Tag Archives: South Salem NY

Home equity withdrawals fall to new low | South Salem Real Estate

House

After declining for two consecutive quarters, tappable equity rose in the first quarter of the year, but it appears homeowners are still reluctant to touch it.

According to the latest report from Black Knight, homeowners tapped just 1% of available equity in the first quarter – the lowest share since it began tracking the metric in 2008.

Nearly 44 million homeowners with a mortgage have more than 20% equity in their home, which comes to about $136,000 of available equity per person and an aggregate amount of $5.98 trillion.

Last summer, the aggregate amount of tappable equity reached an all-time high of $6.06 trillion, a milestone Black Knight says we’ll likely surpass as home prices continue to rise this summer.

That said, while tappable equity is growing, the rate of that growth is slowing significantly along with home prices, falling from 16% a year ago to just 3% in the first quarter.

Major cities, including San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Portland, and Baton Rouge have all seen tappable equity volumes decline in the last year, the report shows.  

Meanwhile, Los Angeles continues to hold the title of the city where homeowners have the most tappable equity. In fact, California itself holds 37% of the nation’s equity, nearly seven times more than the runner-up, Texas.

But despite considerable equity gains, homeowners continue to show a reluctance to touch this source of wealth.

Black Knight’s report shows that just $54 billion in equity was withdrawn in the first quarter, the lowest volume in four years.

Both cash-out refinance withdrawals and HELOCs were down, with HELOC withdrawals hitting a five-year low and falling below cash-out refi volume for the first time in eight years.

Black Knight says rates are likely to blame.

“HELOC withdrawals as a share of available equity have been cut in half over the past three years as homeowners have increasingly steered away from the product,” the report states. “Cash-out withdrawals as a share of available equity are down a much more modest 16% over that same span. Rising interest rates have likely been the driving force behind declining HELOC equity withdrawals.”

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/49466-home-equity-withdrawals-fall-to-new-low?utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingWire%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=74236288&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–_RPpnTr_PWGur1iiM83XvQEyPJM69u5aoyeLA1IlZzU3FG1tVQjkNDrO80nlHOtt23STTcCE-tkx6xvBN1Dx1U2ckcA&_hsmi=74236288

Home prices fall | South Salem Real Estate

In March, the nation’s home-sale prices remained virtually stagnant, inching backward only 0.1% from 2018 levels, according to new data from Redfin.

This means U.S. home-sale prices reached a median of $295,000 in March, marking the first year-over-year price decrease on record since February 2012.

Despite this decline, Redfin’s data determined that only nine of the 85 largest metros saw a year-over-year decline in their median price.

This was especially so for San Jose, California, which saw its home prices fall 13% in March. That being said, other California cities like San Francisco experienced declines as little as 1%.

When it comes to home sales, the report revealed that expensive West Coast markets like Los Angeles, Orange County and Seattle posted double-digit year-over-year sale declines.

However, large markets on the East Coast saw big annual sales gains, as market affordability worked in their favor.

“Homebuyers have backed off in West Coast metros where home prices have risen far out of their budgets,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said. “The opposite is happening in more affordable metros where buyers are eager to buy now to take advantage of low mortgage rates. In California, where the tax burden is high, some people are finding they have to move out of state to afford to buy a home. As a result, home sales are down in metros throughout the state.”

In fact, Redfin’s analysis indicated March’s home sales fell in 37 of the 85 largest housing markets. Whereas, only 24 of these markets saw double-digit year-over-year increases in home sales.

Interestingly, the housing markets that did experience the biggest declines features homes that were 2.5 times more expensive than homes belonging in areas where sales surged, according to Redfin.

The image below highlights March’s home-price growth:

Redfin: U.S. home price growth

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https://www.housingwire.com/articles/48894-redfin-us-home-sale-prices-experience-first-annual-decrease-in-7-years?id=48894-redfin-us-home-sale-prices-experience-first-annual-decrease-in-7-years&utm_campaign=Newsletter%20-%20HousingWire%20Daily&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=72168543&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_iiwPf0Pdj4oHXWtcdoJ_X0DvTAceDo4oONh3pBS_CfzJWZfssQVvUIFs1DGZYy0IvTqMHRxUGxX_XrVphjhKmUHjaWw&_hsmi=72168543

Con Ed cannot supply more natural gas halting development in Westchester | South Salem Real Estate

Local and state officials fear Westchester’s recent development renaissance will come to a screeching halt because Con Edison said it can’t take on new natural gas customers. 

Con Edison issued a statement Friday saying the demand for gas is “reaching the limits of the current supplies to our service area.” 

“As a result, and to maintain reliable service to our existing natural gas customers on the coldest days, we will no longer be accepting applications for natural gas connections from new customers in most of our Westchester County service area beginning March 15, 2019,” Con Edison said in its statement. 

Jim Denn, spokesperson for the Department of Public Service, said Con Ed didn’t propose a pipeline “to meet or address growing demand.”

“To help prospective customers meet their energy needs in light of these market dynamics, PSC will be monitoring Con Edison’s engagement with customers to explore options to reduce their energy needs or meet their needs through non-natural gas energy sources,” Denn said in a statement. 

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, said it’s going to “devastate” local development, particularly in cities like New Rochelle and Yonkers, which are in the midst of redeveloping their downtowns. 

A portion of the 10 acres of solar panels atop the

A portion of the 10 acres of solar panels atop the headquarters of Diamond Properties in Mount Kisco. (Photo: Submitted)

“These projects are on a marginal budget, and we’re not going to get the economic development that we’re hoping for,” Paulin said. “Compounding the problem is affordable housing. Developers won’t be able to do them at all, so this is a huge problem for our county and it’s disappointing that we’re being told two months prior (to the start of the moratorium).”

AP
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin,D-Scarsdale, has put together a coalition to fight the IRS.

AP Assemblywoman Amy Paulin,D-Scarsdale, has put together a coalition to fight the IRS. (Photo: Associated Press)

New Rochelle’s downtown redevelopment attempts have historically started and crumbled, as it did in the 1980s, which left a pile of debris near the train station for more than a decade, and again during the most recent economic recession. 

The city experienced a development boom since it changed its downtown zoning code in 2015, with several projects already being built and more in the pipeline, but Paulin worries that this could put a pin in the balloon. 

“I’m worried it will (stop the redevelopment),” she said. “I spoke to the mayor, and he’s worried as well. We’re going to meet with Con Ed this week. I’m hoping we can figure out something that we can do.”

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said, “This obviously has serious potential implication for our entire region.”

“We are consulting with government and utility officials in order to better understand options and constructive paths forward,” Bramson said. “It is essential that solutions emerge.”

In Yonkers, Mayor Mike Spano said the city’s building boom could be affected for as long as this moratorium lasts. 

“Developers are already telling us they can’t build more housing or commercial buildings until this is resolved,” he said. “Con Ed and the Public Service Commission need to implement an immediate plan to solve this.”

Denn said the PSC ordered utility companies, including Con Ed, to increase energy efficient and create “demand-response programs to lower gas demand and save consumers money.”

“These programs are up and running,” he said. “As these gas efficiency and demand response measures take hold, as well as others to meet demand growth, the PSC will carefully review changing market conditions and consider most appropriate additional steps Con Edison should take to meet the needs of its customers.”

The northernmost sections of the county have more capacity and may still be able to accept new customers, Con Edison said in its statement, and existing customers are not affected by the moratorium.

read more…

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/2019/01/18/con-eds-natural-gas-moratorium-halt-development-westchester/2616778002/

Mortgage rates now 4.94% | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that mortgage rates rose significantly across the board.

Highest mortgage rates in seven years

Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, says, “The economy continued to show resilience as strong business activity and growth in employment drove the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to a seven year high of 4.94 percent – up 11 basis points from last week.”

Added Khater, “Higher mortgage rates have led to a slowdown in national home price growth, but the price deceleration has been primarily concentrated in affluent coastal markets such as California and the state of Washington. The more affordable interior markets – which have not yet experienced a slowdown home price growth – may see price growth start to moderate and affordability squeezed if mortgage rates continue to march higher.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.94 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending November 8, 2018, up from last week when it averaged 4.83 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.90 percent. 
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 4.33 percent with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.23 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.24 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.14 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.04 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.22 percent.

Checking on your flood insurance | South Salem Real Estate

Home insurance will cover damage from a volcano, but not a flood

Homeowners picking up the pieces from Hurricane Michael will quickly learn an important lesson: not all hurricane- related damage is covered by home insurance.

Before making landfall Wednesday, Michael rapidly intensified to an extremely strong storm packing 155 mile-per-hour winds, just shy of Category 5 status. The storm ranked as the third-most intense hurricane to hit the continental United States, according to Accuweather (https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/by-the-numbers-michael-ranked-as-3rd-most- intense-hurricane-to-hit-continental-us/70006313), and was the strongest storm to ever hit the Florida Panhandle.

Towns and cities along the Panhandle coast were left in ruins, and damage extended well inland into southern Georgia. The storm’s high winds stripped roofs and caused trees to fall on homes (https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/ storm-surge-damaging-winds-from-michael-to-rip-a-path-of-destruction-across-southeastern-us/70006307) and cars. Coastal communities were walloped by a massive storm surge, which forecasters predicted (https://www.wired.com/story/why- hurricane-michaels-storm-surge-is-so-high/) could reach as high as nine to 13 feet before the storm.

See more:Footage from Florida Panhandle shows the incredible force of Hurricane Michael (http://www.marketwatch.com/ story/footage-from-florida-panhandle-shows-the-incredible-force-of-hurricane-michael-2018-10-10)

For homeowners, what precisely caused the damage to their home will prove important for insurance purposes, because coverage will depend on how the damage was caused. During a hurricane, if high winds cause roof damage that leads to significant water accumulation within the house, insurance will likely cover it. But if a nearby river crests because of the heavy rainfall and then causes flooding, the damage to homes will only be covered if the owners have flood insurance.

That’s why most homeowners in the path of September’s Hurricane Florence’s torrential rains would have been better off if their home had been hit by a wildfire or volcanic eruption — at least from an insurance perspective.

Damage caused by flooding isn’t covered by standard home insurance policies. Only homeowners who bought separate flood insurance for their homes were covered if water from Florence damaged their house. And there weren’t many people in that boat.

Florence caused between $20 billion and $30 billion in losses to both commercial and residential properties across the Southeast due to flood and wind damages, according to estimates (https://www.corelogic.com/news/the-aftermath-of- hurricane-florence-is-estimated-to-have-caused-between-20-billion-and-30-billion-in-flood-and-wind-losses-cor.aspx) from property data firm CoreLogic (CLGX).

Most homeowners affected by Florence will be stuck footing the bill: CoreLogic also estimated that 85% of the losses to residential properties were uninsured. Before the storm hit, actuarial firm Milliman (http://us.milliman.com/insight/ 2018/Four-ways-Hurricane-Florence-could-ricochet-across-the-insurance-industry/) estimated that fewer than 10% of households in North Carolinahad flood insurance.

A similar refrain could now play out because of Hurricane Michael. When Hurricane Irma struck Florida last year, only 14% of the 3.3 million households in the nine counties affected by the disaster had flood insurance coverage, according to data from Pew Charitable Trusts (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/only-14-of-the-3-million-households-hit-by-irma- have-flood-insurance-2017-09-12). That’s in spite of the fact that Florida households comprise 35% of policies under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Don’t miss:How to find a contractor after a hurricane (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-find-a-contractor- after-a-hurricane-2017-09-25)

Even when insurance does cover the damage from a certain catastrophe, deductibles are still at play. Hurricane deductibles vary from policy to policy, but are often assessed as a percentage of the home’s overall value.

Coverage for other disasters operates similarly. In volcanic eruptions, damage caused by lava flows or resulting fires is covered by a standard homeowner’s policy, but if the eruption causes seismic activity, homeowners will not be reimbursed unless they have purchased a separate earthquake policy.

Buying additional insurance policies for disasters like floods and earthquakes might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an expensive proposition. “They have to do a cost benefit analysis,” said Michael Crowe, co-founder and CEO of Clearsurance (https://clearsurance.com/), a site where consumers can review and compare insurance companies.

The average annual premium for a policy through the National Flood Insurance Program was $878 as of April 2017 (https: //web.archive.org/web/20170623131915/https:/nfip-iservice.com/Stakeholder/pdf/bulletin/Attachment%20A%20-%20Summary% 20of%20the%20NFIP%20April%202017%20Program%20Changes%20Final.pdf). But flood insurance premiums can easily cost thousands of dollars in regions that are determined to be at the highest risk of flooding.

But flooding is just one type of natural disaster that isn’t covered by standard home insurance policies. And in the case of disasters like hurricanes, where damage can be caused by a variety of factors including wind, rain and storm surge, it can quickly get confusing–and frustrating– for homeowners who are trying to figure out whether their insurance policy covers certain damage.

Here is what homeowners need to know about insurance and natural disasters:

What is covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy

Some natural disasters are always covered by homeowner’s insurance, including wildfires, tornadoes and hail storms. But other natural disasters are never or rarely covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. They generally fall into two categories: floods and “earth movements.”

The first category comprises disasters caused by rising water, which includes everything from floods caused by extensive rainfall and hurricane-induced storm surges to dam failures and tsunamis. “Earth movements” include disasters such as earthquakes, landslides and sinkholes.

Unfortunately, many Americans are unaware that these disasters are not covered by a standard homeowner’s policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute (https://www.iii.org/sites/default/files/docs/pdf/pulse-wp-020217- final.pdf).

Certain natural disaster typically aren’t covered because of the level of the destruction they create, said Lynne McChristian, a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute and executive director of the Center for Risk Management Education and Research at Florida State University.

With these disasters, “the damage is usually so widespread, and it’s typically a total loss,” McChristian said. ” Insurance companies can’t price it appropriately to make it a viable line of business for them.”Are you covered with a standard homeowner’s insurance policy? Typically covered Sometimes or partially covered Rarely covered Tornado Hurricane Flooding (including storm surge and tsunamis) Wildfire Volcano Earthquakes Hail storm Sinkhole Mud- and landslides Blizzard or ice storm Sewer backup

The government provides flood insurance

In the case of insurance for flooding, the federal government has stepped in. The National Flood Insurance Program was created in 1968 after insurance companies struggled to pay off claims following a slew of floods in the 1950s. Homeowners have the option to buy flood insurance through this program or to get a private insurance policy. In certain cases, homeowners may be required to purchase flood insurance by their mortgage lender if their home is located within a flood zone.

Private flood insurance now accounts for roughly 15% of all flood premiums nationwide, according to a March report from Insurance Journal (https://www.insurancejournal.com/blogs/right-street/2018/03/18/483689.htm). And for many homeowners, a policy from a private insurer rather than through the federal insurance program could be cheaper. A July 2017 briefing from Milliman (http://www.milliman.com/uploadedFiles/insight/2017/private-flood-insurance-cheaper- nfip.pdf)found that private flood policies would have lower premiums for 77% of all single-family homes in Florida, 69% in Louisiana and 92% in Texas.

Read more:Congress just dodged hard decisions about flood insurance again (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/congress- just-dodged-hard-decisions-about-flood-insurance-again-2018-07-31)

Earthquakes

Similarly, homeowners will need to purchase a separate policy or a rider to their standard home insurance policy from a private insurer to be covered for an earthquake. California residents also have the option (https://www.iii.org/ article/earthquake-insurance-for-homeowners) to purchase coverage through the California Earthquake Authority. That said, if an earthquake causes a house fire, some damage might be covered by the standard policy alone.

Sinkholes

As for sinkholes, coverage options vary from state to state (https://www.iii.org/article/sinkholes-and-insurance). A standard home insurance policy may cover minor damage caused by a sinkhole — but catastrophic damage (generally defined as damage to more than half of the structure) is excluded. People can either get sinkhole insurance in the form of a standalone policy or an endorsement to the standard insurance policy, depending on where they live.

Tennessee and Florida require insurers to offer optional sinkhole coverage. Insurers in Florida are also required to provide insurance for “catastrophic ground cover collapse” through their standard policies.

Read more:Your easy step-by-step guide to paying off all kinds of debt (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/your-easy- step-by-step-guide-to-paying-off-all-kinds-of-debt-2018-09-19)

Did the homeowner take care of the property?

The property’s upkeep can also play a role in whether or not damage caused by a storm or other natural disaster is covered. For instance, if winter storms cause an ice dam to form on the roof of the home and the owner is not proactive about removing it, the insurer may choose to deny coverage for water damage.

You have some options if you skip insurance

If homeowners don’t buy specialized insurance coverage and then get hit by some sort of disaster, they do have some options to offset their losses. They can get a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or a loan from the Small Business Administration.

“Those are not designed to bring you back to a pre-disaster condition — they’re designed just to get you back on your feet,” McChristian said. “Insurance is designed to get you back to where you were before the disaster occurred.”

How to decide whether you need coverage

For starters, homeowners need to consider whether or not they are at risk. They should check government flood zone maps. They are generally available from county governments, or you can search by address on the FEMA website (https:// msc.fema.gov/portal/search). But they aren’t foolproof because they are only periodically updated.

Other factors to consider include the property’s elevation (if it’s at or just a few feet above sea level it’s more prone to flooding) and whether there has been a lot of construction in the area. This could displace vegetation that would soak up rainfall and prevent flooding.

As for earthquakes, homeowners shouldn’t assume they’re not at risk just because they don’t live on the West Coast. Earthquakes have caused damaged in all 50 states at some point since 1900, according to the Insurance Information Institute(https://www.iii.org/press-release/few-homes-have-insurance-coverage-for-earthquake-or-tsunami-although-the- us-is-at-risk-for-both-032311) (a trade group that of course has a vested interest in people getting insurance). And fracking for oil and natural gas has led to seismic activity (https://e360.yale.edu/digest/fracking-linked-to-increase- in-texas-quakes-according-to-new-study)in parts of the country that had never before experienced it.

How to get to the front of the line when you need help

Regardless of whether or not a homeowner has insurance coverage for a specific natural disaster, getting their property assessed is critical in beginning the rebuilding process.

Following a natural disaster, a consumer’s first step should be to contact their insurance agent or company immediately. That is critical because insurance claims are handled on a triage basis, McChristian said.

“Those with the most damage get to the front of the line because those people have the most need for recovery assistance,” McChristian said.

By clarifying how to file a claim and conveying the state of their property, homeowners can improve the chances of having their case handled more quickly by their insurer. Homeowners should also learn the ins and outs of how to file their claim, including what information is needed and how long they have to file. Now is also the time to determine what their policy’s deductible is.

Also see:What to do about your home and mortgage if you’re hit by a disaster (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/what- to-do-about-your-home-and-mortgage-if-youre-hit-by-a-disaster-2018-09-17)

Make a head-start on assessing damage

The insurance company will send its own adjuster free of charge to inspect the property and assess the total cost of the damage. Homeowners can take steps to prepare for this by documenting what was damaged or destroyed by the natural disaster, getting bids from contractors and keeping track of receipts for any expenses they incur following the storm. Homeowners shouldn’t hesitate to make temporary repairs to protect their property from further damage.

A pricier option: Hire a third-party insurance adjuster to assess their property. Given the backlog insurers will experience following widespread disasters, it can take a while to receive a payout. To expedite this process, a homeowner can choose to hire an independent or public adjuster to assess their property.

Studies have shown that hiring public adjusters leads to higher insurance settlements. But these professionals don’t come cheap — they generally charge a fee (https://www.bankrate.com/finance/insurance/hiring-a-public-adjuster-1.aspx) that’s anywhere from 10% to 20% of the insurance settlement. And it’s critical to hire a reputable professional. (Check the websites of the National Association of Independent Insurance Adjusters (https://www.naiia.com/) and the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters(https://www.napia.com/about).)

Always have someone look at damaged property

And even if homeowners aren’t covered for flood insurance, they should still have their insurance company assess their property and whatever damage occurred.

Crowe has experienced this firsthand. In 2006, an extended period of rainfall in Newburyport, Mass., where Crowe and his family lived, caused their newly remodeled basement to flood. However, their insurance policy did not include flood coverage. He thought he would have to pay for all the damage.

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Mortgage Rates average 3.97% this week | South Salem Real Estate

Freddie today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates largely unchanged as analyst expectation turned from world events to the Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) October minutes.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.97 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending November 19, 2015, down from last week when it averaged 3.98 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.99 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 3.18 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.20 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.17 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.98 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 3.03 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.01 percent.
  • 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM averaged 2.64 percent this week with an average 0.3 point, down from 2.65 percent last week. At this time last year, the 1-year ARM averaged 2.44 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.

As of January 1, 2016, the PMMS will no longer provide results for the 1-year ARM or the regional breakouts for the 30-year and 15-year fixed rate mortgages, or the 5/1 Hybrid ARM

Housing: A Near-term Pullback in Home Sales Is Likely | South Salem Real Estate

This week’s housing news revealed the latest data on two leading indicators of home sales, both of which point to additional retrenchment in existing home sales in the near-term.

Pending home sales dropped in August, marking the second decline over the past three months. Combined with the second consecutive drop in average monthly purchase applications in August, existing home sales will likely soften further after posting a 4.8 percent drop in August from an expansion-high pace in July.

Our forecast that 2015 total home sales will be the strongest since 2007 remains on target, however. While purchase applications dropped during the final week of September, average applications for the entire month rose for the first time in three months and are about 23 percent and 8 percent higher than during the same period in 2014 and 2013, respectively. Low mortgage rates will remain supportive for the housing market.

The Freddie Mac survey’s average yield on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages ticked down to 3.85 percent, staying below 4.0 percent for the tenth consecutive week. Home price trends continue to be strong.

The S&P/Case-Shiller house price index showed solid year-over-year appreciation in July, albeit at a more moderate pace than other main measures of home prices reported earlier. Strong housing demand during the summer season, lean inventories, and fewer distressed sales helped boost home prices.

The August construction spending report suggests that real residential investment will likely post solid growth this quarter, though not as strong as the 9.4 percent annualized pace recorded for the second quarter.

 The National Association of REALTORS® Pending Home Sales Index, which records contract signings of existing homes and typically leads closings by one to two months, dropped 1.4 percent to 109.4 in August, the lowest level since March. Pending sales are 6.1 percent above the level a year ago, the smallest year-over-year gain since November 2014. Pending sales dropped in the Northeast, Midwest and South, with the largest decline occurring in the Northeast. The West was the only region that saw a rise in pending sales.

 Private residential construction spending advanced 1.3 percent in August from the prior month, according to the Census Bureau. Spending on new single-family homes rose 0.7 percent, compared with a 4.8 percent jump for multifamily spending. Data for the prior two months were revised lower. Spending for home improvement increased 0.7 percent. From a year ago, new single-family and multifamily construction spending increased 14.0 percent and 24.7 percent, respectively.

 The S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city Composite Home Price Index (not seasonally adjusted) rose 0.6 percent in July. From a year ago, the index increased 5.0 percent, a slight pickup from 4.9 percent pace of the prior month. Of the 20 cities, San Francisco, Denver, and Dallas posted the largest year-over-year increases, while New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. saw the smallest gains. The pace of increase for the national index also firmed slightly in July, posting a 4.7 percent year-over-year gain, compared with a 4.5 percent gain in June. Other measures of home prices, including the FHFA purchase-only index and the CoreLogic index, also showed a pickup in year-over-year increases in July.

 

Read more… fanniemae.com

S&P Case Shiller: House prices beat expectations, gain 1% in March | South Salem Real Estate

S&P Case Shiller’s adjusted 20-city house price index rose a very solid and slightly higher-than-expected 1.0% in March with gains across all cities and well balanced gains across all regions.

These gains, however, were not confirmed by the Federal Housing Finance Agencyhouse price index, which rose a lower-than-expected 0.3% in March. The most optimistic reading for March came from Black Knight Financial Services (BKFS), a Fidelity National Financial (FNF) company.

Black Knight’s index says that home prices were up 1.2% in the month of March and up 4.8% on a year-over-year basis. Those totals represent the largest monthly gain in national home prices since June 2013.

“As we move deeper into the traditional home buying season, the low level of homes for sale in many markets is continuing to push prices higher,” said Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield. “Once more owners realize the opportunity to sell their home, price gains will slow and prices may even dip in response to the greater choice for buyers.”

Year-on-year readings in both the S&P and FHFA reports show an improving trend, at a moderate 5% for Case-Shiller and plus 5.2% for FHFA.

“Home prices have enjoyed year-over-year gains for 35 consecutive months,” says David Blitzer, Managing Director & Chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The pattern of consistent gains is national and seen across all 20 cities covered by the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. The longest run of gains is in Detroit at 45 months, the shortest is New York with 27 months. However, the pace has moderated in the last year; from August 2013 to February 2014, the national index gained more than 10% year-over-year, compared to 4.1% in this release.

 

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http://www.housingwire.com/articles/33987

Hollywood Founder’s Spectacular Mansion | South Salem Real Estate

The stately, 23 room Mediterranean Revival mansion that Joseph Young, who developed Hollywood in the 1920s, built for himself on Hollywood Boulevard, can be yours for $2.19 million. The over-6,000 square foot house is one of the grandest (if not the grandest) home in the neighborhood, and embodies the dreams that Young had for his city, which in its day was similar to other swanky South Floridian cities like Coral Gables in a lot of ways. That included extensive master planning. Grand thoroughfares, like Hollywood Boulevard, connected elegant public amenities like Young Circle and the Hollywood Beach Resort. Even though Hollywood has certainly proven to be a successful and inviting community, it never quite became as ritzy of a locale as Young envisioned it, which might explain why the house has been on the market since 2012. People looking for this kind of spread don’t tend to look in Hollywood.

 

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http://miami.curbed.com/archives/2015/02/11/hollywood-founders-spectacular-mansion-is-219-million.php

Will Low Down Payments Bring First-timers Home? | South Salem Real Estate

Suddenly More first-time buyers are buying homes.  More are making down payments even as lenders rush to sign up for the new 3 percent down programs launched by Fannie and Freddie in November.  Coincidence or can we connect the dots?

It’s too soon for the new programs to have an impact on sales, but the odds are good that when they do the first-timer spike in sales may turn into a trend.  Loosening standards, improving incomes, soaring rents–whatever the cause, as the New Year begins there’s a refreshing new wind blowing throughout housing markets coast to coast.

According to the National Association of Realtors, first-time homebuyers accounted for 31 percent of existing home sales in November (29 percent in October 2014; 28 percent in November 2013.  Initial December data indicated a pickup of purchases from first-time buyers in November, likely a result of the improving job market and the decline in interest rates to 4 percent.

Zillow predicts that first-time buyers who stayed out of the market – either for demographic reasons or because they just couldn’t find the right entry-level home – will have a breakthrough year in 2015.rding to Zillow.  Zillow’s predictions are based on data showing rents continuing to skyrocket while the for-sale market levels off. That economic reality, increased inventory, and millennials getting married and having children after delaying those choices, will give buyers more negotiating power.  In fact, Zillow predicts the millennial generation will overtake Generation X as the biggest group of home buyers in 2015.

Meanwhile the majority of first-time home buyers making a low down payment appears to be uptrend. Among first-time buyers reported to be obtaining a mortgage in the months of September through November, about 66 percent made a down payment of 6 percent or less.  This is a decline from the 77 percent figure in early 2009, but an improvement from the 61 percent figure at the beginning of 2014.  In 2014 the average down payment for first-time buyers was

On December 8, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced the acceptance of loans originated with a 3 percent down payment under certain qualification guidelines to increase credit availability to first-time buyers meeting eligibility standards. In the case of Freddie Mac, borrowers will be required to participate in a borrower education program. In the case of Fannie Mae, borrowers will still have to meet the standard eligibility underwriting requirements such as those relating to income, employment, and debt, and borrowers will be required to purchase private mortgage insurance. Borrowers making a low down payment may still face higher costs for risk adjustment (called loan level pricing adjustments) in the case of GSE-backed loans.

Within weeks, mortgage lenders—all non-banks—began lining up to announce they were going to participate.

First out of the box to sign up for FHFA program were 360 Mortgage Group and ditech, both with 97% LTV into their product offerings.   Guardian Mortgage Company, Citywide Financial in San Diego, Houston lender AMCAP Mortgage and Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage were among of the first to announce they would participate in the GSE programs.

Meanwhile, before the details were even announced, Bank of America came out saying that it does not plan on easing its mortgage standards or offering 3% down mortgages, despite regulators seeking to expand lending.  Wells Fargo said it is currently in the process of examining the new product.

 

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http://www.realestateeconomywatch.com/2015/01/connecting-the-dots-are-low-down-payments-bringing-first-timers-home/