Tag Archives: Chappaqua Luxury Homes

Renting: Awful for just about everyone right now | Chappaqua Real Estate

If you’ve gone through the painstaking process of renting a new apartment in the past few years, you probably faced some sticker-shock. Vacancy rates are low, really low. And despite ever-present scaffolding, construction in many cities is still slow, as new tenants move in but few move out. The result is that in almost every major metro area, the rent is, in fact, too damn high.

Basic wisdom (which was largely established by rules governing public housing eligibility) warns a healthy bank account means that one’s housing costs shouldn’t exceed about one-third of a person’s take home pay. While that might be a prudent suggestion because, after all, people do have other bills and savings goals, it’s become virtually impossible to adhere to for many who live in major metro areas.

A recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard, puts some numbers on just how bad this problem is: About half of all renters in the U.S. are using more than 30 percent of their income to cover housing costs, and about 25 percent have rent that exceeds 50 percent of their monthly pay.

It’s not just the poorest city-dwellers who are feeling the rent pressure. As prices rise, even those who make median incomes are finding that their rent eats away at a more significant portion of their pay than it once did for those in the middle class. It’s also not just the Millennial crowd: This problem is also  evident across different age groups, including Gen X and Boomers who never left the rental market, or find themselves back in it after the housing crash.

A big part of the problem is that fewer households are making the transition from renting to owning, which means more competition for limited inventory—driving rental prices up. Renters who would previously be able to qualify for mortgages are either finding that mortgage lenders are still super strict post-recession, or that there simply aren’t many homes in their price range—or both. “In normal times when homeownership was achievable you could get a starter home for between $150,000 to $250,000,” says Andrew Jakabovics, a senior director at Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that focuses on affordable housing. “That segment of the market is basically dead.”

So instead, households with higher incomes and dreams of white picket fences remain in the rental market. Those households take up available units in the mid-to-high price ranges, for which they can afford to pay a premium. In fact, renters with incomes that top $75,000 are among the fastest growing group in the market, says Chris Herbert, the managing director of the JCHS. “Developers will be drawn to build the houses that provide the highest returns,” he says. That means not enough new apartments are affordable apartments that can accommodate low- and middle-income residents. Instead, high-priced luxury units get built first, pushing rents up and middle and low-income earners into apartments that are more expensive than they can afford. Sometimes this means pricing them out of cities altogether.

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Lot Shortage: A Lingering Problem for Builders | Chappaqua Real Estate

In a May 2015 survey conducted by NAHB, 62 percent of builders reported that the overall supply of developed lots in their areas was low to very low, up 2 percent from May 2014, but up from 43 percent in September 2012.  Sixty-two percent is the largest low supply percentage recorded since NAHB began periodically asking the question in 1997 on its monthly survey for the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

The continued low supply of developed lots is a hindrance to housing recovery that is still quite modest by most standards.  Figure 1 compares the HMI responses on lot supply to housing starts.  Starts have recovered from a low of 550,000 in 2009 to just over 1 million in 2014 (after averaging 1.5 million a year from 1960-2000, without ever plunging below 1 million until 2008).

Fig1HousingStarts&SupplyofLotsThe 62 percent includes 39 percent who characterized the supply of lots simply as “low” and 23 percent who said the supply of lots was “very low.” The shortages tended to be especially acute in the most desirable, or “A” locations. Thirty-four percent of builders said that the supply of “A” lots was very low, compared to 19 percent for lots in “B” and 14 percent for lots in “C” locations.

A shortage of buildable lots, especially in the most desirable locations translates into higher prices, as 38 percent of home builders said the price of developed “A” lots was somewhat higher than it was a year ago, and 32 percent said the price was substantially higher. In comparison, 16 percent of builders said the price of “B” lots was substantially higher than a year ago, and 12 percent said the price of “C” lots was substantially higher (Figure 2).



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Local Farmers Market | Chappaqua Real Estate

Builder Sentiment about Multifamily Remains Positive | Chappaqua Real Estate

Builder and developer sentiment about the multifamily market held steady in the fourth quarter, according to results from NAHB’s  Multifamily Production Index (MPI) released earlier today.

The overall MPI—a composite measure of sentiment about production of low-rent apartments, market-rate rental apartments and condominiums—was unchanged at 54 in the fourth quarter.

MPI table 14Q4

The MPI and each of its components is an index that ranges from 0 to 100, where any number over the break-even point of 50 means that more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions are getting worse.  The overall MPI has been above 50 for three straight years, indicating that builders and developers, on balance, believe the market has been improving consistently over that time.

Among the components of the MPI, the index for low-rent apartments increased one point to 52, the index for market-rate rental fell two points to 62, and the index for condominiums held steady at 50.

Historically, the MPI has performed well as a leading indicator of  starts in buildings with five or more apartments, often moving one to three quarters in advance of the construction numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

MPI chart 14Q4

An overall MPI of 54 is consistent with NAHB’s view that the multifamily segment of the industry has largely recovered from the downturn, and that multifamily production has now reached a healthy, sustainable level.

For more information, including detailed tables on the components of the MPI, see the web page for NAHB’sMultifamily Production & Vacancy Indices.


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Home Price Growth and Children’s Education and Earnings | Chappaqua Real Estate

A recently published paper by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston demonstrates a link between home price gains – and homeownership in general – and the educational attainment and future earnings of children. The paper contributes to the broad academic literature demonstrating the positive social and individual impacts of homeownership.

Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), the authors, economists Daniel Cooper and Maria Jose Luengo-Prado, find that when the homeowners’ children are 17 years-old, a 1 percentage point increase of their parents’ area house prices yields approximately 0.9% higher average annual earnings later in life and 1.5% lower average annual income for renters’ children.

The research also indicates that home price growth when children are aged 17 increases higher education enrollment rates at age 19.

The empirical test used data constructed from the PSID. Individuals’ income data running through 2007 were linked to their parents’ information from when the now-adults were aged 17. The ability to track data over time is a key benefit of panel data like the PSID. This process created a dataset of 892 individuals who had their 17th birthday between 1979 and 1999 and were 25 to 45 years old in 2007.

The statistical test controlled for a variety of factors including parents’ income, education non-housing wealth. The authors also used a number of different house price measures and different ages for the children. The statistical results did not vary substantively given these changes, suggesting the findings are robust.

The paper’s results indicate that homeowning parents are better able to invest in the education of their children. The authors conclude that the statistical findings are consistent with prior research concerning the social and private benefits of homeownership (see Robert Dietz and Donald Haurin [Journal of Urban Economics 2003] for a broad review of homeownership impacts from studies in economics and the other social sciences).

The paper does not provide a firm answer on whether the relationship between housing wealth and future college enrollment and higher earnings of children is due to a wealth effect or eased credit constraints for the homeowners to access financing for education. However, the authors do note that the majority of homeowners increase housing-related borrowing for the first time as their children approach college age, thereby suggesting that the home price effect is related to eased borrowing conditions, which enables more investment in their children’s education


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Preview the Historic Knickerbocker Hotel’s Modern Makeover | Chappaqua Real Estate

The Knickerbocker, the iconic Beaux Arts hotel originally opened in 1906 by John Jacob Astor IV, is set to reopen next Thursday, and we recently got a tour inside the historic building, where the construction crew is putting in the finishing touches. Though The Knickerbocker is an individual landmark, which means that the facade must be meticulously maintained down to the smallest detail, on the inside practically nothing original remains, and the hotel has received a sleek, modern renovation (to the tune of $240 million) feature a lot ofCarrera marble, gold leaf, and other very high-end finishes. So, while the hotel may not look anything like it did back when in the days when Red Sox owner Harry Frazee met the team’s manager in the cafe to inform him that he was selling Babe Ruth to the Yankees, or when the house bartender invented the martini (depending on who you believe), it will be similarly luxurious. The 330 rooms averaging 430 square feet apiece, will start at around $500-$700 per night.


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Down to Earth Farmers Markets | Chappaqua Real Estate


First-ever INDOOR Ossining Winter Farmers Market Opens Saturday;
Second Week of Mamaroneck Farmers Market Brings Even More Vendors,
including Cheese!

January 8-14th, 2015

What’s New, In Season, and On Sale This Week
Opening Day Special:
Buy 2 quarts of any product
& get 1 pint of pickles for FREE

Pickle Licious
SALE: Save $2 when you buy two items incl. Chutneys, Frozen Samosa, Kofta, Saag, & Rajma
Bombay Emerald Chutney Company

ECOBAGS® – Deeply Discounted for Ossining shoppers
Responsibly-sourced cotton bags, strings bags & more. Excellent reusable alternatives to plastic.

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


9:00 am-1:00 pm

Claremont Elementary School
Van Cortlandt Avenue, off of N. Highland (Rte. 9)

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

This Saturday, January 10th, visit Bach to Rock, the Music School for students of all ages. They promote that learning to play music should be fun; afterall, it’s called “play” for a reason! The group will bring all sorts of musical instruments to the market for people to explore.


It’s here! Join us for Opening Day of the first-ever indoor Ossining Winter Farmers Market. Through March, find all of your favorite vendors – and meet several new ones – at Claremont Elementary School. The school is located on Van Cortlandt Avenue, off of N. Highland (Route 9).
To celebrate the new venue, we’re hosting several special events on Saturday:

9:30 am: Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity, School Superintendent Ray Sanchez, together with elected officials and community advocates.

10 am to noon: Live music by the Shovel Ready String Band! In their words, they play “oldtime, jug band, country, bluegrass and original songs.” They will also have their new CD, Shovel Ready String Band, for sales at the market. We’re excited to host them. You’re going to love ’em.

AND Sharon Rowe, ECOBAGS Founder, will be a Community Table Participant at the market this Saturday. As part of our ongoing Bring Your Own Bag initiative – with the goal to eliminate single-use plastic bags from the market – she’ll sell her company’s beautiful reusable bags at deeply discounted prices.
ECOBAGS is a both a fellow Ossining-based business and certified B Corporation. Welcome, Sharon!

For additional 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:


Bombay Emerald Chutney Company
Nana’s Home Kitchen
OM Champagne Tea – NEW to Ossining!
Taiim Falafel Shack – NEW to Ossining!
Wave Hill Breads – NEW to Ossining!


Aroma Coffee – First appearance in Mamaroneck!
Betty Acres Farm/Modern Milkmaid Cheese – First appearance in Mamaroneck!
Christiane’s Backstube
Kontoulis Family Olive Oil
Pika’s Farm Table