Tag Archives: Pound Ridge NY Real Estate

Pound Ridge NY Real Estate

Miami-Dade’s septic tanks are already failing due to sea rise | Pound Ridge Real Estate

A Miami-Dade neighborhood that relies on septic tanks experiences flooding during the 2016 King Tide. A new report commissioned by the county shows that half of the county’s septic tanks break down yearly, a problem that sea level rise will worsen.

Miami-Dade has tens of thousands of septic tanks, and a new report reveals most are already malfunctioning — the smelly and unhealthy evidence of which often ends up in people’s yards and homes. It’s a billion-dollar problem that climate change is making worse.

As sea level rise encroaches on South Florida, the Miami-Dade County study shows that thousands more residents may be at risk — and soon. By 2040, 64 percent of county septic tanks (more than 67,000) could have issues every year, affecting not only the people who rely on them for sewage treatment, but the region’s water supply and the health of anyone who wades through floodwaters.

“That’s a huge deal for a developed country in 2019 to have half of the septic tanks not functioning for part of the year,” said Miami Waterkeeper Executive Director Rachel Silverstein. “That is not acceptable.”

Septic tanks require a layer of dirt underneath to do the final filtration work and return the liquid waste back to the aquifer. Older rules required one foot of soil, but newer regulations call for double that. In South Florida, there’s not that much dirt between the homes above ground and the water below.

“All those regulations were based on the premise the elevation of groundwater was going to be stable over time, which we now know is not correct,” said Doug Yoder, deputy director of Miami-Dade County’s Water and Sewer Department. “Now we find ourselves in a situation where we know sea level has risen and continues to rise.”

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A graphic explaining the relationship between groundwater levels and the effectiveness of a septic tank. A new report commissioned by Miami-Dade County shows that half of the county’s septic tanks break down yearly, a problem that sea level rise will worsen.

Sea level rise is pushing the groundwater even higher, eating up precious space and leaving the once dry dirt soggy. Waste water doesn’t filter like it’s supposed to in soggy soil. In some cases, it comes back out, turning a front yard into a poopy swamp.

High tides or heavy rains can push feces-filled water elsewhere, including King Tide floodwaters — as pointed out in a 2016 study from Florida International University and NOAA — or possibly the region’s drinking supply.

Neighbors on a Coconut Grove street worked with a landscape architect to come up with a list of ideas for how to keep their flooded neighborhood dry in the face of sea level rise. Now the city will decide what gets built and how it’s paid for.

In total, there are about 108,000 properties within the county that still use septic, about 105,000 of which are residential. The vast majority (more than 65,000) of the septic systems are in unincorporated Miami-Dade.

Miami Gardens, North Miami Beach, Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest have the most of any city, at about 5,000 each.

Some of those cities will see hundreds more septic tanks experiencing yearly failures within the decade, like North Miami Beach, which has 2,780 homes with septic tanks with periodic issues now. By 2030, that is expected to jump to 3,751.

The report did not forecast past 2040, when the region is expecting around 15 inches of sea rise, a number that is predicted to creep exponentially upward over the decades.

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More than half of Miami-Dade County’s 105,000 residential septic tanks have annual issues. A new report commissioned by the county shows that half of the county’s septic tanks break down yearly, a problem that sea level rise will worsen.Miami-Dade County

“The best response is sewer extension, but obviously that infrastructure takes quite a bit of planning and time,” said Katherine Hageman, the county’s resilience program manager.

“And money,” County Chief Resilience Officer James Murley added.

Ripping out every septic tank and laying down new pipes to connect the homes to the county’s sewer system won’t be cheap. The latest estimate put the price tag at $3.3 billion.

“Who has that?” said Commissioner Rebeca Sosa, who called for the study. “We need to act as fast as possible. We need to get as much assistance as we can from the federal government, from the state.”

That $3.3 billion price tag doesn’t cover commercial properties, an estimated $230 million cost, Yoder said. The county’s current general obligation bond includes $126 million to extend sewer services to businesses. Yoder said the plans are in the design phase.

For now, anyone who wants to connect their property to the county’s sewer system has to pay out of pocket. The report cites the average price as $15,000, but Yoder estimated that in septic-reliant areas like Pinecrest, it could cost around $50,000 per home to tap into the sewer system.

That’s cash most residents don’t have on hand, Haggman said, which is why the county is exploring other ways to help residents out.

“We have options, but I think that’s a good area for more conversation,” she said.

Besides borrowing more money with another bond, the report pointed out the county’s best options would be continuing to collect the per-home fee or establishing special taxing districts and spreading the cost into a neighborhood.

Silverstein said the findings raise significant concerns about impacts from septic tanks not just in 20 years, but now.

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https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article224132115.html

Westchester loses AAA bond rating | Pound Ridge Real Estate

  • County used reserves to pay retroactive salary increases
  •  S&P cuts Westchester rating to AA+ and it could go lower

New York’s Westchester County, home to the wealthy suburbs of Scarsdale and Bronxville, lost its AAA grade from S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings after drawing down its cash reserves to cover retroactive raises given to government employees.

The county, which borders New York City to the north, had its grade cut one level by both companies Tuesday to AA+. S&P said there’s a one-in-three chance that it will downgrade the county’s bonds again in the next two years as the government contends with budget shortfalls, given how “narrow” its reserves were at the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

The downgrades came ahead of the county’s planned auction of $200 million of general-obligation bonds on Thursday.

“We remain concerned over the county’s ability to sustainably align revenue and expenditures and rebuild reserves to a level consistent with that of similarly rated or higher-rated peers,” said S&P analyst Nora Wittstruck.

Westchester’s general fund balance could fall to less than 4 percent of spending at the close of fiscal 2018, about half the level of reserves the county had previously maintained, S&P said.

The new federal limit on deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest could further strain the county’s budget. That cap could make it harder for residents who pay the the highest property taxes in the U.S. to sell their homes, while others could challenge their real-estate tax assessments, potentially weakening Westchester’s biggest source of income.

The average property-tax bill in the county last year was $17,179, the highest in the the U.S., according to a report by Attom Data Solutions. The federal tax law changes set a $10,000 limit on deductions for state and local levies and capped the mortgage-interest deduction to loans of $750,000.

There are some signs that high property taxes and the federal shift are having an impact.

The median price of single family homes in the county dipped to $675,000 in the third-quarter of 2018, a 3.6 percent decline from the previous quarter, according to an October 11 report by Miller Samuel Inc. and and Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Luxury homes prices fell even more, with a 6.4 percent decline to $2.1 million.

Westchester is New York’s third-wealthiest county by median family income, after Nassau and Putnam and has the second-highest per-capita income after Manhattan.

The county’s new executive, George Latimer, has proposed selling parking lots in White Plains to plug a $22 million hole in his 2019 spending plan, according to the Journal News.

If the parking lot sale falls through, the county would have to cut spending, raise property taxes above the planned 2 percent increase or tap reserves again. The county’s $1.94 billion proposed budget includes $453 million in sales-tax revenue, 5 percent more than the year end-estimate of fiscal 2018, based on the expectation that the state will allow collections on Internet purchases.

“We believe the revenue forecast assumes a couple of significant risks,” Wittstruck said.

In a statement, Latimer said the downgrades weren’t a surprise.

“As we have said these past few months, the county is in serious financial stress,” Latimer said. “Regardless of the many steps we are taking to improve our footing, these problems were not created overnight and they will not be solved overnight.”

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-27/westchester-county-loses-aaa-rank-after-using-reserves-for-pay

Zillow Stock Plunges as a Cooling Housing Market Stymies Its Risky Expansion Plans | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Zillow’s stock plunged as much as 20% late Tuesday after the company warnedthat revenue this quarter would fall short of Wall Street expectations, exacerbating investor concerns about the prospects of online real-estate startups like Zillow and Redfin as the U.S. housing market is starting to slow down.

The news caused Zillow’s stock to fall as low as $32.40 a share in after-hours trading, or 20% below its official closing price of $41.04 a share. Redfin, another online real-estate company, fell as much as 6.5% in aftermarket trading.

After nearly a decade of recovery and slow growth, the U.S. housing market has been heading into a slowdown in 2018. Not only are mortgage rates rising, but housing prices have been climbing about twice as fast as average incomes. Sales of new homes as well as previously owned homes have been slowing from a year ago. Tax reform enacted late last year has also reduced tax incentives to buy homes.

Those trends have hurt the stock performance of Zillow and Redfin alike. At its low point late Tuesday, Zillow was down 51% from its 52-week high, while Redfin was down 53% from its high point in the past year.

Zillow started out as an online real-estate listings service that, once successful, began to seek out new business models. Like Redfin, it moved into buying and selling homes. In May, Zillow’s stock plunged on news that it would start buying and quickly flipping homes for resale. In August, its stock plunged on again on news it was buying an online-mortgage lender, Mortgage Lenders of America. Both represent traditionally risky markets that Zillow believed would pay off in the long term.

“Zillow Group is undergoing a period of transformational innovation,” Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said in the company’s earnings release. “We believe that these changes will have positive long-term effects for consumers, our industry partners and our business. It will take time for advertisers to adapt to these changes, but we are confident that they set us up for long-term growth.”

During that expansion, however, Zillow and Redfin have had to face dual headwinds in rising interest rates, which can deter home purchases, and in slowing home purchases.

While Zillow’s move into adjacent markets may hold some long-term promise, investors are concerned about their short-term outlook. “Zillow was in fantastic shape just six months ago,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer said last month. “We loved their attempts to corner the real estate advertising market. Then they decided to move into a totally new, totally risky business at what may be the worst possible time, and the stock has since cratered.”

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http://fortune.com/2018/11/06/zillow-stock-plunges-20-warns-disappointing-revenue-risky-expansion/

Freddie Mac researches renting | Pound Ridge Real Estate

New research by Freddie Mac Multifamily finds a large and growing segment of renters continue to believe renting is a more affordable option than owning, even as many of those same renters are feeling the squeeze of rising housing costs. The latest “Profile of Today’s Renter” reveals that all generations of renters continue to perceive renting as the more affordable housing choice and remain satisfied with their current situation.

According to the survey pdf, 78 percent of renters believe renting is more affordable than owning – up a stunning 11 points from just six months ago in February 2018. This is the case even as the majority of renters (66 percent) reported difficulty affording their rent at some point over the past two years. The survey found nearly 9 in 10 renters employed in the essential workforce, such as healthcare and education, had significant difficulty affording the rent over the past two years.

Affordability of Renting

While perceptions of affordability over owning increased by 11 points to 78 percent among all renters, the survey found this was evident across generations. In fact, millennials (up 14 points to 75 percent), Generation Xers (up 11 points to 70 percent) and baby boomers (up eight points to 81 percent) all saw marked increases in the perception that renting is more affordable than owning.

Rising Cost of Renting

The survey also indicates that a significant number or renters – 66 percent – reported having trouble affording their monthly rent in the last two years – significantly more than the 43 percent of homeowners who experienced similar difficulties. More than half of renters say these changes affected spending on food, utilities and other essentials (51 percent) – as well as savings (50 percent) and nonessential items (64 percent). For renters living in rural areas, the impacts were particularly stark, with 77 percent spending less on essential items versus 59 percent in urban and suburban areas. While a majority of renters across generations reported these difficulties, older millennials (aged 28-37) reported the greatest hardship, with 79 percent reporting trouble affording rent over the past two years.

As noted earlier, renters employed in the essential workforce – such as the healthcare and education sectors – had significant additional difficulty affording rent, with a staggering 88 percent reporting hardship affording rent over the past two years. This is compared with 65 percent of all other workforce renters and 61 percent of homeowners in the essential workforce. Approximately half (48 percent) of renters working in essential jobs believe it is difficult to find housing that is affordable close to where they work – compared to 39 percent of homeowners in the essential workforce.

Rental Satisfaction

A consistent number of renters – 63 percent – continue to express their satisfaction with their rental experience. In fact, 58 percent of renters believe that renting is a good choice for them now and do not have plans to buy a home at this time – up from 54 percent in February. Over the last three years there has been a gradual increase in the number of renters who are not interested in buying. This quarter shows a small increase in this trend, with 23 percent of renters reporting they have no interest in buying a home – up from 20 percent in February. In addition, 42 percent of baby boomers have expressed no interest in owning a home.

A total of 66 percent of renters plan to continue renting for their next residence – up 11 points from February. Consistent with this view, fewer renters (41 percent) believe buying a home will be equally or more affordable in the next 12 months – down from 46 percent in February.

Survey Methodology

Freddie Mac’s custom renter research is based on a survey conducted online between August 13-15 among 4,040 adults aged 18 and over, including 1,059 renters, by Harris Poll, on behalf of Freddie Mac, via its QuickQuery omnibus product. The previous survey was conducted between January 30-February 1, 2018 among 4,115 adults and 1,209 renters using the same methodology.

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http://www.freddiemac.com/research/consumer-research/20181017_affordability_renting.html

Why Westchester homes are getting battered by “dramatic price reductions | Pound Ridge Real Estate

(Credit: Daniel Case, Pixabay)

Westchester residents, many trying to avoid the hefty tax bill that 2018 promises, are finding themselves in an unforgiving buyers’ market.

In Scarsdale alone, prices dipped 5 percent in the first six months of 2018, while Mamaroneck saw a 13 percent drop, according to Bloomberg. The number of homes selling in the county fell 18 percent in the second quarter of 2018, with those asking between $1.5 million to $3 million faring the worst.

The major push factor for sellers to plow ahead despite plummeting prices is the GOP’s new tax law which slapped a $10,000 cap on state and local property tax deductions, which means homeowners in areas like Westchester, where property taxes can run up to $50,0000, are feeling a serious crunch.

As a result, the number of homes for sale in Westchester has been increasing: in late June, inventory was up 5 percent compared to last year and, for homes priced between $2-2.5 million, listings were up 26 percent.

Buyers are feeling no sympathy for homeowners who bet on turning a neat profit when they decided to sell off their prestige address. Compass broker Angela Retelny says her clients tell her “‘Look, I’m not going to spend more than $35,000 in taxes.’ … Houses are just being dismissed, even though they’re superior homes, and they have to be reduced — because their taxes are just way too high for the price range.”

With buyers taking a hard line, sellers are being forced to bend, according to her. There are “dramatic price reductions every single day — every hour, pretty much,” she told Bloomberg.

Yorktown Heights property attorney Matthew Roach recalled one client who sold his home of 25 years immediately after the GOP’s tax law was passed. His home had property taxes over $50,000 and he was planning to move to Brooklyn, pay $10,000 in rent and never buy another home.

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Why Westchester homes are getting battered by “dramatic price reductions”

Buyers Rush Past Market Challenges | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Existing home sales increased 1.1% in May, and 55% of homes sold last month were on the market less than a month as buyers overcame low inventory and higher prices. Although May inventory increased 2.1%, it remains 8.4% lower than a year ago and fell year-over-year for the 24th consecutive month. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that at the current sales rate, the May unsold inventory represents a 4.2-month supply, down from a 4.7-month supply a year ago. May existing sales were up 2.7% from the same month a year ago, and reached a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.62 million compared to a downwardly revised 5.56 million in April. Total existing home sales include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops.

May existing sales increased 6.8% in the Northeast, 3.4% in the West and 22% in the South, but declined 5.9% in the Midwest. Year-over-year, the South was up 4.5%, the West by 3.4% and the Northeast by 2.7%, while only the Midwest was down slightly.

Homes stayed on the market for only 27 days in May, compared to 29 days in April, and 32 days a year ago. The May timeframe was the shortest in the history of that series which began in May 2011. The May first-time home buyer share was 33%, down from 34% in April, but up from 30% in May a year ago.

The May all-cash sales share increased to 22% from 21% in April, and was unchanged from a year ago.  Individual investors purchased a 16% share in May, up from 15% in April, and up from 13% a year ago. Some 64% of investors paid cash in May, up from 57% of investors in April.

The May median sales price jumped 5.8% from last year to $252,800, representing the 63rd consecutive month of year-over-year increases. The May median condominium/co-op price of $238,700 was up 4.8% from the same month a year ago.

April pending sales dipped for the second consecutive month, so the May bump in existing sales was good news. New home sales have grown 11.3% this year, and both jobs and incomes continue to grow, suggesting an improving market for new single-family construction.

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2017/06/may-buyers-rush-past-market-challenges/

Housing Affordability Edges Up | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Modest home price and interest rate decreases resulted in a slight increase in nationwide housing affordability in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI).

In all, 63.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of October and end of December were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800. This up from the 62.2 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the third quarter.

HOI PPT Q415

The national median home price fell from $231,000 in the third quarter to $226,000 in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates edged lower from 4.18 percent to 4.09 percent in the same period.

Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa. was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market, switching places with Syracuse, N.Y., which fell to the second slot on the list. In Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, 90.1 percent of all new and existing homes sold in last year’s fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $53,700.

Meanwhile, Binghamton, N.Y. claimed the title of most affordable small housing market in the fourth quarter of 2015. There, 94.6 percent of homes sold during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $66,400.

For the 13th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 10.4 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $103,400.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/02/affordability-edges-up-in-fourth-quarter/

Builder Confidence Holds Firm in January | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes held steady at 60 in January from a downwardly revised December reading of 60, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

Jan HMI

The January HMI reading is in line with NAHB’s forecast of modest growth for housing. NAHB expects growth in 2016 for the single-family, multifamily, and remodeling sectors of the residential construction industry as continued job growth supports demand for housing.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

The HMI component gauging current sales condition rose two points 67 in January. The index measuring sales expectations in the next six months fell three points to 63, and the component charting buyer traffic dropped two points to 44.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/01/builder-confidence-holds-firm-in-january/

How to reach the #Millennial first-time homebuyer | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The news is no longer “Millennials don’t want to buy homes.”

They do. So how are you going to get them there?

HousingWire hosted its first editorial webinar on Wednesday, with expert panelists Ginger Wilcox, chief industry officer with Sindeo, Joe Caltabiano, senior vice president of Mortgage Lending with Guaranteed Rate and Tim Anderson director of eServices withDocMagic to answer the question.

The topic: How to reach the Millennial first-time homebuyer. Here’s a direct link to purchase the webinar presentation.

The three bring over 60 years of experience in all aspects of the industry and gave a full range of tips on what does and doesn’t work when it comes to reaching Millennials.

Wilcox explained how the industry can better understand Millennials, giving her tips and insight on what does and doesn’t move them, along with their heightened need for transparency.

She gave the example that Millennials are living in a world of radical transparency, noting that we know the exact geographical location of out Uber driver and the exact status of our Dominos pizza in the creation process.

Meanwhile, Caltabiano dug into the issues that are creating a roadblock for Millennials, noting the importance of educating them on what is actually true.

While they are going online first to do their own research, he explained that the industry needs to make sure Millennials are looking at the latest information.

The market is changing on a daily basis, and it’s easy for someone to pull information from an outdated source.

Caltabiano stressed to loan officers who are marketing to young homeowners the importance knowing all the options out there for their clients, ranging anywhere from down payment options to loan options.

DocMagic wrapped up the webinar, touching on the rules and regulations that are consuming the industry.

With eMortgages becoming more normal, lenders need to be aware of what this looks like from the start to closing of the loan, along with how to approach Millennials about the change.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/35486-heres-how-to-reach-the-millennial-first-time-homebuyer?eid=311691494&bid=1221341

FHFA House Price Index Up 0.6 Percent in July | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Washington, D.C. – U.S. house prices rose in July, up 0.6 percent on a seasonally
adjusted basis from the previous month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency
(FHFA) monthly House Price Index (HPI). The previously reported 0.2 percent change in June
remains unchanged.
The FHFA HPI is calculated using home sales price information from mortgages sold to, or
guaranteed by, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From July 2014 to July 2015, house prices were up
5.8 percent. The U.S. index is 1.1 percent below its March 2007 peak and is roughly the
same as the November 2006 index level.
For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from June 2015 to
July 2015 ranged from -1.2 percent in the New England division to +1.6 percent in the
Mountain division. The 12-month changes were all positive, ranging from +2.1 percent in the
New England division to +9.4 percent in the Mountain division.

 

source: FHFA report