Tag Archives: Pound Ridge Luxury Real Estate

Falling Expectations for 2016 Depress Housing Confidence | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Americans’ overall confidence in the U.S. housing market has declined from a year ago, according to the January 2016 Zillow Housing Confidence Index, driven lower by diminished expectations of the market’s future.

The overall U.S. Housing Confidence Index fell to 66.9 in January from 67.4 a year ago according to the Zillow Housing Confidence Index, sponsored by Zillow and calculated by Pulsenomics LLC.

However, expectations for the year ahead fell even more, from 69.9 in 2015 to 67.5 this year, a decline of 3.4%.  Homeowners near term expectations fell 3.5 percent, from 74.1 to 71.8 but renters lost even more confidence.  Among renters, expectations for 2016 compared to 2015 fell from 63.9 to 60.8, or 4.8 percent.

The results come at a time when rising rents and stagnant incomes are making it tough for many Americans to buy homes. Millennials are renting longer than past generations as they put off major life decisions. Those aged 18-34 said they expected home values to grow by 5 percent per year, on average, over the next ten years, compared to just 3.7 percent for all Americans.

The survey found that overall aspirations for homeownership are at their highest level in two years, driven in large part by faith among younger Americans and Americans-of-color in the general value of homeownership. Among people 18-34 years old, 65 percent said homeownership and the American Dream go hand-in-hand, more than any other generation. Of Hispanic respondents surveyed, 70 percent agreed that owning their own home is necessary to live the American Dream, followed by 64 percent of Asian respondents and 63 percent of black respondents. Less than 60 percent of white respondents agreed.

The semi-annual Zillow Housing Confidence Index, sponsored by Zillow and calculated by Pulsenomics LLC, is calculated for the U.S. as a whole and 20 large metro markets nationwide. It is based on a national survey of 10,000 American renters and homeowners. The ZHCI is composed of three sub-indexes: one that summarizes homeowner and renter assessments of current market conditions (HMCI); another that measures their expectations regarding future home values and affordability (HEI); and a third that gauges their aspirations and attitudes regarding homeownership (HAI).


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How to winter-proof your home | Pound Ridge Real Estate

For 43-year-old Giuia Abano Grady, who lives in Gorham, Maine, and raises pigs and chickens and will soon raise cows, the work needed to prepare her 250-year-old farmhouse for the winter isn’t as easy as just disconnecting a garden hose.

Besides turning off all the exterior water lines and draining her garden’s irrigation system, she seals the doors and windows in her basement with plastic sheeting. Outside doors in the 1730’s-era home get wrapped with insulation and plastic, and her basement gets several space heaters set on low to prevent pipes from freezing. Exterior water lines must be wrapped in heat tape and even her barn’s water supply needs a heating line to keep it from icing up, she says.

The preparations were needed, as in January of 2015 nearly 8 feet of snow fell in a little over a month. Thanks to her and her husband’s efforts, her only crisis last winter was a frozen pipe. “An hour with a hair dryer and it was all fixed,” she says.

Fortunately for the rest of us, winter preparations may be as simple as installing an insulating cover to protect your outside faucets and prevent a burst pipe and flooding. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore Old Man Winter’s freezing breath.

Indeed, the National Weather Service is predicting one of the worst snowstorms in years could be hitting the Northeast later this week, with up to two feet of snow expected between Washington, D.C., New York and Boston from mid-Friday into Sunday, along with coastal flooding. Already a blizzard watch is in effect with heavy snow and wind gusts of 40 mph and temperatures in West Virginia, and the Washington, D.C. region, dropping into the 20s Fahrenheit.

Life vests carried aboard airliners have never saved a life. WSJ’s Scott McCartney joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero and explains why regulators still require they be carried on planes.

Last year’s winter season saw the second-coldest winter on record for the Northeast region, and for eight individual states — New York, Pennsylvania and all six New England states.

Here are some helpful tips on preparing your home for winter from real-estate broker Re/Max of New Jersey and utilities the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Weather Service.

  • Repair all broken windows, exterior doors and walls and tightly close doors and windows to the outside. Make sure the outside doors and walls are well insulated. Seal all air leaks in crawl spaces and basements. If your vents won’t close, cover them from the inside with insulation, cardboard, plastic or newspaper, WSSC says.
  • Your attic should be properly insulated and ventilated to circulate the heat throughout the attic. This prevents ice from building up in certain areas and preventing major damage to your roof, Re/Max of New Jersey says.
  • Check your roof. Small leaks can turn into bigger leaks if snow sits on your roof…and then melts. Getting your roof coated before the winter can help to prevent leaks from trickling into your home and hoping the leak doesn’t spring up where you house valuable electronics. In addition, clean your home’s gutters as they are its first line of defense against water damage.
  • Homes with flat roofs are more vulnerable to having snow collect on the roof. Have a good roofer on call that is able to come out and remove large amounts of snow before it turns to ice or your roof buckles under its weight. Be careful on ladders when removing snow and have a second person hold the ladder if it’s more than two stories. It’s worth paying the $100 to $300 costs to remove snow, rather than pay the costs of a collapsed roof, which could cost thousands of dollars.
  • To help prevent the possibility of a burst pipe inside your home, install a pipe insulation sleeve to protect exposed pipes inside your home. Cover all parts of the pipes — even the joints — and seal them with duct tape. This will help keep your home energy efficient and helps reduce your chances of a pipe bursting and flooding your home. If a pipe does freeze, open the cold and/or hot water faucet nearest the frozen pipe, WSSC says. This will relieve the pressure and reduce the chance of breakage. Take a tip from Giuia Abano Grady and use a hand-held dryer if you attempt to thaw out the pipe yourself. Otherwise call a licensed plumber.
  • If you have a fireplace, check inside for cracks, build up and remove old ashes. Also, look outside and to ensure there is no space between the chimney and the exterior wall and that there are no loose bricks. Also the damper, which regulates the flow of air through the chimney, should be able to open and closes easily, Re/Max says.
  • According to the U.S. Fire Administration, one out of every six fires in the home is a result of malfunctioning or incorrectly used heating equipment and half of those fires occur during the winter months of December, January and February. As such, keep anything that could burn at least 3 feet away from a heating source like a space heater or a fireplace. Only one space heater should be plugged into a single electrical outlet at a time, the USFA says. Never use a propane-powered heater indoors unless it’s specifically designed for that purpose with an oxygen monitor that shuts off if high carbon monoxide levels are detected.
  • Arm yourself with plenty of rock salt, de-icer, and shovels to remove snow and ice from the outside of your home. Some cities and towns assess fines to homeowners who don’t remove snow from around their property within a certain amount of time after a heavy snowfall, Re/Max says. Also, remove snow in front of homes where the elderly or disabled reside. You might just get a basket of cookies this winter in return or even satisfaction by doing the right thing.

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Mortgage Rates average 3.65% | Pound Ridge Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing mortgage rates moving lower for the sixth consecutive week amid ongoing market volatility. The average 30-year fixed is hovering just above its 2015 low of 3.59 percent.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.65 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending February 11, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.72 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.69 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.95 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from 3.01 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.99 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.83 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.85 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.97 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 30-year mortgage rate dropped another 7 basis points this week to 3.65 percent. This week’s drop leaves the mortgage rate just 6 basis points above last year’s low of 3.59 percent.”

“In a falling rate environment, mortgage rates often adjust more slowly than capital market rates, and the early-2016 flight-to-quality has run true to form. The 30-year mortgage rate has dropped 36 basis points since the start of the year, while the yield on the 10-year Treasury has dropped 59 basis points over the same period. If Treasury yields were to hold at current levels, mortgage rates might well sink a little further before stabilizing.”

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).


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.





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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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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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

Beautifully Restored Marcel Breuer Masterpiece | Pound Ridge Real Estate

All photos via Klemm Real Estate

Location: Litchfield, Connecticut
Price: $2,495,000

Hailed as the first piece of modern architecture in Litchfield, Connecticut, the 1950 Stillman House by Modernist great Marcel Breuer brought glass, colors, and clean lines to an historic New England town that was until then all about colonials. The 2,359-square-foot masterpiece, which would usher in more modern works in Litchfield by other members of Breuer’s Bauhaus-inspired cohort, the Harvard Five, is set on over two acres of secluded hilltop grounds. When current owners purchased it from the Stillman family in 2009, it was in desperate need of repairs. What followed was a four-year total restoration that introduced contemporary luxuries while maintaining Breuer’s original intentions.

Now on the market for $2.495M, the property includes a main house with four bedrooms, a guesthouse with a large sunken living room, floating staircases on the interior and exterior, and the most covetable pool. As seen in a 1950s black-and-white outdoor shot below, one end of the pool was adorned with a striking geometric mural by American sculptor Alexander Calder. The pool wall has since then been rebuilt after it deteriorated, and today, a facsimile of the artwork stands, continuing a dynamic dialogue with the blue, yellow, red, and grey strips on the front facade. On the interior, one end of a fireplace also sports the original Sound Waves mural by Bauhaus artistXanti Schawinsky.


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Mortgage Rates at 3.87% | Pound Ridge #Realtor

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates moving higher amid positive housing data and pushing fixed mortgage rates to their highest level of the year.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.87 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 28, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.84 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.12 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.11 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.05 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.21 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.90 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.88 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.96 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.50 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.51 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.41 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following links for theRegional and National Mortgage Rate Details and Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates rose to the highest level in 2015 following positive housing market data. New home sales surged 6.8 percent to an annual pace of 517,000 units in April. Althoughexisting home sales slipped 3.3 percent to a seasonally-adjusted pace of 5.04 million units, sales are up 6.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index also posted a solid gain of 5 percent over the 12-months ending in March 2015.”

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing. Additional information is available at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

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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