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30-Year mortgage rates Fall to Lowest in More Than a Month | Waccabuc Real Estate

The average interest rates on 30- and 15-year mortgages fell to their lowest levels in more than a month as rates offered on home loans retreated across the board. 

The average rate offered to homebuyers using a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage, the most popular type of home loan, fell to 3.25% from 3.29% the previous business day. The average for a 15-year fixed mortgage fell to 2.48% from 2.52% the previous business day. Both are the lowest they’ve been since early October.

Fixed mortgage rates tend to track 10-year Treasury yields, which usually rise with heightened inflation fears (and fall when those fears subside.) Investor concerns about soaring inflation have generally pushed yields to a much higher range since the summer, plus everyone is closely watching how the Federal Reserve interprets the latest inflation data and whether it will take drastic action to control it. Yields have fallen some since last week, when the Fed said it would begin to pull back on the easy money policies it put in place to help the economy through the pandemic.

The average 30-year rate hit a six-month high of 3.48% late last month, but even at that level, it was pretty low by historic standards. According to a Freddie Mac measure that dates back farther than our data, the 30-year hasn’t gone more than about half a percentage point higher than its record low of last winter. Three years ago, it was almost 5% and at the start of the 1990s, around 10%.

During the pandemic, these relatively low rates have bolstered buying power, allowing house hunters to buy more expensive homes with the same monthly budget and helping to fuel a fiercely competitive residential real estate boom that has only recently begun to cool slightly. For the same reasons, the uptick in rates over the past few months has discouraged borrowing, in particular refinancing activity. An index measuring the volume of applications to refinance an existing mortgage is at its lowest level since January 2020, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. 

Mortgage rates, like the rates on any loan, are going to depend on your credit score, with lower rates going to people with better scores, all else being equal. The rates shown reflect the average offered by more than 200 of the country’s top lenders, assuming the borrower has a FICO credit score of 700-759 (within the “good” or “very good” range) and a loan-to-value ratio of 80%.

30-Year Mortgage Rates Drop

A 30-year fixed mortgage is by far the most common type of mortgage because it offers a consistent and relatively low monthly payment. (Shorter-term fixed mortgages have higher payments because the borrowed money is paid back more quickly.) 

Besides conventional 30-year mortgages, some are backed by the Federal Housing Authority or the Department of Veterans Affairs. FHA loans offer borrowers with lower credit scores or a smaller down payment a better deal than they might otherwise get; VA loans let current or past members of the military and their families skip a down payment.

  • 30-year fixed: The average rate fell to 3.25%, down from 3.29% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 3.37%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $435.21, or $6.61 less than a week ago.
  • 30-year fixed (FHA): The average rate fell to 3.04% from 3.08% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 3.19%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $423.76, or $8.16 less than a week ago.
  • 30-year fixed (VA): The average rate fell to 3.08% from 3.12% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 3.25%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments will cost about $425.93, or $9.28 less than a week ago.

A lower rate can lower your monthly payment, but it can also give you more buying power, something you’ll want if you’re considering jumping into this fiercely competitive real estate market. For example, at 3% on a 30-year mortgage, your payments for a $380,000 home would be about $1,900 a month, assuming a 20% down payment, typical homeowners’ insurance costs, and property taxes, per our mortgage calculator. If you lock in a rate at 2.9%, though, you’ll have the same monthly payment for a $383,500 home.

15-Year Mortgage Rate Falls

The major advantage of a 15-year fixed mortgage is that it offers a lower interest rate than the 30-year and you’re paying off your loan more quickly, so your total borrowing costs are far lower. But for the same reason—that the loan is paid back over a shorter time frame—the monthly payments will be higher.

  • 15-year fixed: The average rate fell to 2.48% from 2.52% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 2.57%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $665.85, or $4.24 less than a week ago.

Besides fixed-rate mortgages, there are adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), where rates change based on a benchmark index tied to Treasury bonds or other interest rates. Most adjustable-rate mortgages are actually hybrids, where the rate is fixed for a period of time and then adjusted periodically. For example, a common type of ARM is a 5/1 loan, which has a fixed rate for five years (the “5” in “5/1”) and is then adjusted every one year (the “1”).

Jumbo Mortgage Rates Are Down

Jumbo loans, which allow you to borrow bigger amounts for more expensive properties, tend to have slightly higher interest rates than loans for more standard amounts. Jumbo means over the limit that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are willing to buy from lenders, typically $548,250 for a single-family home (except in Hawaii, Alaska, and a few federally designated high-cost markets, where the limit is $822,375).

  • Jumbo 30-year fixed: The average rate fell to 3.44% from 3.45% the previous business dayA week ago, it was 3.54%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $445.70, or $5.58 less than a week ago.
  • Jumbo 15-year fixed: The average rate fell to 3.24% from 3.26% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 3.32%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $702.18, or $3.90 less than a week ago.

Refinance Rates Decline

Refinancing an existing mortgage tends to be slightly more expensive than getting a new one, especially in a low-rate environment. 

  • 30-year fixed: The average rate to refinance fell to 3.36% from 3.4% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 3.5%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments would cost about $441.27, or $7.77 less than a week ago.
  • 15-year fixed: The average rate to refinance fell to $2.58% from 2.62% the previous business day. A week ago, it was 2.68%. For every $100,000 borrowed, monthly payments at that rate will cost about $670.56, or $4.74 less than a week ago.

Methodology

Our rates for “today” reflect national averages provided by more than 200 of the country’s top lenders one business day ago, and the “previous” is the rate provided the business day before that. Similarly, the week earlier references compare the data from five business days earlier (so bank holidays are excluded.) The rates assume a loan-to-value ratio of 80% and a borrower with a FICO credit score of 700 to 759—within the “good” to “very good” range. They’re representative of the rates customers would see in actual quotes from lenders, based on their qualifications, and may vary from advertised teaser rates.

read more…

thebalance.com/mortgage-rates

Case Shiller price index up 19.7% | Waccabuc 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 July 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 a 19.7% annual gain in July, up from 18.7% in the previous month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 19.1%, up from 18.5% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 19.9% year-over-year gain, up from 19.1% in the previous month.

Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities in July. Phoenix led the way with a 32.4% year-over-year price increase, followed by San Diego with a 27.8% increase and Seattle with a 25.5% increase. Seventeen of the 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending July 2021 versus the year ending June 2021. 

MONTH-OVER-MONTH

Before seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted an 1.6% month-over-month increase in July, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 1.3% and 1.5%, respectively.

After seasonal adjustment, the U.S. National Index posted a month-over-month increase of 1.5%, and the 10-City and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 1.4% and 1.5%, respectively. In July, all 20 cities reported increases before and after seasonal adjustments.

ANALYSIS

“July 2021 is the fourth consecutive month in which the growth rate of housing prices set a record,” says Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P DJI. “The National Composite Index marked its fourteenth consecutive month of accelerating prices with a 19.7% gain from year-ago levels, up from 18.7% in June and 16.9% in May. This acceleration is also reflected in the 10- and 20-City Composites (up 19.1% and 19.9%, respectively). The last several months have been extraordinary not only in the level of price gains, but in the consistency of gains across the country. In July, all 20 cities rose, and 17 gained more in the 12 months ended in July than they had gained in the 12 months ended in June. Home prices in 19 of our 20 cities now stand at all-time highs, with the sole outlier (Chicago) only 0.3% below its 2006 peak. The National Composite, as well as the 10- and 20-City indices, are likewise at their all-time highs.

“July’s 19.7% price gain for the National Composite is the highest reading in more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data. This month, New York joined Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, and Seattle in recording their all-time highest 12-month gains. Price gains in all 20 cities were in the top quintile of historical performance; in 15 cities, price gains were in the top five percent of historical performance. 

“We have previously suggested that the strength in the U.S. housing market is being driven in part by a reaction to the COVID pandemic, as potential buyers move from urban apartments to suburban homes. July’s data are consistent with this hypothesis. This demand surge may simply represent an acceleration of purchases that would have occurred anyway over the next several years. Alternatively, there may have been a secular change in locational preferences, leading to a permanent shift in the demand curve for housing. More time and data will be required to analyze this question.

“Phoenix’s 32.4% increase led all cities for the 26th consecutive month, with San Diego (+27.8%) and Seattle (+25.5%) not far behind. As has been the case for the last several months, prices were strongest in the Southwest (+24.2%) and West (+23.7%), but every region logged double-digit gains and recorded all-time high rate increases.”

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-06134.00Feb-12-27.4%265.3598.0%43.7%
20-City206.52Jul-06134.07Mar-12-35.1%272.34103.1%31.9%
10-City226.29Jun-06146.45Mar-12-35.3%284.7494.4%25.8%

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

July 2021July/JuneJune/May1-Year
Metropolitan AreaLevelChange (%)Change (%)Change (%)
Atlanta190.522.2%2.5%18.5%
Boston278.011.1%1.3%18.7%
Charlotte211.492.2%2.6%20.9%
Chicago168.101.2%1.7%13.3%
Cleveland156.021.1%2.3%16.2%
Dallas245.802.3%3.0%23.7%
Denver283.181.8%2.3%21.3%
Detroit156.191.2%2.2%16.1%
Las Vegas246.362.8%3.4%22.4%
Los Angeles358.501.4%1.9%19.1%
Miami310.502.2%3.0%22.2%
Minneapolis217.141.2%1.8%14.5%
New York241.861.1%0.8%17.8%
Phoenix280.473.3%3.6%32.4%
Portland302.711.5%2.2%19.5%
San Diego355.331.6%2.5%27.8%
San Francisco338.681.2%2.7%22.0%
Seattle343.920.9%1.6%25.5%
Tampa289.592.9%3.0%24.4%
Washington283.680.8%1.6%15.8%
Composite-10284.741.3%1.8%19.1%
Composite-20272.341.5%2.0%19.9%
U.S. National265.351.6%2.2%19.7%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through July 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.

July/June Change (%)June/May Change (%)
Metropolitan AreaNSASANSASA
Atlanta2.2%2.2%2.5%2.2%
Boston1.1%1.2%1.3%1.0%
Charlotte2.2%2.4%2.6%2.4%
Chicago1.2%1.1%1.7%1.2%
Cleveland1.1%0.7%2.3%1.7%
Dallas2.3%2.4%3.0%2.8%
Denver1.8%2.0%2.3%2.2%
Detroit1.2%1.0%2.2%1.3%
Las Vegas2.8%2.5%3.4%3.1%
Los Angeles1.4%1.7%1.9%1.7%
Miami2.2%2.0%3.0%3.1%
Minneapolis1.2%1.2%1.8%1.2%
New York1.1%1.0%0.8%1.0%
Phoenix3.3%3.2%3.6%3.4%
Portland1.5%1.4%2.2%1.8%
San Diego1.6%1.8%2.5%2.4%
San Francisco1.2%1.4%2.7%2.7%
Seattle0.9%1.4%1.6%1.5%
Tampa2.9%3.0%3.0%3.1%
Washington0.8%1.1%1.6%1.2%
Composite-101.3%1.4%1.8%1.6%
Composite-201.5%1.5%2.0%1.8%
U.S. National1.6%1.5%2.2%1.8%
Sources: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic
Data through July 2021

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

ABOUT S&P DOW JONES INDICES

S&P Dow Jones Indices is the largest global resource for essential index-based concepts, data and research, and home to iconic financial market indicators, such as the S&P 500® and the Dow Jones Industrial Average®. More assets are invested in products based on our indices than products based on indices from any other provider in the world. Since Charles Dow invented the first index in 1884, S&P DJI has been innovating and developing indices across the spectrum of asset classes helping to define the way investors measure and trade the markets.

S&P Dow Jones Indices is a division of S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI), which provides essential intelligence for individuals, companies, and governments to make decisions with confidence. For more information, visit https://www.spglobal.com/spdji/.

Northeast new homes sales rise 48% | Waccabuc Real Estate

After notable and expected downward revisions for prior months, May recorded a decline of 5.9% for sales of newly-constructed single family homes, according to estimates from the Census Bureau and HUD. The May seasonally adjusted annual rate (769k) was the lowest in a year, due to builders slowing sales as a consequence of higher material costs and declining availability of labor, material and lots.

Residential demand continues to be supported by low interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and solid demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs. However, higher building costs, longer delivery times, and general unpredictability in the residential construction supply-chain are having measurable impacts on new home prices. In May, the median price of a newly-built home was 18% higher than a year ago, at $374,400. As NAHB has estimated, higher lumber costs alone are increasing new home prices by $36,000 on average.

Higher costs have priced out buyers, particularly at the lower end of the market. A year ago, 44% of new home sales were priced below $300,000. In May 2021, only 26% of new home sales were priced below $300,000.

Looking back to the spring of last year, the April 2020 data (570,000 annualized pace) marks the low point of sales for the 2020 recession. The April 2020 rate was 26% lower than the prior peak, pre-recession rate set in January. Sales then mounted a historic surge from April until July, outpacing gains in actual construction. Sales have been above the pace of the post-Great Recession trend since the second half of last year. However, since January the trend has been declining and has now dipped below the long-run trend (as indicated by the blue dashed line in the graph above).

Sales-adjusted inventory levels remained healthy in May, although they did increase to a 5.1 months’ supply.

Completed ready-to-occupy homes continue to fall as a share of new home inventory. Such homes were just under 24% of inventory a year ago. They are only a little more than 11% of the total in May 2021.

Moreover, to see how sales patterns have changed in a high demand, low supply market — the count of new homes sold that had not started construction is up 76 percent over the last year. The count of new homes sold that are completed and ready to occupy is down 33 percent.

Regionally on a year-to-date basis new home sales rose in all four regions, up 48.7% in the Northeast, 33.5% in the Midwest, 32.3% in the South, and 5.6% in the West. These significant increases are due in part to lower sales volume during the Covid crisis a year ago.

Read more…

Eyeonhousing.org

Mortgage rates average 3.00% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.00 percent.

“After a run up over the first few months of the year, rates have paused and hovered around three percent since March,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Despite this favorable rate climate, there remains a shortage of homes for sale. The lack of housing supply has been compounded by labor disruptions and expensive building materials that are driving up the cost of new housing, making it difficult for homebuyers to find homes to purchase.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.00 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending May 20, 2021, up from last week when it averaged 2.94 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.24 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.29 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.26 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.70 percent.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.59 percent with an average 0.3 point, unchanged from last week. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.17 percent.

The PMMS is focused on conventional, conforming, fully amortizing home purchase loans for borrowers who put 20 percent down and have excellent credit. Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Freddie Mac predicts 6.6% home price increase in 2021 | Waccabuc Real Estate

According to Freddie Mac’s (OTCQB: FMCC) Quarterly Forecast, mortgage rates will continue to move up with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging just above three percent through the end of 2021.

“As the economy continues to improve, we expect conditions to remain generally favorable for the housing and mortgage market,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “Higher mortgage rates have the potential, however, to dampen the robust demand we’ve been experiencing, and we therefore forecast total originations to decline to $3.5 trillion in 2021.”  

Khater continued, “Other important obstacles to consider include high home prices and low housing supply that will certainly influence the trajectory of purchase activity specifically.”

According to Freddie Mac’s Forecast:

  • The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to be 3.2 percent in 2021 and 3.7 percent in 2022.
  • House price growth is expected to be 6.6 percent in 2021, slowing to 4.4 percent in 2022.
  • Home sales are expected to reach 7.1 million in 2021, falling to 6.7 million homes in 2022.
  • Purchase originations are expected to increase to $1.7 trillion in 2021 before dropping to $1.6 trillion in 2022.
  • Refinance originations are expected to be $1.8 trillion in 2021 before falling to $770 billion in 2022. 
  • Overall, annual mortgage origination levels are expected to be $3.5 trillion in 2021 and $2.4 trillion 2022.

Freddie Mac makes home possible for millions of families and individuals by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Since our creation by Congress in 1970, we’ve made housing more accessible and affordable for homebuyers and renters in communities nationwide. We are building a better housing finance system for homebuyers, renters, lenders, investors, and taxpayers. Learn more at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac, and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

Gen Z Faces Housing Affordability Challenges | Waccabuc Real Estate

Developers struggle to build apartments in busy, social neighborhoods at a price Gen Z is willing to pay.

In October, AvalonBay Communities will open 238 new apartments at Kanso Twinbrook in Rockville, Md., near Washington, D.C. Courtesy AvalonBay Communities
In October, AvalonBay Communities will open 238 new apartments at Kanso Twinbrook in Rockville, Md., near Washington, D.C. Courtesy AvalonBay Communities

Developers often want their new developments to appeal to the youngest renters. That may be difficult with the young people of Generation Z, now graduating from college and looking for places to live.

They are notoriously frugal. The oldest—born from the mid- to late 1990s—came of age during the long, slow recovery from the global financial crisis. They were used to living on a budget long before the new economic crisis caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Gen Z tends to value experiences more than they value things or possessions,” says Lela Cirjakovic, executive vice president of operations for Waterton, an apartment company based in Chicago. “They also place a high value on community… Spending time with people doing things is more valuable to them than having luxury items.”

That frugality might keep Generation Z away from new buildings in the most expensive housing markets—even though they are drawn to social areas.

“Land costs in the urban core likely preclude the delivery of new apartments that most Gen Z renters can afford,” says Greg Willett, chief economist for RealPage, a technology and data company based in Richardson, Texas. “Those who can afford new developments at all probably will opt for suburban settings.”

New Apartments Designed for Frugality

In October, AvalonBay Communities will open 238 new apartments at Kanso Twinbrook in Rockville, Md., near Washington, D.C.

Kanso Twinbrook does not have a leasing office. Instead, it has a prospect self-entry showroom with a sample finishes and a digital screen to describe the community. Courtesy AvalonBay Communities
Kanso Twinbrook does not have a leasing office. Instead, it has a prospect self-entry showroom with a sample finishes and a digital screen to describe the community. Courtesy AvalonBay Communities

“Kanso will be our first new development without any physical amenities or even a leasing office,” says Karen Hollinger, senior vice president of strategic initiatives for AvalonBay Communities, headquartered in Arlington, Va. “I’m not sure any one generation has the lock on frugality, but certainly there is a growing demand by a younger generation for a lower net cost housing model.”

Willett adds that research typically paints Gen Z as a practical group with frugal spending patterns. “So many of them grew up in cash-strapped households. … Housing affordability has been a challenge for the group, especially for those with substantial student debt.”

However, these young adults do require strong, fast Internet and cellphone service.

“Tech is a deal breaker,” says Cirjakovic. “On a very basic level, reliable and robust service in apartments and common spaces is critical.”

Young renters are also more likely to expect their homes to include Internet-enabled devices like smart thermostats and electronic locks. Elie Rieder, CEO of Castle Lanterra Properties, says, “Smart homes are a gimmick to previous generations but a must for Generation Z, as conservation and control are simply standard with them.”

Being frugal, these younger renters are often less likely than older renters to pay a premium of extra rent for this Internet-enabled gear. “It will be the base expectation versus a differentiator for them,” says Rieder.

Gen Z May Choose Roommates Despite Pandemic

When times get tough, young renters often double up with roommates or move home to live with their parents for a time.

“Younger cohorts are typically disproportionately affected by employment losses in recessions, a fact already reflected in the April and May job reports,” says Andrew Rybczynski, managing consultant in the Boston office of CoStar Portfolio Strategy. “We expect household consolidation for economic reasons, which could also prevent move-outs from parents’ households.”

Apartment developers had begun to build new “co-living” communities based around the idea that renters would want to share space as roommates.

“The model of large-scale shared housing fits well with a desire for lowered costs and increased socialization, but it certainly doesn’t fit well with the need to quarantine,” says AvalonBay’s Hollinger. “If financing was tough before, it just got much tougher.”

In the aftermath of the pandemic, tough economic times and the ability to work remotely may steer young renters away from the most expensive urban markets, like San Francisco and New York City. “Markets with high rents will likely suffer the most, as Gen Z decides to seek markets where they can achieve a much more favorable balance,” says Cirjakovic.

Young renters may also have less need to live near job centers. “Post-pandemic, almost anyone who is not a service provider can potentially work remotely,” says Cirjakovic.

However, these young renters will probably still want live near entertainment, dining, and other people in their age group. “Culture, connectivity, and proximity to similar people will be the draw,” says Rieder. “True walkable live-work-play locations are key. That usually means very urban.”

read more…

https://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/property-management/rent-trends/

NY housing courts reopen | Waccabuc Real Estate

“I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff, and I’m just waiting for a push to send me over.”

Daniella Vega has called every tenant hotline she could find, but she still doesn’t know if she’s on the cusp of being evicted. The 27-year-old artist shared a three-bedroom apartment with in Bushwick with two roommates, but they both moved out due to the pandemic, saddling the freelancer with the $3,200 rent. She’s paid what she can from her savings but now owes two months in back rent, and her landlord has been distressingly unresponsive to recent emails. The fear of eviction, Vega says, is ever present.

“I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff, and I’m just waiting for a push to send me over,” she says. Vega is among the tens of thousands of New York renters struggling to understand the labyrinth of state orders and court guidance, issued at the beginning of the pandemic and continually updated over the past few months, that are dictating what can already be an opaque evictions process. Now, with housing courts partially reopened in New York City, push may soon come to shove for many renters like Vega who are behind on rent, or who haven’t paid at all since March.

Vega has yet to receive a notice from her landlord, but she is bracing for the possibility that she may be among the proverbial “tidal wave” of new eviction cases — at least 50,000 — that housing advocates estimate New York landlords will file in the coming weeks.

A blanket moratorium on evictions, ordered by Governor Andrew Cuomo, prevented New York renters from losing their homes over the past three months. But as of June 20, protections under that order narrowed. Instead, the current safeguards only apply to tenants who are eligible for unemployment or who have experienced a “financial hardship” related to COVID-19. People who meet those requirements cannot be evicted before August 20. How precisely the courts will decide who is protected under the extended moratorium has created confusion for tenant and landlord attorneys alike.

It’s a determination that could have far-reaching consequences for renters and property owners. But new guidance from the Office of Court Administration has temporarily put a pin in the issue by pausing all new eviction cases and the execution of warrants until at least July 6. Cases can be filed by mail, but those will be adjourned.

The bewildering complexity of the situation has added to the uncertainty for renters and their advocates. For months, tenant-rights groups, including the statewide Housing Justice for All coalition, have urged the governor to extend the blanket eviction moratorium, and on Monday, they took that message to the courts, with hundreds gathering outside of courthouses across the boroughs.

In Brooklyn, protesters railed outside the borough’s civil courts before marching through the streets of Downtown, chanting “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Evictions have got to go!” Demonstrators in Manhattan participated in a die-in while holding signs that read “People Over Property.” And in Queens and the Bronx, dozens more shouted their outrage over megaphones, calling on Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to offer greater relief to renters and pleading for the housing courts to remain closed.jason wu, esq. #FreeThemAll4PublicHealth@CriticalRace

We are outside Manhattan Court to tell @NYGovCuomo: No to evictions. No to reopening housing courts. No to profits over people. #EvictionFreeNY and #CancelRent now.
✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

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“While the government has told us to stay in our homes, they’re now refusing to protect our ability to actually do that,” Kim Statuto told the crowd outside the Bronx courts. Statuto, a tenant leader with Community Action for Safe Apartments, is on a rent strike in her Claremont Village apartment building, where she has lived with her two adult children — who were both laid off from their jobs in March — for 26 years. “It’s not our fault we can’t pay, but when the courts reopen, we’re the ones that are going to suffer,” Statuto added.

Patrick Tyrrell, a tenant attorney with Mobilization for Justice who joined protesters in Brooklyn, says the issue of restarting evictions has become a “political hot potato” that has led to shaky leadership from the governor and the courts. “No one wants to be the person that says we’re going to evict people,” says Tyrrell. “But at the same time, they’re giving landlords these pinhole opportunities to protect their interests. It shows how politics can create a horrible process.”

That process is one that attorneys are still trying to piece together. Uncertainty lingers over the exact criteria tenants must meet to qualify for protection under the governor’s second executive order.

And that creates a harrowing situation for tenants like Vega who, as a freelancer, wasn’t laid off because of the pandemic, but her income did take a hit with several canceled commissions. “How do I prove that was directly related to the pandemic?” she questions. “It clearly was, but I have no idea how I’d even prove that. It’s terrifying that no one can tell me.”

Vega has already begun reaching out to clients, asking them to pen letters explaining why they reneged on commissions. “I’m trying to arm myself with something,” she says.#CANCELRENT Housing Justice For All@housing4allNY

Try and take our homes? We’ll take over the streets. @NYGovCuomo, extend the real eviction moratorium and #cancelrent now! #EvictionFreeNY

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Landlords who do choose to mail in new eviction cases will also have to provide an affidavit confirming that they have reviewed all existing state and federal restrictions on evictions and believe “in good faith” that the case is “consistent with those proceedings and qualifications,” according to guidance issued by New York State chief administrative judge Lawrence Marks.

But that order, landlord attorneys argue, may be overly burdensome for property owners, who have their own bills to pay, to pursue new cases.

Landlords also run the risk of potentially subjecting themselves to penalties if they wrongfully interpret those directives. Furthermore, they would have to attest that they have reason to believe a tenant is not eligible for unemployment benefits or is not otherwise facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 — but again, neither the governor nor the courts have concretely defined what constitutes such a hardship.

“I don’t say this lightly, but the New York City Housing Court has essentially ceased to function,” says landlord attorney Nativ Winiarsky, partner with Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens, LLP.

according to real estate lead generation companies, landlords looking for relief may try to pursue eviction cases in the Supreme Court or through other nonhousing civil-court channels, but that’s a laborious process that could prove too costly for some landlords to pursue. “All of this, I believe, is effectively and severely unfairly impacting a landlord’s property and due-process rights,” adds Winiarsky.

This has left Vega feeling like she’s caught between two worlds, and without greater relief from the state or city, she expects to remain stuck. “Everyone is trying to squeeze whatever they can get out of everyone right now, and that’s because the government has failed us,” says Vega. “We need to cancel rent. We need to cancel mortgages. And if we don’t, I am the one who will suffer.”

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ny.curbed.com/2020

Amazon has tiny houses to buy for your backyard | Waccabuc Real Estate

Going down an Amazon product rabbit hole, you can find just about anything. There’s some weird stuff out there, like this Nicolas Cage sequin pillow and this wine bra. But deep into the patio and outdoor category, you’ll find one major (OK, huge) item that you probably didn’t know existed on Amazon: tiny houses.

If you can’t get enough of the TV shows that are all about tiny house-living, you can actually live out your own tiny home dreams by purchasing one from Amazon. There’s one caveat however — the tiny houses come as a kit that you then have to build yourself. But if you’ve been looking for your next backyard DIY project, we’ve found it.

While you’d expect tiny homes to be a bit of a splurge purchase, Allwood’s 172-sqaure foot Solvalla Studio got so popular after customers found it on the site in May 2019 that it sold out in less than a week.

Right now, Allwood is the primary brand that’s selling these tiny house kits on Amazon, and unsurprisingly, they aren’t cheap. One the most affordable options is one that’s 113-square feet going for a mere $5,350. There’s one that’s even selling for more than $64,000!

But what’s interesting about these kits if you read the product description is that they can be built by two people in just eight hours. Each “cabin kit” also comes with all the building materials and directions you would need. There’s even a kit that can make two-room tiny house! Plus, all of the options are less than 250 square feet too, in case your space is limited.

While these tiny cabins could act as little backyard getaway, they don’t come with electricity or utilities, which is an added expense. And if you’re wondering exactly what you could do in this tiny home exactly, well the product description mentions that they are ideal as a “backyard recreation lounge, guest house or even a home office.”

Oddly enough, these tiny homes are one of Amazon’s most sought-out products right now. So if you have the space, the time and the money, it might be worth investing in, to finally live out those tiny house dreams of yours. By the way, if you hop over to this website you’ll find a discount code that may get you a discount.

Below, we’ve rounded up the top six more ~affordable~ options to browse before they might sell out.

Shop: Allwood Solvalla 172 SQF Studio Cabin Kit, $7,290

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Allwood Mayflower 117 SQF Garden House Cabin Kit, $7,290

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Allwood Palma 3 176 SQF 2 Room Studio Cabin Kit, $9,695

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Allwood Escape 113 SQF Cabin Kit, $5,350

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Allwood Estelle 5 157 SQF Cabin Kit, Garden House, $6,395 (Orig. $8,299)

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Allwood Arlanda XL 227 SQF Studio Cabin Garden House Kit, $9,990

Credit: Amazon

Shop: Allwood Sommersby 174 SQF Garden House Kit, $6,395.00 (Orig. $8,299)

Credit: Amazon

Residential construction spending rises 9% | Waccabuc Real Estate

NAHB analysis of Census Construction Spending data shows that total private residential construction spending stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of $550.3 billion in March. It was up 2.3% in March, after decreasing 4.8% in February. On a year-over-year basis, total private construction spending rose 8.8%.

The monthly gains are largely attributed to the growth of spending on improvements and multifamily construction. Private residential improvements, which include spending on remodeling, major replacement, and additions to owner-occupied housing units, increased to $189.0 billion annual pace in March, up 10.2% over the February estimates. Multifamily construction spending inched up 2% in March, following an increase of 1.2% in February. Spending on single-family construction slipped 2.0% in March, the first dip since July 2019, due to the virus impacts.

The NAHB construction spending index, which is shown in the graph below (the base is January 2000), illustrates the solid growth in single-family construction and home improvement from the second half of 2019 to February 2020, before the COVID-19 hit the U.S. economy. New multifamily construction spending slowed down since August 2019, after the strong growth from 2010 to 2016 and a surge from the late 2018 to early 2019.

Spending on private nonresidential construction declined 1.8 percent over the year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $462.3 billion. The annual nonresidential spending decline was mainly due to less spending on the class of lodging ($4.3 billion), followed by educational category ($3.6 billion), and amusement and recreation ($2.3 billion).

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www.eyeonhousing.org

Mortgage rates average 3.3% | Waccabuc Real Estate

Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.33 percent.

“Mortgage rates have drifted down for two weeks in a row and that drop reflects improvements in market liquidity and sentiment,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist. “While the market has stabilized relative to prior weeks, homebuyer demand has declined in response to current economic conditions. The good news is that the pending economic stimulus is on the way and will provide support for both consumers and businesses.”

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.33 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending April 2, 2020, down from last week when it averaged 3.50 percent. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.08 percent. 
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.82 percent with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.92 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.56 percent. 
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 3.40 percent with an average 0.3 point, up from last week when it averaged 3.34 percent. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.66 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.