Tag Archives: South Salem Luxury Real Estate

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/

New-home sales tumble | South Salem Real Estate

Sales of newly constructed homes stumbled in April, as builders retreated after a March surge that marked the strongest selling pace in a decade.

New-home sales ran at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 569,000, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was well below the MarketWatch consensus forecast of a 610,000 annual rate, but was offset by sharp upward revisions to data from prior months.

In particular, March’s pace was raised to a pace of 642,000, the highest since October 2007.

April’s figures were 11.4% lower for the month, but 0.5% higher than in the same period a year ago.

The government’s new-home sales data are based on small samples and are often heavily revised. Total sales in the first four months of the year are 11% higher compared with the same period a year ago.

In April, the median sales price for a new home was $309,200, down from $318,700 in March and $321,300 in the year-ago period. As the pace of selling decelerated, there were 5.7 months’ worth of homes available, up from 4.9 months in March. A market with a healthy balance between supply and demand typically has about 6 months’ worth of inventory.

One factor worth noting, April was one of the rainiest months in decades, and that may have helped dent sales. Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia chief economist, said while he wasn’t worried about data from one month, builders still have a way to go before residential construction normalizes.

“If we compare the share of new home sales to total sales, that share needs to more than double,” McLaughlin wrote in a Tuesday note. New-home sales made up nearly 12% of total sales, about half the historical average, he said.

The 12-month rolling total of sales rose to 88.3% of their 50-year average, McLaughlin added.

 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-home-sales-tumble-in-april-after-soaring-to-10-year-high-in-march-2017-05-23

Trump’s infrastructure plan | South Salem Real Estate

One of President Trump’s common refrains on the campaign trail was that he would help rebuild the country’s crumbling infrastructure, leaning on his extensive experience in real estate and development to shepherd forth a plan to cut red tape, move projects forward, and put this country to work.

More than 100 days into his administration, his grand design has yet to take shape, though it’s been a constant source of conversation in D.C. There has been movement over the last few days, with reports saying that the Trump team has solicited bids for potential infrastructure investments from across the country and looks toward releasing a plan in the fall that would steer $200 billion of public money to infrastructure investment.

Curbed spoke to infrastructure experts to get their take on Trump’s nascent plans: what should be included, what to watch for as plans come together, and its chances to clear both houses of Congress and help America get to work.

Watch the numbers

Henry Petroski, a Duke professor and infrastructure expert, says that spending on roads and construction is “like apple pie and motherhood—everybody’s for it.” There’s a lot of talk about some kind of plan, a proposal both candidates supported last year, and representatives and senators will have a tough time voting against it, Petroski says. It’s still taking shape, but based on previous reports and statements from Trump administration officials, it would include a combination of government investment, new funding mechanisms to encourage private investment, and regulatory reform to help accelerate approvals and construction timelines.

That makes it all the more important to watch how funding is allocated. The trillion-dollar proposal the Trump administration is developing sounds like a lot, and it is: The federal government’s annual budget is about $3.8 trillion, including entitlements such as Social Security and Medicaid. Petroski believes the spending will most likely be spread out over 10 years, which means a 100 billion dollars annually, roughly double the amount currently being spent on roads and bridges. Doubling funding is a big deal, but it’s important to put things in perspective.

“We can’t just look at the headlines that say $1 trillion; we need the details,” he says. “This isn’t just an issue with this administration, however. This happens with every administration.”

 Caiaimage/Getty Images

Will states take the lead?

While the Trump administration has promised to have a plan together by this fall, some analysts, such as Petroski, are skeptical. He feels that health care and other priorities may derail infrastructure this year, at least on the federal level.

Federal delays in approving new spending, however, have spurred many cities and states to take action. Federal infrastructure is tagged to the gasoline tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993 (Trump has flirtedwith the idea of raising it to fund infrastructure spending). But many states have raised their own rates or passed spending measure to fund infrastructure (federal dollars are, on average, only responsible for 25 percent of infrastructure spending, according to Petroski).

“Close to half the states have raised the state gasoline taxes in the last couple of years, and the others are considering it,” he says. “They simply can’t wait for the federal government to do something.”

Will we build green infrastructure?

In addition to how much we’re going to spend on infrastructure, another big question is what we’re going to spend money on. Armando Carbonell, a senior fellow and urban policy expert at the Lincoln Institute, says one of the biggest problems with any Trump infrastructure plan is the administration’s stance on climate change. It’s not just that any potential new construction may ignore public transit and sustainable options that reduce carbon emissions, it’s that not acknowledging a changing climate means money will be misspent.

“We need infrastructure to protect communities from the effects of climate change that can’t be avoided,” he says. “Sea-level rise, flooding, the effects of wildfires; in many cases, there are infrastructure needs that should be a priority, such as protecting coastal cities. If we don’t take climate change into account, we may well build infrastructure that is vulnerable. There are simple things we can do, such as building on higher elevations, that take account of a rising sea level. If we don’t do that, any investment might be a bad one.”

 RF/Adam Pass Photography

How will regulations be changed?

One of Trump’s promises has been that by creating a new regulatory system, reforming current processes, and encouraging public-private investments (or P3s) he can cut red tape and move long-stalled projects forward. Like other aspects of an infrastructure overhaul taking shape, the devil is in the details.

Carbonell says proper oversight and regulatory update could give the sector a massive upgrade, saving time and money. There are “great benefits” to looking at what and how we do things, especially the procurement and finance processes.

“I don’t have a black or white view of P3s, other than to say people need to be careful and look out for the public interest,” says Carbonell. “With proper regulations and design, P3s may be part of the solution. But we can’t get something for nothing. If we want a trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure, we need to spend a trillion dollars.”

Others have a more pessimistic view of pushing for more private investment in infrastructure. According to urbanist and journalist Yonah Freemark, the push for privatization in infrastructure investment is consistent with Trump’s rhetoric—Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao has been open to finding new private funding sources for infrastructure, and the proposed Trump budget does make massive cuts in public transportation spending—but will also significantly shape the way any new infrastructure policy works.

“One thing we know is that there’s no way private-sector entities would be involved with an infrastructure project unless it involves user fees or ways to make revenue,” he says. “That makes sense; why would you invest in a project that couldn’t make money? But that changes the decision-making process. It’s the perspective of a profit-making private company, not the public sector.”

That translates into support for moneymaking projects, such as pipelines, toll bridges, and toll roads, not, say, water pipes, or roadways in less dense rural areas, according to Freemark.

 Shutterstock

What kind of jobs will it provide?

Trump has also promoted infrastructure as a jobs program to help with unemployment. According to Scott Myers-Lipton, a professor of sociology at San Jose State University and author of Rebuild America: Solving the Economic Crisis through Civic Works and Social Solutions to Poverty, it’s tough to “square the circle” when it comes to providing high-wage jobs while cutting regulations (and potentially, labor protections) and encouraging private investment.

He sees New Deal-era social works programs, which provided direct employment through the government, as a much more effective means of creating a large-scale jobs program and truly putting America back to work.

“How is it going to help people earn stable incomes?” he says. ”So far, he has not yet put forward a plan that, in that Rooseveltian sense, meets the goal of getting living wage jobs to as many people as possible. This was one of his big promises, spend big on infrastructure and drive unemployment down.”

 

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https://www.curbed.com/2017/5/12/15632352/donald-trump-construction-roads-infrastructure?

Overlooked real estate markets | South Salem Real Estate

Every month, we tell you exactly where the country’s hottest real estate markets are: the regions where insane bidding wars have become the new normal, where people pay $5.5 million for a teardown, and buyers write desperate/sad “Please, please, please, let me buy your house!” letters. With tight inventory throughout the country having pushed up home prices 8% in the past year, we are starting to see more markets acting, well, crazy.

But it made us wonder: What about the (polar) opposite? What are the United States’ coldest markets?  You know, the ones where there’s plenty of inventory, and shopping for a home doesn’t resemble the final round of the Hunger Games?

Of course, plenty of markets see minimal real estate activity because no one actually wants to live there—they’re economically depressed, with few jobs or anything else of note to draw residents. We didn’t want those. Instead, we focused on the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, and identified the top 10 where homes don’t fly off the market at head-spinning speeds, and there isn’t crazy competition from other buyers.

And to make certain that these markets aren’t just good bargains, but also good places to live, we filtered out markets where the unemployment rate ranks in the bottom 20% of major U.S. metros.

Markets that are cold, but not frosty

The result is this list of our top 10 overlooked real estate markets in the United States, the places that offer excellent value in less hectic home-buying environments. Bargain hunters, rejoice!

“This year has been great for the real estate market nationally, and we’re seeing widespread health and strong demand,” says our chief economist, Jonathan Smoke. “These 10 markets are no exception. They are all healthy, they just aren’t as frenetic as other markets. In each of these areas, we’ve seen improved buying interest and faster sales compared to previous years.”

Sorry, West Coast: You didn’t make the cut.

But each of the following markets have some special attractions for home buyers, including some you probably aren’t aware of. So read on, for the chillest of the chill!

cold-01

1. El Paso, TX

Median home price: $160,000

Median days on market: 91

Tucked between the U.S. and Mexico, El Paso’s fate is tied to two countries. It’s positioned for tourism and trade opportunities, but the recent strength of the U.S. dollar has discouraged Mexican shoppers, who are spending less. Growth in employment in El Paso was slow after the recession that began in 2008, but the metro area outperformed the rest of the state in 2015, according to the Dallas Federal Reserve.

Housing prices are going up, but the market has yet to take off.

“New construction picked up, and homes that haven’t been sold in the previous years piled up,” says Realtor® Rudy Montoya. “We are in a buyer’s market.”

Bonus: The area’s warm climate and diverse culture makes it an attractive retirement community.

Special lures: The cost of living is low, the margaritas are fine (El Paso claims to have invented ’em) and the green chile enchiladas con arroz y frijoles are awesome.

2. Albany, NY

Median home price: $239,000

Median days on market: 96

Albany’s housing market may offer affordability, but buying a home here can still be a daunting task. Homeowners in Albany County pay a median of $4,166 in property tax, one of the highest in the country. Although it’s the capital of New York state, the number of government jobs has been shrinking since the recession.

However, after the city started marketing itself as a tech hub, new corporate sectors have been starting to take hold. Companies like IBM and GlobalFoundries have set up research centers and plants here, and the city is expected to fill 1,180 new jobs in software and Web development through 2020, according to the New York Department of Labor.

Special lure: Yeah, it’s freezing. But this place comes to life in the winter, with more sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, and tubing per capita than just about any metro in the U.S. Invest in long johns.

3. Virginia Beach, VA

Median home price: $259,300

Median days on market: 73

The rolling waves and soft sand not only make Virginia Beach a beautiful place to call home, but also a pretty darn nice place to visit—which is why tourism accounted for $1.4 billion in revenue, and plenty of job growth in 2015, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

So how come it shows up as a “cold” market? Well, summer may be gorgeous, but Virginia Beach isn’t quite as appealing in winter. Home sales slow precipitously, from 64 days on the market to 96 days. The city is also vulnerable to hurricanes, most recently Hurricane Matthew.

Special lure: Do you consider fishing to be a sport? Then this is the city for you.

4. Winston-Salem, NC

Median home price: $176,900

Median days on market: 96

Strolling the neighborhoods of Winston-Salem, you can’t help notice the quaint historical architecture and tall oaks. It feels as if time has slowed down. So, too, has the pace of home sales. Winston-Salem homes typically take 19 days longer to sell than the national median.

But that doesn’t worry the locals.”These communities have long-standing history—we don’t have a huge influx of people moving in, so there’s no quick housing turnaround,” says Samuel Aubrey, CEO of Winston-Salem Regional Association of Realtors®. The upside: The market sees fewer price fluctuations, even during recessionary periods.

Special lure: Birthplace of Krispy Kreme donuts.

5. Augusta, GA

Median home price: $194,700

Median days on market: 102

“People are attracted to Augusta because of the low cost of living,” says local Realtor Drew May. “And we’re just two hours from Atlanta and two hours from the coast.”

The Masters Golf Tournament enlivens the city once a year, with fans and tourists, but the rest of the year, it’s definitely … quiet. It’s a 9-to-5 city filled with blue-collar jobs manufacturing golf cars, medical supplies, and paperboard. The current unemployment rate of 5.8%  is slightly higher than the national average. Still, it has tons of historic charm going for it, and an epic mountain-bike trail system.

Special lure: It was the home town of James Brown, the godfather of soul!

6. Columbia, SC

Median home price: $183,400

Median days on market: 75

The second-largest metropolitan area in South Carolina, Columbia is a melting pot of global companies, students and educators, and a strong military presence. BlueCross BlueShield, and the University of South Carolina bolster the economy, with more than 10,000 jobs.

Yet one thing that makes home buyers hesitate about Columbia is the crime rate: Violent crime affects 65 in every 1 million people, 73% more than the national average. Some of the safest neighborhoods, however, include LexingtonBlythewood, and Lake Murray.

Special lure: This is a place in love with historical preservation.

7. Allentown, PA

Median home price: $192,500

Median days on market: 87

Want to avoid getting punched in this city? Avoid playing Billy Joel’s 1982 song “Allentown” on a jukebox (if you can find it, that is). That ode to the sad decline of this blue-collar town still stings. When Joel sang, “Out in Bethlehem they’re killing time,” he meant nearby Bethlehem Steel, once the nation’s second-largest steel producer, which finally went bankrupt in 2003.

But after decades of struggle, Allentown is quietly finding its way along the comeback trail. Although the region’s economy is now a far cry from its heyday, manufacturing jobs are gaining ground, slowly but steadily. The region’s GDP now ranks 73rd out of the 382 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., up two spots from 2014. Its gains translate into a 5% year-over-year gain in home prices.

Special lure: The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are one of the most beloved Triple-A minor league baseball teams in the nation. Go Pigs!

8. Greensboro, NC

Median home price: $167,500

Median days on market: 94

Greensboro, like many cities and children, has nicknames—some good, and some not so good. It’s called “GREENsboro” because it’s green and lush; it’s called “GreensBORING” because its downtown is abandoned after 5 p.m., though a major face-lift has given the neighborhood new life.

The typical cycle of selling a home is longer than three months, putting the market among the “underachievers.” Local Realtor Jim Wilhoit attributes slow sales to the high-end market, but says the market is healthy overall.

“Sales of homes that are above $400,000 are very slow,” Wilhoit says. “It’s more expensive than most people here can afford. And people who own a home in that price range are not actively looking to sell.”

Special lure: Greensboro has 33,000 active students, which makes this one of America’s true college towns.

9. Birmingham, AL

Median home price: $184,500

Median days on market: 86 days

Young people are leaving Birmingham: The city’s craft beer scene, growing green spaces, and a roster of talented chefs are not enough to keep the millennials. Between 2011 and 2015, the metro lost 3% of its population between the ages of 25 and 34, while nationally, the age group grew by 6%. The reason? Job scarcity drove many to nearby Nashville and Atlanta, for better employment and higher salaries.

Apart from creating new jobs, much of the city’s effort goes into reinventing downtown, with a luxury “rooftop residential” market—namely lofts and high-end condos. Will the real estate market make a comeback? Let’s give it some time.

Special lure: Half Moon cookies and gourmet popsicles.

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http://www.realtor.com/news/trends/top-10-most-overlooked-real-estate-markets/?identityID=563634a60b124c77df02b110&MID=2016_1028_WeeklyNL-9&RID=3397440202&cid=eml-2016-1028-WeeklyNL-blog_1_mostoverlookedmarkets-blogs_trends

 

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

National Home Prices Re-accelerated | South Salem Real Estate

S&P Dow Jones Indices released the Case-Shiller (CS) National Home Price Index for July. The index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 5.0%, faster than the 2.1% in June. House prices have decelerated since the beginning of 2016 due to the sharp decline in existing home sales at the end of 2015. But, home prices started to accelerate in May and home price appreciation increased to 5.0% in July.

The Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.8% in July, following 3.4% in June, confirming the reacceleration in home prices.

figure1_jul16

However, local housing markets varied greatly. Figure 2 shows home price appreciation for 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas in July.

Twelve out of the 20 metro areas had positive home price appreciation. The highest one in the list was Portland, OR with an annual rate of 8.2%, followed by Denver with an annual rate of 6.6%. Phoenix placed third with an annual rate of 5.9%.

Home price appreciation in the remaining eight metro areas was negative. They are San Francisco, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, and New York. Home price appreciation in Chicago was -5.9%, the lowest among 20 metro areas.

figure2_jul16

 

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http://eyeonhousing.org/2016/09/national-home-prices-reaccelerated-local-home-prices-varied-in-july/

Manhattan sales down 20% | South Salem Real Estate

There are a lot more apartments available for purchase these days in Manhattan. And fewer people are buying.

Sales of previously owned condominiums and co-ops fell 20 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier as potential buyers grew cautious amid more choices, according to a report Tuesday from appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. There were 5,290 resale apartments on the market at the end of September, 53 percent more than the number available in late 2013, the lowest point for listings.

The swelling inventory is providing an opportunity to New Yorkers shut out of a market in which construction has been dominated by ultra-luxury condos aimed at the wealthiest buyers. Resales, particularly those priced at less than $1 million, were in chronically short supply in recent years, and those that made it to the market sparked bidding wars. Now, more owners are listing apartments to profit from climbing values, and they’re finding lots of company.

“Rapidly rising prices over the years have pulled more sellers into the market hoping to cash out,” Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, said in an interview. “But buyers are more wary. There isn’t the same intensity of activity to burn through the new supply.”

Buyers agreed to pay more than the asking price in just 17 percent of all condo and co-op deals that closed in the third quarter, down from a record 31 percent a year earlier, according to Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman. Consumers also are taking longer to make a decision. Previously owned properties that sold in the period spent an average of 72 days on the market, up from 67 days a year ago.

The median price of all resales in the quarter climbed 2.6 percent to $950,000, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman said. That’s a step down in a three-year period in which annual price growth once reached 18 percent. Many sellers have yet to accept that they can no longer name any price, and the disconnect between their expectations and what buyers are willing to pay is contributing to the drop in overall sales, Miller said.

“We’re clearly seeing a slowdown,” Miller said. “This era of aspirational pricing is coming to an end. Buyers get the message first.”

For a Bloomberg Intelligence piece on New York apartment rents, click here.

Quick Sale

When Connie Lam wanted to sell her Chelsea studio, she knew that curbing her exuberance would help her sell it fast. Lam, who bought the the 441-square-foot (41-square-meter) unit in 2013 for $555,000, listed it for sale in June, just one month before a planned move to California. Working with Douglas Elliman broker Rachel Altschuler, Lam priced her apartment at $625,000 after seeing that another studio of the same size on her floor was already on the market for $650,000.

“There were people who were interested immediately,” said Lam, 28, an attorney now living in Redwood City. “My goal was to get out and have a buyer who was really solid and wasn’t going to back out on me at the last second.”

The listing drew three offers, and was under contract at the asking price within two weeks. The deal closed in August, while the other apartment on her floor, on the market since May, is still without a buyer. Its price has since been cut to $635,000.

 

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-10-04/manhattan-apartment-sales-plunge-20-as-homebuyers-get-pickier

Sales of new homes up | South Salem Real Estate

Sales of new single-family houses in the United States surged 12.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 654,000 in July of 2016. It is the highest figure since October of 2007 and much better than market expectations of 580,000. Figures for June were revised down by 10,000 to 582,000. New Home Sales in the United States averaged 652.45 Thousand from 1963 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 1389 Thousand in July of 2005 and a record low of 270 Thousand in February of 2011. New Home Sales in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

United States New Home Sales

 

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/

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/