Tag Archives: Pound Ridge Luxury Homes

Housing in a soft patch | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Rising mortgage rates, overheating home prices, nothing for sale, pre-election jitters — the list of reasons to lose confidence in the housing market is growing.

In fact, the share of consumers who think now is a good time to buy a home fell 5 percentage points in September in a monthly housing sentiment survey (known as HPSI) by Fannie Mae. The only drop that was bigger was the share of consumers who think mortgage rates will fall.

Potential home buyers attend an open house in the Seattle, Washington.

“The decline in the HPSI over the past two months from the survey-high in July … adds a note of caution to our moderately positive housing outlook,” said Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae. “The starter home tight supply and rising home prices as well as the unsettled political environment are likely giving many consumers a reason to pause or question their home purchase sentiment.”

The September employment report was mixed for housing. Wage growth is strengthening, but not as much as home price growth. Construction jobs increased, suggesting more housing supply in the future, but housing starts for single-family homes are not exactly robust. Construction spending fell in August and July’s numbers were revised down.

“A blah September jobs report gives no impetus for anything on the economy’s to do list: There’s no sign of an overheating economy that would justify a rate hike; no groundswell of construction hiring that would finally hint at a return to a normal pace of housing starts; no big wage gains that would give hope for renewed productivity gains. Just a stubbornly average report at a time when the economy is looking for a jolt of the spectacular,” wrote Redfin’s chief economist, Nela Richardson.

“Housing seems to have hit a soft patch, with residential investment likely posting a second consecutive quarterly decline last quarter despite positive labor market and mortgage rate trends”-Doug Duncan, chief economist, Fannie Mae

Pending home sales, which represent signed contracts to buy existing homes, have fallen for three straight months, according to the National Association of Realtors. Housing demand is strong, but supply is historically weak and getting weaker, as fewer homes come on the market in the fall and winter.

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U.S. housing starts trending up | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Housing Starts in the United States is expected to be 1150.00 Thousand by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Housing Starts in the United States to stand at 1230.00 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the United States Housing Starts is projected to trend around 1280.00 Thousand in 2020, according to our econometric models.

United States Housing Starts
Forecast Actual Q3/16 Q4/16 Q1/17 Q2/17 2020 Unit
Housing Starts 1189 1150 1170 1210 1230 1280 Thousand
United States Housing Starts Forecasts are projected using an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model calibrated using our analysts expectations. We model the past behaviour of United States Housing Starts using vast amounts of historical data and we adjust the coefficients of the econometric model by taking into account our analysts assessments and future expectations. The forecast for – United States Housing Starts – was last predicted on Tuesday, July 19, 2016.
United States Housing Last Q3/16 Q4/16 Q1/17 Q2/17 2020
Building Permits 1153 1130 1141 1152 1178 1315
Housing Starts 1189 1150 1170 1210 1230 1280
New Home Sales 551 475 517 510 510 590
Pending Home Sales -0.2 0.88 0.72 0.91 1.04 1.26
Existing Home Sales 5530 5472 5453 5439 5417 5182
Construction Spending -0.8 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 -0.9
Housing Index 0.2 0.41 0.4 0.39 0.38 0.31
Nahb Housing Market Index 59 59 60 60 59 53
Mortgage Rate 3.6 5.1 3.68 3.73 3.77 6.5
Mortgage Applications 7.2 0.48 0.53 0.53 0.53 0.53
Home Ownership Rate 63.5 63.53 63.53 63.53 63.53 63.53
Case Shiller Home Price Index 187 192 192 192 193 211

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Mistakes most people make when buying homes | Pound Ridge Real Estate

You can check in for a flight from your phone, deposit a check on your phone and pay for Starbucks from your phone, so why would should shopping for a mortgage be any different?

Although, it is a little behind the curve on the memo.

And while these changes are mostly focused on the technology aspect of buying a home, the mortgage product side is changing just as much.

In a recent interview with HousingWire, Mat Ishbia, CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage,explained why 3% down mortgages are going to be the new normal.

What’s more, in order to help educate new borrowers on mortgages today, David Gunn, mortgage sales effectiveness director for Fifth Third Mortgage, shared five of the biggest mistakes consumers make when buying homes, along with tips to avoid them:

1.Passing up help.

There are more than 200 federal, state and local programs to assist consumers to make their down payments or pay their mortgage closing costs. Some programs are only for first-time homebuyers, others could be for veterans. 

Tip: Make sure to research programs in your region. “It’s hard to research and navigate programs alone,” Gunn said. “They vary from city to city, and might only be available during certain times of the year.”

2. Believing you make too much money to qualify.

Some buyers think assistance programs are only for low-income households. Some programs assist first-time homebuyers no matter their income levels depending on where they purchase a home.

Tip: Look at programs options. For example, Gunn notes that they have a program that helps pay closing costs on homes purchased in designated low-income areas with loans financed through Fifth Third Mortgage, no matter the consumer’s income. 

3. Thinking you don’t have enough money for a down payment.

The Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage Mortgage allows homebuyers to put down 3%. This will allow the majority of borrowers to enter this program with no cash out of pocket for the down payment.

Tip: Work with your mortgage loan originator to see which programs can help you qualify. “People tell us they can’t afford a house because of the down payment,” Gunn said. “It’s the most common barrier to buying a home. But we find that a buyer needs less money than she thinks to get into a home with a monthly payment that meets her budget.”

4. Clinging to outdated ideas on closing timelines.

Closing times are lengthening. And that can be a good thing. The Know Before You Owe rule enacted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went into effect, and has extended the timeline on most home closings. The rule created documents that detail how much a buyer will pay for closing costs, how much each monthly payment will be, and how payments or rates could potentially adjust. Any change to these terms must be given to borrowers with 3 days to review, which is different from the past when changes could be made to the loan before and during closing without a wait.

Tip: “Be patient,” Gunn said. “And know that all of the changes are made to help you better understand the mortgage terms and help you find the best loan for you.”

5. Relying on a one-size- fits-all loan.

Many homebuyers likely had a 30-year-loan on their last house. But it’s not the default loan anymore. For each purchase, loan originators look at the buyer’s financial situation and goals, and might suggest a loan with a shorter term.

Tip: Work through the financials on several options with your loan originator to see what puts you in the best financial position to meet your family’s goals. “It might be better to get a lower term loan now to build equity, and then move into something bigger in a few years,” Gunn said. “We want what is right for you.”


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Farm real estate values decrease slightly | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced Nebraska’s 2015 farm real estate value and cash rent for cropland has decreased by 2 percent.

Allan Vyhnalek, educator at the Platte County Extension Office, said based on the changing prices of corn and soybeans, the decline in real estate value is “absolutely expected.”

In February 2015, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published a report on farm real estate that gave specific numbers for regions within the state.

The east region, which includes Platte and Colfax counties, saw an overall decrease of 3 percent. Dryland cropland decreased by 9 percent and other types of cropland (pivoted, gravity irrigated, etc) decreased by 3 percent. However, the values of grazing land increased, tillable by 16 percent, non-tillable by 20 percent and hayland by 24 percent.

Due to the 2005 ethanol mandate, Vyhnalek said crop prices jumped to $5 to $7 a bushel for corn and $11 to $15 a bushel for soybeans. When grain prices rose, so did the cost of production and real estate. According to the 2015 UNL real estate report, over the past five years the east region’s real estate values increased by 89 percent.

Statewide, values increased by 116 percent.

Prices for corn are now around $3.41 a bushel with soybeans at $8.85 a bushel, lower than previous years.

Thomas Dobbe, regional vice president of Farm Credit Services of America, said the increased cost of equipment, fertilizer, seeds, etc., could have “acted as a damper” on the real estate market, but it’s too early to tell if this decrease is a fluke or the start of a trend.

“It may be an indication that the market will not go any higher,” Dobbe said, “or a sign that the market is taking a breather. We won’t know if it’s done going up or if it will continue to go up.”

Dobbe and Vyhnalek said the value of an individual plot of land depends more on the quality of its soil and topography than overall trends. Property taxes will continue to increase, and the value decrease is unlikely to affect rental prices.



America’s Most Violent (and Most Peaceful) States | Pound Ridge Real Estate

While violent crime rates in the country have fallen steadily over the past several decades, the United States is still one of the less peaceful nations in the world. According to the Global Peace Index 2015 report, the United States ranked 94th out of 162 countries. However, the peacefulness of American communities varies considerably within states.
Following the example of the Peace Index, 24/7 Wall St. generated an index to rank the peacefulness of each state in the nation. States with high violent crime and homicide rates, as well as high estimated small arms ownership and high incarceration rates were identified as less peaceful, while states with lower incidence of these factors were more peaceful. According to our index, Maine is the most peaceful state, while Louisiana is the least peaceful.

Click here to see the least peaceful states in America.

Click here to see the most peaceful states in America.

In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Aubrey Fox, executive director of the U.S. office at the Institute of Economics and Peace, said, “A perfectly peaceful place would be a place where there is no violence and no fear of violence.” He explained this would be a place with no crime, no police spending, a strong government, and a healthy economy.

According to Fox, one of the largest drags on peacefulness in the country and in individual states has been the high levels of homicide and incarceration. Only three of the 10 least peaceful states had incarceration rates that did not exceed the national rate of 498.1 per 100,000 Americans. In all of the most peaceful states, incarceration rates were well below the national figure.

5 Drivers of Peace

Less peaceful states needed to have relatively large police forces. The ratio of law enforcement employees to state residents exceeded the national proportion of 285.5 law enforcement workers per 100,000 Americans in eight of the 10 least peaceful states, while all of the most peaceful states had proportionately small police forces.

There are two ways to look at the relationship between peace and enforcement, Fox explained. While the perfectly peaceful community would have zero police officers, communities need to invest in policing to deal with local threats and lower crime. However, “There is typically a point at which you get less return on your investment,” Fox said.

Fox gave an example of a community with crime at a 50-year low, but where police are spending seven times as much to keep it that way. “We really need to ask how much of a lost opportunity cost is that?” Fox argued. In fact, U.S. crime levels are at their lowest level since 1972. Police spending was far lower at that time, however, according to Fox.

The connection is far from well-understood, however. Crime continued to drop in the U.S. during the most recent economic downturn, for example. During the downturn, police spending fell dramatically.

Still, economic costs add up the less peaceful a community becomes, and poor socioeconomic climates can lead to less peacefulness. “Being poor or having less access to resources does put you on a path that is less peaceful,” Fox said.

The manner in which these factors lead to violence, however, is very difficult to establish empirically. John Roman, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, an economic and social policy think tank, said, “The biggest predictor of whether there’s violence is dense clusters of unskilled young men.” He went on to explain that poor socioeconomic factors such as low educational attainment, high poverty rates, and high unemployment all lead to more violence by contributing to higher numbers of unskilled young males.

Read more: America’s Most Violent (and Most Peaceful) States – 24/7 Wall St. http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/07/15/americas-most-violent-and-most-peaceful-states/#ixzz3gRvMfKQT

Living Large in Small Spaces | #PoundRidge #RealEstate

Five hundred square feet might not sound like much, but as rents clearly show, in some markets that’s a coveted amount of real estate. In other places, it’s plenty of space to rest your head and grab a bite after a day in the woods or on the water. And in many areas, it’s the right size for a reasonable mortgage.

Here’s how it looks to live in 500 or fewer square feet around the country:

Lahaina, HI

3543 Lower Honoapiilani Rd #D206, Lahaina, HI
For sale: $365,500
Size: 454 square feet

Lahaina, HI

This studio offers rich living on a budget in Maui — complete with the use of two pools, two clubhouses, two Jacuzzis and two putting greens, all surrounded by lush landscaping.

See more listings in Lahaina.

Boston, MA

12 Melrose St APT 3, Boston, MA
For sale: $379,000
Size: 415 square feet

Boston MA

Just steps from Boston Common, this 1-bedroom, 1-bath home has hardwood floors, a sunny kitchen and a private deck.

View more homes for sale in Boston, MA.

Semora, NC

186 Munday Oakley Rd, Semora, NC
For sale: $380,000
Size: 500 square feet

Semora, NC

More than 200 feet of lakeshore and a two-slip boat dock come with this cottage near the North Carolina-Virginia border. The home’s large windows offer views of the lake and 1-acre lot.

See more homes on the market in Semora, NC.

Crawford, CO

38618 Fruitland Mesa Rd, Crawford, CO
For sale: $329,000
Size: 468 square feet

Crawford, CO

The great wide open beckons to whoever sleeps in this 468-square-foot cabin on the edge of a canyon between Aspen and Telluride. Situated on 40 acres amid mountains and valleys, the home features an aspen tongue-and-groove ceiling, built-in bookcases and electricity from charged batteries. There’s no bathroom, but a quaint outhouse was just built.

Check out more homes listed in Crawford, CO.

Remodelers Remain Confident About Improving Market | Pound Ridge Real Estate


NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) was 57 in the first quarter of 2015, off the historic high point of 60 at the end of 2014, but still above the key break-even point of 50. The RMI and each of its components lies on a scale of 0 to 100, where a number above 50 indicates that more remodelers report the market has improved than report it has gotten worse.

RMI 15Q1 chart

The overall RMI averages ratings of current remodeling conditions with indicators of future activity.  Overall, current market conditions declined two points to 58, although smaller jobs continued to show strength: the maintenance and repair component of the RMI increased four points to 64—an all time high since the inception of the survey in 2001.

The index of future market indicators also declined, from 60 to 55, in the first quarter.  All four of its subcomponents—calls for bids, amount of work committed for the next three months, backlog of jobs and appointments for proposals—declined but remained significantly above 50.

RMI 15Q1 table

The indices above 50 mean that remodelers on balance remain positive about the improving market.  The declines off fourth quarter peaks mean the positive outlook is not quite as widespread as it was at the end of last year.  A shortage of labor in key trades is one factor restraining remodelers’ optimism.  Another may be the harsh weather that struck many parts of the country during the first quarter of 2015, although this would have necessitated repairs and tended to have a positive effect on the RMI’s maintenance and repair component.


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AD&C Loan Volume Grew 2.3% at End of 2014 | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Posting the seventh consecutive quarter of growth, the volume of residential AD&C loans outstanding expanded 2.3% for the final quarter of 2014.

The tight availability of acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) loans has been a factor holding back a stronger rebound in home construction. However, the stock of residential AD&C loans has been rising over the last two years.

According to data from the FDIC and NAHB analysis, the outstanding stock of 1-4 unit residential AD&C loans made by FDIC-insured institutions rose by $1.158 billion during the fourth quarter of 2014, a quarterly increase of 2.32%.

On a year-over-year basis, the stock of residential AD&C loans is up 17% from the final quarter of 2013.

4q FDIC ADC data

Since the first quarter of 2013, the stock of outstanding home building AD&C loans has grown by 25.5%, an increase of $10.4 billion.

It is worth noting the FDIC data represent only the stock of loans, not changes in the underlying flows, so it is an imperfect data source. Nonetheless, the consistent growth in the outstanding stock of AD&C loans is a positive development. NAHB surveys of builders also suggest improving lending conditions.

However, lending remains much reduced from years past. The current stock of existing residential AD&C loans of $51.2 billion now stands 74.9% lower than the peak level of AD&C lending of $203.8 billion reached during the first quarter of 2008.

The FDIC data reveal that the total decline from peak lending for home building AD&C loans continues to exceed that of other AD&C loans (nonresidential, land development, and multifamily). Such forms of AD&C lending are off a smaller 57% from peak lending. This class of AD&C loans has now registered six quarters of increases (3.76% for the fourth quarter of 2014).


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