Tag Archives: Pound Ridge Homes for Sale

Apartment and Condominium Market Dips Slightly | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Multifamily Production Index (MPI) dropped three points to 50 in the second quarter of 2016 (Exhibit 1). This is the 18th consecutive reading of 50 or above, which means that more builders and developers report that current conditions in the apartment and condominium market are improving than report conditions are getting worse.

Exhibit 1: NAHB Multifamily Production Index (MPI) and Multifamily Starts (in thousands)


The MPI is comprised of three key sub-components: construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units and “for-sale” units, or condominiums. Low-rent units decreased two points to 52 in the second quarter, while market-rate rental units dropped five points to a level of 53, and for-sale units fell three points to 45.

The NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures respondent perceptions of vacancies in the multifamily housing market, increased three points to 42, with higher numbers indicating more vacancies (Exhibit 2). However, the MVI is still below the breakeven point of 50, which means that more respondents perceived a reduction in vacancy rates than perceived an increase.

Exhibit 2: NAHB Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI) and 5+ Rental Vacancy Rate


After peaking at 70 in the second quarter of 2009, the MVI improved consistently through 2010 and has been fairly stable since 2011. Historically, the MVI has shown to be a leading indicator of Census multifamily vacancy rates, which is displayed in Exhibit 2 as well.


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Six Essential Questions to Ask a New Client | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Imagine you are considering working with a potential client who seems apprehensive and possibly needy. Imagine you get the project. What might you wish you had considered and/or asked the potential client or yourself before deciding to work with them?

Here are some suggestions:

Why are these folks good clients for your company?
Over time, all companies have at least a gut level feel for what is a good fit regarding clients. Use that filter all the time. Ignoring it can put you, your people, and the company through thankless grief.

Why do these folks think we are the right contractor to work with?
Ask this question early on. The worst case is they expect something from your company that you simply can’t deliver. Better to find that out as soon as possible.

Have they been through a remodeling project in the past? If so, how did it go?
If they have never experienced the challenges involved in being a remodeling client, you are likely to be viewed negatively if you work for them. There are simply so many things that can go wrong during all phases of the planning and the actual remodeling.
If they have been through a remodeling project and it did not go well, question them thoroughly about why they think that happened. If all they do is blame the contractor then get clear about what they think the contractor did wrong. If you think the potential client was the real problem, not the contractor, then don’t work for them!

What are the client’s expectations about the process, in general? Do those expectations align with your company’s idea of what reasonable expectations are?
If so, great. But if not, what are the specific gaps? Are the gaps large or small? It’s better find out sooner than later. There is the distinct likelihood that they don’t align with yours. Talk it through. If there is not a meeting of the minds, refer another remodeler who might be a better fit.

Can the client listen to what your company says? Will they allow your company to be in control?
If they won’t listen now, they likely won’t listen when it all hits the fan. If you can’t be in control you will rue the day you decided to work with them.


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Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award-winning projects | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Jeff Goldberg

In honor of Earth Day, Custom Home and BUILDER take a look back at five Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Award-winning projects that are as environmentally-conscious as they are commendable. These projects, designed with the planet in mind, are dynamic and innovative—some powered by the resources they produce.

The Builder’s Choice Custom Home Design Awards (BCCHDAs) honor excellence and innovation in residential design and construction across 13 categories including project of the year, modular, multi-family, and architectural interiors. With this year’s extended deadline fast approaching—May 2 for early submissions, and May 6 for late submissions—we encourage you to submit your own best work here.

Excerpts from the awards coverage highlighting the projects’ sustainable features are included below. Follow the link in each project’s title to view more photos and information.
Tucson Mountain Retreat, Tucson, Ariz., designed by DUST
The layout is keenly attuned to the Sonoran Desert site. The long side faces south to allow the sun to passively heat the concrete floors, and the building’s deep overhangs and thermal mass keep it cool in the summer. A large kitchen/dining/living space is flanked by an acoustically designed music room/recording studio on one side and two bedrooms on the other. Each volume is fitted with glass walls that dematerialize to take in views and breezes.

Jeff Goldberg

RainShine House , Decatur, Ga., designed by Robert M. Cain, Architect
As an exercise in green design, this LEED Platinum–certified house puts a check in every column: passive solar, active solar, rainwater collection, natural daylighting and ventilation, energy-efficient electrical and mechanical systems, resource-conserving materials, a tight building envelope, low-VOC finishes, and no-irrigation landscaping. What got the attention of our judges, though, was that its environmental ethos also yields a thoroughly pleasing aesthetic experience.

Paul Hultberg Photography

Sustainable Steel Home , San Diego, designed by Macy Architecture/
Jensen & Macy Architects
The home’s footprint allows for plenty of natural ventilation, and it also connects the interiors with the outside in true mid-century spirit. The house maximizes its infill location by providing city and water views to the main rooms, which all occupy the second floor. Photovoltaics produce on-site power, and rainwater harvesting meets the site’s irrigation needs. Lots of glass, both transparent and translucent, helps with daylighting and passive solar.

Scot Conti

GREENville House, Greenville, N.C., designed by Tonic Design
The owners of this new LEED Silver-rated residence did their sustainability homework in advance. “They knew about solar and geothermal from the beginning,” says project designer Katherine Hogan. That head start allowed Hogan and principal designer Vincent Petrarca to weave green features into the fabric of the building, rather than tack them on as options after the fact.

Todd Lanning

Green Lantern , San Antonio, Texas, designed by John Grable Architects
In one of San Antonio’s, oldest neighborhoods, architect and developer John Grable, FAIA, salvaged 45 percent of a 1948 house because of his client’s commitment to conservation and green building. At the same time, a contemporary home was the aim.

Dror Baldinger, AIA

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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.


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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As housing prices skyrocket in New Orleans, miniature houses are the answer | Pound Ridge Real Estate

This house in the Irish Channel is being built on an 880-square-foot lot. It goes on sale next month.


This house in the Irish Channel is being built on an 880-square-foot lot. It goes on sale next month.

Tiny houses veer between fad and architectural fascination in cities across the world, but in New Orleans ­— where waterways and old plantantion lines make frequent curiosities out of the street grid — they may be finding a natural home.

With undeveloped standard-sized lots increasingly scarce among the most sought-after neighborhoods along the Mississippi River, architects and developers are looking for building opportunities on small parcels that have been overlooked until now. While planners around the country tout the urban-infill trend as a counterweight to suburban sprawl, some New Orleanians worry the smaller structures may congest their neighborhoods.

Architect Jonathan Tate and developer Charles Rutledge say they have identified more than 5,000 irregularly-shaped vacant lots traditionally seen as too tiny to be built upon. In the hopes of transforming some of these parcels into new small-but-affordable housing stock, they are building their first “starter home,” a house on an 880-square-foot lot in the 3100 block St. Thomas Street in the Irish Channel.

“The lot on St. Thomas ‘wasn’t worthy of a house’ is what the neighbors said,” Tate says.

Irish Channel real estate has skyrocketed in value over the past few years, but Tate and Rutledge say it has 20 to 30 irregularly sized empty lots that measure less than 900 square feet. They think if they could use the land to build smaller houses, they could utilize empty space and also open up an increasingly expensive neighborhood to first-time homebuyers.

“The Irish Channel is particularly interesting because the value is going way up, and it’s pushing people out,” Rutledge says. “We want to see how to make housing more affordable without cheap architecture.”

The solution on St. Thomas Street has been to buy a smaller plot of land and build a smaller house, which will have lower construction costs. The house looms tall and thin on a sliver of land between a Creole cottage and a warehouse.

“If we’re working with odd lots, we can be inventive with how we use space and [take advantage of] all parts of the lot,” Tate says. “Stylistically, its contemporary, but there’s enough familiarity to them.”

Real estate agent Tracey Moore, who will put the house on the market in August, has said the team is filling a particular niche in the real estate market that has yet to be addressed.

“Smaller lots are hard to deal with, but because they’re small, they’re still somewhat affordable,” Moore says. “Most of the time, these lots are just sitting there with grass growing or people are putting trash on them.”

Moore says for someone trying to break into the housing market in a trendier neighborhood such as the Irish Channel or Bywater, smaller lotsare the only things left. Though the thought of developing irregularly sized lots isn’t necessarily new, developers often overlook them because they may not turn as much of a profit, Moore adds. Tate and Rutledge acknowledge this, and say their first house on St. Thomas may need to sell for more to make up for the potential of losing money on the sale of future starter homes in the area.

They bought the 16-by-55-foot lot on St. Thomas for $22,000. By comparison, a regular-sized lot in the area recently sold for $285,000, and that’s not including the price of building a house. Houses in the area have sold for up to $400 per square foot. The team hopes to sell starter homes for around $200 per square foot.

“We’re trying to provide an alternative option for someone with a price point that doesn’t exist in this part of the city,” Tate adds.

Affordability is a major reason tiny houses have drawn increasing interest around the country. Gregory Paul Johnson, founder of the Small House Society in Iowa City, Iowa, told The New York Times the notion of very small houses becoming popular would have been absurd in the early 2000s.

“But there are so many powerful forces at work right now, like rising energy costs and the mortgage crisis,” Johnson told the newspaper. “I think people want small homes because they cost less to purchase, maintain, heat.”

But one person’s innovation may be another’s imposition. Several neighbors recently turned out to protest another narrow home on a small lot on Chestnut Street.

The developer, Logistics Park LLC of New Orleans, is planning a two-story home for the lot at 4621 Chestnut St. The house would be 12-feet, 10-inches wide, 65 feet long, and 28 feet tall, for a total floor area of approximately 1,500 square feet.

The lot itself measures 21 feet across, nearly half the 40 feet normally required, but the city granted a construction permit in March because “a single-family lot can be developed on by right” under usual circumstances, said Leslie Alley of the City Planning Commission. City officials, however, did not notice that the lot had been commonly owned with the neighboring lot property until just last year, Alley said, which means a variance should have been required.

When neighbors pointed out the prior common ownership of the neighboring lots, a stop-work order was issued and a hearing set before the Board of Zoning Adjustments. Anne Raymond, representing the developer, told the board that the lot width dates back nearly a century.

“The lot area and width are the historical lot area and width from 1908,” Raymond said. “It is how it is.”

The July 13 hearing also brought a number of neighbors in opposition. Justin Chopin, who lives on the Valence Street side of the block, said the lot is too small to be independently developed, and the developer should have known that when they bought it.

“They had to do so knowing it was never going to be conforming to the zoning regulations,” Chopin said. “There’s not ample parking. It doesn’t fit with the construct of the other houses.”

Lorraine Neville, whose husband is musician Art Neville, said the lot was always part of the neighboring home as a side yard.

“I know this to be true; it was never an independent lot,” Lorraine Neville said, noting that she had a letter signed by 15 adjacent neighbors opposing the construction.


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Strong Chicago housing sales in June | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Chicago’s housing market continued its rebound last month as existing-home sales in the nine-county area grew 14.2 percent in June from last year — to their highest level since 2006.

Existing-home sales rose to 13,100 in June, the highest since June 2006, when 13,193 homes were sold, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.

Also fueling the rebound are median housing prices, which, at $232,500, were 5.7 percent higher than a year ago, the trade group said.

Homes sales in the city of Chicago surged 9.3 percent, to 3,110 properties moved, at a median price of $290,000, up 5.5 percent from a median price of $275,000 reported a year ago.

Median prices on condominiums in the city, however, grew at a slower pace, rising 4.5 percent from a year ago to $324,000. Inventory in the city remains tight, down 10 percent from last year.

The number of condo units sold rose 8.4 percent to 2,027 from a year ago.

The burst in home sales growth was unexpected last month and it could be just a “one-month blip,” said Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory at the University of Illinois.

“We forecasted positive sales growth but not of this magnitude,” he said adding, “We’re very hesitant to say that it’s the start of a robust trend.”

Nor does the report signal a bubble forming. Adjusted for inflation, “We’re only at 89 percent of 2007 prices,” Hewings said. “Our prices are recovering in a classic Midwest, modest way.”

Nationally, existing-home sales increased 3.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million homes, putting sales at their highest level since February 2007’s 5.79 million, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The strong uptick in activity, as well as fewer cash sales, larger average loan sizes and more loans getting approved, has caused the Mortgage Bankers Association to significantly boost its outlook for mortgage originations that it made just a month ago.

Home-purchase mortgage originations are now expected to increase to $801 billion, compared to a previous forecast of $730 billion.

“We expect this trend to continue into 2016 and beyond, as the broader economy and job market continue to improve,” Mike Fratantoni, the association’s chief economist, said in a statement.

The association also said it expects mortgage rates to hit 4.5 percent by year’s end.

Helping keep prices high in the Chicago area is the lack of homes listed for sale. Housing inventory in most counties was down in June, with the exception of Lake and DuPage counties, where inventory rose 1 percent and 4 percent, respectively.


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Rising Mortgage Rates to Test Housing Market’s Strength | Pound Ridge Homes

The housing market could be in for a bumpy ride as mortgage rates climb.

Home buyers and sellers heading into the busy summer season have been eyeing mortgage rates wondering how long the good times can last.

The national housing market has been gaining strength in recent years as prices rose rapidly in many areas. In the first quarter, 51 metro areas posted double-digit percentage price gains, according to the National Association of Realtors. But economists say that momentum may not outlast higher rates, depending a lot on location.

For five years, mortgage rates have hovered around 50-year lows, a situation most economists believe will start to reverse if the Federal Reserve begins to raise interest rates later this year. Rates on 30-year conventional mortgages averaged 4% for the week ended Thursday, according to mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Until a few weeks ago, mortgage rates had been below 4% since November.

The Fed doesn’t have direct control over mortgage rates or any other long-term rates, which fluctuate based on perceptions about the economy and inflation. But when the central bank raises short-term rates, other rates move accordingly over time. Mortgage rates typically track yields on 10-year Treasury notes.


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Too Many Listings, Too Much Time | Pound Ridge Real Estate

A new study scheduled to be published by the Journal of Housing Economics found that agents who take on too many listings sell them for about 3 percent less and it takes 129 percent longer to sell than agents with modest listing inventories.

The study looked at whether agents have an incentive to take on too many listings—at least from the point of view of their clients. Additional listings may represent additional broker commissions, but they also place greater claims on the broker’s time and energy, which in turn can have adverse sales performance consequences for their clients.

The dilution of agent effort and agency costs by very large numbers of listings adversely affects home prices and liquidity, concluded the study by economists Xun Bian, Bennie D. Waller, Geoffrey K. Turnbull, Scott A. Wentland.

‘It is clear from the results that there is a relationship between agent inventory and sales outcomes that sellers care most about: selling price and time on market. Greater agent inventory is associated with a slightly lower price and a significantly higher time on market,” wrote the authors.

While the adverse impact on price is modest, the effect of agent inventory on liquidity is substantial, the study found. The study found that adding 9 additional listings increases time on market by14%. A richer inventory measure taking into account distance-weighted overlapping listings yields a 26% effect on liquidity.

The study also compared sales of agent-owned homes versus homes owned by clients and found that agents generally sell their homes for approximately 1.6% more than client properties. Inventory competition increases the time on market by 26% for clients, but only 12% for agents. In sum, agent-owned homes still take longer to sell with additional inventory but not as long as client properties. This supports the theory that the inventory effect is driven primarily by agent incentives.


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Slow but Steady Climb Back to Normal | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Local economies continue to move toward economic and housing normality according to the NAHB/First American Leading Markets Index. The national index moved one percentage point to .91 in the first quarter of 2015 and 4 percentage points from the same quarter last year.

The index measures proximity to normal through three elementary indicators of economic and housing stability: the level of single-family housing permits, home prices and employment as compared to the last period of normality for each. A value of one means that indicator has returned to normal. The three are averaged for a single measure. More than 350 metropolitan areas are scored in this fashion.

In the first quarter of 2015, 68 markets or metropolitan areas had an index value of one or greater, an increase of 7 markets in one year. The increase is heavily driven by the increase in metro areas employment index. The number of markets back to or above normal in employment levels increased from 30 to 56 over the year. The number of markets returning to house price levels last seen in the early aughts has remained high at 95% of all metros measured. The slowest indicator to return to normal has been single-family permits as only 7% of the listed metros are issuing as many or more permits compared to the early aughts.

The markets leading in recovery are leading in employment and vice versa. Strong employment growth leads to the need for more homes and the markets showing the greatest improvement are in strong employment markets, primarily in energy production and refining. Half of the 68 metros with an index value of one or above are in the oil/energy belt in the middle of the country.

Note: The publicly available data used to compute the LMI reflects the updated boundaries and list of Metropolitan Statistical Areas made by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a result of the 2010 Decennial Census. The historic data used for comparison were also updated to reflect post-2010 geography.


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Buy a Sleek William Georgis-Designed Home in the Hamptons | Pound Ridge Real Estate


Location: Water Mill, New York
Price: $14,000,000
This contemporary home in Southhampton was designed byAD100 architect and art world favorite William Georgis, who is known for imbuing his residences with eye-catching accents and bold fixtures. In this 4,000-square-foot spread, the living room has a double-height glass wall and a ceiling-mounted fireplace, while outside there’s a small heated pool and a yard landscaped with wildflowers and bamboo stands by garden designer Paula Hayes. Built for the real estate mogul and art collector Aby Rosen, thisrectangular home with an ivy-covered front elevation comes with a boat dock, a detached one-bedroom guesthouse, a workout studio, a built-in barbecue, and four bedrooms with views of the water. Previously a $400,000 whole-summer rental, the one-acre property is now on the market asking $14,000,000.


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