Tag Archives: North Salem Luxury Homes

US Homebuilding slows in August | North Salem Real Estate

Builders broke ground on fewer houses and apartment complexes in August, a possible sign that the housing market may be levelling off after accelerating for much of the year.

Housing starts last month fell 3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.13 million homes, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Construction activity slowed sharply in the Northeast and Midwest last month, edged downward in the West and climbed in the South.

Still, homebuilding appears much stronger than a year ago, despite figures that can be highly volatile on a monthly basis.

“This is a mere blip on the radar,” said Tom Wind, executive vice president of home lending at EverBank. “The housing market’s underlying fundamentals remain on pace for continued recovery.”

Housing starts have climbed a solid 11.3 percent this year to date. Steady job gains of 2.9 million in the past 12 months are contributing to increased demand from buyers and renters. And as the recovery from the Great Recession has entered its seventh year, residential construction has stated to both reflect and fuel broader economic growth.

Developers see favorable demographics helping to sustain demand, as approved permits rose 3.5 percent in August to an annual rate of 1.17 million.

Confidence among builders is also improving.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday rose this month to 62, up from 61 in August. The last time the reading was higher was October 2005 at 68.

New construction has yet to fully satisfy demand, a sign that further building will likely remain profitable.

Only 5.2 months’ supply of new homes is listed for sale, well below the standard level of six months usually seen in a healthy market. This shortage has led to rising prices for new and existing homes.

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http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_HOME_CONSTRUCTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2015-09-17-08-40-14

Buying a North Salem FSBO | North Salem Real Estate

Selling your home without an agent is entirely possible and, in some ways, easier today than in the past. Going for sale by owner (FSBO) could be a huge cost savings, since the real estate commission is the largest expense of any home sale. But FSBO is not for everyone.

If you go this route, you must be deliberate each step of the way. You’ll have to do your research and learn your market to discover what works and what doesn’t. Are homes staged? Do people price low for multiple offers or price high and wait? Is it a strong buyers’ market, or do sellers rule? Sometimes it can be hard to know, as markets can shift by neighborhood — or even by block.

In real estate today, sometimes you only get one chance to make a first impression. If you make a mistake your first time out, the market may punish you later on. Here are some other FSBO considerations for the next-generation home seller.

Online access to pricing makes going FSBO easier today

One of the biggest hurdles for sellers is pricing their home correctly and knowing the comparable home sales. It’s easier to understand pricing today, given how much information is online — particularly for someone who lives in a home where the recent comparable home sales are cut and dry. An example of this is a newer suburban development where the floor plans, layouts, fixtures and finishes are all similar.

Research your market offline, too

Learning a real estate market doesn’t take a huge amount of effort, but it does take time. Go to open houses and see what is for sale. Start this process early, and do it often.

Monitor a few nearby homes from listing to close. Real estate agents do it day in and day out, which makes them uniquely qualified to understand a market.

Be prepared to detach emotionally

Selling a home has both financial and emotional implications, whether you sell it yourself or through an agent. Knowing that complete strangers will be running through and potentially criticizing your home is enough to make any home seller feel like a wreck.

Imagine dealing with these strangers directly. If you go the FSBO route, you are front and center from start to finish. You can’t let your emotions get the best of you, and you must focus on the investment aspect of your home.

Sometimes sellers who can’t emotionally detach find themselves leaving money on the table, alienating perfectly good buyers, or both. But if you think you can see your home objectively, as a third-party product, then you might be good to go with FSBO.

It can become a part-time job

Remember the last time you sold a car or some furniture on Craigslist? It probably required time and energy to photograph your goods, post the listings, field calls, and show the items before you finally made the sale. With real estate, you can amplify that effort 10-fold.

Going FSBO can be excellent for someone with a flexible schedule or who works from home. But getting the home ready to sell means doing all of the standard sale prep work that you would do as a seller — and then taking it a step further. You need to be ready to show the home at a moment’s notice, do follow-ups, and manage the open houses and scheduling, not to mention negotiate and see the sale through firsthand.

 

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http://www.zillow.com/blog/is-for-sale-by-owner-right-for-you-176805/

Mortgage Rates Little Changed | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates largely calm amid mixed economic and housing data and ahead of the Friday employment report for March.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.70 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending April 2, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.69 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.41 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.98 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.97 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.47 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.92 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.12 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.46 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.45 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 links for theRegional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quotes
Attributed to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates were little changed this week entering April about where we started the year. The final estimate of real GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2014 was unchanged from the prior estimate of a 2.2 percent annualized rate. Meanwhile, the National Association of Realtors reported that pending home sales rose 3.1 percent in February, beating expectations. The pending home sales index was at the highest level since June of 2013 when 30-year fixed mortgage rates averaged 4.07 percent, 0.37 percentage points higher than this week’s survey.”

Mortgage Rates Move Down Again | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving down again across the board. Average fixed rates that continue to run below four percent will help keep affordability high for those in the market to buy a home as we head into the spring homebuying season.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.69 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending March 26, 2015, down from last week when it averaged 3.78 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.40 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.97 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 3.42 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.92 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.97 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.10 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.46 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, unchanged from last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.44 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 links for theRegional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quotes
Attributed to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 3.69 percent this week following a decline in 10-year Treasury yields. Low mortgage rates are a welcome sign for those in the market to buy a home this spring season and will help to support homebuyer affordability. Existing home sales in February increased slightly, but less than expected, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million units. Meanwhile, new home sales outperformed expectations and surged 7.8 percent to an annual pace of 539,000 units.”

Southern California housing market is poised for a stronger spring | North Salem Homes

After two years of slim pickings for Southern California home buyers, the supply of houses for sale may be starting to open up, at least a bit. And that could power the region’s housing market to a stronger spring.

The fundamentals are good. But affordability is going to stare us right in the face again.
– Selma Hepp, senior economist at C.A.R.
Market watchers and real estate agents say they’re starting to see more sellers as prices remain relatively high, interest rates stay low and fewer borrowers owe more on their houses than they’re worth. The number of homes listed for sale in February climbed 9% in Los Angeles County from a year earlier, according to data from the California Assn. of Realtors, and the time it would take to sell every house on the market was at its highest level in three years.

“Supply is not an issue right now, not like it was,” said Rich Simonin, chief executive of Westcoe Realtors in Riverside. “It’s not a problem.”

That’s a shift from the last few years, when many sellers held their homes off the market and bidding wars were common for the rare well-priced listing. More supply should help keep prices in check, economists say, and coupled with an improving economy could help fuel a broad recovery in the region’s housing market over the next few months.

But so far the housing market has been in a slump.

lRelated Housing starts fall in February as home builders hit the brakes
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Housing starts fall in February as home builders hit the brakes
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Home sales in the six-county Southland fell 2.7% in February from a year earlier, according to figures out Tuesday from CoreLogic DataQuick; it was the 15th time in 17 months that sales have fallen. Although the region’s median sale price of $415,000 was up 8.4% compared with February 2013, it has been basically flat since last summer, when it plateaued as many buyers hit a ceiling for what they could afford.

Selma Hepp, senior economist at C.A.R., says measures of buyer interest — online real estate searches and open-house traffic — have jumped in recent weeks. If that activity translates into sales, it could put a new round of pressure on pricing, she said.

 

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http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-home-sales-20150318-story.html

London’s ‘iceberg homes’ plumb the city’s depths | North Salem Real Estate

In London’s most upmarket districts, shovel-wielding teams are hard at work in what look like mines hidden beneath luxury homes, sidestepping the British capital’s planning rules by expanding underground.

Some of their more hi-tech kit may end up buried there — it is reported that the cost of bringing it back above ground is more than its value — and the bowels of the British capital have already become a graveyard for around 1,000 excavating machines.

The trend started in the late 1990s, when residents developed small basements, calculating it was a cheaper way of increasing floorspace than moving house while sticking to the strict height rules imposed by the city’s conservation bodies.

But Paul Schaaf, partner of architectural firm The Basement Design Studio, told AFP that since the 2008 recession, his firm has largely been called in to help with vast spaces beneath houses in the opulent neighbourhoods of south and west London.

“We ended up doing different ones, larger ones where people weren’t so much affected by the recession in well-established residential properties, in Kensington and north London,” he said.

Permit applications for this type of work have soared: in 2013, Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall received 450 compared to just 20 a decade ago.

“We’re talking about two or three floors down and extending beyond the boundaries of the garden. It can sometimes go under the road,” complained Murad Qureshi, a Labour member of the London Assembly, the elected body that holds the London mayor to account.

Often the new spaces house luxurious marble swimming pools, home theatres or garages for classic cars.

“This is really the super-rich extending very large properties even further, ” Qureshi said, calling the properties “iceberg homes”.

Last year, Qureshi unsuccessfully tried to impose limits on such developments in the capital.

“A lot of local residents are very concerned about these extensive developments causing floods, sink holes, structural damage to neighbouring properties and the construction of these deep basements is very disruptive to the immediate neighbourhood,” he said.

– ‘Living in a building site’ –

The work can take several months, even years.

At the chic Orme Square in Westminster, a sewer recently collapsed. The road above had been carrying trucks laden with soil removed from the home of a famous English television presenter.

For two fed-up residents, who wished to remain anonymous, the link is clear.

 

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http://news.yahoo.com/londons-iceberg-homes-plumb-citys-depths-102322228.html

Real Estate Markets Tiptoe Toward Stability | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac’s proprietary MiMi index, which uses data on mortgage repayments and local economic conditions to track markets against their ‘long-term stable range”, reports that national MiMi value stands at 74.9, indicating a weak housing market overall but showing a slight improvement (+0.37%) from November to December and a positive 3-month trend of (+1.09%).

On a year-over-year basis, the U.S. housing market has improved (+4.41%). The nation’s all-time MiMi high of 121.7 was April 2006; its low was 57.2 in October 2010, when the housing market was at its weakest. Since that time, the housing market has made a 31 percent rebound.

The U.S. housing market continues to stabilize at the national level for the fourth consecutive month. Thirty-eight of the 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, and 40 of the 50 metros, are now showing an improving three month trend. Three additional metros entered their benchmarked stable ranges of housing activity including Buffalo, Boston and Nashville.

“Housing markets are getting back on track. The national MiMi improved for the fourth consecutive month. Nearly 80 percent of the state and metro housing markets MiMi tracks are improving or in their stable range of activity. We’ve even seen the MiMi purchase application indicator increase 0.07 percent on a year-over-year basis. Low mortgage rates and moderating house price growth are helping to keep payment-to-income ratios favorable for the typical family in most of the country. In fact, Los Angeles is the only metro market with an elevated MiMi payment-to-income indicator whereas most other markets remain quite affordable. And of course, labor markets are generally improving,” said Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer.

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2015/02/real-estate-markets-tiptoe-toward-stability/

Look for Rental Profits Where Foreclosures Were | North Salem Real Estate

A number of familiar former foreclosure hotbeds top RealtyTrac’s list of best markets to buy a rental property in the first quarter of 2015.  They’ve got the right mix of employment, growth, prices and potential return.

The report also looks at which markets are seeing the biggest increases in rental rates in 2015 compared to 2014, and provides rankings of the best safe haven residential rental markets, along with the best markets for renting to Millennials, best markets for renting to Generation Xers, and best markets for renting to Baby Boomers.

“With homeownership rates at their lowest level in 20 years, historically low levels of housing starts and relatively low home prices in many parts of the country, there is still plenty of opportunity in the U.S. housing market for single family rental investors employing a variety of investing strategies,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Whether focusing on markets where homeownership-shy Millennials are migrating, markets where recovering Gen X homeowners-turned-renters are prevalent, or markets Baby Boomers are testing for retirement, investors can find good options with solid potential rental returns.

“There are certainly markets where buying single family rentals no longer makes sense because of rapidly rising prices over the past few years,” Blomquist added. “Savvy single family rental investors will tread cautiously in such markets despite the siren song of strong home price appreciation.”

“Buying single family homes as rental properties in Southern California is reserved for those that have a very specific investment strategy,” said Chris Pollinger, senior vice president of sales with First Team Real Estate, covering the Southern California market, where annual gross yields on rentals range from less than 5 percent in Orange County to nearly 9 percent in the inland San Bernardino County.

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2015/02/look-for-rental-profits-where-foreclosures-were/

Bathroom Design Ideas | North Salem Real Estate

If you’ve been thinking about giving your bathroom an overhaul but aren’t sure how, one way to start is to look to the latest design trends for inspiration. We’ve made it our mission to find out what design ideas are expected to make a splash in 2015 to help make planning your bathroom makeover project a little bit easier.To compile our list, we enlisted the help of four award-winning designers, who share here their predictions for thelooks, finishes and features they think will be on everyone’s radar next year. They also reveal how they would work these ideas into their own projects.

3 lessons learned from the mortgage rate drop | North Salem Real Estate

 

Mortgage rates are back to the highest level in a month, and if news from the U.S. economy stays positive, they could edge ever higher. While the brief drop a few weeks ago, due to concerns over global economic growth, may already seem like a distant memory, we should take a hard look back nonetheless.

In early October, the average rate on the 30-year fixed conforming mortgage ($417,000 or less) fell below that psychologically significant 4 percent level. It’s back above that now, but just that inch below was enough to reveal the underbelly of the housing beast. 

1. While the drop itself was not huge, it pushed thousands of potential borrowers off the fence to refinance. Applications to refinance jumped more than 20 percent in just one week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That tells us that there is still a large cohort able to refinance. The common myth was that anyone who could benefit already refinanced over a year ago, when rates were in the lower 3 percent range. The recent rate reductions added 1.4 million borrowers to the “refinanceable” population, according to a new report from Black Knight Financial Services, which estimates that at least 7.4 million 30-year loans could now benefit by refinancing.

2. The drop in rates did nothing to push potential homebuyers off the fence and into a home. Mortgage applications to purchase a home actually fell along with rates, and then rose this week when rates began climbing higher. A monthly survey of real estate agents by Credit Suisse found, “The recent move lower in rates (that has already partially reversed) did not drive incremental demand, though this could change over time if low rates persist.” How can this be? Because home buying today is not about rates; it’s about price and supply. The two are inextricably linked, and both have been moving more dramatically than normal lately. Buyers are either facing sticker shock or not finding what they want.

 

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https://homes.yahoo.com/news/3-lessons-learned-mortgage-rate-174700632.html