Tag Archives: South Salem Homes

Why do people buy homes debate | South Salem Real Estate

Gary Cohn: 'People don't buy homes because of the mortgage deduction'-or do they?

Gary Cohn: ‘People don’t buy homes because of the mortgage deduction’-or do they?  

In the midst of the mad selling and explaining and quantifying and qualifying of potentially the biggest U.S. tax overhaul in decades, President Donald Trump‘s chief economic advisor stood at a White House podium and made a bold declaration: “People don’t buy homes because of the mortgage deduction.”

He said that, even though members of the Trump administration have repeatedly said they will “protect” the popular tax break.

There are a lot of reasons people buy homes — financial, practical and emotional. For the vast majority of those who make that choice, it is by far their single largest investment. Until the financial crisis, the common belief was the home prices always rise, and a home was therefore a proven way to build wealth, but that was proven wrong.

More than 6.5 million homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure in the past 10 years, according to Attom Data Solutions, and 2.8 million current homeowners still owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth. This after home prices plummeted nationally for the first time since the Great Depression.

Most consumers, at least according to several recent surveys, still believe that a home is a good investment. The majority of renters still aspire to homeownership, despite the fact that millennials have been deemed the “renter generation.” That designation is likely more due to high student loan debt and lower initial employment for this generation than anything else. Millennials have also been slower to marry and have children, which are the primary drivers of homeownership.

“I think people buy homes because it represents security and a way to build wealth and a sense of stability,” said Laurie Goodman, co-director of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. “I don’t think the mortgage interest deduction plays a large role in that decision.”

For a great many homeowners, the deduction isn’t even a financial factor. A taxpayer can only take the deduction if he or she itemizes, and just one-third of taxpayers itemize, but about 64 percent of Americans own a home (and just over one-third of homeowners have no mortgage). Three-quarters of those who do itemize take the deduction, but if the standard deduction were raised, fewer taxpayers would itemize, and therefore the mortgage deduction would be used even less.

“Gary Cohn is probably right about that,” said Richard Green, director and chair of University of Southern California’s Lusk Center for Real Estate. “It does absolutely encourage people to buy bigger houses than they would, but does it flip the switch between buying and renting? — maybe half a percent in homeownership, very little.”

Green notes that the deduction is most important to those living in states like California, which has both high tax rates and high home prices. Home prices there, he said, could drop without the deduction. As for overall homeownership, he points to other nations like Canada and Australia, which have no mortgage deduction but have very high homeownership rates.

The National Association of Realtors, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington, vehemently opposes any change to the deduction. Even though there has been no change so far, they came out against the current plan, claiming that because it would result in fewer taxpayers itemizing, it would weaken the power of the deduction.

“This proposal recommends a backdoor elimination of the mortgage interest deduction for all but the top 5 percent who would still itemize their deductions,” wrote NAR President William Brown in a release. “When combined with the elimination of the state and local tax deduction, these efforts represent a tax increase on millions of middle-class homeowners.”

In response to Cohn’s statement, Brown said, “There’s a reason our nation has incentivized homeownership in the tax code for over a century. It works, and helps make homeownership more affordable for middle-class families who might not otherwise be able to close the deal, while setting them on track for a strong financial future.”

Tax breaks do work. Witness the first-time homebuyer tax credit, designed to spur homebuying during the housing crash. It did cause a temporary but sizeable jump in home sales. The mortgage interest deduction, however, gives bigger benefits to those in higher tax brackets with larger loans. In other words, it benefits more wealthy owners, and is therefore less likely to the driving factor for homeownership.

Still, Brown contends that the lost incentive for even some to buy a home, “could cause home values to fall.”

Could home values really fall under the new tax plan? That depends less on taxes and more on the fundamental reason why home prices are currently overheating, which is a historically low supply of homes for sale. It is unlikely that the very strong supply and demand imbalance right now would be hit hard by any changes to the mortgage deduction, especially given that the largest generation is entering its homebuying years.

“We’ve got big supply issues right now. The reason housing purchases are down is because supply is down,” said Dan Gilbert, CEO of Quicken Loans in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” Gilbert was more concerned with interest rates than the deduction and the net amount consumers will pay in taxes in the end.

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert: As long as rates are reasonable, mortgage deduction going away doesn't matter

Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert: As long as rates are reasonable, mortgage deduction going away doesn’t matter  

The fact is, today’s housing market needs more houses far more than it needs lower taxes. In that respect, the mortgage interest deduction is far less important than tax savings for small-business owners, like homebuilders, who could increase production if costs were lower. The vast majority of homebuilders are small-business owners.

“I think the lower the cost of doing business, the more you can create a situation that leads to affordable housing,” said Jerry Howard, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders, in an interview on CNBC’s “Power Lunch.” “The women and men that make up the homebuilding sector are businesspeople as well, and we have to look at the holistic treatment of business taxes and housing taxes.”

NAHB CEO: We have to look at tax reform plan holistically

NAHB CEO: We have to look at tax reform plan holistically  

While the realtors claim that without the savings from the mortgage deduction, some buyers couldn’t afford a home, others claim home prices are higher because the savings from the deduction gives consumers more buying power.

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https://www.cnbc.com/2017/09/29/gary-cohn-people-dont-buy-homes-because-of-the-mortgage-deduction-or-do-they.html

NAHB housing market index down | South Salem Real Estate

United States Nahb Housing Market Index  1985-2017

The NAHB Housing Market Index in the United States fell to 64 in July of 2017 from a downwardly revised 66 in June, below market expectations of 67. It is the lowest reading in eight months. The index of current single-family home sales went down 2 points to 70; sales expectations over the next six months declined 2 points to 73 and buyer traffic edged down 1 point to 48. Nahb Housing Market Index in the United States averaged 49.44 from 1985 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 78 in December of 1998 and a record low of 8 in January of 2009.

United States Nahb Housing Market Index

 

Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus Forecast (i)
2017-05-15 02:00 PM May 70 68 68 67.2
2017-06-15 02:00 PM Jun 67 69 70 70
2017-07-18 02:00 PM Jul 64 66 67 66
2017-08-15 02:00 PM Aug 64 66.43
2017-09-18 02:00 PM Sep 66.32
2017-10-17 02:00 PM Oct 66.35

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https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/nahb-housing-market-index

South Salem’s Hidden Sandwich Maestro | South Salem Real Estate

Find your way to The Market on Spring for fresh foodie fare in a quaint setting.

PHOTOS COURTESY MARKET ON SPRING

Most Northern Westchesterites who drive Route 35 are on a mission — to get from one town to another in a hurry, to make a train, or to pick up their kids. But, there’s a charming spot just minutes off this busy thoroughfare that’s certainly worth the detour.

The Market on Spring is at the center of the tiny but lovely hamlet of South Salem. Antiques, a riding academy, a tack shop, and cozy tavern are just about all you’ll find here, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. The small market is the perfect fit, renovated last year in a mix of natural wood and rustic metal, and serving carefully sourced, high-quality fare for breakfast and lunch. Though tucked away, the shop is attracting a steady stream of customers, explains manager and Vista native Bryce O’Brien. “People tell us they’ve lived in the area for years and have never made the turn onto Spring Street, never knew ‘anything was here,’ but now they’ve found us.”

Maybe word is getting out about the delicious sandwiches made from New York State grass-fed beef, or cage- and hormone-free turkey (all roasted in-house by Market’s chefs), with condiments such as chipotle remoulade, onion jam, and honey mustard aioli. The organic egg breakfast sandwiches (options include house-cured salmon and homemade chorizo) are also gaining a dedicated following. O’Brien says the shop’s country industrial decor and elevated deli menu are especially appealing to city folk who weekend at homes on nearby Lake Truesdale. Well, we suburbanites know a good thing when we see it, too!

The Market on Spring
112 Spring St, South Salem
914.977.3939;
www.marketonspring.com

 

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http://www.westchestermagazine.com/Blogs/Eat-Drink-Post/June-2017/South-Salem-Market-on-Spring/

Builder Confidence Holds Firm in November | South Salem Real Estate

Builder Sentiment Up

Builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes held steady in November at a level of 63 on the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

Builder sentiment has held well above 60 for the past three months, indicating that the single-family housing sector continues to show slow, gradual growth. Ongoing job creation, rising incomes and attractive mortgage rates are supporting demand in the single-family housing sector. These factors will help keep housing on a steady, upward path in the months ahead.

 

hmi_nov

It is worth noting that most of the November HMI responses originated before the elections. Thus, builder confidence remained unchanged as the industry awaited the results.

Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index 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 components measuring buyer traffic rose one point to 47, and the index gauging current sales conditions held steady at 69. Meanwhile, the component charting sales expectations in the next six months fell two points to 69.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/11/builder-confidence-holds-firm-in-november/

Housing #affordability at the worst level in seven years | South Salem Real Estate

Home affordability is at the worst level in seven years, with 24% of the U.S. county housing markets less affordable than their historic affordability averages in the third quarter, the most recent ATTOM Data Solutions Home Affordability Index for third quarter 2016 recorded.

This level is not only up from 22% of markets in the previous quarter, but it is up from 19% of markets a year ago.

The only other time affordability came in worse than this was in third quarter of 2009 when 47% of markets were less affordable than their historic affordability averages.

The affordability index is based on the percentage of average wages needed to make monthly house payments on a median-priced home with a 30-year fixed rate and a 3% down payment — including property taxes and insurance.

“The improving affordability trend we noted in our second quarter report reversed course in the third quarter as home price appreciation accelerated in the majority of markets and wage growth slowed in the majority of local markets as well as nationwide, where average weekly wages declined in the first quarter of this year following 13 consecutive quarters with year-over-year increases,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

“This unhealthy combination resulted in worsening affordability in 63% of markets despite mortgage rates that are down 45 basis points from a year ago.

According to the report, out of the 414 counties analyzed in the report, 101 counties (24%) had an affordability index below 100 in the third quarter of 2016, meaning that buying a median-priced home in that county was less affordable than the historic average for that county going back to the first quarter of 2005.

Key counties highlighted include: Harris County (Houston), Texas; Kings County (Brooklyn), New York; Dallas County, Texas; Bexar County (San Antonio), Texas; and Alameda County, California in the San Francisco metro area.

Despite the negative news, Blomquist did point out one positive area.

“Some silver lining in this report is that affordability actually improved in some of the highest-priced markets that have been bastions of bad affordability, mostly the result of annual home price appreciation slowing to low single-digit percentages in those markets,” Blomquist continued.

He explained that this is an indication that home prices are finally responding to affordability constraints — a modicum of good news for prospective buyers who have been priced out of those high-priced markets.

This infographic from ATTOM Data Solutions shows the U.S. home affordability affliction and some possible antidotes.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/38158-housing-affordability-at-the-worst-level-in-seven-years?eid=311691494&bid=1542377

Great outdoor spaces | South Salem Real Estate

Perfect Outdoor Spaces

Nothing compliments your outdoor space like indoor style and comfort. Introduce relaxed luxury to your home’s exterior with these four outdoor living space solutions.

1. Pump up your patio.Upgrade the look of your patio with stylish outdoor furniture. Lounge chairs, love seats and sofas are comfy additions to any exterior space. Accent your furniture with throw pillows, potted plants and fashionable side tables. Finish off your patio décor with quirky details like string lighting, vintage candelabras and fun arrangements of succulents.

Include a chimenea or patio-safe fire pit in your plans. A cozy fire will offer mood lighting, warmth and even a place to roast marshmallows.

Design must-haves: Outdoor furniture, chimenea, potted plants, string lighting, throw pillows, succulents.

Find ProsTiki Torch

2. Perfect your pergola. Pergolas are the picture-perfect outdoor living space. Fill your pergola with comfy seating for an outdoor lounging area. Or, open up the space with a beautiful outdoor dining set. Include an antique bar cart or coffee table for a boost in looks and functionality. Wrap up your design with string lighting or a candle chandelier.

Gardens are a wonderful pergola accent. Tall, flowering plants like hibiscus or lilies will give your pergola extra privacy and a stunning aesthetic. Creeping vines are also perfect for an added dash of style and privacy.

Design must-haves: Outdoor dining set, privacy garden, candle chandelier.

Deck

3. Kick off your outdoor kitchen. Outdoor kitchens bring the quality and convenience of indoor cooking to summertime grilling. If you have a large backyard, consider adding a full kitchen layout. A grill-smoker combo, refrigerator, prep station and washing area will boost the ease and enjoyment of your summertime cooking.

Introduce an outdoor dining room to complement your kitchen. Keep it basic with an outdoor table, chairs and a stylish cantilever umbrella. Or, go with a full dining set for larger gatherings.

Design must-haves: Grill or smoker, outdoor dining set, food prep areas, refrigerator.

Find ProsDeck

4. Outfit your outdoor fireplace. An outdoor fireplace is the ultimate gathering spot during nice weather. Situate your fireplace near your patio or devote a separate part of your yard to fireside get-togethers. Accentuate your fireplace with comfortable outdoor furniture — wrap around sofas are great for larger spaces —and several small coffee or side tables. If your fireplace is near your home, hang lighting or small lanterns over your seating area.

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http://welcome.homeadvisor.com/Stunning-Outdoor-Living/

Single-family housing starts slows | South Salem Real Estate

The May pace of single-family housing starts was effectively flat relative to April after downward revisions for prior months, standing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 764,000. However, according to estimates from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the May rate marks a 10% gain in the pace of single-family construction on a year-over-year basis.

Yesterday’s increase in the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index suggests the industry will expand single-family home construction in the months ahead.

starts_hmi_june

On a three-month moving average basis, single-family starts ticked down due to the elevated construction pace recorded in February. While NAHB expects growth in single-family construction due to favorable demographics, lot supplies are a growing challenge holding back production, particularly in markets in the West and Northeast.

Multifamily starts (2+ unit production) came in at a 400,000 pace on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, showing surprising strength and up 8% on a year-over-year basis. However, the pace of multifamily permits is down almost 28% on year-over-year basis as of May. This is consistent with the NAHB forecast, which shows a smaller total of multifamily starts for this year compared to 2015.

Regionally, expansion has been particularly strong in the South, where single-family starts for April are 17% higher than a year ago. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, 55% of single-family starts for the month were located in the South.

There has been some weakening in the West, where single-family starts are down almost 5% on a year-over-year basis. Access to lots is a key concern. The Midwest showed a monthly drop of 15%, but on a year-over-year basis single-family start are 8% higher. Single-family construction is up almost 13% in the Northeast.

units under production

Taking the long view, an examination of the count of homes currently under construction provides the degree of market mix and momentum of the recovery in home construction. As of May, 56% of units under construction in the nation were multifamily (574,000), a 16% gain in the total from a year earlier.

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/06/single-family-starts-flat-in-may/

Mortgage credit | South Salem Real Estate

Next September, two months before the Presidential election, America celebrates eight years since the Treasury Department took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and turned them into wholly owned subsidiaries. Since then the federal government’s control over the nation’s housing markets has grown even greater than ever.

While we’ve been waiting for policymakers to fix a broken system of housing, the GSE’s and government programs like FHA are using taxpayer-backed credit to make the housing recovery possible—first to keep virtually all credit flowing in the crisis years, now to open the door to homeownership to more marginal borrowers.

If you’re a first-time buyer or have a less than golden credit past, you’d be crazy to go anywhere else than the government for a mortgage—either a GSE low down payment conforming loan program or a direct federal program like FHA.  Not only do you stand a much better chance of qualifying., even the premium payment on FHA mortgage insurance has been lowered to make the decision easier.

The latest Urban Institute credit availability index (HCAI) shows that although both private and public mortgage credit availability remains above the record low of 4.6 in the third quarter of 2013 (Q3 2013), it has trended downward over the past four quarters.  The HCAI measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default—that is, go unpaid for more than 90 days past their due date. A lower HCAI indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards, making it harder to get a loan. A higher HCAI indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks, making it easier to get a loan.2016-01-25_11-07-54

However, mortgage credit availability in the government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) channel—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—has been at the highest level over the past three quarters since the low hit in 2010. Credit availability in the government channel (FVR), which comprises the Federal Housing Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Agriculture Rural Develop.

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2016/01/mortgage-credit-the-privatepublic-paradox/

Freddie Mac September 2015 Insight & Outlook | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) released today its monthly Insight & Outlook for September looking at the challenges faced by three types of student loan borrowers, and how loan down payment mortgage loans could help, or not help, make homeownership possible. A video preview, along with the complete monthly Insight & Outlook commentary is available here.

Insight Highlights

  • Is the student debt overhang holding back home ownership among Millennials?
  • While the home ownership rate has been declining for all age groups, the rate among Millennials is particularly low.
  • Student debt tripled over the past 10 years, reaching $1.2 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2014. Aggregate student debt expanded for all age groups, however the balances are concentrated among those under 30 years old and those between 30 and 39 years old.
  • Before the crisis, homeownership rates of 27-to-30-year-olds with student loans (evidence of at least some college education) were 2 to 3 percent higher than homeownership rates of those with no student loans. That gap began to close during the recession and reversed in 2011. By 2014 the homeownership rate of borrowers was about one percentage point lower than the rate of non-borrowers.
  • Recent findings suggest that it may be useful to think of student loan borrowers as being divided into three groups: Successful investors, Disappointed earners, and At-risk borrowers.
  • The At-risk Borrowers group is a particular focus for Freddie Mac’s efforts to support prudent, affordable lending to low-and-moderate income borrowers. The impact on credit scores of poor repayment performance may make it particularly difficult to assist some members of this group.
  • For the Disappointed Earners — and even some of the Successful Investors — Freddie Mac’s Home Possible Advantage(SM) program, with its option to pay as little as 3 percent down, may provide help in purchasing that first home.

Outlook Highlights

  • At the current pace, home sales this year are expected to be the highest since 2007. Existing home sales in August fell a little short of expectations, but the inventory of existing homes for sale remained below the 6-month mark.
  • The faster-than-expected decline in the unemployment rate is boosting demand for homes. However, a more significant contributor is likely the continued low level of mortgage rates, which has kept affordability high despite impressive gains in house prices. The interest rate on 30-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.90 percent in August, and the rate on 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 3.12 percent.
  • Based on upward revisions of the 2014 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data on mortgage origination, and stronger-than-expected housing activity in the first half of 2015, Freddie Mac has increased its estimate of 2015 mortgage originations to $1.53 trillion and 2016 originations to $1.40 trillion.

Quote: Attributed to Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac.

“The low homeownership rate among Millennials is still something of a puzzle — it cannot be explained solely by the increase in student loan debt. However student debt plays a role — higher balances are associated with a lower probability of homeownership at every level of college and graduate education. And recent data has confirmed that not all student debt is created equal. Students who attended schools with less-certain educational benefits have not fared well. Borrowers who did not complete their studies have fared worst of all. These groups are likely to continue to affect the pattern of homeownership among Millennials. Moreover, a change just this month in Federal Housing Administration policy will make it more difficult for some student loan borrowers to qualify for a mortgage.”

“Our Outlook this month shows the economy has not kicked into gear yet, and the Fed’s recent decision to defer increasing short-term interest rates suggests they share this view. At the same time, the housing market is on its way to having the best year since the recovery began. Keep in mind. Though. that the housing sector is coming back from rock bottom and housing activity remains weak compared to historical norms. At the same time, Fed watchers must feel they are watching a revival of Waiting for Godot. Approaching every meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the market braces itself for a Fed tightening, only to watch the Committee delay any action for at least one more meeting.”

Mortgage rates average 3.90% | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates largely unchanged following a shortened week and mixed economic signals prior to the Fed’s meeting next week.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.90 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending September 10, 2015, up from last week when it averaged 3.89 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.12 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.10 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.09 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.26 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.91 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.93 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.99 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.63 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.62 percent. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.45 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.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Following a shortened week, mortgage rates were virtually unchanged, inching up 1 basis point to 3.90 percent. The employment report released last Friday provided mixed signals, adding one more note of uncertainty prior to the Fed’s September meeting. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 percent in August, the lowest rate since April 2008, but only 173,000 jobs were added, well below expectations. Wages grew 2.2 percent, a neutral indication at best.