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Katonah NY Real Estate

Home builder confidence falls again | Katonah Real Estate

Sharply rising mortgage rates are taking their toll on the nation’s home builders, as already pricey new construction becomes even less affordable. 

Builder confidence in the market for new single-family homes fell 2 points to 77 in April, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index. Any reading above 50 is considered positive sentiment, but the reading marks the fourth straight month of declines for the index, which stood at 83 in April 2021.

Of the index’s three components, current sales conditions fell 2 points to 85. Buyer traffic dropped 6 points to 60, and sales expectations in the next six months increased 3 points to 73 following a 10-point drop in March.

“Despite low existing inventory, builders report sales traffic and current sales conditions have declined to their lowest points since last summer as a sharp jump in mortgage rates and persistent supply chain disruptions continue to unsettle the housing market,” said NAHB Chairman Jerry Konter, a builder and developer from Savannah, Georgia.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage stood at around 3.90% at the beginning of March, and is now up to 5.15%, according to Mortgage News Daily. That is the highest rate in more than a decade. The rate loosely follows the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury, which has been on the rise, but is also being impacted as the Federal Reserve pulls out of the mortgage-backed bond market.

Elevated mortgage rates are only exacerbating high prices for both new and existing homes. The median price of a newly built home in February was up over 10% from the year prior.

“The housing market faces an inflection point as an unexpectedly quick rise in interest rates, rising home prices and escalating material costs have significantly decreased housing affordability conditions, particularly in the crucial entry-level market,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

Regionally, on a three-month moving average, builder sentiment in the Northeast rose 1 point to a reading of 72. In the Midwest it fell 3 points to 69, in the South it fell 2 points to 82 and in the West it fell 1 point to 89.

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Case-Shiller index reports 18.8% annual home price gain | Katonah Real Estate


S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for November 2021 show that home prices continue to increase across the U.S. More than 27 years of history are available for the data series and can be accessed in full by going to https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

YEAR-OVER-YEAR
The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported an 18.8% annual gain in November, down from 19.0% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 16.8%, down from 17.2% in the previous month. The 20- City Composite posted an 18.3% year-over-year gain, down from 18.5% in the previous month.

Phoenix, Tampa, and Miami reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in November. Phoenix led the way with a 32.2% year-over-year price increase, followed by Tampa with a 29.0% increase and Miami with a 26.6% increase. Eleven of the 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending November 2021 versus the year ending October 2021.

The charts on the following page compare year-over-year returns of different housing price ranges (tiers) for Phoenix and Tampa.


MONTH-OVER-MONTH
Before seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a 0.9% month-over-month increase in November, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted increases of 0.9% and 1.0%, respectively. After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 1.1%, and the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted increases of 1.1% and 1.2%, respectively. In November, 19 of the 20 cities reported increases before seasonal adjustments while all 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustments.


ANALYSIS
“For the past several months, home prices have been rising at a very high, but decelerating, rate. That trend continued in November 2021,” says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director at S&P DJI. “The National Composite Index rose 18.8% from year-ago levels, and the 10- and 20-City Composites gained 16.8% and 18.3%, respectively. In all three cases, November’s gains were less than October’s.

Despite this deceleration, it’s important to remember that November’s 18.8% gain was the sixth-highest reading in the 34 years covered by our data (the top five were the months immediately preceding November).

“We continue to see very strong growth at the city level. All 20 cities saw price increases in the year ended November 2021, and prices in 19 cities are at their all-time highs. November’s price increase ranked in the top quintile of historical experience for 19 cities, and in the top decile for 16 of them.

“Phoenix’s 32.2% increase led all cities for the 30th consecutive month. Tampa (+29.0%) and Miami (+26.6%) continued in second and third place in November, narrowly edging out Las Vegas, Dallas, and San Diego. Prices were strongest in the South and Southeast (both +25.0%), but every region continued to log impressive gains.

“We have previously suggested that the strength in the U.S. housing market is being driven in part by a change in locational preferences as households react to the COVID pandemic. More data will be required to understand whether this demand surge represents an acceleration of purchases that would have occurred over the next several years or reflects a more permanent secular change. In the short term, meanwhile, we should soon begin to see the impact of increasing mortgage rates on home
prices.”


SUPPORTING DATA
The chart below depicts the annual returns of the U.S. National, 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite Home Price Indices. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded an 18.8% annual gain in November 2021.

The 10-City and 20-City Composites reported year-over-year increases of 16.8% and 18.3%, respectively.


The following chart shows the index levels for the U.S. National, 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices. As of November 2021, average home prices for the MSAs within the 10-City and 20-City Composites are exceeding their winter 2007 levels.

Table 1 below shows the housing boom/bust peaks and troughs for the three composites along with the current levels and percentage changes from the peaks and troughs.


2006 Peak 2012 Trough Current
Index Level Date Level Date
From Peak (%) Level
From Trough (%)
From Peak (%)
National 184.61 Jul-06 134.00 Feb-12 -27.4% 276.12 106.1% 49.6%
20-City 206.52 Jul-06 134.07 Mar-12 -35.1% 282.44 110.7% 36.8%
10-City 226.29 Jun-06 146.45 Mar-12 -35.3% 294.45 101.1% 30.1%


Table 2 below summarizes the results for November 2021. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices could be revised for the prior 24 months, based on the receipt of additional source data.


November 2021 November/October October/September 1-Year
Metropolitan Area Level Change (%) Change (%) Change (%)
Atlanta 203.24 1.4% 1.3% 21.6%
Boston 281.81 0.0% 0.1% 13.5%
Charlotte 225.11 1.4% 1.5% 22.9%
Chicago 171.49 0.5% 0.5% 11.6%
Cleveland 159.84 0.6% 0.7% 14.0%
Dallas 259.12 1.2% 1.1% 25.0%
Denver 289.73 0.8% 0.2% 20.1%
Detroit 159.40 0.7% 0.2% 14.4%
Las Vegas 261.81 0.9% 1.4% 25.7%
Los Angeles 375.31 1.2% 1.4% 19.0%
Miami 337.50 2.0% 1.9% 26.6%
Minneapolis 217.95 0.3% -0.1% 11.2%
New York 251.45 1.0% 0.8% 13.8%
Phoenix 298.30 1.2% 1.1% 32.2%
Portland 309.19 0.5% 0.3% 17.4%
San Diego 367.62 1.0% 1.1% 24.4%
San Francisco 342.56 0.6% 0.0% 18.2%
Seattle 352.87 1.4% 0.6% 23.3%
Tampa 317.13 2.1% 1.9% 29.0%
Washington 283.66 0.5% 0.0% 11.1%
Composite-10 294.45 0.9% 0.8% 16.8%
Composite-20 282.44 1.0% 0.8% 18.3%
U.S. National 276.12 0.9% 0.8% 18.8%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through November 2021


Table 3 below shows a summary of the monthly changes using the seasonally adjusted (SA) and nonseasonally adjusted (NSA) data. Since its launch in early 2006, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices have published, and the markets have followed and reported on, the non-seasonally adjusted data set used in the headline indices. For analytical purposes, S&P Dow Jones Indices publishes a seasonally adjusted data set covered in the headline indices, as well as for the 17 of 20 markets with tiered price
indices and the five condo markets that are tracked.


November/October Change (%) October/September Change (%)
Metropolitan Area NSA SA NSA SA
Atlanta 1.4% 1.5% 1.3% 1.4%
Boston 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.4%
Charlotte 1.4% 1.5% 1.5% 1.6%
Chicago 0.5% 1.2% 0.5% 0.9%
Cleveland 0.6% 1.2% 0.7% 1.3%
Dallas 1.2% 1.3% 1.1% 1.3%
Denver 0.8% 1.2% 0.2% 0.6%
Detroit 0.7% 1.2% 0.2% 0.9%
Las Vegas 0.9% 1.3% 1.4% 1.7%
Los Angeles 1.2% 1.4% 1.4% 1.4%
Miami 2.0% 2.0% 1.9% 1.9%
Minneapolis 0.3% 0.9% -0.1% 0.3%
New York 1.0% 0.8% 0.8% 0.5%
Phoenix 1.2% 1.4% 1.1% 1.3%
Portland 0.5% 0.9% 0.3% 1.1%
San Diego 1.0% 1.5% 1.1% 1.4%
San Francisco 0.6% 0.8% 0.0% 0.4%
Seattle 1.4% 2.1% 0.6% 1.5%
Tampa 2.1% 2.0% 1.9% 1.8%
Washington 0.5% 0.7% 0.0% 0.0%
Composite-10 0.9% 1.1% 0.8% 0.8%
Composite-20 1.0% 1.2% 0.8% 1.0%
U.S. National 0.9% 1.1% 0.8% 1.0%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through November 2021
For more information about S&P Dow Jones Indices, please visit https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

Existing home sales up 8.5% in 2021 | Katonah Real Estate

Home sales in the U.S. ended 2021 on a low note in December, but annual sales activity for the entire year reached its highest level since 2006.

Existing home sales fell 4.6% to a seasonally adjusted 6.18 million million units in December from a month earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). November existing home sales were revised slightly down to 6.46 million from 6.48 million. The number of sales was down 7.1% from the same month a year ago. The results were far more disappointing than analysts’ expectations of a 0.5% month-over-month decrease to 6.43 million units, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates.

For the entire year, there were 6.12 million units sold in 2021, the most since 2006 and up 8.5% from the prior year when activity was fueled by pent up demand from COVID-19 lockdowns, according to the NAR. Prior to COVID, there were 5 million to 5.5 million unit sales per year. The December results could have been anticipated since pending home sales slipped in November, which is an indicator of future sales activity.

“December saw sales retreat, but the pullback was more a sign of supply constraints than an indication of a weakened demand for housing,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, also attributing the slowdown in the final month of 2021 to rising mortgage interest rates, “which can produce mixed results. Some people want to hurry and buy, others want to wait to buy. Rising rates will cut into home sales.”

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to its highest level at 3.56%, up from the previous week and hitting a new high not seen since March 2020, according to Freddie Mac

“Mortgage rates moved up again as the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose and financial markets adjusted to anticipated changes in monetary policy that will combat inflation,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a press statement. “As a result of higher mortgage rates, purchase demand has modestly waned in advance of the spring homebuying season. However, supply remains near historically tight levels and home prices remain high, keeping the market competitive.

Total housing inventory at the end of December was 910,000 units, down 18.0% from November and down 14.2% from one year ago — the lowest level since 1999, when NAR started tracking inventory for all housing types (NAR started tracking single family home inventory in 1982). Unsold inventory sits at a 1.8-month supply at the present sales pace, down from 2.1 months in November and from 1.9 months in December 2020.

“The fall in existing home sales has nothing to do with demand or interest rates, and everything to do with supply. The previous two months had seen a strong surge in sales, helping to drain inventories and make an already tight market tighter,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union, in a statement. “While mortgage rates are rising, they wouldn’t have affected the December data, and may not have much of an effect on sales as long as they stay well below the historical average. Unfortunately, the tight market continues to push up home prices, with the median price up 15.8% from a year earlier. With every month, fewer first-time homebuyers, especially, can afford a home.”https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/5640681/embed?auto=1

The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $358,000, up 15.8% from December 2020 ($309,200), as prices rose in each region. The South witnessed the highest pace of appreciation. The re-acceleration of price increases, from the low teens, in December implies that demand is still strong as supply continues to wane, Yun said. 

Prices were pushed up by the sale of homes in the higher price range. The number of homes sold above $1 million was up 38% from a month ago, while sales of homes from $750,000 to $1 million was up 32%, according to NAR. 

“Although they lagged behind year ago levels, existing home sales hit its 4th straight month at above 6 million in December, closing out 2021 on a relatively high note. Rising concerns about inflation gave home shoppers a big reason to stay in the market in December: The potential opportunity to close on a home before prices and mortgage rates tick up further,” said Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale in a statement prior to the results.

Hale added: “With housing inventory dwindling and prices rising, finding the right home that’s still in the budget continues to be the hardest part of the real estate journey — and means the supply of for-sale homes remains a key driver of sales activity. This is illustrated by existing home sales trends over the course of 2021, which started strong before dipping in the traditionally busy spring and summer months, when there were few homes available for sale, and then rebounded into the fall as more new sellers meant more options for eager buyers to jump on.” 

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New home sales drop 14% | Katonah Real Estate

New single-family home sales rose in November as housing demand was supported by low interest rates and strong consumer demand, despite the ongoing building materials challenges impacting the housing industry.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau estimated sales of newly built, single-family homes in November at a 744,000 seasonally adjusted annual pace, a 12.4% gain over downwardly revised October rate of 662,000 and is 14.0% below the November 2020 estimate of 865,000.

The gains for new home sales are consistent with the NAHB/Wells Fargo HMI, which edged up to 84 in December, demonstrating that housing is a leading sector for the economy.

Sales-adjusted inventory levels are at a balanced 6.5 months’ supply in November. The count of completed, ready-to-occupy new homes is just 40,000 homes nationwide. Median sales price continues to increase in November at $416,900. This is up 18.8% compared to the November 2020 median sales price of $350,800.

Moreover, sales are increasingly coming from homes that have not started construction, with that count up 75.4% year-over-year, not seasonally adjusted (NSA). These measures point to continued gains for single-family construction ahead.

Regionally on a year-to-date basis, new home sales declined in all four regions; 1.3% in the Northeast, 4.5% in the South, 5.3% in the Midwest, and 12.5% in the West.

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eyeonhousing.org

Existing home sales down 5.8%, Median price up 13.1% | Katonah Real Estate

Key Highlights

  • Existing-home sales rose 0.8% in October from September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.34 million, sustaining the growth in sales in the prior month.
  • The median existing-home sales price increased 13.1% year-over-year to $353,900.
  • From one year ago, the inventory of unsold homes decreased 12% to 1.25 million – equivalent to 2.4 months of the monthly sales pace.

Existing-home sales increased in October, marking two straight months of growth, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Two of the four major U.S. regions saw month-over-month sales climb, one region reported a drop and the fourth area held steady in October. On a year-over-year basis, each region witnessed sales decrease.

Total existing-home sales,[i] https://www.nar.realtor/existing-home-sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 0.8% from September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.34 million in October. Sales fell 5.8% from a year ago (6.73 million in October 2020).

“Home sales remain resilient, despite low inventory and increasing affordability challenges,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “Inflationary pressures, such as fast-rising rents and increasing consumer prices, may have some prospective buyers seeking the protection of a fixed, consistent mortgage payment.”

Total housing inventory[ii] at the end of October amounted to 1.25 million units, down 0.8% from September and down 12.0% from one year ago (1.42 million). Unsold inventory sits at a 2.4-month supply at the current sales pace, equal to September’s supply, and down from 2.5 months in October 2020.

The median existing-home price[iii] for all housing types in October was $353,900, up 13.1% from October 2020 ($313,000), as prices climbed in each region. This marks 116 straight months of year-over-year increases, the longest-running streak on record.

“Among some of the workforce, there is an ongoing trend of flexibility to work anywhere, and this has contributed to an increase in sales in some parts of the country,” said Yun. “Record-high stock markets and all-time high home prices have worked to significantly raise total consumer wealth and, when coupled with extended remote work flexibility, elevated housing demand in vacation regions.”

Properties typically remained on the market for 18 days in October, up from 17 days in September and down from 21 days in October 2020. Eighty-two percent of homes sold in October 2021 were on the market for less than a month.

In October, first-time buyers were responsible for 29% of sales, up from 28% in September and down from 32% in October 2020. NAR’s 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers – released earlier this month[iv] – reported that the annual share of first-time buyers was 34%.

Individual investors or second-home buyers, who make up many cash sales, purchased 17% of homes in October, up from both 13% in September and from 14% in October 2020. All-cash sales accounted for 24% of transactions in October, up from both 23% in September and from 19% in October 2020.

Distressed sales[v] – foreclosures and short sales – represented less than 1% of sales in October, equal to the percentage seen a month prior and equal to October 2020.

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.07 in October, up from 2.90% in September. The average commitment rate across all of 2020 was 3.11%.

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.66 million in October, up 1.3% from 5.59 million in September and down 5.8% from one year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $360,800 in October, up 13.5% from October 2020.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 680,000 units in October, down 2.9% from 700,000 in September and down 5.6% from one year ago. The median existing condo price was $296,700 in October, an annual increase of 8.7%.

“At a time when mortgage rates are still low, buying and securing a home is a wise investment,” said NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith, a Realtor® from Plano, Texas, and a broker associate at Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate in Dallas. “NAR will strive to make homeownership obtainable for all who want to pursue one of the key components of the American Dream.”

Regional Breakdown

Existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 2.6% in October, registering an annual rate of 750,000, a 13.8% decline from October 2020. The median price in the Northeast was $379,100, up 6.4% from one year ago.

Existing-home sales in the Midwest rose 4.2% to an annual rate of 1,500,000 in October, a 6.3% decrease from a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $259,800, a 7.8% jump from October 2020.

Existing-home sales in the South increased 0.4% in October, posting an annual rate of 2,780,000, a 3.5% drop from one year ago. The median price in the South was $315,500, a 16.1% climb from one year prior.

Existing-home sales in the West neither rose nor fell from the prior month’s level, registering an annual rate of 1,310,000 in October, down 5.1% from one year ago. The median price in the West was $507,200, up 7.7% from October 2020.

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

# # #

For local information, please contact the local association of Realtors® for data from local multiple listing services (MLS). Local MLS data is the most accurate source of sales and price information in specific areas, although there may be differences in reporting methodology.

NOTE: NAR’s Pending Home Sales Index for October is scheduled for release on November 29, and Existing-Home Sales for November will be released December 22; release times are 10:00 a.m. ET.

Information about NAR is available at www.nar.realtor. This and other news releases are posted on the NAR Newsroom at www.nar.realtor/newsroom. Statistical data in this release, as well as other tables and surveys, are posted in the “Research and Statistics” tab.


[i] Existing-home sales, which include single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, are based on transaction closings from Multiple Listing Services. Changes in sales trends outside of MLSs are not captured in the monthly series. NAR rebenchmarks home sales periodically using other sources to assess overall home sales trends, including sales not reported by MLSs.

Existing-home sales, based on closings, differ from the U.S. Census Bureau’s series on new single-family home sales, which are based on contracts or the acceptance of a deposit. Because of these differences, it is not uncommon for each series to move in different directions in the same month. In addition, existing-home sales, which account for more than 90% of total home sales, are based on a much larger data sample – about 40% of multiple listing service data each month – and typically are not subject to large prior-month revisions.

The annual rate for a particular month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the relative pace for that month were maintained for 12 consecutive months. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns. However, seasonal factors cannot compensate for abnormal weather patterns.

Single-family data collection began monthly in 1968, while condo data collection began quarterly in 1981; the series were combined in 1999 when monthly collection of condo data began. Prior to this period, single-family homes accounted for more than nine out of 10 purchases. Historic comparisons for total home sales prior to 1999 are based on monthly single-family sales, combined with the corresponding quarterly sales rate for condos.

[ii] Total inventory and month’s supply data are available back through 1999, while single-family inventory and month’s supply are available back to 1982 (prior to 1999, single-family sales accounted for more than 90% of transactions and condos were measured only on a quarterly basis).

[iii] The median price is where half sold for more and half sold for less; medians are more typical of market conditions than average prices, which are skewed higher by a relatively small share of upper-end transactions. The only valid comparisons for median prices are with the same period a year earlier due to seasonality in buying patterns. Month-to-month comparisons do not compensate for seasonal changes, especially for the timing of family buying patterns. Changes in the composition of sales can distort median price data. Year-ago median and mean prices sometimes are revised in an automated process if additional data is received.

The national median condo/co-op price often is higher than the median single-family home price because condos are concentrated in higher-cost housing markets. However, in a given area, single-family homes typically sell for more than condos as seen in NAR’s quarterly metro area price reports.

[iv] Survey results represent owner-occupants and differ from separately reported monthly findings from NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, which include all types of buyers. Investors are under-represented in the annual study because survey questionnaires are mailed to the addresses of the property purchased and generally are not returned by absentee owners. Results include both new and existing homes.

[v] Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales), days on market, first-time buyers, all-cash transactions and investors are from a monthly survey for the NAR’s Realtors® Confidence Index, posted at nar.realtor.

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nar.realtor.com

Wind Farm a Health Nuisance | Katonah Real Estate

Property in France

A Belgian couple living in the department of Tarn have won €128,000 in damages due to a wind farm near their property.

As we have previously reported on these pages, wind farms are a hotly contested topic in France.

In legal cases each year, the courts often rule in favour of opponents, normally on grounds of protection of the environment or historically important buildings.

Less common are victories by complainants on grounds of nuisance from the wind farm, but in a landmark decision in the court of appeal sitting in Toulouse, a Belgian couple have won €128,000 damages on that basis.

The story began in 2004, when the couple purchased an old farmstead in the village of Fontrieu, located in the natural park of Haut-Languedoc.

The couple restored the property, in the process converting 3 farm buildings into gites.

In 2008/9, a wind farm comprising 6 turbines each 58 metres high was installed on land belonging to the local council, with the nearest turbine 700 metres and the furthest at 1300 metres from their property. The minimal legal distance of a turbine from a residential property is 500 metres.

At the time, the couple made no objections against the new development, and until 2013, the couple obtained relief from the sight and noise of the turbines by a wood located between them and the wind farm.

However, following loss of the woodland through felling that year, the couple began to suffer from a range of health problems, which they considered emanated from the noise created by the turbines. The main symptoms were headaches, dizziness, fatigue, tachycardia, and tinnitus.

The couple stated that the lighting of the wind farm was particularly intense: “The wind turbines emit a flash every two seconds. We were forced to illuminate outside to mitigate the effect of the flashes. In addition, they produce a continuous noise equivalent to that of a washing machine. “

The white flashes of light made them “feel like they were in a permanent thunderstorm. It was a really terrifying visual and auditory assault which was even more unbearable at night,” they stated.

The impact of the disturbance from the turbines on their health became so serious that in 2015, on the advice of their doctor, they vacated their farmstead and relocated to a rental property 17 kms away. Within months of doing so their symptoms had disappeared completely.

The couple made complaints to the wind farm operator without success, and those to the local and departmental councils similarly fell on deaf ears.

As a result, in 2015 they brought a legal action against the wind farm operator, but the local tribunal in Castres rejected their complaint, ruling that the noise and visual intrusion from the wind farm was not so abnormal as to constitute a neighbour nuisance (trouble anormal de voisinage).

The couple appealed the ruling to the court of appeal in Toulouse, who in July found in their favour.

During the proceedings the court heard from a range of experts, with those from the wind farm company stating that it could not be established that there was a causal link between infrasound from the turbines and disorders often invoked by the applicants. They considered that the couple may have been under stress caused by the sight of the wind turbines after the woodland was cut down.

Expert witnesses to the court who had reviewed the scientific literature on the health effects of low sound frequencies and infrasound due to wind turbines concluded that there was an illness known as ‘wind farm syndrome’. The symptoms are very diverse, including general (fatigue, nausea), neurological (headache, tinnitus) or psychological (stress, anxiety), among others. They considered the couple were indeed victims of this syndrome.

The court awarded the couple €128,000, made of up damages caused to their health and to the loss of value to their property. As the period to make an appeal has now passed, the ruling is a final one.

In their report, the court expert interestingly pointed out that although the law relating to the installation of wind farms requires the installation not to be the source of airborne or ground noise, giving maximum noise levels, it does not take into account either very low frequencies or infrasound.

Emmanuel Forichon on behalf of the regional campaign group Toutes Nos Énergies, who supported the couple in their action, stated: “These wind turbines allegedly complied with regulatory noise standards: proof if there were any that these standards need to be reviewed.”

The avocat for the couple Alice Terrace stated: “To my knowledge, this case has no precedent”. However, she cautioned that it could not be universally applied. “But be careful,” she stated, “This wind farm causes an abnormal nuisance in its configuration, but each case is particular and must be examined on its merits.”

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https://www.french-property.com/news/french_property/wind_farm_a_health_nuisance?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=News%3A+Wind+Farm+a+Health+Nuisance

Residential construction costs up 12% in 2021 | Katonah Real Estate

Prices paid for goods used in residential construction ex-energy decreased 0.7% in August (not seasonally adjusted), according to the latest Producer Price Index (PPI) report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decrease was largely driven by a decline in lumber and wood products prices and was the first monthly decline since the start of the last recession.  The price index of services inputs to residential construction also decreased in August as smaller gross profit margins of building materials retailers outweighed increases in the prices of freight transportation and other services.

Despite the monthly decline, building materials prices remain 12.3% higher than they were at the beginning of 2021.  Prices increased 2.1% over the same period in 2020.  Similarly, the price of services inputs to residential construction increased 6.6% from January to August 2020 but has already climbed 12.5% thus far in 2021.

Softwood Lumber

The PPI for softwood lumber (seasonally adjusted) decreased 27.7% in August and has declined 49.0% since May. The steep two-month decrease comes on the heels of an unexpectedly mild 0.7% decline in June that was largely the result of PPI methodology.  The PPI of most durable goods for a given month is largely based on prices paid for goods shipped in the survey month. This can result in lags relative to cash market prices during periods of long lead times.

Although the direction of the index value change is encouraging, the continued volatility is not.  Price volatility remains at an all-time high for a 12-month period.

Ready-Mix Concrete

Prices paid for ready-mix concrete (RMC) rose 1.6% in August.  The index for RMC has risen 5.1% over the past 12 months and 4.7% YTD—the largest year-to-date increase in August since 2006.

Prices rose in every region with the largest increase occurring in the Northeast (+2.9%).  Prices in the Midwest, West, and South increased by 1.9%, 1.7%, and 1.2%, respectively.

 Gypsum Products

The PPI for gypsum products increased 0.5% in August.  The index has increased 14.9% YTD and 22.7% over the past 12 months—the largest such increases since 2004 and 2006, respectively.

Steel Products

Steel mill products prices climbed 5.1% in August following a 10.8% increase in August.  Prices have nearly doubled in 2021, accounting for nearly all of the 111.6% increase since January 2020.

The monthly change in the steel mill products PPI increased by more than 10% only three times (in 1947, 1948, and 2008) over the 80-year period ending in 2020.  Monthly increases have exceeded that mark four times in 2021.

Services

The price of services used as inputs to residential construction decreased 5.7% in August.  The monthly decline was entirely driven by a 7.8% drop in the prices for trade services, the index for which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the PPI for “inputs to residential construction, services.”

The trade services PPI measures changes in the nominal gross margins for goods sold by retailers and wholesalers.  Unsurprisingly, hardware and building materials retailers make up the majority (56.4%) of trade services included as residential construction inputs. The PPI for building materials retailers decreased 11.6% in August while nominal gross margins for building materials wholesalers increased 5.7%.

The price indices for transportation and warehousing and services less trade, warehousing, and transportation increased 0.9% and 0.2%, respectively.  The price of truck transportation of freight increased 0.9% in August and has advanced 9.5% YTD.  Water transportation prices increased 1.3% over the month and have increased 9.0% YTD.

Other Building Materials

The chart below shows the 12-month and year-to-date price changes of other price indices relevant to the residential construction industry.

As Congress continues to work on an infrastructure package, the Construction Materials index is particularly salient.  This index, which has increased 23.9% year-to-date and 32.1% over the past 12 months, is much more heavily weighted with products used in large amounts in the production of “traditional” infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, rail).

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eyeonhousing.org

Lumber prices drop 41% from mid May 2021 peak | Katonah Real Estate

After peaking at around $1,700 per thousand board feet in mid-May, lumber prices sank below $1,000 per thousand board feet this week for the first time since late March, according to Random Lengths. Since falling by approximately 23% between September 2020 and November 2020, lumber prices surged into 2021, reaching record levels beginning in March.

Rising prices became a top concern across the construction industry, with numerous industry associations, including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA), pushing government officials to prioritize the issue. The NAHB estimated the significant spike in softwood lumber prices between April 2020 and April 2021 added nearly $36,000 to the price of an average new single-family home and approximately $13,000 to the market value of an average new multifamily home. In addition to the risk the price increases, and related supply-side issues, posed to construction firms, the NAHB estimated the increase in average home prices priced out more than 5.5 million households.

Even as lumber prices soared in May, analysts at BMO Capital Markets projected lumber prices would drop by the second half of the year and return to more typical levels in 2022. The bank cited affordability concerns as the chief reason for expected lumber price reliefs.

“Household wallets are not unlimited and at some point, demand could shrink amid a reluctance to shell out extra dough for the same studs and sheathing,” BMO Capital Markets forecast in May.

Beyond affordability, expanding supply has also contributed to lumber’s recent price decline. U.S. lumber production has increased 5% in the past 12 months, with another 5% increase expected, according to Domain Timber Advisors via Bloomberg.

While prices have begun to decrease, and are trading roughly 40% below their mid-May peak, lumber prices are still up 175% on a year-over-year (YOY) basis, according Business Insider. Analysts project prices will remain “above trend” in the short-term future, despite the recent rapid decline. Speaking with CNBC, Sherwood Lumber COO Kyle Little said while relief is expected over the next six to 12 months, the prices seen will still be “much, much higher than prices we’ve experienced in the recent past.”

While the past week has seen a reprieve on lumber prices, supply-side shortages continue to significantly affect the construction industry. A recent report from the NAHB found the shortage of materials was more widespread than any other period since the association began tracking the issue in the 1990s. The NAHB’s May Housing Market Index (HMI) survey in May 2021 found approximately 90% of builders who buy framing lumber, plywood, and OSB reported shortages. However, shortage issues for builders extend beyond lumber, as sourcing appliances and windows and doors are issues plaguing around 90% of builders, according to the NAHB. A recent survey of the JLC readership also found windows and doors had long wait times, ranging from from about 2-3 weeks to as many as 17 weeks for some readers. Lighting, electrical and plumbing fixtures, cabinets, and appliances were among the other items the JLC readers reported had long lead times.

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Housing production falls due to rising material costs | Katonah Real Estate

Housing production fell in April due to the increased costs of building materials that have priced out potential home buyers. Overall housing starts decreased 9.5% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.57 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The April reading of 1.57 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if development kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts decreased 13.4% to a 1.09 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 0.8% to a 482,000 pace.

“Housing starts and permits posted a monthly decline in April, as escalating prices for lumber and other building materials price out some home buyers from an otherwise hot housing market,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “Policymakers need to prioritize the U.S. supply chain for items like building materials to ensure builders can add the additional inventory the housing market desperately needs.”

“The decline in single-family permits indicates that builders are slowing construction activity as costs rise,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “While housing starts were strong at the beginning of the year, due to home builders constructing homes that were sold pre-construction, higher costs and limited availability of building materials have now paused some projects.”

Overall permits increased 0.3% to a 1.76 million unit annualized rate in April. Single-family permits decreased 3.8% to a 1.15 million unit rate. Multifamily permits increased 8.9% to a 611,000 pace.

Looking at regional permit data compared to the previous month, permits are 8.4% higher in the Northeast, 9.9% lower in the Midwest, 3.9% higher in the South and 4.1% lower in the West.

The number of single-family homes permitted but not started construction continued to increase in April, rising to 131,000 units. This is 47% higher than a year ago, as building material cost increases and delays slow some home building.

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eyeonhousing.org

Case Shiller reports home prices up 11.1% | Katonah Real Estate

S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) today released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for January 2021 show that home prices continue to increase across the U.S. More than 27 years of history are available for the data series, and can be accessed in full by going to https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

Please note that transaction records for December 2020 for Wayne County, MI, are now available. Due to delays at the local recording office caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, S&P DJI and CoreLogic were previously unable to generate a valid December 2020 update for the Detroit S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.

YEAR-OVER-YEAR 

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported an 11.2% annual gain in January, up from 10.4% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 10.9%, up from 9.9% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted an 11.1% year-over-year gain, up from 10.2% in the previous month.

Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego continued to report the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in January. Phoenix led the way with a 15.8% year-over-year price increase, followed by Seattle with a 14.3% increase and San Diego with a 14.2% increase. All 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending January 2021 versus the year ending December 2020. 

MONTH-OVER-MONTH

Before seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a 0.8% month-over-month increase, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 0.8% and 0.9% respectively in January. After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 1.2%, and the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 1.2% as well. In January, 19 of 20 cities reported increases before seasonal adjustment, and all 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustment.

ANALYSIS

“The strong price gains that we observed in the last half of 2020 continued into the first month of the new year. In January 2021, the National Composite Index rose by 11.2% compared to its year-ago levels,” says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P DJI. “The trend of accelerating prices that began in June 2020 has now reached its eighth month and is also reflected in the 10- and 20-City Composites (up 10.9% and 11.1%, respectively). The market’s strength is broadly-based: all 20 cities rose, and all 20 cities gained more in the 12 months ended in January 2021 than they had gained in the 12 months ended in December 2020.

“January’s performance is particularly impressive in historical context. The National Composite’s 11.2% gain is the highest recorded since February 2006, just one month shy of 15 years ago. In more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data, January’s year-over-year change is comfortably in the top decile. That strength is reflected across all 20 cities. January’s price gains in every city are above that city’s median level, and rank in the top quartile of all reports in 18 cities.

“January’s data remain consistent with the view that COVID has encouraged potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes. This demand may represent buyers who accelerated purchases that would have happened anyway over the next several years. Alternatively, there may have been a secular change in preferences, leading to a shift in the demand curve for housing. Future data will be required to analyze this question.

“Phoenix’s 15.8% increase led all cities for the 20th consecutive month, with Seattle (+14.3%) and San Diego (+14.2%) close behind. Although prices were strongest in the West (+11.7%), gains were impressive in every region.”

SUPPORTING DATA

Table 1 below shows the housing boom/bust peaks and troughs for the three composites along with the current levels and percentage changes from the peaks and troughs.

2006 Peak2012 TroughCurrent
 Index Level Date Level DateFrom Peak
(%)
 LevelFrom Trough
(%)
From Peak
(%)
National184.61Jul-06133.99Feb-12-27.4%236.3176.4%28.0%
20-City206.52Jul-06134.07Mar-12-35.1%242.9881.2%17.7%
10-City226.29Jun-06146.45Mar-12-35.3%256.5075.1%13.4%

Table 2 below summarizes the results for January 2021. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices could be revised for the prior 24 months, based on the receipt of additional source data.

January 2021January ’21/December ’20December/November1-Year
Metropolitan AreaLevelChange (%)Change (%)Change (%)
Atlanta169.960.8%0.9%9.6%
Boston252.270.8%0.8%12.7%
Charlotte185.620.7%0.6%11.0%
Chicago154.890.5%0.3%8.9%
Cleveland141.28-0.1%1.0%11.7%
Dallas210.820.8%0.9%9.2%
Denver246.051.0%0.9%10.0%
Detroit141.290.6%0.7%11.0%
Las Vegas212.600.9%1.1%8.5%
Los Angeles321.041.0%0.8%10.8%
Miami273.121.2%1.2%10.4%
Minneapolis196.900.1%0.4%10.7%
New York225.850.9%1.4%11.3%
Phoenix231.751.5%1.2%15.8%
Portland267.271.1%0.5%10.6%
San Diego301.721.4%0.7%14.2%
San Francisco291.040.2%0.2%9.5%
Seattle292.961.4%0.9%14.3%
Tampa251.701.1%1.2%11.9%
Washington260.210.8%0.9%10.7%
Composite-10256.500.8%0.9%10.9%
Composite-20242.980.9%0.9%11.1%
U.S. National236.310.8%0.9%11.2%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through January 2021

Table 3 below shows a summary of the monthly changes using the seasonally adjusted (SA) and non-seasonally adjusted (NSA) data. Since its launch in early 2006, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices have published, and the markets have followed and reported on, the non-seasonally adjusted data set used in the headline indices. For analytical purposes, S&P Dow Jones Indices publishes a seasonally adjusted data set covered in the headline indices, as well as for the 17 of 20 markets with tiered price indices and the five condo markets that are tracked.

January ’21/December ’20 Change (%)December/November Change (%)
Metropolitan AreaNSASANSASA
Atlanta0.8%1.2%0.9%1.3%
Boston0.8%1.4%0.8%1.4%
Charlotte0.7%1.1%0.6%1.1%
Chicago0.5%0.9%0.3%1.0%
Cleveland-0.1%0.7%1.0%1.6%
Dallas0.8%1.0%0.9%1.3%
Denver1.0%1.1%0.9%1.3%
Detroit0.6%1.2%0.7%1.3%
Las Vegas0.9%1.3%1.1%1.4%
Los Angeles1.0%1.1%0.8%1.1%
Miami1.2%1.3%1.2%1.5%
Minneapolis0.1%0.8%0.4%1.2%
New York0.9%1.2%1.4%1.5%
Phoenix1.5%1.9%1.2%1.5%
Portland1.1%1.2%0.5%1.0%
San Diego1.4%1.4%0.7%1.3%
San Francisco0.2%1.0%0.2%0.9%
Seattle1.4%1.5%0.9%1.5%
Tampa1.1%1.3%1.2%1.5%
Washington0.8%1.2%0.9%1.3%
Composite-100.8%1.2%0.9%1.3%
Composite-200.9%1.2%0.9%1.3%
U.S. National0.8%1.2%0.9%1.3%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through January 2021

For more information about S&P Dow Jones Indices, please visit https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.