Tag Archives: Waccabuc Homes

Lady Violet’s ‘Downton Abbey’ home for sale | #Waccabuc Real Estate

The dowager countess’s witticisms not included.

If you missed out last year on the listing of the “Godfather House” on Staten Island in New York, maybe this home is more up your abbey — er, alley.

Byfleet Manor, in Surrey, just southwest of London, and dower home to Maggie Smith’s character Lady Violet Crawley in the PBS series “Downton Abbey,” is on the market, according to real estate broker Savills. The price? £3.95 million,or $6.1 million. The Georgian-style brick home, built in 1686 and set on 19 acres, has a walled courtyard, eight bedrooms and four reception rooms — and it’s just 20 miles from central London.

“You get a lot of house for your money,” said Simon Ashwell, the Savills agent who is listing the home for Julie Hutton, the current owner, who bought Byfleet Manor about 10 years ago for £1 million.

Byfleet Manor isn’t one to avoid the cameras. The house also starred in the series “Poirot” and “Cranford” and was the stand-in for Cinderella’s home in the 2014 movie “Into the Woods” with Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp. When it comes to “Downton Abbey,” the home has served as Lady Violet’s house since 2010 after the location agent from the PBS series “Cranford” suggested it to the show’s producers. “We wanted to deliberately pull Violet back into that Georgian world,” Donal Woods, the production designer for “Downton Abbey,” told Savills.


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Strong First Quarter for Consumer Confidence | Waccabuc Real Estate

The University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment reached a ten-year peak of 95.5 in the first quarter of 2015. Although the Index of Consumer Sentiment Index decreased to 93.0 in March from 95.4 in February, it was up from 80.0 from March 2014. The harsh winter dampened the giddiness of falling gasoline prices from the start of the year. Lower income households reported a loss in confidence because they are more sensitive to higher utility costs and disrupted work hours.

The Conference Board Confidence Index increased in March to 101.3 from 98.8 in February. The March increase was driven by the improved short-term prospects for employment and income. However, consumer assessment of current conditions declined for a second consecutive month, suggesting a softening in first quarter growth. The share of consumers expecting more jobs increased in March, and the share anticipating higher incomes increased from 16.4% to 18.4% in March.

Rising consumer confidence and improved job creation numbers are positive indicators for both improved GDP growth and housing demand once the economy clears the first quarter.

UM & CB three month moving average 3 31 2015


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Positive Momentum in the Housing Market Stumbles | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released its updated Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®) showing that the U.S. housing market experienced some winter doldrums. While an improving labor market and attractive mortgage rates continue to promise a strong spring homebuying season, housing market stability stumbled a bit due to the cold winter and a softening of economic growth. The slight decline in the national MiMi value this month is broad-based, and not concentrated in a handful of state or metro markets.

News Facts:

  • The national MiMi value stands at 74.6, indicating a weak housing market overall and showing a slight decline (-0.20%) from December to January and 3-month decline of (-0.37%). On a year-over-year basis, the U.S. housing market has improved (+3.39%). The nation’s all-time MiMi high of 121.7 was April 2006; its low was 57.4 in October 2010, when the housing market was at its weakest. Since that time, the housing market has made a 30 percent rebound.
  • Fourteen of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia have MiMi values in a stable range, with North Dakota (96.9), the District of Columbia (96.3), Hawaii (90.1), Montana (90.0), and Wyoming (88.4) ranking in the top five.
  • Nine of the 50 metro areas have MiMi values in a stable range, with Austin (86.0), Los Angeles (85.2), San Jose (84.1), Houston (82.2), and San Francisco (82.2) ranking in the top five.
  • The most improving states month-over-month were Oregon (+1.29%), Idaho (+0.49%), Utah (+0.49%), Georgia (+0.48%) and Michigan (+0.28%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving states were Nevada (+12.02%), Colorado (+9.52%), Rhode Island (8.41%), Florida (+7.97%), and Illinois (+7.73%).
  • The most improving metro areas month-over-month were Portland (+0.65), Sacramento (+0.14%), Denver (+0.12%) and San Jose (+0.00%). On a year-over-year basis, the most improving metro areas were Las Vegas (+14.45%), Denver (+13.37%), Providence (+9.41%), Chicago (+7.41%), and Austin (+7.23%).
  • In January, 11 of the 50 states and 21 of the 50 metros were showing an improving three month trend. The same time last year, 49 states plus the District of Columbia, and all 50 of the top 50 metro areas were showing an improving three month trend.

Quote attributable to Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Len Kiefer:

“Housing markets weakened slightly this month, which is no surprise considering the harsh winter and slowdown in economic activity at the outset of 2015. While single-family purchase applications dipped a bit across the board from December to January, they are still up nearly 3 percent from last year. Improving employment and attractive mortgage rates should help to support increased purchase applications, particularly as the weather warms up and we head into the spring homebuying season.”

“The good news is that mortgage delinquencies also continued their steady decline. The national MiMi current on mortgage indicator for January is up 10 percent from a year ago at 67.5, the highest level we’ve seen since in six years. The improvement in households paying their mortgages on time has been dramatic. For example, at its low point in February of 2010, California’s MiMi current on mortgage indicator was just 22.8. Since then, California has seen major improvements and today the current on mortgage indicator is 77.6, showing a 240 percent improvement from its low point and an 8.2 percent improvement from one year ago.”


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Prepare Your Credit for a Mortgage | Waccabuc Real Estate

Applying for a mortgage soon? Consider this: Improving your credit health could limit how much you’ll need to pay in interest and potentially save you thousands of dollars.

According to Zillow, the median home value in the United States is $178,500. Let’s pretend that two people each want a $178,500 30-year fixed mortgage and have the same amount saved up for a down payment. However, one has an excellent credit score of 760 while the other has a poor score of 620.

How much more do you think the person with the poor credit score will have to pay?

In most cases, poor credit could cost that consumer tens of thousands of dollars. Even the seemingly minuscule difference between a 3.5 percent interest rate and a 5 percent interest rate could tack on an extra $59,000 or more over the life of the mortgage, according to FICO’s loan savings calculator. (Keep in mind, interest rates and savings can vary and are ultimately up to the lender.)

It’s clear that your credit is important. Let’s discuss a few ways to prepare your credit in the months or years leading up to your mortgage application:

1. Monitor your credit score.

Your credit score will likely be one of the most important aspects of the approval process. Don’t go into the mortgage process blind. Instead, check your score ahead of time so you can estimate what kind of rates you may get and whether your credit is good enough to get you approved. Then, identify areas of your credit history that need work, make steps to improve and continually monitor your progress.

2. Pull your credit reports and dispute errors.

A 2013 Federal Trade Commission study found that 1 in 4 consumers identified errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores. The same study found that 5 percent had errors on one of their reports that could lead to them paying more for products such as auto loans and mortgages.

Don’t let errors on your credit reports cause you to pay more than you should. Before looking for a mortgage, be sure to pull all three of your credit reports and dispute any errors that could affect your score, such an incorrect account or the wrong credit limit. The dispute process may not be instantaneous, but the time and effort you put into ensuring your reports accurately represent your credit history will be worth it if it saves you money on interest.

3. Pay off outstanding delinquent accounts.

Like other lenders, mortgage underwriters want to ensure you’re a reliable borrower who will make payments on time, so having outstanding delinquent accounts on your credit report can drastically hurt your chance of being approved. Before you apply, consider paying off any delinquencies. Also try to lessen the impact late payments may have on your score by burying them with months or years of timely payments first.


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2014 Ended with 39 Percent of Housing Markets Fully Recovered | Waccabuc Real Estate

As the year ended, 39 percent, or 117, of the nation’s largest 300 markets achieved full price recovery, up 30 percent from the end of 2013. Hundreds of other markets moved closer to full recovery; by December, the average rebound percentage of all 300 markets was 95.85 percent, which was slightly higher than 95.49 percent recorded in November.


Markets that lost the least value during the Great Recession have been the first to rebound. Of the markets with a peak-to-trough decline of less than 10 percent, 25 had an average rebound of 107 percent in December. Of the markets that lost 10 to 20 percent of value, the average rebound reached 99 percent of the prior peak price in December. In the markets that suffered the most severe price declines, the average rebound percentage was 81 percent.


In December, 42 of the top 100 markets measured continued to show a complete price recovery, increasing by two from November. Jackson, MS and NashvilleDavidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN were the new markets rebounding at 100.15 percent and 100.16 percent, respectively. Additionally, 75 midsize markets saw a rebound above 100 percent, up by four markets from November’s report.


“Great progress was made in the housing market during 2014. It put the real estate sector within striking distance of a majority of the nation’s 300 largest markets reaching full price recovery.  As markets reach new price peaks, they are restoring equity to millions of homeowners, making it possible for them to refinance or sell,” said David Mele, president of Homes.com.


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How Zillow Is Overestimating the Value of Your Home | Waccabuc Real Estate

Buying a home is arguably the largest investment you can make. You purchase your house, probably put work into it to make it fit your style, and hopefully add improvements along the way that will increase its value. So when it’s time to sell the house, you want to make sure you’re getting the best price for it. That often includes working with a real estate agent in your area, but it can also mean researching online ahead of time to get a good idea of a fair market price.

But the problem is that, sometimes, those online estimates inflate what homes are actually worth, causing a rift in expectations. And when Zillow says the price is higher than a realtor wants to ask, it can create conflict when trying to sell your house.

It’s a conflict that has begun to spring up more frequently, as growing numbers of people turn to online sites to price check before contacting a realtor. A total of 105.4 million people visited real estate websites in January 2015, an increase of about 24% from the year before, according to information provided by analytics website comScore. Within those categories, Zillow accounted for 57.4 million visitors to their site. Trulia, which was formally acquired by Zillow on February 17, accounted for another 36.3 million unique visitors, representing 71% of the total visitors in the real estate category.

Zillow’s staff knows that prices can vary from online to what the sign says in your front yard. It’s why the website has a section devoted to explaining how the “Zestimates” are created, the information that’s used, and some of the variation people can expect in certain areas around the country. Zillow lists Zestimates for about 100 million homes nationwide, but Zillow reportsit has an 8% median error rate across the country. That means that about half the Zestimates fall within 8% of the selling price, and about half fall out of that range.

To put that 8% into perspective, assume there’s a house that sells for $350,000. About half the time, Zestimates will show a fair price between $322,000 and $378,000, the 8% spread of about $28,000 on either side of that selling price. But the other half of the time, it could be outside that range. And as always when working with percentages, the value of the home directly impacts the range. For a home worth $500,000, that spread on either side of the selling price could be $40,000.

In certain parts of the country, that variation is even more severe. Twenty-five states have median error rates that fall below the national average, with Virginia and Nebraska at 5.5% and 5.7%, respectively. But West Virginia, at the other end of the spectrum, has a median error rate of 13.6%. Zillow doesn’t keep data on every county across the country, but some such as Dade County in Georgia have error rates of 35%. The highest listed in the data from December 2014 is Apache County in Arizona at 69.4%.

Read more: http://wallstcheatsheet.com/business/how-zillow-is-overestimating-the-value-of-your-home.html/?a=viewall#ixzz3SnKz8qU7

Existing home sales collapse in January despite low mortgage rates | Waccabuc Real Estate

Existing home sales collapsed 4.9% in January to their lowest rate in nine months, falling well below analyst expectations, led by a massive drop in western region, according to the National Association of Realtors.

All major regions experienced declines in January, with the Northeast and West seeing the largest.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, fell 4.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.82 million in January from an upwardly-revised 5.07 million in December.

“January’s drop in existing home sales is a bit concerning,” said Bill Banfield, vice president at Quicken Loans. “Economic indicators and stubbornly-low interest rates would lead most to expect improvement, yet recent housing reports have indicated the opposite. Inventory is a number I’ll be watching in the coming months as it has the power to help existing sales bounce back.”

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market got off to a somewhat disappointing start to begin the year with January closings down throughout the country.

“January housing data can be volatile because of seasonal influences, but low housing supply and the ongoing rise in home prices above the pace of inflation appeared to slow sales despite interest rates remaining near historic lows,” he said. “Realtors are reporting that low rates are attracting potential buyers, but the lack of new and affordable listings is leading some to delay decisions.”

Total housing inventory at the end of January increased 0.5% to 1.87 million existing homes available for sale, but is 0.5% lower than a year ago. Unsold inventory is at a 4.7-month supply at the current sales pace – up from 4.4 months in December.

The slowdown in mortgage purchase applications is alsoweighing on analysts. Mortgage purchase apps have faltered, and that limits upside risk for mortgage rates, according to the analyst team lead by Chris Flanagan atBank of America/Merrill Lynch.


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Sweet Little Cape with Its Own Sandy Beach | Waccabuc Real Estate

Technically, this property is in Noyack, but the address is Sag Harbor, and the views are of Sag Harbor Cove. If a buyer is looking for an easy to manage weekend house, this place would fit the bill. It’s small (just 750sf) but nice, with an updated kitchen and bathroom, cozy living room with fireplace, and two bedrooms. Outside, the plot is a petite 0.18 acre, but you get your own sandy beach and a there’s an existing permit for a dock. Price isn’t bad; another house just down the street sold for $2.05M last year, but that was larger with slightly more land.


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Jobs Gains Will Support Housing Demand | Waccabuc Real Estate

The end of 2014 saw an acceleration of job creation that compared favorably with the poor start to the year. Combined with the ongoing expansion of consumer confidence, these trends will help support housing demand and residential construction during 2015.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that payroll employment expanded by 257,000 in January, with an additional 147,000 jobs reported in November and December after data revisions. The unemployment rate inched up to 5.7% in January from 5.6% in December, which is in fact a positive development as this change was due to more individuals seeking work. In January, home builders and remodelers added 20,100 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the industry has created 162,000 jobs.

The separate BLS JOLTS survey of job openings and turnover suggests additional hiring ahead. For the overall economy, the job opening rate (number of unfilled jobs as a percent of total employment) reached 3.5% in December, the highest rate for the post-recession period.

The number of open construction sector jobs for December (on a seasonally adjusted basis) rose to 147,000. The December level marks the third-highest monthly measure of unfilled jobs in construction during the post-recession period. Quits surged in the construction sector for the month, along with a moderate increase in hiring, which may reflect some worker churn among employers.

The good news on the employment front has helped consumer confidence. The January 2015 University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment soared to its highest level since January 2004. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index also increased sharply, reaching its highest level since August 2007.

With respect to the broadest measure of the economy, the advance estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis indicates that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased at a 2.6% annual rate. This was below expectations, which were generally around 3%.


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Gilded Age Palace of H.V. Poor Seeks a Modern Robber Baron | Waccabuc Real Estate


At the peak the Gilded Age, steel tycoons and other professional exploiters only built their mansions in the Hamptons or Newport if they couldn’t get a property in Tuxedo Park, New York. Founded in the 1880s by a tobacco millionaire and “sportsman” who won a whole lotta acres in a poker game, the area became home to such notable Americans as Adele Colgate (heir to the Colgate/Palmolive fortune), William Waldorf Astor, and JP Morgan. It was also home to a finance dude with the totally ironic name of Henry Poor, otherwise known as the guy who begot half of the famous Standard & Poor stock index.

“Poor’s Palace,” which is also known as “Woodland,” was designed by eminent era architect Henry T. Randall, who gave the place a grand limestone entrance, a smoking room for the gents, drawing and dining rooms with deep relief ceilings, hand-painted insets for the grand dames, ample terraces, and wood paneled hallways. All 17,265-square-feet of that is still there, if a little worse for wear. What’s more, it’s all on the market with 4.8 surrounding acres for $9.999M.


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