Buoyed by a strong economy and continued low mortgage rates, the New York State housing market showed an upward climb in sales and listings in September, according to the housing market report released today by the New York State Association of REALTORS®.
Closed sales in New York totaled 11,467 units in the month of September, a 1.6-percent increase from this time last year. New listings and pending sales rose substantially in September – up 7.5-percent to 18,161 homes and 7.6-percent to 11,182 respectively.
For the third quarter, closed sales were down marginally, 0.8-percent to 38,722 homes but both new listings and pending sales trended upward. There were 56,361 new listings this quarter, a 1.2-percent increase, while pending sales rose 4.9-percent to 37,766 homes.
Interest rates remained low, down 0.1-percent to 3.61 percent on a 30-year fixed mortgage, according to Freddie Mac. This is the fourth consecutive month that interest rates were below 4.0-percent.
Median sales prices once again climbed in September, up 5.7-percent to $280,000. Quarterly prices surged upwards as well, rising 5.5-percent to $290,000. Inventory levels were down for September, 2.9-percent to 71,737 homes for sale.
VIEWS41KSHARE221Designed to amplify nature, these cozy, modern cabins invite you to embrace the simple life.
Winter is the perfect time to rally family and friends for a cabin getaway, featuring days in the unspoiled snow and nights spent nursing hot (spiked) cider around the fireplace. If you’re dreaming about your own rustic retreat in the wilderness, look no further for inspiration than these 20 modern winter cabins below that demonstrate a deep respect for their snowy, wooded surrounds.
Described by Seattle–based Olson Kundig Architects as “a steel box on stilts,” this three-story cabin in upstate Washington is fitted with four 10′ x 18′ steel shutters that are rolled over the glass windows, so it can be sealed off from the elements when not in use. In fact, the client requested that Delta Shelter be virtually indestructible: the steel exterior makes it fire-resistant, while its steel-beam legs protect it from flooding.
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Architect Håkon Matre Aasarød, partner at Oslo–based studio Vardehaugen Architects, led the design of Cabin Vindheim—an off-grid cabin deep in the alpine landscape near Lillehammer, Norway, whose spaceship-like appearance gives it an otherworldly presence.
This sleek cabin by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter adapts to the slope of the terrain, and divides into two branches of living areas. The same timber cladding of the exterior extends onto the roof, creating a unified expression.
The minimalist cabins of this Norwegian hotel offer elegant shelter, while striking a remarkable communion with the sublime, natural environment. Billed a “landscape hotel,” the lodge features nine separate rooms that offer distinct views of the topography.
International firm Snøhetta created this new addition to Sweden’s Treehotel that’s perfect for stargazing. Barring a fear of heights, you can choose to lay your sleeping bag on the double-layered net that connects the cabin’s two bedrooms and enjoy a night under the stars.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF GEORGESOROS.COM; GAGE SKIDMORE | WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Update 10/24 — The U.S. Secret Service released a statement this morning stating that similar packages were intercepted in routine mail screenings en route to the Chappaqua address of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as the Washington, D.C. residence of Former President Barack Obama.
• “Suspicious packages” were identified as “potential explosive devices” during what the Secret Service says in its official statement were routine mail screenings, and “appropriately handled as such.”
• The package sent to Clinton was intercepted late on Tuesday, October 23. A second package addressed to President Obama was intercepted in Washington early Wednesday morning.
• Neither of the Secret Service’s protectees received the packages, “nor were they at risk of receiving them,” according to the statement.
• Also on Wednesday morning, CNN’s offices in Manhattan were evacuated after a similar device was sent there and made its way into their offices, a law enforcement official said.
Jim Sciutto✔@jimsciuttoBreaking: CNN NY office evacuated. Police bomb squad is here. We’re told of explosive device received.
• According to the Secret Service, the agency has “initiated a full scope criminal investigation that will leverage all available federal, state, and local resources to determine the source of the packages and identify those responsible.”
Westchester Magazine will continue coverage of this story as it develops. Original story below:
Monday afternoon, a small explosive device was discovered in the mailbox of billionaire philanthropist George Soros’ Katonah residence.
No one was injured and the investigation is still ongoing. Here’s everything you need to know as the story unfolds:
• Bedford Police received a call around 3:45 p.m. on Monday, October 22, from an employee of the residence.
• The 88-year-old Soros was not home at the time.
• The relatively small device was discovered when an employee opened a package, after which they carefully placed the device outside in a wooded area, according to the Bedford police.
• Federal and state law enforcement agents responded, and the bomb squad proceeded with a controlled detonation of the device.
• There was no clear motive behind the attempted bombing, though Soros has often been demonized by right-wing groups for his support of liberal social policies and campaign contributions to democrats.
• TheNew York Timesreports that the investigation is open, and is now being handled by the New York offices of both the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
A lot of factors play into the cost of a home painting project. The type of paint, the number of rooms, the siding material and the height of the house all have an impact. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, homeowners pay an average of $1,500 to $4,000 to have their home exteriors painted and $1,000 to $3,000 to have their entire home interior painted. So, how much will your project cost? And what factors do you have to consider?
When to Paint
Interior Beyond apparent fading and wear, or simply changing up your style, there are a few parameters for how often interiors should be painted – and how frequently you should factor painting into your annual home improvement budget.
How Often to Paint Interior Rooms
Exterior Climate and maintenance practices will determine how often you’ll need to paint your home. But the type of siding you have plays a major role.
The best time of year to paint exteriors is in the late spring and during the summer—when the weather is warmer and dryer, for optimum application conditions.
DIY vs Hiring A Pro
If it’s within your budget, you’ll get the most out of your investment by hiring an expert for your painting project. Experienced painters can do the work in better time. Plus, they’ll have the equipment and training to perform the best preparation and application.
If you do hire a pro, be wary of low quotes. “The wording they’ll use a lot of times is: ‘We guarantee coverage,’” says Nick May, owner of Walls By Design in Denver, Colo. “And that just means they’re going to do one coat and touchups. So, really be sure the contractor spells out: ‘How many coats am I doing? How am I applying it?’”
If you’d prefer to save money and paint your home yourself, keep in mind that it’s easier and safer to paint your home interior yourself than it is to paint the exterior. There are many dangers associated with exterior work — especially on homes with multiple stories.
Interior Painting Costs The typical cost of supplies is $200-$300 for one room, which includes tarps, ladders, tools and paint. If you hire an expert, you’re likely to pay $400-$800 per room or $1,000-$3,000 for the whole home.
Exterior Painting Costs An average-sized house calls for 12 gallons of paint, which averages $400-$900. With supplies like extender poles and ladders, you’ll pay roughly $600 to $1,200 to paint your home’s exterior yourself. If you hire a painter or painting company, you’ll pay around $1,500 to $4,000. This price fluctuates according to the number of stories and the type of surface being painted. Painting a three-story home could cost over $5,000. And painting concrete or vinyl siding tends to cost less than painting wood or stucco.
“Paint is the least expensive thing you can get the biggest bang for in your house. You can spend $5,000 on a dining room set, or you can spend $5,000 on paint and redo your whole entire house.”– Nick May, Owner of Walls by Design in Denver, Colo.
The quality and type of paint you choose can make all the difference in extending the life of your paint job. “Really understand your options,” says May. “Most paint companies make a good paint, but they also can sell a crappy paint. Some paints hide better; some paints perform better; some paints will touch up better.”
Interior Color and Finishes Bedrooms are best in soothing colors like blue and green. Living rooms can be done in energizing colors like red or purple, but blue and beige are also good tones. And kitchens and bathrooms should be painted clean blues, grays, whites and neutrals. If you can’t decide, you can consult with an interior designer for advice. As far as finishes, semi-gloss has the best moisture resistance and is easy to clean — perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. And satin and eggshell are top sheens for bedrooms and living rooms.
Exterior Color and Materials Beige comes out on top as the most popular and best color for exteriors, followed by similar neutrals, blues and grays. Mute and forest greens, as well as brick reds, are also good choices. Stay away from obnoxious yellows, oranges, and too-bright greens, blues and pinks. For finishes, satin is most commonly used on the entirety of the exterior. And a glossy finish works best on details like doors and window sashes.
If you’re struggling to choose a color for your painting project, look for a pro who offers color consulting among their services. “We know that’s one of the biggest barriers to entry for a homeowner when they’re painting their house,” says May. “So, we just made a decision, almost since the beginning, to have trained color designers that go out and work with customers.”
Earlier this month we published two blogs highlighting record-small sizes and record-high prices of new single-family lots. Extending this analysis and incorporating data on new home sale prices shows that, on average, lot values accounted for less than 17% of sale prices of new single-family homes started in 2016, the lowest share since at least 1999. Regionally, the share of new home sale prices attributed to lots varied from 26% in New England to 14% in the East South Central division. Nationally, the share of lot values in new home prices fluctuated around 20% during the housing boom years, peaked at 21% in 2009 and has been declining ever since, despite the rising and record-setting lot prices. The declining share of new home sale prices attributed to lots suggests that other construction costs, including cost of labor and materials, are outpacing the rising lot values. These findings are consistent with the results of NAHB’s proprietary construction cost survey last conducted in 2015. Even though, NAHB’s survey shows slightly higher share of finished lots in single-family home sales prices and the declining share trend starting in 2007.
The similar pattern – with the share of sale prices attributed to lots declining after the housing boom years – is visible across all regions of the United States. Most divisions registered their highest shares in 2009, but the New England and Mountain divisions hit their peaks earlier in 2007, while the West North Central division – in 2006.
New England stands out for having the largest and most expensive lots that account for more than a quarter of sale prices, the highest share in the nation. New England’s strict zoning regulation undoubtedly contributes to high lot prices and their remarkably high share in sale prices of new single-family homes.
The Middle Atlantic and Pacific division are next on the list, with about one fifth of new home prices reflecting lot costs. The East South Central division established the lower bound on the contribution of lots to sale prices of new single-family homes – 14%. Remarkably, the rest of the country does not show much variation with lots accounting for about 16% to 17% of sale prices.The shares considered in the above analysis are averages. To make sure these are not heavily influenced by extreme outliers or Census Bureau’s masking procedures, the entire distribution of the shares of sale prices attributed to lot values is analyzed. The results are consistent and summarized in the chart below.Looking at all new single-family homes started in New England in 2016, more than half of the homes have lots accounting for a quarter or more of the final sale price. There are barely any homes with lots accounting for less than 16% of the sale price. In stark contrast, more than half of single-family homes started in the East South Central division have lots that account for less than 16% of the sale price and there are barely any homes with lots accounting for a quarter or more of the sale price.
It is cooler than the air in the summer and warmer in the winter. The earth’s subsurface is an enormous heat sink — a solar battery — and it takes a large amount of energy to keep it in equilibrium. This heat energy comes in great part from the sun, a renewable and inexhaustible source of energy. In lesser amounts, it also comes from the center of the earth that we now know is a heat generator. The inner core of the earth is primarily made of a solid sphere of iron within a larger sphere of molten iron. Calculations show that the earth, originating from a molten state many billions of years ago, would have cooled and become completely solid without an energy input. It is now believed that the ultimate source of this energy is radioactive decay within the earth that continues to this day; the decay produces gradually diminishing temperatures from the earth’s center to the surface. This does not mean that dangerous radioactivity is a hazard to us. We can tap into all of this heat energy, transfer it into our home for heating and return that energy back to the earth during cooling: thus we are really borrowing heat from the earth.
Geothermal units use the same 100-year-old technology found in your refrigerator. They are both devices that move heat energy. It is worth noting that the refrigerator is the most reliable, longest-life appliance in your home. As the diagram in the slideshow explains, a refrigerator removes heat energy from food and moves it into your kitchen. A geothermal system removes heat energy from the earth to heat your home and in the summer removes heat energy from inside your home back to the earth.
Heat naturally flows “downhill” from the warmest medium to the coolest medium. A heat pump is a machine that causes heat energy to flow in the direction opposite from its natural tendency, or “uphill” in terms of temperature. Because work must be done (energy must be applied) to accomplish this, the name heat “pump” is used to describe the device.
A refrigerator and a heat pump are about the same physical size, are quiet appliances usually contained within a single enclosure, have similar components (compressor, evaporator, etc.), and both transfer heat energy. And they each require a refrigerant, a material used in a refrigeration cycle which undergoes a phase change from a gas to a liquid, and back again.
New home sales increased in May, partially reversing the previous month’s decrease, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Sales of new single-family homes in May increased to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 home sales, the report showed. This is an increase of 2.9% from April’s 593,000 and is 8.9% above last year’s 560,000 sales.
Click to Enlarge
(Source: HUD, U.S. Census Bureau)
The median sales price of new homes sold increased from last month’s $309,200 to $345,800 in May. The average sales price for new homes sold came in at $406,400 for the month.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of new homes for sale at the end of May came in at 268,000 homes, the same as the previous month. However, with the faster sales pace, this represents a 5.3-month supply, down from April’s 5.7 months.
Houzz at a Glance Who lives here: A professional couple and their young daughter Size: 2,040 square feet (189.5 square meters) Location: Kensington, Maryland Architect:Lou Balodemas
After living in an apartment in Washington, D.C., for many years, the homeowners were looking for a house that would reflect their love of midcentury modern design. After finding the 1951 rambler, pictured below, in a D.C. suburb, they enlisted architect Lou Balodemas to transform it into their dream midcentury-inspired home. The key was a new butterfly roof, which gives the home uplifting charm right from the get-go.
AFTER: “The profile of the original modest rambler remains evident in this renovation,” Balodemas says. The new front porch is marked by a butterfly-shaped roof chosen for its welcoming character. The addition takes advantage of a side-lot line that flares toward the street, increasing the presence of the south-facing facade. The design of the facades is a study in balancing the existing brick structure with the addition, which is clad in rich, modern ATAS metal siding and cedar. V-shaped steel siding was used for texture on the majority of the new walls, creating varying vertical bands of light and shadow.
The new kitchen at the front of house has large windows overlooking the yard. “The homeowners had a lot to do with the design and paint colors,” Balodemas says. The upper cabinets, floating shelves and window trim are made of clear vertical-grain Douglas fir; the lower cabinets are painted gray.
Countertops: Marmara marble; pendant lights: Artemide
In the living room, on the other side of the foyer, the butterfly roof drives exterior views upward and captures plentiful daylight. A fireplace was removed, as the homeowners said they would never use it and wanted the wall space instead.
Wall unit: vintage Hans Wegner, homeowners’ own; large console: West Elm; coffee table and side tables: Blu Dot; flooring: red oak; rug and clock: homeowners’ own: accent wall paint: Normandy, Benjamin Moore
AFTER: The remodeled exterior continues the material juxtaposition of existing brick (painted gray), steel and cedar. “The metal has a V-groove that makes the surfaces catch light at different angles,” Balodemas says.
In a further sign that the housing market continues to strengthen, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points in May to a level of 70 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the second highest HMI reading since the downturn.
The HMI measure of future sales conditions reached its highest level since June 2005, a sign of growing consumer confidence in the new home market. Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward. Builders, however, continue to deal with shortages of lots and labor and increasing building material costs.
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 of the three HMI components registered gains in May. The index charting sales expectations in the next six months jumped four points to 79 while the index gauging current sales conditions increased two points to 76. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic edged one point down to 51.
The three-month moving averages for HMI scores posted gains in three out of the four regions. The Northeast and South each registered three-point gains to 49 and 71, respectively, while the West rose one point to 78. The Midwest was unchanged at 68.
Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin made his fortune in the country’s real estate market — and now he’s warning that it’s spiraling out of control.
It’s the “biggest bubble in history,” he told CNNMoney in an exclusive interview Wednesday.
Bubble is a sensitive word in China after the dramatic rise and spectacular crash in the country’s stock market last year, which wiped out the savings of millions of small investors who thought Beijing wouldn’t allow the market to drop.
After struggling to contain the fallout from the stock market debacle, China’s leaders could face a similar headache in the real estate sector.
The big problem, according to Wang, is that prices keep rising in major Chinese metropolises like Shanghai but are falling in thousands of smaller cities where huge numbers of properties lie empty.
“I don’t see a good solution to this problem,” he said. “The government has come up with all sorts of measures — limiting purchase or credit — but none have worked.”
It’s a serious worry in China, where the economy is slowing at the same time as high debt levelscontinue to increase rapidly. There are massive sums at stake in the real estate market: direct loans to the sector stood at roughly 24 trillion yuan ($3.6 trillion) at the end of June, according to Capital Economics.
“The problem is the economy hasn’t bottomed out,” Wang said. “If we remove leverage too fast, the economy may suffer further. So we’ll have to wait until the economy is back on the track of rebounding — that’s when we gradually reduce leverage and debts.”
He says, though, that he’s not worried about the prospect of a “hard landing” — a sudden and catastrophic collapse in economic growth.
Wang’s comments carry weight. He is the richest man in China, according to Forbes and Hurun Report data from 2015, and his real estate and entertainment empire brought in revenue of about $44 billion last year.
Wang has been warning of trouble in the Chinese property market for a while. His Dalian Wanda Group, which has developed huge malls and office complexes across China, has been gradually cutting back on its real estate business.
Instead, it’s pouring resources into entertainment, sports and tourism — areas where it sees potential for growth.
Wang has been on an overseas shopping spree lately, with a particular focus on the U.S. movie industry. And he’s on the hunt for more juicy targets.
But the major prize he’s seeking is control of one of Hollywood’s “Big Six” movie studios: 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Paramount, Universal Pictures, Warner Brothers and Walt Disney.
“We are waiting for the opportunity,” he said. “It could come in a year or two, or longer, but we have patience.”
His relations with Disney (DIS) came into the spotlight in May when he said the U.S. company“really shouldn’t have come to China” with its giant new Shanghai resort. Wanda is also investing heavily in theme parks in the country.