Tag Archives: Westchester NY Homes for Sale

Westchester NY Homes for Sale

Westchester loses AAA bond rating | Pound Ridge Real Estate

  • County used reserves to pay retroactive salary increases
  •  S&P cuts Westchester rating to AA+ and it could go lower

New York’s Westchester County, home to the wealthy suburbs of Scarsdale and Bronxville, lost its AAA grade from S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings after drawing down its cash reserves to cover retroactive raises given to government employees.

The county, which borders New York City to the north, had its grade cut one level by both companies Tuesday to AA+. S&P said there’s a one-in-three chance that it will downgrade the county’s bonds again in the next two years as the government contends with budget shortfalls, given how “narrow” its reserves were at the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

The downgrades came ahead of the county’s planned auction of $200 million of general-obligation bonds on Thursday.

“We remain concerned over the county’s ability to sustainably align revenue and expenditures and rebuild reserves to a level consistent with that of similarly rated or higher-rated peers,” said S&P analyst Nora Wittstruck.

Westchester’s general fund balance could fall to less than 4 percent of spending at the close of fiscal 2018, about half the level of reserves the county had previously maintained, S&P said.

The new federal limit on deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest could further strain the county’s budget. That cap could make it harder for residents who pay the the highest property taxes in the U.S. to sell their homes, while others could challenge their real-estate tax assessments, potentially weakening Westchester’s biggest source of income.

The average property-tax bill in the county last year was $17,179, the highest in the the U.S., according to a report by Attom Data Solutions. The federal tax law changes set a $10,000 limit on deductions for state and local levies and capped the mortgage-interest deduction to loans of $750,000.

There are some signs that high property taxes and the federal shift are having an impact.

The median price of single family homes in the county dipped to $675,000 in the third-quarter of 2018, a 3.6 percent decline from the previous quarter, according to an October 11 report by Miller Samuel Inc. and and Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Luxury homes prices fell even more, with a 6.4 percent decline to $2.1 million.

Westchester is New York’s third-wealthiest county by median family income, after Nassau and Putnam and has the second-highest per-capita income after Manhattan.

The county’s new executive, George Latimer, has proposed selling parking lots in White Plains to plug a $22 million hole in his 2019 spending plan, according to the Journal News.

If the parking lot sale falls through, the county would have to cut spending, raise property taxes above the planned 2 percent increase or tap reserves again. The county’s $1.94 billion proposed budget includes $453 million in sales-tax revenue, 5 percent more than the year end-estimate of fiscal 2018, based on the expectation that the state will allow collections on Internet purchases.

“We believe the revenue forecast assumes a couple of significant risks,” Wittstruck said.

In a statement, Latimer said the downgrades weren’t a surprise.

“As we have said these past few months, the county is in serious financial stress,” Latimer said. “Regardless of the many steps we are taking to improve our footing, these problems were not created overnight and they will not be solved overnight.”

read more…


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-27/westchester-county-loses-aaa-rank-after-using-reserves-for-pay

US home prices dipped in Nov. on colder weather | Katonah NY Real Estate

 

U.S. home prices fell slightly in November as colder weather slowed buying, ending nine straight months of price gains.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slipped 0.1 percent from October to November, partly reversing the previous monthly increase of 0.2 percent. But the index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the monthly decline partly reflects slower buying in the late fall as temperatures drop.

“November was a good month for home prices,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones index committee. “Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter.”

Despite the overall decline, home values have continued to rise in many Sun Belt cities. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix have registered 20 straight months of rising prices.

But home prices surged for much of 2013, driven by big gains earlier in the year. Prices have risen 13.7 percent over the past 12 months.

Dallas enjoyed its strongest annual gain since 2000. And Chicago home prices climbed at their strongest annual clip since December 1988. Among the cities in the index, only Detroit prices remain below their 2000 level.

 

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/us-home-prices-dipped-nov-colder-weather-140018478–finance.html

 

‘Pay for what agents value, unless they’re wrong’ | Chappaqua NY Real Estate

 

Joseph “Joe” Rand has what he says is one “golden rule” to profitability, at least when it comes to expenses: Pay as little as possible, only for what your agents really value, and pay for nothing else — unless they’re wrong.

Rand is managing partner at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty in the New York metro area. Last year, the firm generated about $45 million in revenue, Rand said.

He spoke to a roomful of his colleagues at Real Estate Connect New York City today in a session called “Survival War Room for Brokers.”

“If your business model is aligned with what your agents value, you’ll be just fine. It really depends on you being a good operator and executing on that,” Rand said.

But ”sometimes there’s a disconnect between what agents want and what they should want,” he added.

For instance, his brokerage used to pay for personal assistants for their most successful agents. But then the industry changed and the agents didn’t need those assistants as much, so the firm allowed the agents to spend that money on marketing.

 

 

– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2014/01/15/the-golden-rule-to-profitability-for-brokers/?utm_source=20140116&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.Gw830cZN.dpuf

Spike In Westchester Home Sales Is Good For Buyers And Sellers | Chappaqua NY Homes

 

Westchester home sales increased 21 percent in 2013 over the previous year, which has created a great environment for sellers, said Diane Cummins, president of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR).

The White Plains-based group released its 2013 year-end home sales report this week. It showed 13,781 total sales in its coverage area, which includes Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Rockland counties. This is the highest number of sales since 2007, according to the report.

Among the four counties, Westchester only trailed Orange in increased sales over 2012.

“I think we’ve turned the corner,” Cummins said. “I think these numbers demonstrate a consistent growth pattern.”

Sales really picked up in the second and third quarters of the year. They slowed down somewhat in the fourth quarter, which is typical due to the weather and holidays, Cummins said. However, fourth quarter sales in 2013 were up 16 percent over 2012 and 34 percent over 2011, according to Joe Rand, managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens.

“That finished a really strong year. Sales came back in a really big way in 2013,” he said in a video.

With two years of increased home sales, prices are starting to follow, which Rand said usually trails home sales by one-to-two years.

 

http://chappaqua.dailyvoice.com/real-estate/spike-westchester-home-sales-good-buyers-and-sellers

Make popular social media site a relationship machine | North Salem NY Real Estate

 

I need about 3,000 words to thoroughly cover this topic, but the nice people at Inman Next aren’t down with that, so I’ll be efficient. Which is exactly what real estate professionals should be with Facebook. Be efficient and effective.

Many people I talk to in the real estate industry feel far too much time is wasted on social networks, especially Facebook. I agree. That’s why for the last few years I have focused my efforts on helping agents be strategic with Facebook. With a couple tweaks, Facebook can be a relationship machine.

Are relationships important in real estate? I’ve posed this question to hundreds of real estate professionals and the answer is always “yes.”

The tweaks are not on a Facebook business page. They have value for many businesses and industries, but, in my opinion, real estate is not one of those industries. Gaining “likes” and traction is labor-intensive; there is little to zero engagement; and people do not go to Facebook to search for homes.

For most agents, their Facebook profile is where relationships can be built and maintained. We have become a nation of “oversharers,” and while that can be annoying to many people, it is great news to real estate professionals.

Wouldn’t it be great if agents could customize the Facebook news feed so it showed updates from only their best clients? Then it would be simple to engage the most important people, especially if they like to overshare. Wouldn’t this help maintain and build on these relationships? Wouldn’t this make Facebook more effective?

– See more at: http://www.inman.com/next/custom-friend-lists-make-facebook-a-relationship-machine/?utm_source=20140115&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.5wvMXleq.dpuf

Marketing center users can now create full display ads with contact info, photos, company logo | Bedford Corners NY Homes

 

When Craigslist got rid of enhanced listings in November, many real estate agents were forced to pull back on one of their main marketing channels.

The online classifieds giant prevented agents and other advertisers from including links in their Craigslist ads, and forced them to revert to plain text and fixed photos.

Now, real estate marketing software firm Imprev Inc. has come up with a workaround for agents who lost the ability to post full display ads on Craigslist when the classifieds giant changed its site specifications.

Through a new Craigslist display ad format available via Imprev’s marketing platform, agents will once again be able to create full display ads, complete with their contact information, brokerage logo, custom text, property images, and personal or team photos.

Per Craiglist’s rules, the ads will still not contain hyperlinks, but agents will be able to lay out full display ads easily, without having to use a cumbersome desktop software program, Imprev spokesman Kevin Hawkins told Inman News.

“Real estate agents were left hanging when Craigslist effectively pulled the plug on display ads,” said Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev, in a statement.

“Agents that use the Imprev platform can once again create engaging, high-quality display ads for Craigslist.”

– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2014/01/13/imprev-rolls-out-new-craigslist-display-ad-workaround/?utm_source=20140114&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.Flc9EiC2.dpuf

Australia Housing Report Revives Bubble Fears | Katonah Homes

Australia’s latest housing data, while promising on the surface, has increased concern the market may be overheating, posing a potential threat to a still fragile economic recovery.

A government report Monday showed the value of home loans approved in Australia rose 1.1% in November from October and 15% from a year earlier, confirming that record-low interest rates are continuing to fuel demand for houses and apartments.

However, the data also highlighted two trends that policy makers will be less thrilled about.

First, the rise in the value of mortgages approved continues to be driven by people looking to invest in property, rather than those seeking to move into houses or apartments. Second, first-home buyers are increasingly being frozen out of a market in which house prices have hit record highs in some large cities.

“While owner-occupier demand is intensifying, investor demand is surging well ahead,” said Janu Chan, a Sydney-based economist at St. George Bank in a note to clients, pointing out that investor loans for housing exceeded 30% in November.

 

 

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303819704579317782145387774?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303819704579317782145387774.html

What does Mel Watt mean for housing finance in 2014? | North Salem NY Homes

Mel Watt (D-NC) is set to take the helm as the next official director at the Federal Housing Finance Administration — and we know there are no shortages of industry opinions out there about what a Democratic-led FHFA may decide to do (or not do) with the reins of the GSEs in their hands.

So, we want to hear from you: what does a Mel Watt-led FHFA mean for U.S. housing finance, in 2014 and beyond?

The best answers will be selected by our team of editors to appear in the February 2014 issue of HW Magazine, in our monthly “Sounding Board” department.

Those selected to appear will also receive a complimentary digital reprint of their contribution ($350 value), highlighting their opinion. It’s our way of saying thank you for telling us what you think.

So, if you’ve got an opinion, speak up! What does Mel Watt mean for housing finance, this year and in the future?

http://www.housingwire.com/blogs/1-rewired/post/28460-what-does-mel-watt-mean-for-housing-finance-in-2014

North Castle Administrator Goldberg Returns Shortly After Abrupt Firing | Armonk Real Estate

Less than a month after her firing, the new North Castle Town Board recently welcomed Joan Goldberg back as town administrator, according to a report from LoHud.com.

The North Castle Town Board voted unanimously to bring back Goldberg on Wednesday, Jan. 8, during the board’s first meeting of the year, according to the report. The North Castle Town Board voted 3-2 to fire Goldberg in December “without cause,” 16 months after she was hired. Town Supervisor Howard Arden and council members Diane Didonato-Roth and John Cronin, who voted for the firing, were not re-elected.

“My only concern is for the work force in North Castle to be able to understand what happened,” Goldberg said in the LoHud report. “It’s disconcerting to see this type of political stuff. When they see something like this, it really shakes the force.”

http://armonk.dailyvoice.com/news/north-castle-administrator-goldberg-returns-shortly-after-abrupt-firing