Tag Archives: Katonah NY Real Estate

Katonah NY Real Estate

The rich are being maddeningly frugal | Katonah Real Estate

The lonely $250,000 S-Class coupe at Mercedes-Benz of Greenwich says it all. For six months, it’s been sitting in the showroom, shimmering in vain while models priced at only $70,000 fly out the door.

“We haven’t had anyone come in and look at it,” says Joey Licari, a sales consultant at the dealership, looking over his shoulder at the silver beauty. “I feel like normally they would, maybe a few years ago.”

Such is the state of affairs in Greenwich, the leafy Connecticut town famous for its cluster of hedge funds and the titans of Wall Street who occupy many a gated mansion. The rich are being maddeningly frugal, as Barry Sternlicht complained when he assailed his former hometown as possibly the country’s worst housing market. “You can’t give away a house in Greenwich,” the head of Starwood Capital Group said, causing something of a ruckus.

The reality is that places like Sternlicht’s, a nearly 6-acre estate priced at $5.95 million before he gave up, aren’t moving. No such problem if it’s $2 million or less. That Benz is going nowhere, but sales are up at Cadillac of Greenwich, where $50,000 is pretty much the basement. Ten-carat diamonds that can cost in the six figures collect dust in stores on the main drag. On the other hand, a husband will still drop $10,000 on jewelry for a 10th anniversary.

The new Greenwich is like that. “We aren’t getting caviar and champagne,” says Edward Tricomi, co-owner of Warren Tricomi Salon on Greenwich Avenue, “but we’re still eating steak.”

Bonus Slump

The town was hit hard by the 2008 financial crisis, and never fully recovered: The median sales price for homes in the second quarter was $1.56 million, 17 percent below the peak back in 2006, according to data compiled by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Now, with the hedge-fund business struggling and investment-banker incentive pay in a slump, bonus-fueled purchases are cooling again. These days, in fact, not losing money can be cause for swagger.

“We talk to a lot of guys from hedge funds, and they’re like, ‘Look at our numbers, we haven’t gone down, we’re staying level,’” says Brad Walker, who moved from Boston two years ago to open a branch of his family’s shop, Shreve, Crump & Low. A newcomer, he finds it perplexing. “I don’t run a hedge fund, I work in a jewelry store, but I think you’d want to do a little bit better.”

$135,000 Median

Flat probably isn’t so bad, though, if you’re already in the neighborhood of the .001 percent. Anyway, many factors are at play in the scaling back. Tastes are changing. And with income inequality a talking point across America, and the finance industry the target of criticism and scrutiny in recent years, some might just want to keep low-spending profiles.

“The things being bought are less trophy items and, more likely, carefully bought quality,” says Terry Betteridge, who owns Betteridge, a jewelry store. “One doesn’t want to become the next episode of ‘Billions.’”

Just 35 miles from Manhattan in the heart of Connecticut’s famed Gold Coast, with about 60,000 residents and 32 miles of shoreline, Greenwich is among the most prosperous communities in America. One out of every $10 in hedge funds in the country is managed here, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, by firms such as Viking Global Investors and AQR Capital Management. It’s home to finance heavyweights including Steven Cohen of Point72 Asset Management and Dick Fuld. The median annual household income is $135,000 — compared with $56,516 nationally. Residents paid more state income taxes in 2014, the last year for which data are available, than in any other municipality in Connecticut.

Sore Point

The tax rate, by the way, is a sore point, and possible reason behind the departure of the likes of Paul Tudor Jones and Thomas Peterffy, who switched their permanent residences to Florida. The state income tax there is zero.

In 2015, Connecticut boosted the income tax for individuals making more than $500,000 and couples above $1 million to 6.99 percent from 6.7 percent. Levies on luxury goods rose to 7.75 percent from 7 percent on cars over $50,000, jewelry over $5,000 and clothing or footwear over $1,000.

Sternlicht said at a conference two weeks ago that this was why he relocated to the sunshine state. “We used to have no taxes,” he said wistfully, recalling Connecticut before it enacted its income tax in 1991.

Many continue to try to sell their real estate holdings. As of Sept. 14, there were 46 homes at $10 million or more on the market, some that have been lingering since 2014, according to data from Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman.

3,000-Bottle Cellar

Among them: an 80-acre estate on Lower Cross Road for $49 million that until last month was asking $65 million, and a 19,773-square-foot manse once owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that has been looking for a buyer for nearly two years. It’s on the market now for $45 million, down from $54 million.

Former Trump property
Former Trump property
Source: Coldwell Banker

No takers yet for a seven-bedroom affair with a 3,000-bottle chilled wine cellar, a tennis court that converts to a hockey rink and a globe-shaped observatory with a retractable roof and high-powered telescope. That one recently returned to the market at $8.495 million, after an earlier effort at $8.95 million. Former Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Sandy Weill is trying to offload his 16,460-square-foot home at $9.9 million, down from $14 million more than two years ago.

One problem is that risk levels have gone through the wringer. Members of the younger Wall Street crowd are quite conservative, says Robin Kencel, a broker with Douglas Elliman. “They used to say Oh, I’ll stretch.’ Now they’re more practical. They’ll ask ‘What are the utility bills? Oh, wait — I don’t want it.’”

That could explain why, this year through Sept. 22, pending sales of homes priced up to $999,999 jumped 29 percent from the same period in 2015, according to brokerage Houlihan Lawrence, and those between $1 million and $1.99 million were up 69 percent. Contracts for homes between $5 million and $5.99 million, meanwhile, fell 80 percent.


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Hottest U.S. Real Estate Markets for September | Katonah Real Estate

Hottest markets for September 2016

Mindy_Nicole_Photography/iStock; uschools/iStock
jjwithers/iStock; Aneese/iStock; Greg Chow

September would ordinarily be the end of the high season for residential real estate, with schools back in session across the U.S. and families reluctant to uproot. But hold on—this is no ordinary year, and a preliminary review of the month’s data on realtor.com®shows that September is shaping up to be the hottest fall in a decade.

Homes for sale in September are moving 4% more quickly than last year, and that’s even as prices hit record highs. The median home price maintained August’s level of $250,000, which is 9% higher than one year ago. That’s a new high for September.

“The fundamental trends we have been seeing all year remain solidly in place as we enter the slower time of the year,” says realtor.com’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke. That means short supply and high demand, which results in high prices.

Granted, September saw a bit of the typical seasonal slowdown, with properties spending five more days on market (77) than last month—but that’s still three days faster than last year at this time. At the same time, fewer homes are coming on the market, further diminishing supply. Total inventory remains considerably lower than one year ago, leaving buyers with fewer options in a market that has already been pretty tight.

In gauging which real estate markets were seeing the most activity, our economic data team took into account the number of days that homes spend on the market (a measure of supply) and the number of views that listings on our site get (a measure of demand). The result is a list of the nation’s hottest real estate markets, where inventory moves 23 to 43 days more quickly than the national average, and listings get 1.4 to 3.7 more views than the national average.

New to the top 20 this month is Grand Rapids, MI. Like other cities on the list, “Grand Rapids” includes the greater metropolitan area, which in this case takes in Wyoming, MI. Similarly, our No. 1 market, “San Francisco,” also includes nearby Oakland and Hayward.

The hot list

20 Hottest Markets Rank
Rank Change
1 San Francisco, CA 4 3
2 Vallejo, CA 1 -1
3 Denver, CO 3 0
4 Dallas, TX 2 -2
5 San Diego, CA 6 1
6 Stockton, CA 5 -1
7 Fort Wayne, IN 11 4
8 Sacramento, CA 10 2
9 San Jose, CA 10 2
10 Waco, TX 14 5
11 Modesto, CA 13 2
12 Columbus, OH 7 -5
13 Yuba City, CA 12 -1
14 Detroit, MI 9 -5
15 Santa Rosa, CA 19 4
16 Colorado Springs, CO 16 0
17 Santa Cruz, CA 17 0
18 Kennewick, WA 18 0
19 Nashville, TN 20 1
20 Grand Rapids, MI 21 1



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Single family home sales fall 7.6% | Katonah Real Estate

United States New Home Sales  

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States fell 7.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 609,000 in August of 2016, better than market expectations of an 8.8 percent decline. Figures for the previous month were revised up by 5,000 to 659,000, the highest since 2007. New Home Sales in the United States averaged 652.45 Thousand from 1963 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 1389 Thousand in July of 2005 and a record low of 270 Thousand in February of 2011. New Home Sales in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

United States New Home Sales
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US Housing starts flat | Katonah Real Estate

Housing Starts in the United States is expected to be 1163.61 Thousand by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Housing Starts in the United States to stand at 1193.24 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the United States Housing Starts is projected to trend around 1213.00 Thousand in 2020, according to our econometric models.

United States Housing Starts
Forecast Actual Q2/16 Q3/16 Q4/16 Q1/17 2020 Unit
Housing Starts 1164 1164 1175 1184 1193 1213 Thousand
United States Housing Starts Forecasts are projected using an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model calibrated using our analysts expectations. We model the past behaviour of United States Housing Starts using vast amounts of historical data and we adjust the coefficients of the econometric model by taking into account our analysts assessments and future expectations. The forecast for – United States Housing Starts – was last predicted on Friday, June 17, 2016.
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Case-Shiller Home Price Index rises | Katonah Real Estate

United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index  Forecast 2016-2020

Case Shiller Home Price Index in the United States is expected to be 182.91 Index Points by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Case Shiller Home Price Index in the United States to stand at 179.90 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index is projected to trend around 160.18 Index Points in 2020, according to our econometric models.

United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index
United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index Forecasts are projected using an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model calibrated using our analysts expectations. We model the past behaviour of United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index using vast amounts of historical data and we adjust the coefficients of the econometric model by taking into account our analysts assessments and future expectations. The forecast for – United States S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index – was last predicted on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.
United States Housing Last Q1/16 Q2/16 Q3/16 Q4/16 2020
Building Permits 1232 1245 1249 1254 1259 1310
Housing Starts 1149 1165 1173 1182 1192 1288
New Home Sales 490 491 499 503 507 567
Pending Home Sales 2.7 1.99 1.7 1.54 1.45 1.33
Existing Home Sales 5460 5546 5402 5396 5378 5115
Construction Spending -0.4 0.22 0.27 0.29 0.3 0.31
Housing Index 0.5 0.48 0.44 0.43 0.42 0.31
Nahb Housing Market Index 60 59.27 58.97 58.48 58.01 53.23
Mortgage Rate 4.06 4.6 4.9 5.1 4.23 6.5
Mortgage Applications 9 0.78 0.46 0.47 0.47 0.47
Home Ownership Rate 63.7 63.7 63.7 63.7 63.7 63.7
Case Shiller Home Price Index 183 183 182 181 180 160



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Home Construction Up for 2015 | Chappaqua Real Estate

With the December report on housing starts and permits, preliminary totals for 2015 are now available. Total housing starts at 1.11 million were up 10.8% in 2015 compared to 2014. Single-family starts were up 10.4% to 715,300 and multifamily starts were up 11.4% to 396,000. All four census regions also experienced increases in single-family starts for 2015. The monthly change for December starts was down 2.5% to 1.15 million and December single-family starts were down 3.3% to 768,000.

Housing Starts

Housing permits were up for the year by 12% to 1.18 million with increases in both single-family (up 7.9%) and multifamily (11.4%). December single-family permits were also up from November by 1.8% to 740,000. Total permits, however were down from November to December by 3.9% to 1.232 million.

The number of unused permits rose 4.9% suggesting builders were unable to start more homes than they planned. More than three-quarters of builders responding to an NAHB survey reported labor availability as their greatest concern looking forward into 2016. While inventories of new homes for sale have been increasing, builders are constrained in their ability to add stock because of the labor shortages as well as lot shortages in some markets.

The final numbers for 2015 will see one more revision as the previous month is revised in each new report, but year totals are not likely to change significantly since the first 11 months will remain the same. The improvement in 2015 over 2014 should accelerate slightly in 2016 as mortgage rates remain near historic lows, the overall economy improves and pent-up demand is released.


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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?

geodesic dome, dome homes, inside a dome home, dome homes, buckminster fuller, bucky fuller

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.


geodesic dome, dome homes, inside a dome home, dome homes, buckminster fuller, bucky fuller

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.


geodesic dome, dome homes, inside a dome home, dome homes, buckminster fuller, bucky fuller

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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New Home Sales: Growth for FHA-Backed Mortgage Share | Katonah Real Estate

NAHB analysis of the most recent Census numbers reveals two consecutive quarters of higher market share of FHA-backed mortgages for the new home sale sector. This development comes after a reduction in FHA premiums announced at the start of 2015.

qtrly new home sales_2q15

Despite the surprising drop for the pace of new home sales in June (down 6.8%), the strong non-seasonally adjusted sales level for April (revised to 50,000 homes) pushed total sales for the second quarter of 2015 to a post-recession high of 143,000. This is according to data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Sales by Price and Financing and NAHB calculations.

New home sales due to FHA-backed loans increased to a quarterly count of 100,000 and a market share of 16% for the second quarter according to the Census numbers. This is higher than the approximate share of 11% from a year prior.

It is worth adopting some caution associated with these estimates. In particular, the statistical error associated with the FHA, cash, and VA sales estimates from this data set are relatively high. This reduces the reliability of measures of short-term market changes.

Mindful of this limitation, the current FHA-share estimate is lower than the 28% share determined for the first quarter of 2010 but is higher than the 10% 2002-2003 average. The FHA share has fallen as the conventional financing share recovered. However, the share increased from 10% to 16% from the end of 2014 to the start of 2015.


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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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