Tag Archives: North Salem Realtor

North Salem Realtor

Mortgage rates average 3.43% | North Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving slightly lower from the previous week, remaining near their all-time record lows.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.43 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending August 18, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.45 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.93 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.74 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.76 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.15 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.76 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.74 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.94 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.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Ahead of the release of the FOMC minutes for July, 10-year Treasury yields were little changed from the prior week. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 2 basis points to 3.43 percent this week, erasing last week’s uptick. For eight consecutive weeks mortgage rates have ranged between 3.41 and 3.48 percent. Inflation is not adding any upward pressure on interest rates as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Consumer Price Index was unchanged in July.”

Existing home sales jumped in May | North Salem Real Estate

Existing home sales jumped in May to their highest increase in almost 10 years, according to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors.

While existing home sales may have jumped, the high demand and lagging home prices caused the median sales prices to also shoot up to an all-time high, according to NAR.

In fact, all regions except for the Midwest saw strong sales increases in May.

Total existing home sales, or completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, increased by 1.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million in May. This is up from April’s 5.43 million.

After this gain, sales now increased to 4.5% from last year’s 5.29 million and are at their highest annual pace since February of 2007. This is the third consecutive month of rising sales, according to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

“This spring’s sustained period of ultra-low mortgage rates has certainly been a worthy incentive to buy a home, but the primary driver in the increase in sales is more homeowners realizing the equity they’ve accumulated in recent years and finally deciding to trade-up or downsize,” Yun said.

“With first-time buyers still struggling to enter the market, repeat buyers using the proceeds from the sale of their previous home as their down payment are making up the bulk of home purchases right now,” he added.

Although home prices are up, they are not yet at pre-recession levels.

“May’s existing home sales numbers suggest that healthy demand continues to support a recovering housing market, but that inventory woes are preventing a full recovery to pre-recession levels,” said Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin. Trulia is an online real estate listing service.

Some insist that the increase in existing home sales holds little good news.

“It’s encouraging to see another month of growth, the third in a row, in today’s May existing home sales report,” according to Svenja Gudell, chief economist for the real estate listing service Zillow. “But beyond that, it offers buyers little good news to grasp onto.”

“Inventory, while up very modestly from April largely thanks to more condos coming up for sale, is still well below a year ago,” Gudell said. “And the time homes spend on the market has fallen by a week in just one month, to 32 days, making an already hyper-competitive market even more so.”

“Buyers struggling to find an affordable home to buy will continue to do so, even given these very small improvements,” he continued.

Median home prices peaked last June at $236,300, but increased to $239,700 in May. This is an annual increase of 4.7% in home prices, and marks to 51st consecutive month of year-over-year increases.

“Barring further deceleration in job growth that could ultimately temper demand from these repeat buyers, sales have the potential to mostly maintain their current pace through the summer,” Yun said.

While total housing inventory rose 1.4% from last month to 2.15 million existing homes available for sale, it is still down 5.7% from last year, according to NAR.


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DIY spring cleaning guide | North Salem Real Estate

Do you have a closet you’re terrified to open? Do sweaters, paperwork, and random Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues from the last millennium clog up every drawer? If so, then there’s a very high likelihood you’re overdue for some serious spring-cleaning.

But what’s that you say: Lying on the couch bingeing on the latest season of “House of Cards” sounds way more enticing? Then you’ll love our first installment of the Lazy Homeowner’s Guide: a collection of hacks and shortcuts that make decluttering a breeze.

Try a few of these tips to whip your place into shape with minimal time and effort. Honest, you’ll barely work up a sweat

Trick yourself into tossing things

If you know you have a problem parting with things, Jennifer Adams, celebrity interior designer and lifestyle expert, advises taking on your separation anxiety literally. Get two large boxes; label one “repair/clean” and the other “not sure.” Box up the latter items, and date the box.

“If you haven’t opened the box in a year, donate it,” she says. Same goes for the “repair/clean” box. Stick them in the trunk of your car, and drive thyself to the nearest Salvation Army or other charitable organization.

“Face it: You’re not that committed to those items if you haven’t repaired, cleaned, or looked at them within a month or two,” Adams says.

Turn castoffs into cash

Maybe extra moolah is the prime incentive you need to help you clean out cluttered spaces. If selling your unwanted stuff on eBay is too complicated, try the simple-to-use app OfferUp, the largest mobile marketplace for local buyers and sellers. Take a snap of your unwanted items, and post it on the site—and you’ll instantly be connected to buyers in your neighborhood.

Curb your clothes

Your closets are likely full of clothes you don’t wear and are ripe for purging. What should you chuck?

“Focus on clothes that don’t fit, are out of style, require expensive tailoring, that don’t look good on you, or are duplicates,” says Cynthia Kienzle, aka New York’s The Clutter Whisperer. You could end up eliminating a large swath of your wardrobe, yet feel you have more clothes since everything you pull out is something you’ll actually wear!

Save space in your closet

After purging, set up simple systems and maintain them. One of Kienzle’s favorite inexpensive closet organizing tools is Ikea’s $5 hanging shoe bags. She calls them “the best organizing bargain around.” She also likes the Container Store’s Elfa door rack system—secured inside of closet doors—to hold scarves, gloves, and belts. For about $75, it’s an “inexpensive investment relative to the enormous value they provide. And they look so nice!” Finally, skinny Huggable hangers can triple your closet space, plus the felt keeps clothes from sliding off.

Purge paperwork

It’s time to unload those old catalogs, coupons, junk mail, and tax support documents (after all, you don’t need to keep your tax documents forever—for most states it’s only the past seven years). If you need to shred but dread the prospect of feeding a small home shredder all weekend, she recommends using Staples or FedEx Office shredding services. Easier still, you can hire a shredding truck to come to your apartment building or home.


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Mortgage rates average 3.68% | North Salem Realtor

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates moving higher for the second week in a row, while also only posting the second increase this year making mortgage rates very attractive for the upcoming spring home buying season.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.68 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 10, 2016, up from last week when it averaged 3.64 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.86 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.96 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.10 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.92 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.84 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.01 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 theDefinitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 10-year Treasury yield ended the survey week exactly where it started, however the solid February employment report boosted the yield noticeably on Friday and Monday. Our mortgage rate survey captured the impact of this temporary increase in yield, and the 30-year mortgage rate rose 4 basis points to 3.68 percent. This marks the second increase this year. Nonetheless, the mortgage rate remains 33 basis points lower than its end-of-2015 level.”

Higher Prices Chill Buyers | North Salem Real Estate

In the cold light of winter. concerns about affordability are cooling potential buyers, according to the latest Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae.

Fevers consumers believe this is a “Good Time to Buy”; figures trended down for the year in 2015 and declined an additional 4 percentage points in January. The share of consumers who reported that their income was significantly higher than it was 12 months ago fell 3 percentage points after climbing 9 percentage points on net in December. Altogether, the index decreased 1.7 points to 81.5 in January.

“Housing affordability is being constrained because the pace of growth in real income has not kept up with gains in real home prices as demand has grown faster than supply,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “On the bright side, consumers have been increasingly positive about their ability to get a mortgage, suggesting that credit tightness is not the main issue limiting housing market activity today, a feeling that we also see conveyed by lenders in our Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey®. We expect further progress in the HPSI to be limited until income growth picks up or supply, particularly in lower-priced homes, expands more rapidly.”



While four of the six HPSI components decreased in January, Good Time to Sell rose by 1 point and Mortgage Rate net expectations stayed the same at negative 52 percent. Overall, the HPSI is down 1.3 points since this time last year.

  • The net share of respondents who say that it is a good time to buy a house fell 4 percentage points to 31%. An all-time survey low was equaled as only 61% of respondents say it is a good time to buy a house.
  • The net percentage of respondents who say it is a good time to sell a house rose 1 percentage point to 9%.
  • The net share of respondents who say that home prices will go up fell 3 percentage points to 37%.
  • The net share of those who say mortgage interest rates will go down remained at negative 52% this month.

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Time to break decorating rules | North Salem Real Estate

Go-to design rules can be a huge help when you feel lost with your decor. But sometimes they end up painting you into a corner. If you’re finding your decor a little on the dull side, or you just like shaking up the system, here are seven of the top design rules that you should consider bending, twisting or totally breaking.
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Housing recovery based on age, race, place | North Salem Real Estate

It’s the most profitable time to sell a house since the Great Recession started in late 2007. But first-time buyers are increasingly scarce.

More Americans are qualifying for mortgages, yet minorities still get disproportionately rejected.

Three new industry analyses released Thursday show that the recovering economy has produced a divided U.S. housing market. Where people live, their age and the color of their skin have largely influenced who has benefited as real estate continues to heal from the bursting of a mortgage bubble that triggered the worst economic downturn in nearly 80 years.

Budding sales growth over the past year has overwhelmingly helped existing owners who are seeking an upgrade. But the millennials buying their first home are being priced out of the market because student debt has prevented them from saving. And a major gap exists among who qualifies for a mortgage even as the overall approval rate improves.

Seller’s market

Between July and September, sellers unloaded their homes for an average of $40,658 more than they paid for their properties, according to RealtyTrac, the California-based real estate information company. This was the largest profit recorded since the third quarter of 2007, although it remains below profits averaging in excess of $100,000 during the height of the boom in late 2005.

The financial gains might be enough to coax more people to list their properties for sale, ending a shortage of homes on the market.

The profits are “enough to say, yes, I can leverage this into moving up and buying a bigger home,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

But not all markets are equal.

Sellers in San Francisco pocketed $463,505. Manhattanites reaped $385,909. Those in Washington, D.C. made $130,593, while sellers in Los Angeles came away with $115,573.

Meanwhile, housing in other major U.S. counties sold on average at a loss.

This includes the Chicago suburbs outside Cook County, with McHenry County sellers losing an average of $19,849. Sellers tended to unload properties for less than they paid in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Tampa, Florida.

“In some cases, it may have to do with outlying areas that people were willing to buy into during the housing bubble,” Blomquist said. “They’re not close enough to jobs to make sense for buyers now.”

First-time troubles

Millennials, ages 18 to 34, face a less affordable housing market than their parents, forcing them to put off ownership.

The share of first-time homebuyers has fallen for the third consecutive year to its lowest level since 1987, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

First-timers accounted for less than a third of sales that are expected to comfortably exceed 5 million this year. This group has traditionally represented 40 percent of sales.

The Realtors survey indicates that student loans and other debts have delayed down payment savings by a median of three years. A quarter of the first-time buyers identified saving for a down payment as their biggest challenge, with the majority of this group saying that education loans hurt their ability to set aside money.

This problem may only worsen as student debt burdens continue to expand.

College borrowers who graduated in 2014 finished on average with $28,950 in debt, a 31 percent increase over the past decade after adjusting for inflation, according to a report last week by The Institute for College Access and Success.

Mortgage approvals

It’s gotten easier to receive a mortgage, yet black and Hispanic homebuyers continue to lag substantially behind whites and Asians.

The mortgage rejection rate fell last year to 11.2 percent from 12.4 percent in 2013, according to Zillow, the real estate marketplace.

The rejection rate for blacks also fell over the past year, but it remains elevated at 23.5 percent. Just 2.5 percent of approvals for conventional mortgages went to blacks in 2014, even though they represent 12 percent of the U.S. population.

Hispanics face similar obstacles. They composed only 5.5 percent of mortgage approvals, despite being 17.3 percent of the population.

One of the issues is that home values in minority communities have been slower to rebound for the recession.

Zillow found that home prices in primarily white neighborhoods are 4.7 percent below their peak, compared to being 20.3 percent below in neighborhoods that are predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods and 16.7 percent in neighborhoods that are largely black.


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Construction spending up | North Salem Real Estate

United States Construction Spending 1964-2015 

Total construction activity in the United States increased by 0.7 percent month-over-month to $1,086.2 billion in August of 2015 from $1,079.1 billion in the previous month. It was the highest level since 2008, boosted by a surge in outlays for residential projects. Construction Spending in the United States averaged 0.45 percent from 1964 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 5.90 percent in April of 1978 and a record low of -4.80 percent in February of 1975. Construction Spending in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

United States Construction Spending


Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
0.70 0.40 5.90 -4.80 1964 – 2015 percent Monthly
Current Prices, SA
Construction Spending refers to monthly estimates of the total dollar value of construction work done on new structures or improvements to existing structures for private and public sectors each month in the United States. This page provides the latest reported value for – United States Construction Spending – plus previous releases, historical high and low, short-term forecast and long-term prediction, economic calendar, survey consensus and news. Content for – United States Construction Spending – was last refreshed on Thursday, October 1, 2015.

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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A Shingle-Style Remodel | North Salem Real Estate

For San Francisco architects and builders, challenging lots and tight footprints are a way of life. So are stiff historic regulations, zoning laws, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). So, when it came time to renovate a Shingle-style house nestled on a tree-lined cul de sac, architects David Gast and Dennis Budd of Gast Architects in San Francisco had their work cut out for them. By playing nice with the planning authorities, they cut out six months of approvals time. Here, you’ll see how they also more than doubled square footage, raised the house, lowered the floors, let in tons more daylight, capitalized on indoor-outdoor connections, made a great backyard, and forged a happy marriage of traditional design and modern finishes.

General Contractor: Moroso Construction Landscape Designer/Contractor: The Garden Route Structural Engineer: Strandberg Engineering




Gast Loft


Gast Floor 3


Gast Floor 2


Gast Floor 1