Tag Archives: South Salem NY Homes

Homeownership Falls, Household Formations Rise | South Salem Real Estate

According to the Census Bureau’s Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS), the nation’s homeownership rate in the second quarter of 2015 fell to a post-1967 low point of 63.4%. The homeownership rate decreased by 130 basis points on a nonseasonally adjusted basis from the second quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2015.

Compared to the peak at the end of 2004, the homeownership rate has steadily decreased by 5.8 percentage points and remains far below the 25-year average rate of 66.3%.


Homeownership rates decreased for all age groups on a year-over-year basis. The homeownership rate for household heads younger than 35 years old (34.8%) decreased by 110 basis points from the second quarter of last year. The largest decline, however, was for those aged 35-44 (58%), with an annual drop of 220 basis points.


The nonseasonally adjusted homeowner vacancy rate continues to drop after the Great Recession. The current homeowner vacancy rate is 1.8%, 10 basis points lower than last quarter and the second quarter of 2014.

The national rental vacancy rate remains relatively low and declined by 30 basis points to a 6.8% rate for the second quarter on a nonseasonally adjusted basis. The rental vacancy rate was 7.5% for the second quarter of 2014.


The HVS also provides a timely measure on household formations – the key driver of housing demand. Although it is not perfectly consistent with other Census Bureau surveys (Current Population Survey’s March ASEC, American Community Survey, and Decennial Census), the HVS remains a useful source of relatively real-time data.


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Housing Starts Readjust | South Salem Real Estate

May housing starts fell 11.1% from an elevated April to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.036 million units. The drop was broad based, falling 5.4% in single-family to an annual rate of 680,000 and multifamily falling 20.2% to 356,000. When viewed from a quarterly average, however, the first two months of the second quarter were better than the first quarter for both single- and multifamily starts: single-family up 9% and multifamily up 20%.
Furthering the upswing signals, building permits were up 11.8% to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.275 million, the highest since August 2007. The surge is concentrated in the Northeast where multifamily permits doubled from 130,000 per year to 264,000 per year and ahead of the 2014 rate of 64,000. Multifamily permit were also up in the Midwest (34%) but down in the South (-12.4%) and West (-8.1%).
Individual metropolitan permit data is available one month later than national figures and those data through April show substantial increases in multifamily permits over the same four month period in 2014 for New York metropolitan area (50%), Boston (56%), Pittsburgh (142%) and Albany (215%).
Single-family starts were up in every region when viewed from a two-month average and compared to the first quarter average. The Northeast was up 35.4% to a recent two-month average of 55,500 homes. The Midwest was up 26.1% to a recent average of 113,500 homes while the South made the smallest advance at 1.5% to 365,500 homes. The West was up 8.6% to a recent average of 165,000 homes.
Confirming an underlying advance, the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose 5 points to 59 as builders increased their expectations for future sales.

Single-family Starts and Permits




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US construction spending up 2.2 percent in April | South Salem Real Estate

U.S. construction spending climbed in April to the highest level in more than six years, fueled by healthy gains in housing, government spending and non-residential construction.

The Commerce Department says construction spending advanced 2.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1 trillion, the highest level since November 2008. Spending had risen a more modest 0.5 percent in March.

The gain included a 0.6 percent rise in residential construction and a 3.1 percent jump in non-residential activity such as office buildings, hotels and shopping centers. Government projects increased 3.3 percent, reflecting the biggest jump in spending on state and local projects in three years.

Economists are looking for construction to provide solid support to the economy this year.


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U.S. home prices steady in January, Case-Shiller data show | South Salem Real Estate

U.S. house prices were steady in January, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite released Tuesday, with Charlotte, Miami and San Diego all seeing gains of 0.7% while San Francisco prices fell 0.9%. On a seasonally adjusted basis, prices grew 0.9%. Compared to Jan. 2014, prices were up 4.6%. “The combination of low interest rates and strong consumer confidence based on solid job growth, cheap oil and low inflation continue to support further increases in home prices,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for S&P Dow Jones Indicies, in a statement.


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New and Existing Home Sales Increase in February | South Salem Real Estate

Builders signed contracts on more homes last month than any time since early 2008, according to figures released by the Census Bureau and HUD. February seasonally adjusted annual new home sales topped out at a 539,000 annual pace, up 7.8% from a healthy 500,000 rate in January. In percentage terms, sales increased the most in the Northeast (153% over the January rate) due to prior weather-related declines. Inventories dropped slightly to 210,000, which with the increased sales rate, lowered the months’ supply measure to 4.7 months. Lower inventories suggests optimism about construction growth for the year ahead.

Although reporting smaller gains, existing home sales shook off winter-related declines in February as well. As reported by the National Association of Realtors, sales increased 1.2% in February (up 4.7% from a year earlier), and the share of sales for first-time buyers registered its first gain since last November. Supplies of existing homes for sale are also diminished, with the current inventory representing only a 4.6-month supply.

However, the lingering regional effects of the tough winter for the Eastern part of the U.S. were seen in disappointing construction data for February. The pace of housing starts fell 17% to its lowest level since January 2014.

The decline was across the board in building types and regions. Single-family starts were down 14.9% and multifamily starts fell 20.8%. Single-family starts decreased the most in the weather sensitive Northeast (-60.7%) and Midwest (-32.4%) but were also down in the less weather affected South (-5.9%) and West (-9.1%).

The declines mirror the NAHB/Wells Housing Market Index (HMI), which fell two points to 53 in March. The drop marked the third consecutive decrease in this measure of single-family builder confidence. However, the HMI has been above 50 since July of last year, suggesting that the outlook for construction growth is good, not great. Similarly, fourth-quarter market data from the Census Bureau and HUD Survey of Market Absorption of Apartments suggest ongoing strong rental demand and positive prospects for maintaining current levels of multifamily development.


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Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal’s Far-Out Vegas Home Lists for $777K | South Salem Real Estate

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Price: $777,000
The former Las Vegas home of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, the late casino exec, mob associate, and FBI informant whose exploits inspired Martin Scorsese’s Casino, is back on the market for a lucky-sounding $777K. Though some things have changed since Lefty’s day, it’s about as groovy a 70s time capsule as you’re likely to find adjacent to the Las Vegas Country Club.

According to listing agent Brian Burns, Lefty spent around $500K having the three-bedroom reconstructed back in the mid-70s, after it was gutted by fire. The interior was done by designer Stephen Chase, who at the time was working for Arthur Elrod out in Palm Springs.

There have been four owners since Lefty (the current ones bought it in 2011 for $615K), all of which have been intent on “keeping the historic integrity of the home intact,” says Burns. Most of the floors have been redone over the years, though, and a second-floor picture window was added in back. The current owners redid the kitchen with a new backsplash and Caesarstone countertops, and outfitted the dwelling with a Savant smart home system.

The pieces of wall art in the living and dining rooms, which were commissioned by Stephen Chase when he was designing the interior, are including in the sale, as are the semicircular couch and lamp in the living room, the bedrooms sets, and a bunch of Lefty memorabilia. Also included, according to a 2011 article in the Las Vegas Review Journal: “bulletproof doors and picture windows, a hidden gun compartment,” and a “suspected” bullet mark chipped from one of the windowpanes.


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3 Reasons It’s Not a Seller’s Housing Market | South Salem Real Estate

If you’re considering purchasing a home, but worried that rising home prices mean you’ll pay too much for a house, think again. Just because home prices have risen doesn’t mean it’s a seller’s market out there. Here’s why.

1. Home Prices Aren’t Necessarily Inflated

Home prices have gone up, but have they done so unreasonably? Rewind to 2012, the unemployment rate exceeded 8%, short sales and foreclosures were still rampant, consumer confidence was low, the prospect of job growth was bleak and the general consensus was that the economy was still licking its wounds from the recession. People don’t buy homes when they’re feeling skittish about their job. Fast forward to 2015, job growth is getting traction, the banks are clearing foreclosures from their balance sheets and short sales are dropping. The result? Because the pendulum swung so far in the opposite direction with drastically low real estate prices several years ago, today’s prices in general are a reasonable correction of a settling housing market.

The likelihood for prices to continue to rise by leaps and bounds while credit is still tight is a shot in the dark, as wage strength has still not peaked. Remember, banks still have tight constraints on lending and are especially picky when approving large mortgages. Home prices in many markets are in direct proportion to the local economy. Take San Francisco, for example, where home prices are, without question, exorbitant. The tech industry is having a massive boom, driving prices up. The stronger the local economy, the more people working, the more support housing prices will have to remain strong.

2. Many Sellers Have Unrealistic Expectations

This average home price appreciation has brought sellers out of the woodwork in hopes of attaining a maximum price. Many have expectations far larger then what the market will bear. The best example of this is a home listed on the market for longer than 30 days within a strong local economy. Look at Sonoma County, Calif., where if a house is on the market longer than 30 days without a contract, it’s a good sign the property is listed too high. The only alternative is to drop the list price to induce an offer. It’s not uncommon at all these days to have a home close escrow at a price beneath the original listing price. (If you’re a seller who’s not sure what to offer on a house, talk with your real estate agent and take their advice — this is what you hire them to do.)

3. Multiple Offers Are Less Common

A good indication of a seller’s market is when there are large numbers of multiple offers – say eight to 10 – for each listed property. That is a strong indicator of the true seller’s market, much like it was in early 2014 and even summer of 2014. But these days I’m seeing that a handful of offers at best is more realistic. Less competition means a greater opportunity to get your foot in the door.

Consider this: Mortgage rates are down, increasing affordability. More people can afford to pay a little bit more for a home and not feel financially squeezed because their housing payment is lower. Prices do rise in relationship to what a ready and able buyer is willing to pay for a property. But the basics also come into play, including the location of the property, school district, bedrooms, bathrooms and lot size are all critical factors in the listing price of a home. Agents know this, but not so much sellers, who still believe they can get top dollar for their property regardless of whether they really can.


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Historic Philadelphia Victorian with 1920s Addition | South Salem Real Estate



Location: Philadelphia
Price: $1,750,000
The Skinny: An unusual historic home in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood of Chestnut Hill is on the market for the first time ever, or at least since H. Louis Duhring, Jr. acquired it. Duhring, who designed many of the homes George Woodward commissioned for the neighborhood, had a four-story wing in the Arts and Crafts style added to the home in the 1920s. This new back end to the stone-clad, circa-1860 Victorian brought the total square footage to about 10,000, which counts two apartments reached via a “grand, skylit stairwell,” and a “library/music room” with an original stone fireplace. There’s also a greenhouse and a pool in back.

First brought to market back in June, the dwelling is listed for $1.75M with design store proprietor and Kurfiss Sotheby’s associate broker Virginia Baltzell, whose family owns the property. She thinks it would make a great B&B.


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The Employment Situation in November – 3-2-1, Lift Off! | South Salem Real Estate

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that payroll employment expanded by 321 thousand in November, an increase well above expectations. Monthly employment gains prior to November have averaged 233 thousand in 2014. Job gains in September and October were revised upward by a total of 44 thousand. The average workweek for all employees and average hourly earnings rose. Job gains were widespread. These labor market gains coupled with recent output growth point to an economic recovery that is gaining momentum (Momentum).

blog emp 2014_11_1

From the separate household survey the BLS reported the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent in November. The report characterized the number of long-term unemployed and under-employed persons (those employed part-time who would prefer full-time work) as little changed in November, but these numbers have been trending down steadily from their peaks. In November these two categories declined by a total of 278 thousand. The labor force expanded by 119 thousand and the labor force participation rate held at 62.8 percent where it has been since April after several years of troubling declines.

Overall this is a very strong report. Jobs are being added at a robust pace, the labor force is expanding, at 5.8 percent, the unemployment rate is at the high end of what some economist might call normal (between 5 and 6 percent). If November’s progress can be sustained economic commentators should be over the moon by next spring.


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How Can Holiday Shopping Impact Mortgage Approvals | South Salem Real Estate

The holidays are full of generosity and giving, but these feelings can end up costing consumers if they aren’t careful. During the holidays, many stores will try to entice more spending by offering massive discounts for consumers who open a store card. Because of this, the huge increase in holiday shopping is coupled with many people opening new credit cards.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons stores make these “great offers” is so they can lure consumers who are in a shopping frenzy into opening a card with high interest rates and payments. This translates into huge profits for the store and customers stuck with inflated costs for merchandise sometimes equaling triple or more the value of the original purchase, since there are stores online such as ForSale.plus which offer a great variety of products for shopping.

To make matters worse, many store cards offer lower limits to start, so charging up a balance that is close to the limit can cause large score drops due to balance-to-limit ratios on revolving credit (mostly credit cards), putting consumer’s credit scores in a vulnerable position. Another problem with opening new credit is that it reduces the average age of credit. This reflects a higher risk borrower and will drop credit scores.

It’s important to note that for mortgages, even a minimal score drop can affect the score threshold and pricing. Depending on the current credit scores and profile, even if the drop is 2 points under the score threshold needed for the best pricing consumers can wind up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars more over the life of the 30 year loan. This can also mean the borrower cannot afford the amount of loan they were planning on. So opening a Bloomingdale’s card at the wrong time could end up causing a family to lose their dream neighborhood and needing to purchase a smaller house in a less desirable school district. Most individuals opening a store card during the holiday season are not thinking about the huge impact it may have on their family’s future.

What shoppers should remember when holiday shopping is that charging on a regular credit card is a better idea if they plan on paying the balance off a month or two prior to applying for a mortgage. In addition, since credit grantors do not hold card holders responsible for fraudulent charges, it is much better to use a credit card rather than a bank debit card. If a thief gets a hold of the debit card number the losses may be far greater. Essentially, using credit is not a bad thing if one knows the rules of credit and how timing can impact score drops.

​Feel free to reach out to us if you have any credit questions or reports you would like reviewed!

Contact Tracy:

Do you have any credit questions?
Tracy Becker, President
155 White Plains Road
Suite 200
Tarrytown, NY 10591
or  (toll free) 866-388-9400
F :(914) 524-5014 ​​