Tag Archives: Katonah


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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Behold, the 15 Oldest Houses For Sale in NYC Right Now | #Katonah Real Estate

New York City may have nothing on Europe when it comes tohistoric architecture, but compared to the rest of the country, things here can be pretty darn old. The age between one building and the next on a New York City block can span a century, and to prove it, we’ve picked through the 15 oldest houses for sale in New York City right now with the help of StreetEasy. Here’s a hint about how old they get: the oldest house on this list is way older than Canada and lightbulbs, and was built the same year Thomas Jefferson died. Curious? Read your way through the list to find out just how old the oldest house on the market is.


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Mortgage applications tumble 13.2% as rates climb | Katonah Real Estate

Mortgage applications decreased 13.2% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending February 13, 2015.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 13.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 12% compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 16% from the previous week. The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 7% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 2% compared with the previous week and was 1% higher than the same week one year ago.

“Mortgage rates increased to their highest level since the beginning of the year last week, and application volume dropped sharply as a result, particularly for refinances. The market index declined to its lowest level since the week ending January 2nd as purchase application activity decreased seven% and refinance applications decreased 16%. Refinance volume fell particularly for larger loans, as evidenced by the decline of almost $25,000 in the average loan size for a refinance loan,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Chief Economist.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 66% of total applications from 69% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) share of activity decreased to 5.3% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 15.2% this week from 14.1% last week. The VA share of total applications decreased to 8.0% this week from 8.3% last week. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.9% from 0.7% last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 3.93% from 3.84%, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.31 (including the origination fee) for 80% loan-to-value ratio (LTV) loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with jumbo loan balances (greater than $417,000) increased to 3.92% from 3.90%, with points increasing to 0.28 from 0.19 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages backed by the FHA increased to 3.73% from 3.72%, with points decreasing to 0.12 from 0.13 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate remained unchanged from last week.

The average contract interest rate for 15-year fixed-rate mortgages increased to 3.24% from 3.15%, with points increasing to 0.35 from 0.29 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.


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Homebuilder confidence up in June, remains low | Katonah Real Estate


U.S. homebuilders are feeling more confident about the housing market but don’t think it is healthy yet.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose to 49 in June, highest since January and up from 45 in May. Readings below 50 indicate that builders view sales conditions are poor rather than good. The index has been stuck below 50 since January. The low numbers earlier this year reflected a bitter winter that chilled economic activity across much of the U.S.

New home sales are running about half the rate of a healthy housing market.

Still, builders are the most confident they’ve been since January about new single-family home sales over the next six months. They report seeing more potential buyers shopping for homes, though traffic remains modest.


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Government’s moves to ease mortgage credit are mostly for show | Katonah Real Estate


  • The regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Mel Watt, said he would not reduce home loan limits, as planned by his predecessor as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Ed De Marco. Plus, in the most widely quoted promise in his speech at the Brookings Institution, Watt said he doesn’t believe his role is to “contract the footprint” of Fannie and Freddie. In other words, gradually shrink their roles or significance in the housing marketplace in preparation for their eventual total phase out by Congress.
  • Watt also announced that his agency will permit Fannie and Freddie to use “compensating factors” to accommodate loans from borrowers whose back-end debt-to income ratios exceed 43 percent. Compensating factors allow lenders to approve loans when applicants may have elevated DTIs but also have counter-balancing strengths, such as substantial financial reserves, high credit scores, among others.
  • FHA Commissioner Carol Galante announced a “blueprint for access” designed to lower the costs of obtaining an FHA mortgage for underserved borrowers. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan called Galante’s plan, which would extend reductions in mortgage insurance fees to buyers who complete a counseling course, “a win for the market, FHA, lenders and borrowers.”


All that sounded upbeat and was heartily welcomed by groups such as NAR, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the home builders. It sounded like good news in a week that saw prospects for long-term reforms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dim in a split vote by the Senate Banking Committee.

But how significant were these promises by Washington politicians and what will the changes really mean on the ground for real estate professionals and their clients? Much less than it all appeared to audiences eager to hear that credit standards finally are going to start loosening up for mortgage applicants.



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The Data You Need to Make a Compelling Case for Inbound Marketing | Katonah Realtor


Whether you’re trying to convince your company that adopting inbound marketing is beneficial for business, or you’re hoping to get budget so you can start using a new inbound marketing platform, getting executive buy-in can be a challenge. In a world where people fear change and constantly try to minimize risk, bold, innovative solutions are often met with skepticism, if not disdain. Continue reading

When to pay off your mortgage aggressively | Katonah Real Estate


The clear advantages of paying off your mortgage as quickly as possible have changed quite a bit over the past few years. The urgency to pay it off has somewhat diminished, as interest rates have plummeted to historical lows. It’s no longer the black and white decision it was back when interest rates hovered between 6% and 9%, and even the 11% to 13% we saw a couple of decades ago.

I am a big proponent of paying down that ugly mortgage beast as soon as is practical. But, before you go cutting a check to the bank, there is a pecking order of financial priorities you need to address before you consider tackling your mortgage.

In order of importance, here are the places you need to put your financial attention first:

Take The Cards Off The Table: Pay off all credit cards with high interest rates. Consider the huge discrepancy between credit cards with interest rates of 13% – 23%, and a 4% mortgage interest rate.

In Case Of Emergency: You need to build an emergency fund, ideally 8-12 months of living expenses. Yes, today’s job market is improving, but if you suddenly find yourself facing a layoff, you need to be prepared to sustain up to one year of living expenses.

Build Up For Retirement: Are you able to make the maximum yearly contributions to your retirement accounts, 401K, IRA or an equivalent?  Ask your accountant what the maximum allowable is for you and go for it!