Tag Archives: Lewisboro Luxury Homes

U.S. housing starts fall 9% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Housing starts in the United States tumbled 9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1047 thousand in September from August of 2016, below market expectations of 1175 thousand. It is the lowest figure since March of 2015, due to a fall in construction of multifamily homes. In contrast, building permits rose 6.3 percent to 1225 thousand, beating expectations of 1165 thousand. Housing Starts in the United States averaged 1439.56 Thousand from 1959 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 2494 Thousand in January of 1972 and a record low of 478 Thousand in April of 2009. Housing Starts in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

United States Housing Starts



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#Emotions influence the homes we choose | Katonah Real Estate

It’s a fact of life: Homes come with far more emotional weight than any other investment we make.

A home is a refuge from the world, a place to raise a family and, for some people, an investment they hope will bring them a good chunk of money down the road. We fall in love with houses in a way that we never fall in love with a portfolio of stocks and bonds.

All too often, though, we don’t realize that how we feel about homes blinds us when it comes time to buy or sell. We let our emotions blind us to cold facts about the market or the realities of ownership. Or we prioritize one set of emotional needs over others that are just are strong but may not be evident at first. And ignoring them can lead us to make bad financial decisions that can affect us for decades to come.

For instance, people might focus on their desire for a house that’s a certain size or style, but ignore the fact that they want to spend as much time as possible with family. So they might buy a “perfect” house that requires them to make a long daily commute to work and keeps them away from home for two extra hours each day.

The home-selling side of the equation brings its own set of thorny issues. Homeowners often have an overly rosy view of their home and expect it to increase in value far beyond reasonable expectations. And when they put it on the market, they often stubbornly cling to their asking price—even if it means leaving it up for sale far longer than they planned, and risking the possibility of not selling it at all.

Here’s a closer look at some psychological missteps that buyers and sellers often make as they wade into the housing market.

Ignoring the big picture

Home buyers are always on the lookout for features—like a longer driveway or bigger backyard—that will make them happier with their home. But people don’t realize that those changes may not make them happier with their life as a whole.

“When people move to better housing, they think they will be a lot happier overall,” says Shige Oishi, a co-author of a 2010 study on the subject in Social Indicators Research. “When they actually move, however, their overall happiness does not often change because there are many trade-offs in moving.”

One of the biggest trade-offs is commuting. Many move to live in a bigger house, but that bigger house is often farther away from work — so that means more commuting, which tends to add stress and detract from overall happiness. A 2008 study in the Scandinavian Journal of Economics shows that people who had longer commutes reported “lower subjective well-being” than those with shorter commutes. “If you’re moving to a place far away from your friends, but it has nicer stuff, it’s not a great deal for your happiness,” says Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia.

In another study in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Dunn and her co-authors explored the matter of expectations vs. reality in another way — by looking at Harvard undergraduates who were randomly assigned to different dormitories. The study showed that first-year students incorrectly predicted what would bring them the most satisfaction from their dorms — physical features like location on campus, the attractiveness of the residence, room size and desirability of the dining hall and facilities.

In the initial survey, the students put no weight on social features, such as relationships with roommates and a sense of community in the residence. But when the researchers checked back in with the students after they’d been living in their dorms, the only thing that appeared to matter for their happiness was the quality of the social factors.

“It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing the physical features of the places you’re looking at,” says Dunn, “but you should really stop to consider how the places you’re considering will shape your social relationships.”

Overlooking big expenses

People who are buying homes tend to compartmentalize their expenses and not add up the total cost of everything needed to fix up and furnish the house, says Alex Tabarrok, a professor of economics at George Mason University. That can lead them to make poor choices about how much to pay for a home. For instance, they may overspend on a down payment for the house itself and leave themselves without enough money to buy the sort of decorations or furniture that they want. “When you’re getting a house, think about furnishing it at the same time,” says Tabarrok.


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Zillow Index Shows Access to Credit Halfway to Recovery | Cross River Real Estate

Mortgage credit availability as measured by Zillow’s Mortgage Access Index  has risen steadily over the past two years to surpass a halfway point between the depths of 2011 and the peak of the boom in August 2004.

The new metric (ZMAI) combines seven sources of data: credit score data, debt to income ratios, PMI availability, quotes on Zillow’s mortgage platform, and other data to come up with a way to measure and track how difficult it is to qualify for a mortgage.




The index shows an abrupt and virtual evaporation of housing credit between 2008 and 2009. At the close of 2007, ZMAI stood at 97.8 points, but tumbled all the way to 28 points by the end of 2008. For the next four years, it showed no signs of credit conditions improving. It wasn’t until May 2013 when ZMAI again reached the 30-point threshold.

Other measures of credit access, like actual mortgage closing rates tracked by Ellie Mae, are not nearly as positive as the Zillow index.  Closing rates on purchase loans reached an annual average of 63.3 percent from 60.1 percent in 2013.  MBA’s mortgage credit availability index reached 118.6 in February.  It has risen 118.6 points since it was benchmarked at 100 in March 2012.


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1.8 Million Bubble-Era HELOCS Could Bust | Katonah Real Estate

More than half, 56 percent, of the 3.3 million Home Equity Lines of Credit scheduled to reset over the next four years with fully amortizing monthly payments replacing interest-only payments are on properties that are seriously underwater, according to a new report from RealtyTrac.

With no equity remaining in the Bubble-era HRLOCs, the risk is high that the resets will trigger widespread foreclosures as owners struggle to meet the higher monthly payments.

A total of 3,262,036 HELOCs with an estimated total balance of $158 billion that originated during the housing price bubble between 2005 and 2008 are still open and scheduled to reset between 2015 and 2018. Of these, 1,834,588 (56 percent) are on residential properties that are seriously underwater, meaning the combined loan to value ratio of all outstanding loans secured by the property is 125 percent or higher.

“Homes purchased or refinanced near the peak of the housing bubble between 2005 and 2008 are much more likely to still be underwater despite the strong recovery in home prices over the last three years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Furthermore, many homeowners with HELOCs who have positive equity likely already refinanced to mitigate the payment shock from a resetting HELOC — an option not readily available for homeowners still underwater.

“While these underwater homeowners experiencing payment shock from resetting HELOCs are at higher risk for default, the good news is that we’ve already seen a large wave of more than 700,000 resetting HELOCs in 2014 without a corresponding wave of defaults,” Blomquist noted. “The bad news is that a much lower 40 percent of those 2014 HELOC resets were on seriously underwater homes. We are entering a period of higher risk over the next four years when it comes to resetting bubble-era HELOCs — especially given slowing home price appreciation that offers underwater homeowners less hope of recovering their equity in the short term.”



States with most HELOC resets are California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and New Jersey

With 645,872 HELOCs scheduled to reset over the next four years, California led the way among the states in terms of sheer volume of resetting HELOCs. A total of 423,706 (66 percent) of those resetting HELOCs in California are on homes still seriously underwater, and the average monthly payment increase on HELOCs resetting in California over the next four years is $215.

Florida had the second highest number among all states of resetting HELOCs over the next four years, with 513,229, followed by Illinois with 158,199. In both Florida and Illinois, seriously underwater homes backed 71 percent of the resetting HELOCs over the next four years.

Texas had the fourth highest number of resetting HELOCs with 158,017 over the next four years — 36 percent of which were on seriously underwater homes, and New Jersey had the fifth highest number of resetting HELOCs with 145,312 over the next four years — 47 percent of which were on seriously underwater homes.


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Refis and purchases see big declines | #Katonah Real Estate

A week after rising 1.3% and about four weeks after a 49% jump, mortgage applications decreased 9% from one week earlier, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey for the week ending Feb. 6, 2015.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, decreased 9% on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the Index decreased 7% compared with the previous week. The Refinance Index decreased 10% from the previous week.

The seasonally adjusted Purchase Index decreased 7% from one week earlier. The unadjusted Purchase Index decreased 1% compared with the previous week and was 1% higher than the same week one year ago.

The refinance share of mortgage activity decreased to 69% of total applications from 71% the previous week. The adjustable-rate mortgage share of activity increased to 5.7% of total applications.

The FHA share of total applications increased to 14.1% this week from 13.1% last week. The VA share of total applications decreased to 8.3% this week from 8.5% last week. The USDA share of total applications increased to 0.7% from 0.6% last week.

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) increased to 3.84%, the highest level since Jan. 9, 2015, from 3.79%, with points increasing to 0.31 from 0.29 (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 3.90% from 3.82%, with points decreasing to 0.19 from 0.22 (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 3.72% from 3.69%, with points increasing to 0.13 from 0.07 (including the origination fee) for 80% LTV loans. The effective rate increased from last week.


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Billionaire Bachelor Pad with ‘Sex and the City’ Cred Asks $37M | Katonah Real Estate


Location: New York, New York
Price: $37,000,000
Billionaire investor and Pittsburgh Penguins’ co-owner Ron Burkle has put his triplex penthouse in NoHo on the market for$37M, and apart from being pretty jaw-dropping, the place has a very colorful history, as Curbed NY noted. When it was still the event space Sky Studios, it hosted Jerry Seinfeld’s wedding, a birthday party for Chelsea Clinton, and the shoot for that Sex and the City scene where Richard tries to convince Samantha he actually cares about her.

After purchasing the place in 2007 for $17M, Burkle ebarked on the kind of renovation you’d expect from a billionaire with a taste for historic architecture. Curbed NY has arun-down of the specifics, which include things like a “17th Century Dutch Tudor working fireplace” and a “hand carved backlit onyx bar,” as well as a great room with “cast-iron columns, custom wood-coffered and copper-leafed barrel vaulted ceilings.”

On the second floor, there’s a “glass-encased great room with soaring 17’+ ceilings,” which opens out onto a garden with a “sunken fire pit and custom water sculpture.” Up one more level, a bathroom with predictably great views connects to a heated outdoor swimming pool and a “yacht-inspired upper sundeck.” Together, monthly real estate taxes and maintenance fees are over $11K.


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Plug the holes in your house this winter | Katonah Real Estate

Leaky spots around windows and doors are notoriously big problems for homeowners in locations with cold winters and humid summers, and they can lead to bigger problems. Even before adding insulation to your house, the most important step in making your house more comfortable is controlling air movement. The principle is pretty simple: plug up the holes in your house. Since doors and windows are the biggest holes in a home, weather-stripping is where your efforts should begin. Weather-stripping is a great DIY project too, since it involves just a very basic knowledge of tools.

Below you’ll find the best ways to weather-strip for reduced drafts and leaks this winter.

Ex-Clipper unloads mansion for just over a third of what he paid | Waccabuc Real Estate


Former Los Angeles Clippers guard-forward Quentin Richardson has sold his 10,900-square-foot mansion in Palos Heights, Ill., for $800,000.

The Chicago native and DePaul University star paid $2.2 million for the property in April 2006.

The contemporary residence, built in 2002, features a two-story floor plan with an indoor pool and spa, a chef’s kitchen, an office, five bedrooms and six fireplaces.

Among amenities is a finished basement level containing a home theater, game room, weight room and wet bar with custom lighting. The first-floor master suite has a walk-in closet and a separate sitting room set behind sliding glass doors.

Through a screened porch, the home opens onto half-acre grounds containing a paver patio, expansive lawns and a gazebo.

The 34-year-old was made the 18th overall pick by the Clippers in 2000 and played four seasons in Los Angeles before departing as a free agent in 2004. In August, he joined the Pistons’ front office as a director of player development.



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17 Unexpected Things Converted Into Minimalist Homes | #WaccabucNY Homes

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For an architect, there’s something undeniably god-like about synthesizing the old and the new. Adaptive reuse—in this case turning non-residential buildings into houses—lessens the physical proximity of the past to the future by sublimely juxtaposing sterile white voids with, say, a primal industrial exoskeleton. Modernizing doesn’t simply mean adding a kitchen island and green roof; it often comes with the responsibility of intense and demanding site concerns. A Victorian water tower comes with six-foot-thick walls, while the façade of a medieval castle is relegated to mere ornament in the pursuit of both safety and functionality. Inspired by Curbed’s avid Pinterest community, here’s a look back on a wide array of completely insane projects that (seemingly sane) architects have chosen to take on. Intrigued? Find some examples below, and visit the Pinterest board to see the ones that didn’t make the cut.

Onward! >>

Bedford Town Board Opts Not To Object To Proposed Katonah Group Home | Katonah Homes

Following a legal opinion from Bedford’s counsel, the Town Board approved countersigning an agreement of assurances from the provider of a proposed Katonah group home instead of making an objection to it.

The unanimous vote on Monday, Sept. 29, came following a review from Town Attorney Joel Sachs of state case law and correspondences from provider Cardinal McCloskey Community Services giving assurances for its plan. A letter from CMCS, dated Sept. 29, includes a signature from Chief Operating Officer William Ursillo and space for a town signatory.

Sachs explained that if the supervisor were to countersign, then the letter would be a legally binding agreement. The board’s approval was for Supervisor Chris Burdick to give his signature.

Ursillo, in his letter, mentions that the assurances are applicable if there is no objection filed and if there is no litigation that would seek to stop or delay the facility’s opening or closing on the property. Sachs also noted that the assurances would not be binding if there is an objection.



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