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Homeowner equity reaches highest level since 2008 | Bedford NY Real Estate

Data from the Obama Administration’s May scorecard revealed continued improvement in housing, yet officials warn that a full recovery will still take more time. 

“As the May housing scorecard indicates, the Obama Administration’s policies and actions over the last four years to speed housing recovery are continuing to show important signs of progress,” said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Affairs Kurt Usowski. 

He added, “In the first quarter of 2013, homeowners’ equity grew by more than $815 billion, reaching its highest level since the first quarter of 2008.” 

Annual home prices increased to the highest level since the housing bubble burst in mid-2006, with the S&P Case-Shillerhome price index up from 146.6 in March to 148.7 in April. Year-over-year the index is up from 134.1 in April 2012.



Bedford New York Real Estate | Bedford NY Homes by Robert Paul Realtor » Blog Archive » Homeowner equity reaches highest level since 2008 | Bedford NY Real Estate.

What To Do This Weekend In And Around Bedford | Bedford Real Estate

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Wondering what’s going on this weekend in and around Chappaqua, Mt. Kisco, Bedford or Armonk? The Daily Voice has your back! Here are some events set to take place this weekend around your town. For a more extensive listing, please visit our Events page.

Friday, June 7

Art Exhibit: Photographs from Robert Pincus will be shown all day in the Mount Kisco Public Library. 100 East Main Street, Mount Kisco.

Game Club: 3 p.m. Middle and high school students are welcome to play board games. North Castle Public Library, 19 Whippoorwill Road East, Armonk.

Movies in Millwood Park: 8:30 p.m. The first annual Movies in Millwood Park will begin with “Happy Feet” under the stars next to Rocky’s deli. 235 Saw Mill River Road.

Katonah Fire Department Carnival: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets: $1.25 each; 22 tickets for $25; 36 tickets for $40 Kiddie rides 2 tickets, all other rides 3 tickets. Sat. June 8th ride all afternoon for $22 from 1-5 pm.

Chappaqua Library Fabulous Used Book Sale: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friends of the Chappaqua Library will hold its annual used book sale in the Chappaqua Library Theater. 195 South Greeley Avenue.

Saturday, June 8

Art Exhibit: Photographs from Robert Pincus will be shown all day in the Mount Kisco Public Library. 100 East Main Street, Mount Kisco.

Learn Tai Chi in 2013: 10:30 a.m. Make tai chi your new hobby in 2013 at the North Castle Public Library with certified Feldenkrais movement and tai chi instructor Lawrence Attile. 19 Whippoorwill Road East, Armonk.

Chappaqua Farmers Market Outdoor Season: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  The Chappaqua Farmers Market welcomes shoppers for their third season with new offerings.  The market’s spring/summer season takes place outdoors at the Chappaqua train station.

Chappaqua Library Fabulous Used Book Sale: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friends of the Chappaqua Library will hold its annual used book sale in the Chappaqua Library Theater. 195 South Greeley Avenue.

Katonah Fire Department Carnival: 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets: $1.25 each; 22 tickets for $25; 36 tickets for $40 Kiddie rides 2 tickets, all other rides 3 tickets. Sat. June 8th ride all afternoon for $22 from 1-5 pm.

Sunday, June 9

Learn and Play Mah Jongg: 1 to 2:30 p.m. For those who don’t know how to play Mah Jongg – or don’t even know what it is – this is your chance to find out. Downstairs Children’s Room in the North Castle Public Library, 19 Whippoorwill Road E., Armonk.

Chappaqua Library Fabulous Used Book Sale: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friends of the Chappaqua Library will hold its annual used book sale in the Chappaqua Library Theater. All remaining books on Sunday are FREE. 195 South Greeley Avenue.


What To Do This Weekend In And Around Bedford | The Bedford Daily Voice.

Existing-home sales remain below underlying demand | Bedford Hills Real Estate

After falling in March, existing-home sales increased in April, although they were still not enough to meet underlying demand due to limited inventory and tight credit, reports the National Association of Realtors. All regions recorded year-over-year price gains.

“The powerful combination of all-time low mortgage rates and home prices that were significantly reduced after the housing crisis is fueling demand,” says Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters. “It’s quite likely that we will look back on this period as being among the best times in history to purchase a home. As the economy continues to firm, the likelihood that interest rates will rise increases and home prices will continue their upward climb as well.”

In April, existing-home sales — completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — rose 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted rate of 4.97 million from an upwardly revised 4.94 million in March. April’s numbers are up 9.7% from the 4.53 million-unit level in April 2012.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market recovery is solid. “The robust housing market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory. Without these frictions, existing-home sales easily would be well above the 5-million unit pace,” he said.

Buyer traffic is 31% stronger than a year ago, according to Yun, but sales are running only about 10% higher. “It’s become quite clear that the only way to tame price growth to a manageable, healthy pace is higher levels of new home construction,” he said.

Existing-home sales are hovering at the highest pace since November 2009, when the market saw 5.44 million sales in response to the homebuyer tax credit. This marks the 22ndstraight month of year-over-year sales gains and the 14thconsecutive month of year-over-year price increases.

Inventory inched up slowly to 2.16 million existing homes available for sale. This represents a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace versus 4.7 months in March.

The median sales price for existing homes was up 11% year-over-year, reaching $192,800. The last time the nation saw 14 consecutive months of year-over-year price gains was April 2005 to May 2006. 


Existing-home sales remain below underlying demand | HousingWire.

Home values rise 5% for sixth consecutive month | Bedford Real Estate

For the sixth straight month, home value appreciation was at or exceeded 5%, according to data from Zillow. More specifically, home values rose in April to $158,300. 

Home values jumped 5.2% over year ago levels, Zillow ($59.41 0%)reported, reaching their highest level since June 2004.

A majority of the 365 metros — 55% to be exact — experienced home value appreciation in April from March. Sacramento saw the largest monthly increase, with home values jumping 3.4%. Las Vegas and San Francisco also reported monthly increases of 3% and 2.8%, respectively. 

Looking forward, home values from April 2013 through April 2014 are predicted to rise 4% to approximately $164,648, according to Zillow. This is a drop from the 5.2% annual rate of appreciation reported between April 2012 and April 2013 and indicates a shift in supply and demand in some of the hardest-hit markets. 

“April marks the sixth straight month of annual home value appreciation of 5% or above, the longest such streak since the height of the bubble in 2006. In the short-term, this has been welcome news for homeowners. But in the long-term, this cannot be sustained, and consumers entering the market today should not expect this kind of appreciation to last,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. 

Humphries added, “Overall, we expect home value appreciation to moderate as more supply comes on line over the next year, but in some areas, runaway home value appreciation, combined with expected interest rate hikes in coming years, runs a real risk of pricing out many potential buyers. Home values in these areas will have to flatten or even fall to come back in line.”

Chicago was the only metro that did not experience year-over-year home value increases. More than half of the 30 largest metros covered saw double-digit percentage increases.­



Home values rise 5% for sixth consecutive month | HousingWire.

Home Depot reported strong first quarter earnings, citing the recovering housing market | Bedford Real Estate

Home improvement retailing giant Home Depot reported strong first quarter earnings this morning, citing the recovering housing market as a key driver.

Earnings per share were $0.83 versus analysts’ consensus prediction of $0.77. Revenues came in at $19.1 billion, topping estimates for $18.69 billion.

U.S. same-store sales rose 4.8% during the quarter.

“In the first quarter, we saw less favorable weather compared to last year, but we continue to see benefit from a recovering housing market that drove a stronger-than-expected start to the year for our business,” said Home Depot Chairman and CEO Frank Blake in the press release.

Shares are up 3.6% in pre-market trading.

Below is the full text from the release:

ATLANTA, May 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — The Home Depot®, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, today reported sales of $19.1 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, a 7.4 percent increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Due to the 14th week in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, first quarter sales benefited from a seasonal timing change that added approximately $574 million to sales. On a like for like basis, comparable store sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were positive 4.3 percent, and comp sales for U.S. stores were positive 4.8 percent.

(Logo:http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20030502/HOMEDEPOTLOGO )

Net earnings for the first quarter were $1.2 billion, or $0.83 per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $1.0 billion, or $0.68 per diluted share, in the same period of fiscal 2012. For the first quarter of fiscal 2013, diluted earnings per share increased 22.1 percent from the same period in the prior year.

“In the first quarter, we saw less favorable weather compared to last year, but we continue to see benefit from a recovering housing market that drove a stronger-than-expected start to the year for our business,” said Frank Blake, chairman & CEO. “I would like to thank our associates for their hard work and commitment to our customers.”

Updated Fiscal 2013 Guidance

Based on its year-to-date performance and outlook for the balance of the year, the Company raised its fiscal 2013 sales guidance and now expects sales to be up approximately 2.8 percent with comparable store sales up approximately 4.0 percent for the year. The Company raised its fiscal 2013 diluted earnings-per-share guidance and now expects diluted earnings per share to be up approximately 17 percent to $3.52 for the year. The Company’s fiscal 2013 sales and earnings-per-share guidance is based on a 52-week year compared to fiscal 2012, a 53-week year.

The Company’s earnings-per-share guidance includes the benefit of its year-to-date share repurchases and intent to repurchase $4.4 billion in additional shares over the remainder of the year, which will bring the total dollar amount of shares repurchased to $6.5 billion for the year.

The Home Depot will conduct a conference call today at 9 a.m. ET to discuss information included in this news release and related matters. The conference call will be available in its entirety through a webcast and replay at earnings.homedepot.com.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/home-depot-q1-2013-earnings-2013-5#ixzz2TvsZlvWk



Home Depot Q1 2013 Earnings – Business Insider.

Foster a Culture of Gratitude | Bedford NY Realtor

In the movie Remember the Titans, Coach Herman Boone takes his high school football team to the battleground of Gettysburg. Having inherited a fractured and divided squad, Coach Boone implores the players to “take a lesson from the dead. If we don’t come together, right now on this hallowed ground, we too will be destroyed, just like they were.” Coach Boone then establishes the primacy of an important team virtue: “I don’t care if you like each other right now, but you will respect each other.”

In every workplace and on every team, all people have the innate desire to feel appreciated and valued by others. Like Coach Boone, leaders of teams — and team members themselves — should work to foster a culture of value and appreciation.

High performing teams have well-defined goals, systems of accountability, clear roles and responsibilities, and open communication. Just as importantly, teams that foster cohesion with a sense of appreciation and gratitude among the team members maximize performance on a number of dimensions. Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, authors of the Wisdom of Teams, define a high-performing team in part by members’ strong personal commitment to the growth and success of each team member and of the team as a whole.

Research on gratitude and appreciation demonstrates that when employees feel valued, they have high job satisfaction, are willing to work longer hours, engage in productive relationships with co-workers and supervisors, are motivated to do their best, and work towards achieving the company’s goals. Google, which sits atop many best-places-to-work lists, fosters feelings of employee value through an open culture that promotes employee input, routinely rewards and recognizes performance, and encourages personal growth. In a recent interview, CEO Larry Page stated, “My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society.”

And consider the consequences of not fostering a culture of gratitude: A study of over 1,700 employees conducted in 2012 by the American Psychological Association (APA) indicated that more than half of all employees intended to search for new jobs because they felt underappreciated and undervalued.

Several recent articles point out the importance of saying “thank you” and giving specific praise to employees when earned in genuine, honest, and heartfelt ways. Mark Gaston’s blog on How to Give a Meaningful Thank-you is full of great advice such as sharing with employees how their contributions had personal significance for the leader and team.
In addition to these very important gestures of thanks, recent research suggests that a leader can enhance a culture of gratitude in the following ways.

  1. Help others develop. Interestingly, the APA study indicated that 70% of employees feel valued at work when they have opportunities for growth and development. While promotion opportunities within companies may sometimes be limited, you can still invest in team members’ professional development through training, assignment to new and interesting projects, participation on task forces, and exposure to new and interesting different areas through cross-training. Employees frequently have skills that extend beyond the position for which the company hired them. Additionally, they typically grow their skills over time. Leveraging these broad skill sets can lead to greater engagement and satisfaction.
  2. Involve employees. Team members feel valued when they have an opportunity to take part in decision-making, problem-solving, and to use their skills to benefit the organization. A 2012 study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) showed the importance of employees’ opportunities to use skills and abilities, with 63% of respondents listing the ability to use their skills as the top driver of their job satisfaction.
  3. Support camaraderie and collegiality. I conducted a study many years ago on the positive benefits of friendship in the workplace. Camaraderie in the workplace can lead to greater job satisfaction and commitment to the organization and doing a job well. Leaders should foster collegiality, help to eliminate toxic and dysfunctional team behaviors, and create opportunities for team members other than on work projects. At Google, the games/toys the company provides allow for entertaining and informal interactions among colleagues. These positive and fun feelings carry over when the colleagues work on projects together. The SHRM study in 2012 found employees’ relationships with their co-workers was the second highest factor related to their connection and commitment to the organization. Team leaders may also consider using social contracts, explicit agreements on how team members interact, to help shape positive behaviors within their teams.

Taking the time and effort to create a culture that values and appreciates the diversity and similarity within a team can reap great rewards in terms of performance and satisfaction of the entire team. At the end of the day, this principle is really very simple: we all want to feel valued and appreciated. So, in addition to overt recognition to employees, use a variety of ways to build a culture of gratitude.

Unlocking the Secrets to Finding Great Writers to Produce Your Content | Bedford Realtor

In an age where content is the new gold standard of web-related and social media marketing; it’s time to start producing great content or find someone who can.Unlocking the secrets to finding great writers to produce your content

Content marketing is part art and part science. It needs to touch hearts and minds.

Anyone can write, the real feat comes not from putting words on paper, but from producing artistically crafted and genuinely interesting pieces of content that evoke a desired emotion from your readers. In Internet marketing, that’s done by creating something informative that leads your customers to a desired action.

Just because anyone has the ability to put words on paper, doesn’t mean they can deliver your message in a concise and convincing manner. Everyone has the ability to write, but that doesn’t mean everyone is a good writer. Quite the contrary, actually. If you’re someone who isn’t confident in your writing ability, it’s time to look for outside help.

But what exactly are you looking for when it comes to hiring a content production specialist?

I get asked this question all the time, so I wanted to take a second to explain exactly what I’m looking for when I’m seeking writing help.


Deadlines are nearly as important as the actual content the writer produces. If you can’t be on time, then you’re just causing more work for me and I can’t have that. I don’t have time to chase you down looking for content that I assigned a week ago and I’m sure most business owners feel the same way.


A good writer has a definitive voice. In short, you can typically tell they wrote something by their style and delivery. I tend to avoid generic content writers as they are a dime a dozen. I’m looking for something distinctive in a writer’s delivery and ability to tell a story. This writer stands out from the pack by being creative, unique and a cut above the rest.

It’s a hard characteristic to describe, but you’ll know it when you see it.


Writing academic papers might require a more fact-driven and dry approach than producing blog content. A good writer knows how to differentiate the two. Good writers are able to adapt their voice and style based on where the content is being published. Bad writers carry the same style across all formats and this doesn’t really lend itself to producing content across multiple channels. They might be great at blogging, but you’ll need a second writer to produce whitepapers, e-books or research papers.

I typically like writers who are adaptable enough to create content across multiple channels as well as in different formats.


The best content uses statistics or facts to drive home the point the writer is trying to convey. Does your writer use numbers or facts in his writing? If it looks like the writer could open up Word and write the article without referencing anything, the content generally isn’t up to the standard we’re looking for. We want someone who can research any topic in order to produce a great piece of content.

Obviously they aren’t going to be experts at everything, but you won’t be able to tell based on their writing alone.


I don’t want a writer who is booked solid weeks in advance. I need someone that has the flexibility to deliver content when I need it. We’re not talking about placing unreasonable demands on time, but a 500-word blog post isn’t something I want to wait a week for. If the writer can’t turn around most short projects within 48 hours or so, I tend to move on to those who can. This is one of the most profound arguments for hiring professional, full-time writers rather than hobbyists and those that use content as a means to derive a second form of income.

Finding writers isn’t easy, and finding good writers is exponentially harder. It’s much easier to retain a good writer once you have him, than it is to find another one once he moves on to greener pastures. Find yourself a writer that produces above average content and do whatever it takes to keep him happy. In the age of content marketing, it’s a writer’s world; we’re just living in it.

Guest Author : Chris Warden, CEO of Spread Effect, a leading content marketing and publishing house company.



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