Tag Archives: #waccabucrealestate

U.S. housing starts fall 9% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Housing starts in the United States tumbled 9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1047 thousand in September from August of 2016, below market expectations of 1175 thousand. It is the lowest figure since March of 2015, due to a fall in construction of multifamily homes. In contrast, building permits rose 6.3 percent to 1225 thousand, beating expectations of 1165 thousand. Housing Starts in the United States averaged 1439.56 Thousand from 1959 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 2494 Thousand in January of 1972 and a record low of 478 Thousand in April of 2009. Housing Starts in the United States is reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

United States Housing Starts



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Mortgage rates average 3.48% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates ticking down slightly from last week’s post-Brexit high.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.48 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending September 22, 2016, down from last week when it averaged 3.50 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.86 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.76 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.77 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.08 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.80 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.82 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.91 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 link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“The 10-year Treasury yield declined after last week’s post-Brexit high in anticipation of the Fed’s September policy meeting. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage followed Treasury yields, falling 2 basis points and settling at 3.48 percent. Despite the decrease in rates, the Refinance Index plunged 8 percent to its lowest level since June.

Used home sales | Waccabuc Real Estate

Existing Home Sales in the United States is expected to be 5569.18 Thousand by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Existing Home Sales in the United States to stand at 5438.60 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the United States Existing Home Sales is projected to trend around 5182.05 Thousand in 2020, according to our econometric models.

United States Existing Home Sales


Forecast Actual Q2/16 Q3/16 Q4/16 Q1/17 2020 Unit
Existing Home Sales 5530 5569 5472 5453 5439 5182 Thousand
United States Existing Home Sales Forecasts are projected using an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model calibrated using our analysts expectations. We model the past behaviour of United States Existing Home Sales using vast amounts of historical data and we adjust the coefficients of the econometric model by taking into account our analysts assessments and future expectations. The forecast for – United States Existing Home Sales – was last predicted on Wednesday, June 22, 2016.
United States Housing Last Q2/16 Q3/16 Q4/16 Q1/17 2020
Building Permits 1138 1140 1152 1161 1171 1250
Housing Starts 1164 1164 1175 1184 1193 1213
New Home Sales 619 531 475 517 510 590
Pending Home Sales 4.6 3.38 2.9 2.3 1.99 1.42
Existing Home Sales 5530 5569 5472 5453 5439 5182
Construction Spending -1.8 0.2 0.4 0.3 0.3 -0.9
Housing Index 0.2 0.45 0.43 0.41 0.4 0.31
Nahb Housing Market Index 60 58 59.79 59.1 58.6 53.76
Mortgage Rate 3.76 4.9 5.1 3.85 3.9 6.5
Mortgage Applications 2.9 0.02 0.49 0.5 0.5 0.5
Home Ownership Rate 63.5 63.52 63.53 63.53 63.53 63.53
Case Shiller Home Price Index 184 192 195 196 196 174

US home construction jumps | Waccabuc Real Estate

Construction of new homes rose in February to the highest level in five months, but applications for new construction were weak for a third month.

Housing starts rose 5.2 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.18 million units, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Construction had fallen in January in December, declines that had been blamed in part on winter weather.

Applications for building permits, a gauge of future activity, fell 3.1 percent to an annual rate of 1.17 million units after a flat reading in January and a drop in December.

The decline in building permits, unless reversed, could signal future trouble in an industry that was a bright spot for the economy last year.

But Bricklin Dwyer, an economist with BNP Paribas, said the slump in building permit applications should only translate into a brief construction slowdown given the solid fundamentals supporting housing.

“We see a resilient labor market as supportive of a continued slow and steady housing recovery and low housing inventory should continue to bolster residential construction ahead,” Dwyer said.

For February, construction of single-family homes rose 7.2 percent to an annual rate of 822,000 units. Construction in the smaller apartment sector edged up a slight 0.8 percent to a rate of 356,000 units.

Regionally, construction activity plunged 51.3 percent in the Northeast but showed strength in all other regions. Construction rose 19.9 percent in the Midwest, 7.1 percent in the South and 26.1 percent in the West.

The National Association of Homebuilders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index held steady at 58 for March. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor.

Sales of new homes surged 14.5 percent last year to 501,000, marking the strongest year for this segment of the housing market since 2007.


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Why housing isn’t back in a bubble | Waccabuc Real Estate

This is the third of three articles about the U.S. housing market. Ex-housing, the U.S. is in deflation currently at -1% YoY. So the only current “inflation risk” that might justify the Fed raising rates is the appreciation in house prices. In my previous two posts, I explained that both housing and apartment demand are supported by increased demographic demand, as the Millennial generation creates about the same affect on single and multi-unit housing as their Boomer parents and grandparents did 50 years ago. Further, there has been a marked increase in foreign buying of homes, skewed towards the upper end and disproportionately all-cash purchases. As a big part of this increase has come from Chinese nationals, the current problems hitting that county may ease demand, and therefore ease upward pressure, on U.S. house prices.

But some have argued that housing has entered a 2nd bubble. Some of this comes from the usual Doomer chorus Seriously, one guy actually claimed a couple of weeks ago that there was a bubble in rents! It must be the Underpants Gnomes theory of bubbles:
1. rent lots of vacant units
2. ???
3. Profit!

What’s the missing step 2? Sublet everything, because everyone knows that rents only go up?!?

But some is more serious analysis. The website Political Calculations, for example, believes there is a bubble based on the movement in prices vs. median household income. Here’s their relevant graph:

The point of view does have merit, since after all it is households buying houses! But I believe that misses the bigger picture.

To begin with, the big problem in assessing house prices is that, since housing is itself nearly 40% of the CPI, by what should house prices be deflated, for a “real” measure? Here is a graph created by Doug Short, the Case Shiller house index by median household income, by the entire CPI, and by owner’s equivalent rent:

Nominal house prices, and prices deflated by median household income, appear to show housing in a new bubble. But deflated by CPI and by owner’s equivalent rent, prices haven’t moved much off their bottom. Nor has there been much movement when house prices are deflated by average hourly wages:

To sort out how extreme (or not) house prices are, let’s consider three types of purchasers:
1. the entry level purchaser, likely young, likely buying a townhouse, condo, or small single family home perhaps in an inner ring suburb.
2. the move-up purchaser, trading in a smaller house for a bigger one.
3. the retirement purchaser, either downsizing or building the retirement home of their dreams.

Income is likely the main measure for the 1st purchaser. They probably don’t have a lot of savings with which to make a big downpayment, and may be getting help from family members. The most important thing for them is whether they will be able to make the monthly mortgage payment and other bills.

While household income constrains that ability, mortgage rates also loom large. And here is what happens when we calculate the monthly mortgage payment of a house, as measured by the Case Shiller Index, and then adjusted for mortgage rates:

Courtesy of lower mortgage rates, even though median household income has actually declined for all ages 25-64 since 2007, the typical monthly mortgage payment now is only about 50% of what it was at the peak of the housing bubble, even when we take median household income into account.


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Building Labor Shortage Intensifies | Waccabuc Real Estate

A survey of single-family builders conducted by NAHB in June 2015 shows that shortages of labor and subcontractors—already quite widespread in mid-2014—have become even more widespread during the past year.

The shortages are most acute for basic skills like carpentry, which are needed during the construction of any home.  For example, in the 2015 survey 69 percent of builders reported a shortage (either serious or some) of construction workers willing and able to do rough carpentry.

2015 labor shortages

Builders, however, may be even more concerned about the availability of subcontractors than of workers to employ directly.  In building a single-family home, three-quarters of the construction work is typically done by subcontractors (documented in a 2012 NAHB survey available here).  The rankings of labor and subcontractor shortages in the 2015 survey were similar, but—with the exception of building maintenance managers—the shortages of subcontractors were more widespread.  In the rough carpentry category at the top of  both charts, 74 percent of builders reported a shortage of subcontractors, compared to 69 percent for labor directly employed.

2015 sub shortages

Historically, for every trade covered in the survey, shortages were more widespread in 2015 than in 2014.  One way to see this is to look at the labor shortage percentage averaged across all 9 trades that NAHB surveys have covered in a consistent way since 1996.  This average skyrocketed from a low of 21 percent in 2012 to 46 percent in 2014, before increasing even further to 52 percent in 2015.

Nine trade history

The 9 consistently covered trades are carpenters-rough, carpenters-finished, electricians, excavators, framing crews, roofers, plumbers, bricklayers/masons and painters.  The history for each is available in the full report.  The survey’s current list of 12 trades was recommended by Home Builders Institute, NAHB’s workforce development arm.

The incidence of shortages is surprisingly high given the rate of new home construction, which has only partially recovered from its 2008 downturn.  In fact, the 9-trade shortage is now substantially higher than it was at the peak of the 2004-2005 boom, when annual starts were averaging around 2 million, compared to current rates of about 1 million.  The last time builder-reported labor shortages were as widespread as now was just before 2001—during a prolonged period of strong GDP growth with overall unemployment as low as 4.0 percent.



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Farmers Market in the Area | Waccabuc Real Estate


Aroma Coffee Roast, Calcutta Kitchens, OM Champagne Tea,
and Robinson & Co. Catering Join Weekly Roster;

Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, Hudson River Apiaries, Nana’s Home Kitchen, and Taiim Falafel Shack Add to Saturday Bounty!

April 9th-15th, 2015

 What’s New, In Season, and On Sale This Week
$2 OFF when you buy 2 items: Frozen samosa, kofta, saag, rajma, and/or chutneys
Bombay Emerald Chutney Co.
Chicken Bone Broth
$10 for one 24 oz bag or $18 for two.Great for the “Bone Broth Challenge”
(a cup a day) or in wide variety of cooking!
Yellow Bell Farm
Gluten Free Peasant Bread
Meredith’s Bread

Gluten Free
Rosemary Olive Bread

Meredith’s Bread

Click on a market to see all vendor and event details…

Ossining Winter

9:00 am-1:00 pm
In Market Square: The corner of Spring & Main Streets in downtown Ossining

Mamaroneck Winter

9:00 am-1:00 pm
St. Thomas Episcopal Church
168 W. Boston Post Road

Headed to the city? We’ve got markets there, too. CLICK HERE for details.


The Fearless Pie Crust with Pie Lady & Son
Wednesday, May 6th, from 7-9 pm
Down to Earth Markets Office, 173 Main Street, 3rd Floor, Ossining, NY

Next up in our Learning Center — and just in time for Mother’s Day — the mother and son team of Deborah and Wil Tyler invite you to learn how to make the perfect pie crust.

Deborah learned to bake during her college studies in England when she worked in the campus kitchen. She was inspired by the lead baker, a woman who made huge batches of all-butter pie crust and who “didn’t even measure the water” for her recipes.

“People have such trepidation about pie crusts, yet this lady was fearless. I didn’t come back with a recipe, but I came home inspired by her style – by her fearlessness,” Deborah explains.

Now all are invited to cast away our pie crust fears forever with Deborah and Wil.

Learning Center tickets are $15/person and available by calling 914-923-4837.
Tickets will also be available on our website shortly. We look forward to seeing you!

For upcoming events, visit our Down to Earth Markets Event Calendar.

Stay tuned to all market happenings via our Down to Earth Markets Facebook page
and follow us on Instagram and on Twitter @DowntoEarthMkts

Rotating* Vendors This Week
*Vendors who rotate through various markets during the season.
They enjoy getting to know many communities. Here’s where to find them this week:

Mamaroneck – Saturday, April 11th

Aroma Coffee Roast
Calcutta Kitchens
OM Champagne Tea
Robinson & Co. Catering (Calling all culinary Anglophiles!)

Ossining – Saturday, April 11th

Bombay Emerald Chutney Company
Hudson River Apiaries
Nana’s Home Kitchen
Taiim Falafel Shack

REO’s Are Back | Waccabuc Real Estate

Four years of declining distress sales quietly ground to a halt last year and now real estate owned properties (REOs) have increased steadily for four months in a row, rising to 23.2%, based on a three-month moving average, according to the latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey.

The distressed property share of home sales peaked at 45.5% in March 2011 and declined to 21.3% as recently as September.

The numbers suggest that a market share for REOs will settle in at one out of five listings for the foreseeable future.  “A distressed property proportion above 20% is likely to be a persistent feature of the housing market,” said Tom Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys.

M ove-in ready REO is the largest category of distressed property, accounting for 10.6% of home sales in January. The move-in ready REO share of home sales has increased most months after hitting a low of 8.2% in August 2013.

Popik said the largest portion of move-in ready REO properties will likely be purchased by first-time homebuyers. Such buyers accounted for 48% of purchases of move-in ready REO sold in January, with current homeowners claiming a 39% share and investors accounting for a 13% share.

Average home prices for move-in ready REO have increased since hitting a low of $171,300 in April 2013. Move-in ready REO sold in January had an average price of $221,000.

Damaged REO accounted for 8.0% of home sales in January, increasing for the fourth consecutive month. The damaged REO share of home sales hit a low in September at 6.3%.

Investors are the main buyers of damaged REO, purchasing 61% of such properties sold in January. Demand for damaged REO was particularly strong in January, with the properties receiving an average of 3.4 offers. However, time-on-market for damaged REO also hit a 4-year high during the month with properties sold in January having stayed on the market for an average of 13.0 weeks.

Short sales accounted for 4.5% of home sales in January, with market share for the properties staying level for the previous six months. The short sale share of home sales peaked in February 2012 at 16.8%.


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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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