Tag Archives: Pound Ridge NY

Pound Ridge NY

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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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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Corcoran Group Realtor going to jail | Pound Ridge Real Estate

A Manhattan real estate broker will spend the next three to nine years of his life in jail after he was found guilty of burglarizing a $7.6 million townhouse on the Upper West Side.

So how did he choose his target? He was the broker who handled the sale of the house.

David Kim, formerly of the Corcoran Group, sold the five-story townhouse to art deal Tina Kim and her husband, Jae Chung, in December 2012 for $7.6 million.

He then returned to the home approximately eight months later while the couple was vacationing in the Hamptons and stole more than $500,000 worth of luxury goods, according to a report in the New York Post.

How’d Kim get into the house? Turns out they’d never changed the locks.

From an earlier New York Post report:

Tina Kim’s family, which employs a maid, nanny and personal driver, never changed the locks on the doors, allowing the agent allegedly to slip inside the home and steal their pricey possessions, including rare statues and portraits.

According a new report from the Post, David Kim plead guilty to grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, forgery and two counts of identity theft in September as part of a plea deal and was sentenced to three to nine years in jail on Monday.

According to an earlier report from the Post, David Kim made repeated trips to the home over a 72-hour period, reportedly walking away with Louis Vuitton accessories, a Gucci wallet, a crystal pen, an Hermès passport holder, electronics and artwork.


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Tiny add-on homes for in-laws or millennials | Pound Ridge Real Estate

The hottest trend in real estate these days is carving out some space for your in-laws, the Wall Street Journal says.

And it has the potential to lift your home value as much as 60 percent.

Known informally as “in-law suites” or “granny flats” and formally as “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs), these little homes, usually somewhere between 300 and 800 square feet, are going up in backyards across the country. The multigenerational living trend has been picking up steam through the Great Recession, both as millennials return to their parents’ homes and as boomers (and their parents) age.

To skirt zoning rules, in-law units often lack stoves. Click photo for a slideshow.

To skirt zoning rules, in-law units often lack stoves. Click photo for a slideshow.

The main obstacle is zoning. Cities generally restrict the number of residences that can exist on a property. But often there are ways around that, if the structure is short enough, and/or if it’s small enough in proportion to the property. In such cases, it’s viewed not as a residence but as more of an outbuilding, skirting neighborhood restrictions.

Strangely — and perhaps highlighting the dated way many of these zoning laws regulate residences — the stove is frequently the dividing line over whether or not a structure is considered a home or not. So some developers add in small kitchenettes, but not stoves, simply because of zoning.

Kevin Casey, the CEO of New Avenue Homes, has been helping homeowners build these backyard cottages for about five years using his project planning software. “It’s not a cultural shift; it’s a reversion to the norm,” he says. “If you go to Europe or Asia, this is what it’s like. This is the way families have been living for centuries.”

Despite the benefits, there are many design and regulatory issues to contend with, says Seattle-based architect Ross Chapin, who designs what he calls “right-sized homes” as well as these cottages.


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Lovely and Petite Greenwich Village Apartment Asks $865,000 | Pound Ridge Real Estate

9 images

A very small but very well-appointed one-bedroom Greenwich Village apartment is on the market for $865,000. Although the home at 2 East 12 Street is small (is that a twin bed?), it’s been thoughtfully renovated and restored. The apartment first appeared on the market for $995,000 in 2012 and has tried to sell a few times since to no avail. Maybe the new listing pictures—compared with the old—will spur buyers on.


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Meet an Adorable Updated Cape in Springs Asking $1.295M | Pound Rdige Real Estate


We’re crazy in love with this super-cute ivy-covered cape. The plot is a good size, with 1.5 acres, so you get complete privacy, including around the saltwater pool out back; there’s also a spa and outdoor shower. Inside, the house offers four bedrooms and two baths in about 2100sf. The interiors are stylish and updated yet modest and cottagey; we love some of the decorative touches like the vintage Erica Wilson crewel picture in a bedroom. The bathrooms aren’t pictured—we wonder if they’re the original 1957 ones, which we personally would love but many others wouldn’t. Anyway, with a reasonable price, the new owners can afford to put in new bathrooms if they choose.
· Chic Vintage Cape [Halstead]

How One Israeli Firm Thinks Architecture Can Make Peace | Pound Ridge Real Estate



When Israel began building a wall along the West Bank in 2003—called the “separation fence” by some, the “Apartheid wall” by others—Yehuda Greenfield-Gilat and Karen Lee Bar-Sinai were about to graduate from architecture school at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology. As aspiring architects studying and living “in the shadow of a territorial conflict,” as Greenfield-Gilat says, they were shocked to see that architects were involved in only the most superficial conversations about the aesthetics of the wall—there were no bigger-picture architectural discussions about how the wall would change its surroundings. “It was insulting that architects were not considered by themselves as people who have something to say about the most significant spatial fact that [was] being built in Israel,” Greenfield-Gilat says now.

Bar-Sinai and Greenfield-Gilat, now 36 and 37, believed architecture and architects had a place in the conversation about conflict resolution. For their Technion thesis project, they designed a transportation hub that, after a final Israeli-Palestinian agreement, could serve as both a border and a functional structure within Jerusalem, strengthening the city rather than fragmenting it. The project raised all kinds of big questions, as Greenfield-Gilat recalls: “How can we use architectural tools and insights in order to enhance…territorial peace agreements? How do you create a border within a city that does not really destroy the city?” And so, in 2006, they formed SAYA, a firm focused on “resolution planning,” or the idea that design and architecture can be tools for peace. The firm’s name is short for “Studio Aya,” in memory of Greenfield-Gilat and Bar-Sinai’s friend and fellow architect Aya Shapira.

Many of the firm’s current projects are thought-driven, paid for by think tanks, universities, or international agencies and governments. Most often, the architects come up with ideas based on needs they see in the world and pitch them to relevant organizations, though sometimes it’s the other way around. It’s prebuilding rather than rebuilding. The idea, as Bar-Sinai explained in a talk at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design last year, is to “be in the prime minister’s head,” to get policymakers to think, as much as possible, like architects.








Zillow and Trulia continue to set records | Pound Ridge Real Estate


With each passing month, the giants of online real estate continue to break records for web traffic. In June, both Trulia (TRLA) and Zillow (Z) set records for unique visitors.

That follows record-breaking traffic for both sites in May as well.

Zillow has increased its traffic in each of the last five months, topping out at just shy of 83 million in June. That eclipsed May’s total by 1.5 million visitors.

The site had a year-over-year increase of 49% from June 2013, when the site had 55.7 million visitors, to June 2014, when the site had 82.99 million visitors.

Trulia broke its own record in June as well. The site welcomed 54 million unique visitors in June, which is up 55% from June 2013. The company’s traffic was up 3 million from May 2014.

Trulia said that its rate of growth is increasing. “This was an acceleration from 42% growth in Q1 2014 compared to Q1 2013, and the 47% annual growth rate in May 2014 compared to May 2013,” the company said.

“Trulia’s marketing campaign continues to deliver strong results in attracting more transaction-ready consumers to our platform,” said Pete Flint, CEO and co-founder of Trulia. “The marketing campaign, combined with our leading consumer products, are contributing to the acceleration of our audience growth amidst the busiest part of the home buying and selling season.”

Both sites’ increasing traffic has done wonders for their stock prices as well. Trulia’s stock is up 16.76% year-to-date and 23.38% from the same date last year.


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5 Questions Every Real Estate Agent Should Ask a New Client | Pound Ridge Real Estate


There are many articles out there suggesting questions that buyers should ask their real estate agent, but now it’s your turn!

Whether you’re an experienced REALTOR® or not, it’s important to always be crystal clear on a new client’s background information and preferences. Know where you stand before jumping into a relationship with a lead.

Here are 5 questions you should ask a new client:

  1. Why are you buying and why is now the right time to move?

    Learning WHY they are buying a new home at this specific time is very helpful in tailoring your real estate services to fit their needs. It will also help you determine how many hours you can expect to work. For instance, some may be looking for a REALTOR® way before they sell their current home, while others may wait until the last minute. Everyone’s timing is different.

  2. How many houses have you already seen and what are your 3 favorite neighborhoods?

    You’ll gain a better understanding of their recent real estate experience and at the same time, you’ll find out if they have already been working with another agent. Also, ask them to list their 3 favorite neighborhoods – this is an easy way to begin discussing the importance they place on schools, demographics, and where they want to live.

  3. If we found your perfect home tomorrow, what would you do?

    Ask this question so you can evaluate their readiness to actually move and better grasp their preferred timeline. If you’re speaking with a first-time home buyer, use this moment to go over the closing process and any other details they need to know about buying a new home.

  4. Are you working with a lender?

    Now you’ll can make an easy transition into a financial conversation. This is a great opportunity to learn whether or not they are pre-approved. If they have not been pre-approved, suggest a lender of your choosing.



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Here’s why there aren’t any houses to buy | Pound Ridge Homes



The supply of existing homes on the market remains low, at 5.2 months in March, according to a report from Freddie Mac.

The total number of homes offered for sale relative to the number of households in the U.S. has been running at the lowest level in more than 30 years.

“The housing recovery is struggling to shift into a higher gear, and obviously there are various imbalances holding this back from happening, but at the heart of the matter it comes down to jobs,” said Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist.

But these low inventory challenges are the direct offspring of several features of today’s market.

1. Underwater homeowners

Since the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act expired on Dec. 31, 2013, many underwater homeowners are reluctant to short-sell.

CoreLogic reported that 6.5 million homeowners remained underwater as of year-end 2013.

Meanwhile, there was also a sharp decline in short sales at the beginning of 2014, from 5.2% of sales in December to 2.2% of sales in February.

2. Low rates

Many borrowers were able to refinance into record low rates in the past several years.

According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average interest rate on single-family mortgages outstanding was 3.9% during the first quarter of 2014, drastically down from the average 30-year fixed-rate average rate of 4.4% for new loans during the quarter.

As a result, homeowners are reluctant to sell their current home and forego the low rate mortgage loan they currently have.

3. REO sales slow

Despite real-estate owned sales remaining strong in some markets, in aggregate REO sales have slowed considerably over the past couple of years.



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