’s opening the door back to responsible lending, giving people choices,” said Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage, the second-largest lender through brokers in the nation.

The company announced Monday it is now offering interest-only loans through brokers, with significant safeguards. Borrowers must put 20 percent down, ensuring that they have the “skin in the game” that so many did not during the heady days of the housing boom. They must have at least a 720 FICO credit score, which is well above average, and they must qualify on what the payments will be once they’re adjusted higher, not at the starter rate.

Real estate

Mike Powell | Getty Images

“These people can afford these mortgages. They’re savvy homeowners,” said Ishbia. “We’re giving them the choice. It is no more risk to us. We actually think it’s less risk.”

United Wholesale Mortgage does not hold the loans but sells them to investors. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-backed mortgage giants, do not buy these types of loans.

The mortgage begins as a five-year adjustable-rate product. Without paying principal, a borrower using, for example, a $300,000 mortgage, would start at 4.125 percent today, the same as a 30-year fixed. Without paying principal, however, the borrower would save $420 per month.

The interest rate can then adjust higher after five years, depending on market rates, but borrowers for this product are underwritten at a rate above 6 percent to ensure they could handle that adjustment. Borrowers are also required to start making principal payments after 10 years; of course they can also refinance the loan whenever they want.

In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued rules to protect consumers from what it deemed “irresponsible mortgage lending.” So-called qualified mortgages under the new regulations would give lenders certain protections, should the loans go bad. Under the QM rules, according to the news release at the time, there would be:

No toxic loan features: A qualified mortgage cannot have risky loan features, such as terms that exceed 30 years, interest-only payments, or negative-amortization payments where the principal amount increases. In the lead up to the crisis, too many consumers took on risky loans that they didn’t understand. They didn’t realize their debt or payments could increase, or that they weren’t building any equity in the home.

Interest-only loans therefore fall under the definition of a qualified mortgage. During the housing boom, they were used to help borrowers buy homes they really couldn’t afford. Now, more lenders are starting to do them again, but with much tighter restrictions. They are mostly offered to high net worth individuals in the jumbo loan category, and banks hold the loans on their balance sheets.


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30 Year Mortgage Rates Average 4.08% | Katonah Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates reaching new 2015 highs heading into the holiday weekend and ahead of the June jobs report.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.08 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending July 2, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 4.02 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.12 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.24 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.21 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.22 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.99 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.98 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.98 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.52 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.50 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.38 percent.

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

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Overseas events are generating significant day-to-day volatility in interest rates. Nonetheless, the week-to-week impact on most rates was modest — the 30-year mortgage rate increased just 6 bps, to 4.08 percent. The MBA composite index of mortgage applications fell 4.7 percent in response to what is now three consecutive weeks of mortgage rates over 4 percent. Other measures, however, confirmed continued strength in housing — pending home sales rose 0.9 percent, exceeding expectations, and the Case-Shiller house price index recorded another solid increase.”

Boost Your All-White Color Scheme | Katonah Real Estate

Love the look of fresh white but don’t want to feel like you live in a cold, minimalist compound? Here’s how to boost white to get a livable, inviting look that feels airy, open and full of personality.

Home-builder confidence rises to nine-month high | Katonah Real Estate

A gauge of confidence among home builders rose five points to 59 in June, hitting a nine-month high, according to National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo data released Monday. Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a June result of 55.

Gauges of builders’ views on present and upcoming home sales each hit their highest level since late 2005, shortly before the housing bubble burst. Readings above 50 signal that home-construction companies, generally, are optimistic about sales trends, and June marks the 12th consecutive month of above-50 readings.

NAHB said a barometer of builders’ views on present sales of single-family homes rose seven points to 65 in June, while a gauge of their views on upcoming sales increased six to 69, and an index of prospective-buyer traffic rose five to 44.


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U.S. house prices accelerate in April | #Katonah Real Estate

U.S. house prices accelerated further in April, as low inventories and growing sales push costs higher, a leading data provider said Tuesday.

CoreLogic reported a 2.7% monthly advance to take the year-on-year gain to 6.8%.

The spring is traditionally the strongest portion of the year for housing, and data from CoreLogic and other providers suggest an upturn.

“Old-fashion supply and demand, fueled by historically low mortgage rates and improving consumer finances and confidence, continue to push home prices up,” said Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic.

Dallas and Houston prices are showing few signs of let-up despite the collapse in energy prices. Dallas prices were up 10.3% in the 12 months to April, and Houston prices were up 9.5%. The Washington, D.C., area brought up the rear with just a 1.6% advance.

South Carolina was the strongest state, with an 11.4% advance, while Massachusetts saw a 1.7% drop, one of only four states to register a decline.

CoreLogic is the first of the three major house-price trackers to report results. The Case-Shiller/20-city composite rose 5% in the year to March, and the FHFA house price report showed a 5.2% gain in the 12 months to March.


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New home sales jump in April even as prices gain | Katonah Real Estate

Sales of new single-family houses in April 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This comes after a big drop in March which saw just 481,000 new home sales, the biggest drop in almost two years and primarily driven by a precipitous drop in sales in the Northeast in March.

This is 6.8% above the revised March rate of 484,000 and is 26.1% above the April 2014 estimate of 410,000.

The big driver of the gain was one of the smaller home regions, the Midwest, which saw a jump from 57,000 to 78,000 sales. In April the West and Northeast both saw declines.

The median sales price of new houses sold in April 2015 was $297,300; the average sales price was $341,500 – both up from March.


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