Tag Archives: Mt Kisco Real Estate

Connecticut Feeling On Tolls Could Keep I-684 Free | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Connecticut’s governor proposed putting a toll gantry on the 1-mile section of I-684 that goes out of New York.

Connecticut Feeling On Tolls Could Keep I-684 Free
(Google Maps)

The proposal to put a tollbooth on the Connecticut mile of Interstate 684 apparently elicited negative reactions from Connecticut politicians as well as New Yorkers. Democrats in the Connecticut State Senate are less than enthusiastic about Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan for tolls at 14 spots throughout the state.

Lamont wants to put tolls on roads in his state to raise revenue and pay for repairs. One of the roads he picked is I-684, the “interstate highway” that runs down the east side of Putnam and Westchester counties in New York.

The toll plaza would go in the 1.4 mile stretch of I-684 that is in Connecticut. The toll gantry would be sandwiched between the exit for the Westchester County Airport to the south and the exit for Armonk, home of IBM, to the north.

Lamont met with the Democratic caucus Wednesday to go over his plan and hear questions and concerns from the caucus. Senate President Martin Looney told Patch that there was broad support for Lamont’s proposed transportation fixes, but disagreement on how to pay for them.

“We need to find something that is broadly palatable in the General Assembly and also to the public,” Looney said.

The caucus didn’t take a headcount on support for Lamont’s plan. Looney said Lamont was going to reflect on what he heard in the caucus meeting.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff said everyone acknowledges that it’s vitally important to upgrade Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure. He said Lamont carefully listened to concerns from legislators.

“How we get there and how we pay for it is certainly a different story,” Duff said. “But it was a very frank conversation with the governor.”

Lamont campaigned on truck-only tolling, but said after being elected it wouldn’t create enough revenue for the state and could run into some legal challenges from the trucking industry. Lamont rolled out a 50-toll gantry plan that took up part of the 2019 legislative session, but in the end never got a full vote. Any toll vote would likely become a hot-button issue in the 2020 election where state representatives and senators are up for re-election.

Legislative Republicans in Connecticut have been steadfast in their opposition to tolls. House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said that there is common ground in Lamont’s latest plan and it was more well-thought than previous iterations, but tolls are still a non-starter.

Non-starter was exactly the term New York State Senator Pete Harckham used, talking about his constituents in Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties who would be unfairly affected. “Governor Lamont’s plan to place a toll on I-684 is a nonstarter because it disproportionately impacts New York commuters. There are enough roads elsewhere in Connecticut to toll to fund infrastructure projects in Connecticut.”

read more…

https://patch.com/new-york/bedford/s/gwzdh/connecticut-feeling-on-tolls-could-keep-i-684-free?utm_term=article-slot-1&utm_source=newsletter-daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter

Leftist Utopia -California Can’t Keep the Lights On | Mt Kisco Real Estate

(Roza/Dreamstime)

Decades of misgovernance and misplaced priorities have left the state fighting fire with . . . blackouts.

California is staying true to its reputation as the land of innovation — it is making blackouts, heretofore the signature of impoverished and war-torn lands, a routine feature of 21st-century American life.

More than 2 million people are going without power in Northern and Central California, in the latest and biggest of the intentional blackouts that are, astonishingly, California’s best answer to the risk of runaway wildfires.

Power — and all the goods it makes possible — is synonymous with modern civilization. It shouldn’t be a negotiable for anyone living in a well-functioning society, or even in California, which, despite its stupendous wealth and natural splendor, has blighted itself over the decades with misgovernance and misplaced priorities.

The same California that has been the seedbed of world-famous companies that make it possible for people to send widely viewed short missives of 280 characters or less, and share and like images of grumpy cats, isn’t doing so well at keeping the lights on.

The same California that has boldly committed to transitioning to 50 percent renewable energy by 2025 — and 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 — can’t manage its existing energy infrastructure.

The same California that has pushed its electricity rates to the highest in the contiguous United States through its mandates and regulations doesn’t provide continuous access to that overpriced electricity.

California governor Gavin Newsom, who has to try to evade responsibility for this debacle while presiding over it, blames “dog-eat-dog capitalism” for the state’s current crisis. It sounds like he’s referring to robber barons who have descended on the state to suck it dry of profits while burning it to the ground. But Newsom is talking about one of the most regulated industries in the state — namely California’s energy utilities, which answer to the state’s public utilities commission.

This is not exactly an Ayn Rand operation. The state could have, if it wanted, pushed the utilities to focus on the resilience and safety of its current infrastructure — implicated in some of the state’s most fearsome recent fires — as a top priority. Instead, the commission forced costly renewable-energy initiatives on the utilities. Who cares about something as mundane as properly maintained power lines if something as supposedly epically important — and politically fashionable — as saving the planet is at stake?

Meanwhile, California has had a decades-long aversion to properly clearing forests. The state’s leaders have long been in thrall to the belief that cutting down trees is somehow an offense against nature, even though thinning helps create healthier forests. Biomass has been allowed to build up, and it becomes the kindling for catastrophic fires.

As Chuck DeVore of the Texas Public Policy Foundation points out, a report of the Western Governors’ Association warned of this effect more than a decade ago, noting that “over time the fire-prone forests that were not thinned, burn in uncharacteristically destructive wildfires.”

In 2016, then-governor Jerry Brown actually vetoed a bill that had unanimously passed the state legislature to promote the clearing of trees dangerously close to power lines. Brown’s team says this legislation was no big deal, but one progressive watchdog called the bill “neither insignificant or small.”

On top of all this, more people live in remote areas susceptible to fires, in part because of the high cost of housing in more built-up areas.

There shouldn’t be any doubt that California, susceptible to drought through its history and whipped by fierce, dry winds this time of year, is always going to have a fire problem. But there also shouldn’t be any doubt that dealing with it this poorly is the result of a series of foolish, unrealistic policy choices.

California’s overriding goal should have been safe, cheap, and reliable power, a public good so basic that it’s easy to take for granted. The state’s focus on ideological fantasies has instead ensured it has none of the above.

read more…

https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/10/california-cant-keep-the-lights-on/

Existing home sales up 3.9% year over year | Mt Kisco Real Estate

After reaching 17-month high last month, existing home sales, released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), fell more than expected in September despite low mortgage rates.

Total existing home sales, including single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, dropped 2.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in September. However, sales were still 3.9% higher than a year ago.

The first-time buyer share rose to 33% in September from 31% last month and 32% a year ago. The September inventory stayed the same at 1.83 million units from August but decreased from 1.88 million units a year ago. At the current sales rate, the September unsold inventory represents a 4.1-month supply, up from a 4.0-month supply last month and down from a 4.4-month a year ago.

Homes stayed on the market for an average of 32 days in September, up from 31 days last month and equal to a year ago. In September, 49% of homes sold were on the market for less than a month.

The September all-cash sales shared 17% of transactions, down from 19% last month and 21% a year ago.

The September median sales price of all existing homes was $272,100, up 5.9% from a year ago, representing the 91st consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The median existing condominium/co-op price of $248,600 in September was up 4.5% from a year ago.

Case Shiller home price index up 2% year over year | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Regionally, all regions saw a decline in existing home sales in September compared to the previous month, ranging from 0.9% in the West to 3.1% in the Midwest. On a year-over-year basis, sales rose in all four major regions except for the Midwest, ranging from 1.5% in the Northeast to 6.0% in the South. Sales in the Midwest was nearly unchanged to September 2018.

This monthly decline indicates that sales are not consistently increasing in response to falling mortgage rates, as rapidly rising home prices and tight inventory continue to weigh on housing sector and prevent home sales growth. As mortgage rates below 4% are very attractive to homebuyers, more new home building is needed to meet housing demand. Indeed, supported by low mortgage rates and solid job growth, builder confidence continued to improve, which rose to 20-month high in October.

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Case Shiller home price index up 2% year over year | Mt Kisco Real Estate

July 2019 saw an annual increase of 3.2% for home prices nationwide, matching the previous month’s pace, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index from S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic.

The 10-City and 20-City composites reported a 1.6% and 2% year-over-year increase, respectively. During the month, 15 of 20 cities reported increases both before and after seasonal adjustment.  

“Year-over-year home prices continued to gain, but at ever more modest rates,” says Philip Murphy, managing director and global head of index governance at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Charlotte surpassed Tampa to join the top three cities, and Seattle may be turning around from its recent negative streak of YOY price changes, improving from -1.3% in June to -0.06% in July.”

According to the index, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Charlotte reported the highest year-over-year gains among all of the 20 cities.

In July, Phoenix led with a 5.8% year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas with a 4.7% increase and Charlotte with a 4.6% increase. Seven of the 20 cities reported larger price increases in the year ending July 2019 versus the year ending June 2019.

“Overall, leadership remains in the southwest (Phoenix and Las Vegas) and southeast (Charlotte and Tampa),” Murphy said. “Other pockets of relative strength include Minneapolis, which increased its YOY gain to 4.2%, and Detroit, which is closely behind at 4.1% YOY.”

“The 10-City and 20-City Composites both experienced lower YOY price gains than last month, declining to 1.6% and 2.0% respectively. However, the U.S. National Home Price NSA Index remained steady with a YOY price gain of 3.2%, the same as prior month,” Murphy said. “Home price gains remained positive in low single digits in most cities, and other fundamentals indicate renewed housing demand.”

 The graph below highlights the average home prices within the 10-City and 20-City Composites:

Case-Shiller - July

Mortgage rates average 3.49% | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) rate averaged 3.49 percent, the lowest it has been since October 2016.

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist says, “Mortgage rates continued the summer swoon due to weaker economic data. While economic growth is clearly slowing due to rising manufacturing and trade headwinds, economic fundamentals are still solid for U.S. consumers. The unemployment rate is low, housing affordability is improving, homebuyer demand is rising, and home price growth is stable.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.49 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending September 5, 2019, down from last week when it averaged 3.58 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.54 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM averaged 3.00 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.06 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.99 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.30 percent with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.31 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.93 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 link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

European real estate bubble a ‘real possibility’ | Mt Kisco Real Estate

The euro area is at risk of a new real estate bubble as a result of expansionary monetary policy from the European Central Bank (ECB), Commerzbankanalysts have warned.

The ECB council meets on Thursday June 6, and is likely to decide on the details of the third edition of its targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO-III) program, a series of Eurosystem operations that provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years.

TLTROs offer long-term funding at attractive conditions to banks in order to encourage them to lend capital to the real economy.

The central bank has faced calls from some corners of the market for fresh stimulative measures to aid the anemic European economy, and the third round of TLTROs represent a continuation of its expansionary monetary course.

“With a view to low core inflation, some policies are often passed off as a free lunch,” a note from Commerzbank senior economists Dr Ralph Solveen and Dr Jorg Kramer said in a note Friday.

“Yet the ECB’s expansionary monetary policy has a cost and it comes in the form of higher house prices, which already appear expensive in some countries, and the threat of a property price bubble is a real possibility.”Rising house prices

Commerzbank highlighted that house prices have been rising rapidly in the majority of eurozone economies, including the large economies of Germany, Belgium and France. With an increase of around 4.5% in the course of 2018, Germany was slightly above average in terms of rising house prices, while Slovenia and Latvia saw double-digit rises. Portugal, the Netherlands and Luxembourg all rose at almost 10% rates.

Yet Commerzbank analysts anticipate that ECB interest rates will remain in negative territory for the foreseeable future, further heightening the threat of a real estate bubble.

“The relation between house prices and rents, a frequently used measure for the valuation of real estate, has risen by more than 10% since early 2015. This is less than 5% below its level at the beginning of 2008, when the housing market in some euro area countries had formed considerable bubbles,” the note stated.

Commerzbank expects that if the ECB maintains its monetary policy stance until the end of 2020, average house prices will exceed pre-crisis levels.Falling debt and no building boom

Solveen and Kramer pointed out that the strength of impact of a bursting price bubble on the real economy depends, in part, on the extent to which rising house prices are accompanied by rising debt and a construction boom.

The euro zone as a whole is not yet in this position, the analysts suggested, with private household debt relative to GDP falling steadily across most of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), although Belgium and France were noted as exceptions.

There is also no question of a construction boom, the economists highlighted, and the share of residential construction investment in eurozone GDP is now significantly lower than at the beginning of 2008.

“The situation is somewhat different in Germany, where the rise in prices in recent years has been accompanied by a sharp rise in construction investment and bottlenecks are increasingly occurring in the construction sector,” the Commerzbank note stated.

“However, the share of residential construction investment in GDP is still lower than at the beginning of the monetary union, and there was certainly no construction boom in Germany at that time.”

read more…

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/31/european-real-estate-bubble-a-real-possibility-commerzbank-says.html

Millennials increase buying in February | Mt Kisco Real Estate

As the housing market shifts further in favor of homebuyers, Ellie Mae’slatest Millennial Tracker Survey reveals that purchase requests from Millennials increased to 87% of all purchase requests made in February, a 2% increase from January.

The survey also revealed that although conventional loans continue to be the most popular loan product among the generation, they fell slightly to 68% of all loans.

Interest in refinances fell two percentage points from the previous month, coming in at 11% of all loans for Millennial borrowers.

“The percentage of purchase loans is on the rise with Millennials continuing to enter the homebuying market for their first or maybe even second purchase,” Executive Vice President of Strategy and Technology Joe Tyrrell said. “The increase in days-to-close we saw in February is relative to the percentage increase in purchases versus refinances, as purchases typically take longer to close.

According to the survey, it typically took Millennials 46 days to close on conventional loans, which is the longest average time to close since January 2017. Among conventional loans closed by Millennials in February, it typically took the generation 44 and 53 days to close on a purchase and refinance loans, respectively.

Notably, ​​​the Millennial Tracker also discovered that the average time to close on all loans decreased to 42 days in February. During the same period, the average closing time on FHA loans fell to 42 days, while the average time to close on VA loans increased to 59 days month-to-month.

Lastly, the survey highlighted that the average FICO score for Millennial borrowers edged up to 723 in January, rising from 722 in January, according to Ellie Mae.

read more…

https://www.housingwire.com/articles/48714-ellie-mae-millennials-are-taking-advantage-of-cooling-housing-market?id=48714-ellie-mae-millennials-are-taking-advantage-of-cooling-housing-market&utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingWire%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=71438785&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_Gafi0qhppC7OwUuK27kQ-cuE-5XaaX3WMuEgJRTy5xo_V9NyrxD4fGTwuNxZLA0OukTYBNiW-Ny31KAk_u79D4j4PFA&_hsmi=71438785

How tariffs increase building costs | Mt Kisco Real Estate

In July 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced its intention to levy tariffs on a series of imports from China. USTR rolled out proposed tariffs in three waves, with the third list (List 3) covering approximately $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The List 3 goods comprises 5745 items, approximately 450 of which are commonly used in the residential construction industry.

The NAHB economics department examined the imports identified on List 3 and published a special study that estimated the economic effects that the proposed 10-percent tariff would have on the residential construction industry. The value of the 450 building materials included on List 3 is roughly $10 billion. A 10-percent tariff on these goods, therefore, represented a $1 billion tax increase on the housing industry.

One of the questions going into the fourth quarter of 2018 was to what extent the tariffs—even the announcement of intent to levy tariffs in the future—would affect the amount of imports of building materials and construction supplies. As the recently released January 2019 trade data show, the effects of both tariffs levied, as well as announcement of future tariffs, have been substantial.

To analyze these effects, the average monthly change in import value of the 450 items between 2011 and 2017 was compared to monthly changes from January 2018 through January 2019. The “floating” nature of major Chinese holidays affecting capital flows necessitated comparison to the historical average in order to smooth out holiday induced seasonal effects that may occur in different months in different years.

As illustrated in the figure below, the largest disparities between trade flows in 2018 and the 2011-2017 period occurred in April and December 2018.

Although the 2018 study on building materials imports focused on List 3, some goods used in residential construction were affected by the section 232 tariffs (i.e. tariffs levied based on national security concerns) imposed on certain steel and aluminum imports (25 percent and 10 percent, respectively). These tariffs went into effect in March 2018 and clearly had an effect on April 2018 imports from China.

When the USTR announced tariffs to be levied on List 3 beginning September 24th, 2018, the office also announced that the tariff rate would be time sensitive. Although the tariff would initially be set at 10 percent, that rate had a planned increase to 25 percent on January 1st, 2019 in the event that China and the United States could not resolve their differences by the end of the year.

Expectations of a substantial tariff rate increasingly took hold as it was reported that the two countries were not making meaningful progress in negotiations. The data indicate that these expectations brought the timing of imports forward (to December) in order to avoid the increase.

On December 17th, 2018, however, President Trump announced that the rate hike would be delayed to March. Consequently, the data show that imports of building materials declined more than 20 percent in January 2019—in stark contrast to the historical 15-percent increase seen in January.

The President delayed the tariff rate increase indefinitely on February 24, 2019, citing “substantial progress” in trade talks between American and Chinese officials. NAHB will continue to monitor import data releases to examine the possible effects of that announcement.

read more…

Millenials favor remodeling | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Millennials are finding it increasingly difficult to become first-time buyers. Even for those that have managed to find (albeit shaky) footing on the housing market, it’s not easy. Moving to a bigger and better house is often out of the question, for example. But millennials are a crafty lot; if moving isn’t an option, why not remodel? In fact, over 25% of millennials are choosing to do just that. In this article, we focus on what they decide to focus their remodelling energies on. 

SIZE MATTERS 

As we’ve already mentioned, millennials are either choosing or being forced to stay in their homes. With moving an impossibility, even with growing families, millennials have had to get creative with maximizing space: 

  • Function first. Style is important, but if space comes at a premium, then function is the first thing on the millennial’s mind. 
  • Storage everywhere. Hooks against kitchen walls to hang pots and pans. Drawers under the couch. Pull-out closets. Cabinets against the ceiling. You get the drill. 
  • Natural light. Sometimes it’s impossible to create extra space. So why not the next best thing? Adding a window or skylight can give you the illusion of a bigger home. 

ENJOYING OUTDOOR SPACE 

Millennials are massively investing in their gardens. In fact, it’s becoming kinda cool, with millennials now spending more on average than their parents. Growing vegetables is definitely becoming a thing, with millennials liking growing their own organic food. It’s tastier, better for the environment, and it’s a fun project to get involved in. 

Millennials don’t tend to live in homes with a lot of outdoor space. Gardens are like gold dust, so it’s no surprise that if they manage to get their hands on one, millennials take care of it.They spend a lot of time researching sustainable designs and plants to occupy it.

LOW MAINTENANCE BEATS STYLE 

Millennials are big on homes that don’t really take much effort to maintain. They want practical homes built with eco-friendly products. Homes that are built with cheap and sturdy materials, rather than the stylish but overpriced stuff. Here are two examples of what we’re talking about: 

  • Hard flooring, not carpet. Carpets are expensive, get stained easily, will only be in decent condition for a few years tops (less if you have kids!), and it doesn’t look as cool as hardwood flooring. 
  • Metal roof. Tiles have the traditional vibe going for them, but they’re more annoying to maintain than metal roofing. And it doesn’t have to look worse either; many of the newer metal roof varieties are modern and slick. 

SMART TECHNOLOGY IS THE SMART CHOICE 

Millennials are huge on tech, so it’s no surprise that many of them are turning to smart technology to transform their homes. And it’s not just buying an Amazon Echo. These are some remodelling upgrades that help millennials smarten up their homes: 

  • USB outlets. Power outlets aren’t enough these days. 
  • Built-in speaker systems. When it’s challenging to find space in smaller homes, solutions like built-in speaker systems are a cool way to solve the problem. 
  • Motion sensors. Security is important, especially for millennials living in the big cities where break-ins are a little more common. 
  • Smart thermostats. Not only to save bills, but these also help the environment by limiting your energy usage to when you actually need it. 

read more…

Cuomo’s to blame for Westchester’s gas crisis | Mt Kisco Real Estate

Cuomo’s to blame for Westchester’s gas crisis

State officials held hearings last week into Con Ed’s ban on new natural-gas customers in much of Westchester, but it’s the state itself that blocked new gas pipelines. What’d anyone expect?

Now, it turns out, the county’s nightmare may begin sooner than thought: When Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, who represents southern Westchester, asked Con Ed if it could delay the ban (set for March 15), the utility was frank: Supply and demand determine whether there’s enough gas, it said. So shortages could occur even beforethen.

Paulin isn’t the only one worried: “A March 15 deadline is just far too soon,” warned County Executive George Latimer. And the ban could choke an economic comeback in Westchester. “A moratorium of no new hookups would create a very chilling effect” on the “revival” in New Rochelle, Yonkers and White Plains.

Yet Con Ed has been warning for a long time now. In 2017, it tried to get the Public Service Commission to let it offer incentives to pipeline developers, who feared being denied permits — but was turned down.

The PSC denies that Con Ed came to it with any “pipeline solution,” Paulin said, but public documents show that’s not so.

Let’s face it: Even if the state forced Con Ed to sign up new customers, the utility still couldn’t deliver gas it doesn’t have.

Yet this disaster is entirely self-inflicted. To suck up to climate-change radicals, who hope to do away with all fossil-fuel-based energy, Gov. Cuomo has been slow to OK new pipelines. In response, pipeline companies have lost interest in New York.

Absent new gas supplies, businesses and residents will shun the county. No one will freeze, but Westchester faces new economic drag.

And New York City’s not far behind.

One hope: a court ruling last month that states can’t use their water-quality certification process to delay federal licensing of hydropower plants. “The scope of the ruling enhances the odds” that the Constitution pipeline will be built, notes Rob Rains of Washington Analysis. Constitution’s sponsors want the court to rule against New York efforts to block the pipeline.

Alas, anti-pipeline foes are gaining steam in New York. Last year, city Comptroller Scott Stringer bucked labor unions to denounce the plan for the Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline, a source of natural gas that’s vital to the city’s growth. At least seven public-advocate wannabes have now joined him.

Maybe they want to send city folks fleeing, much as a dead economy has Upstaters doing. Then again, if everyone leaves, there’ll be no need for natural gas . . 

read more…

Cuomo’s to blame for Westchester’s gas crisis