Tag Archives: North Salem NY Realtor

North Salem NY Realtor

Under Jeb Bush, housing prices fueled Florida’s boom | North Salem Real Estate

On the campaign trail, Jeb Bush has repeatedly emphasized his record overseeing Florida’s boom economy as the state’s governor. He says it’s an example of an economy that created a huge number of jobs and benefited the middle class — an example of what he could do as president. “I know how to do this,” he said in Maitland, Fla., on Monday.

But according to interviews with economists and a review of data, Florida owed a substantial portion of its growth under Bush not to any state policies but to a massive and unsustainable housing bubble — one that ultimately benefited rich investors at the expense of middle-class families.

The bubble, one of the biggest in the nation, drove up home prices and had many short-term benefits for the state, spurring construction, spending and jobs. But the collapse of the housing bubble as Bush left office in 2007, after eight years of service, sent Florida into a recession deeper than that in the rest of the country, and hundreds of thousands lost their homes.

“Who got hammered? Lower- and middle-class America,” said Marshall Sklar, a real estate investor who, like other well-off financiers operating in the state, has benefited from the wreckage.

Sklar recently won an online auction for a small stucco condominium in Boca Raton that a married couple had bought in 2004 for no money down. They borrowed against it as the state’s housing bubble inflated and then, like so many others, had to walk away heavily in debt when it burst.

After buying their busted dream, Sklar flipped it to a wealthy investor, banking a commission. His investor will probably earn a 12 percent return by renting out the condo. The value of the condo was redistributed upward, like so much of Florida’s housing wealth in recent years. “You took it out of the sheep and gave it to the wolves,” Sklar said after touring several houses he recently bought at bargain prices.

The story of this house and its owners is in many ways emblematic of much of the experience of Florida’s economy in the 2000s — a story that contrasts sharply with the record Bush recounts.

 

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/under-jeb-bush-housing-prices-fueled-floridas-boom-then-it-all-went-bust/2015/07/27/3cb40da2-2409-11e5-b72c-2b7d516e1e0e_story.html

Housing Construction Trends Heat Up in June | North Salem Real Estate

Total housing starts expanded 9.8% month over month in June, reaching a 1.174 million annual starts pace, which was led by a surge in multifamily development.

Single-family starts were effectively flat, recording a 0.9% monthly decline to a 685,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate but were up 14.7% year over year. As measured on a three-month moving average, the pace of single-family starts hit a post-recession high in June. Looking forward, single-family permits were up 0.9% for June and 6% year-over-year, reaching a 687,000 annual rate. Regionally, single-family starts were up 6.8% for the month in the South, but down 27.3% in the Northeast, 7.1% in the West, and 4% in the Midwest.

Pointing to future growth, the July NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index reached 60 in July, which is the highest level since November 2005. Two of its three components also rose to levels last seen in late 2005. The index of current sales rose one point from the June level to 66, the highest in 10 years. The index for expected sales rose two points from June’s 69 to 71, also the highest in almost 10 years. The index for traffic fell one point to 43 from the six-month high in June of 44.

And more good news from June: The National Association of Realtors measure of existing home salesexisting home sales increased 3.2%, reaching the highest level since February 2007. Given that most new home sales are to move-up buyers, a rise in the volume of existing sales bodes well for additional single-family construction. Inventory of resale homes continues to be limited, falling to a five-month supply in June as the current sales rate.

However, the standout of the June housing starts report was multifamily construction, which for units in buildings with five or more units climbed to a 476,000 annual rate with a 28.6% monthly growth rate. Permits also expanded greatly, jumping 16.1% to a 621,000 annual rate. NAHB expects this level of apartment development to cool in the coming months.

On the supply side of the market, the most recent Producer Price Index data from the BLS revealed a small increase for wood products in June after trending down for the start of 2015. Softwood lumber prices rose 1% for the month but are down 9.1% from a recent high in September 2014. Prices for OSB rose 2.4% in June after a 20.4% slide that followed the collapse in prices that ended in July 2013. Gypsum prices slipped 1.5% in June after being flat in May, increasing to 5.3% the retreat from a February peak.

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2015/07/eye-on-the-economy-housing-construction-trends-heat-up-in-june/

Mortgage Rates Up Again | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher amid a strong employment report. Regardless, fixed-rate mortgages rates still remain near their May 23, 2013 lows.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.76 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending February 19, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.69 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.33 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.05 percent with an average 0.6 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.99 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.35 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.97 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.08 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.45 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.42 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.57 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 rose for the second consecutive week as 10-year Treasury yields surged. Housing starts declined 2 percent to a seasonally adjusted pace of 1.065 million units and housing permits dipped 0.7 percent in January. However, homebuilders remain confident about new home sales although slightly tempered from last month as the NAHB Housing Market Index slipped 2 points to 55 in February.”

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.

Housing is waking up to a new hangover | North Salem Real Estate

 

First came a historic national crash in home prices, then a surprisingly sharp jolt off the bottom. Investors, desperate for yield and fueled by Fed-induced cheap cash, swarmed the most distressed housing markets, buying bargain-basement properties and turning them into rentals. Some markets saw double-digit annual price appreciation. Some analysts started to float the word “bubble,” again.

Now, finally, reality is setting in yet again.

Foreclosures have fallen to new lows since the crisis, and investors, while not selling their homes, are not buying nearly as many. That has taken much of the air out of home prices. In addition, the number of homes for sale is rising, pushing sellers from the driver’s seat to the way, way back.

“What a difference a year makes,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow. “At this time last year, we were worrying about a number of frothy markets that looked like they could be on the edge of another housing bubble, places where homes were appreciating at more than 20 percent per year and where buyers’ heads were spinning just trying to keep up.”

Now those markets, while not in the red, are barely in the black. Los Angeles, for example, saw home prices rise over 18 percent in the third quarter of 2013 from the same time in 2012. Now its annual appreciation for the quarter is down to 8 percent, according to Zillow.

“Buyers don’t have the same sense of urgency as they did before. They can be a little bit more discerning,” said Greg Bender, a Los Angeles-area Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.

Bender is seeing homes sit on the market far longer than they did just six months ago. It is no longer a seller’s market.

In Phoenix, hard hit by the housing crash and a favorite among investors in 2012 and 2013, the price deflation is even more dramatic. Last year, prices were up 18 percent annually at this time. Today they are up barely 1 percent. Demand and supply are low.

“Most of the median-price increase over the last 12 months is because a greater percentage of the homes being sold are in the luxury market, not because home values overall are increasing,” Arizona State University’s Mike Orr wrote in a recent report. “We anticipate pricing will move sideways or slightly down over the next few months until supply and demand get back into balance.”

While most housing analysts do not expect home prices to go negative on a national level again, some have floated that possibility. Home prices soared from 2003 to 2007 due to cheap and easy credit. When that went away, prices plummeted nationally for the first time in history.

 

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http://finance.yahoo.com/news/housing-waking-hangover-155830848.html

 

Slump in mortgage rates fails to rally home buyers | North Salem Real Estate

More proof that low mortgage rates are not the key to home ownership: Rates dropped to their lowest level in nearly 18 months last week, causing an 11.6 percent rise in applications, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The gains, however, were driven entirely by refinances, just as they have been for several weeks.

Refinance applications jumped a whopping 23 percent week-to-week on a seasonally adjusted basis; volume was at the highest level since November. Mortgage applications to purchase a home saw no boost at all from lower rates, falling 5 percent from the previous week and 9 percent from a year ago.

“Continuing concerns about weak economic growth in Europe and a few U.S. economic indicators that came in below expectations caused a flight to quality into U.S. Treasurys last week, leading to sharp drops in interest rates,” said Mike Fratantoni, the MBA’s chief economist. “Mortgage rates have fallen close to 30 basis points over the last four weeks.”

The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($417,000 or less) decreased to 4.1 percent, the lowest level since May 2013, from 4.2 percent, according to the MBA. Some lenders are now offering rates below the psychologically significant 4 percent line, but only to their highest credit-worthy customers. The average loan balance for refinance applications increased to $306,400, the highest level in the MBA survey’s history, suggesting that wealthier homeowners are benefiting most from the drop in rates.

Sales of existing homes did increase in September by just over 2 percent from August, according to the National Association of Realtors; however, they are weaker than a year ago, when investors were competing for distressed homes and pushing prices ever higher. The NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said sentiment among real estate agents was at its lowest level of the year, suggesting that sales may be weaker going forward.

“It’s turned into what I think is really a classic buyers’ market,” said Sherry Spinelli, a real estate agent with Long and Foster in Northern Virginia. “More days on market, prices are coming down, the offers are even lower and there are just a lot of houses out there, so it’s a challenge for sellers. I think you have to lower the price in order to sell it.”

Mortgage rates, while lower now than they were a year ago, have not been the biggest barrier to entry for home buyers in this recovery. Even the high 4 percent range on the 30-year fixed is historically low. The trouble is not the rate, but credit availability. Banks have required higher credit scores, full documentation and strict debt limits because they do not want to be forced to buy back any loans that might go into default. They have already paid billions to the government on bad loans left over from the housing crash.

This week, Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said in a speech that there would soon be better clarification for banks, “rules of the road,” on how to safeguard against these so-called ‘buybacks,’ but the details were general.

“We have started to move mortgage finance back to a responsible state of normalcy—one that encourages responsible lending to creditworthy borrowers while maintaining safety and soundness of the enterprises,” Watt said in prepared remarks Monday

 

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https://homes.yahoo.com/news/slump-mortgage-rates-fails-rally-110000745.html

Teatown Lake Reservation | North Salem Real Estate

 

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August 13, 2014
PROGRAMS THIS WEEK:
Advanced Registration is required for all programs. Unless noted, all programs meet in the Nature Center and are $7 per person or FREE for members. Please register by calling (914) 762-2912 ext. 110.
Honey Bee

Busy as a Bee: National Honey Bee Day
Saturday, August 16
10 – 11:30 am

Catch the buzz about honey bees in this program to learn about all the services they provide and bring awareness about the plight of the bee. All Welcome.

Visit Teatown

1600 Spring Valley Road
Ossining, NY 10562
Teatown Lake Reservation’s
mission is to inspire our community to lifelong environmental stewardship.
Nature Center hours:
9 am – 5 pm daily
Trails are open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk.
Click here for Teatown membership benefits, details,
and to purchase or renew
your membership online.

Your donation can make

an immediate impact and help

support our environmental education programs and the stewardship of our 1,000 acre preserve.

Shop on Amazon?

Click the link below and a portion of your Amazon purchase will be donated to Teatown!

Click here.

Upcoming Events and Workshops:
Ferret Frolic!
Saturday, August 23
1-2:30 pm

Let’s share play time with Teatown’s domestic weasels – our ferrets! Watch how they use their bodies and senses to frolic and communicate, and learn how their wild cousins like otters and minks do the same thing. All Welcome. Space is limited to 10 participants.

Nature’s Recyclers
Sunday, August 24
11 am – 12 pm

How does recycling get accomplished in nature? Meet some animal recyclers and find out how things get broken down the natural way. All Welcome.

In the Nature Center Gallery:

Nature Center Gallery Richard Pileggi

Quiet Landscapes

Photography

By Richard Pileggi

On exhibit

July 5 – August 30

Click here for more info

Announcing the publication of:

Teatown’s Wildflower Island

by Lisa Fleck Dondiego

A privately printed, 80-page photo book with an Index identifying the flowers.

Foreword by Leah Waybright Kennell, Curator of Wildflower Island.

This wonderful book is available for

purchase in Teatown’s nature store for $45 plus tax.

Teatown Highlight:
Wildflower Island Summer Tours
Be inspired by Teatown’s natural beauty – Don’t miss Wildflower Island’s final blooms of the season.
Weekend tours
Saturdays: 10am & 1pm
Sundays: 1pm
Private tours for groups of eight or more can be arranged.
 
Pre-registration is required for all tours. $6 per person or $4 per member.
To register, please call 914-762-2912 ext. 110.
 

Weaker sales slowed US home price gains in March | North Salem NY Homes

 

U.S. home prices rose at a slightly slower pace in the 12 months that ended in March, a sign that weak sales have begun to restrain the housing market’s sharp price gains.

Data provider CoreLogic says prices rose 11.1 percent in March compared with March 2013. Though a sizable increase, that was down a bit from February’s 12.2 percent year-over-year increase.

On a month-to-month basis, prices in March rose 1.4 percent from February. But CoreLogic’s month-to-month figures aren’t adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as warmer spring weather.

Home sales and construction have faltered since last fall, slowing the economy. A harsh winter, higher buying costs and a limited supply of available homes have discouraged many potential buyers. Existing-home sales in March reached their lowest level in 20 months.

Some signs suggest that buying might be picking up a bit as the spring season gets underway. Signed contracts to buy homes rose in March for the first time in nine months, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

Even so, economists forecast that sales of existing homes will barely rise this year from 2013’s pace of 5.1 million. Sluggish sales, in turn, will slow annual price gains this year to roughly 5 percent or 6 percent, economists predict. CoreLogic forecasts that prices will increase just 6.7 percent in the 12 months that will end next March.

Higher prices typically encourage some homeowners to sell, yet the number of homes on the market remains low. CoreLogic’s chief economist, Mark Fleming, said many homeowners might be reluctant to sell because they’ve locked in low mortgage rates and are hesitant to buy a home with a higher-rate mortgage.

The Federal Reserve’s bond-buying program helped reduce the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage to as low as 3.3 percent in early 2013. The average is now about 4.3 percent, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

 

read more…

 

http://news.yahoo.com/weaker-sales-slowed-us-home-price-gains-march-121309889–finance.html

 

Self-employed spouses still owe taxes even if one loses more than the other makes | North Salem NY Real Estate

 

The vast majority of real estate brokers and agents are self-employed sole proprietors. They are often married to spouses who are self-employed as well. Marital togetherness is great, but when spouses each have their own separately run business, they need to keep their business income (or losses) separate for self-employment tax purposes. One spouse’s business losses cannot be used to reduce the other spouse’s net self-employment income and thereby reduce the Social Security and Medicare tax due on that income. This is so even if spouses live in a community property state like California. The U.S. Tax Court recently taught this lesson to Brenda Fitch, a California-licensed real estate agent, and her husband, Donald, a CPA. Self-employment taxes are based on net earnings from self-employment — that is, on the profit earned from the business after subtracting deductible expenses.

 

 

– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2014/02/24/self-employed-spouses-with-separate-businesses-still-owe-taxes-even-if-one-loses-more-than-the-other-makes/?utm_source=20140224&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.qv1F5J6t.dpuf