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Westchester Homes

Mayor de Blasio to party with real estate | Chappaqua NY Real Estate

A powerful cast of public officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, is expected to descend on the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual winter banquet on Thursday night at the Hilton Hotel in midtown.

The event, in its 118th year, has long been an opportunity for the city’s largest and wealthiest landlords and developers to schmooze with each other as well as top political figures both in city and state government. During his 12 years as mayor, Michael Bloomberg attended almost every year, one among a long list of senators, City council members and governors who made the year’s biggest New York real estate event a perennial stop on their social calendars.

It had been uncertain, however, if Mr. de Blasio and some of the officials who have filled top posts in his administration would do the same. The real estate industry has greeted the new mayor with unease as he campaigned on populist issues such as growing income inequality and the lack of affordable housing. Those dynamics have been a windfall for the real estate industry, which has rushed to build a new generation of luxury residential towers in recent years.

In addition to the mayor, Police Commissioner William Bratton is expected to attend, along with other top de Blasio appointees, including Tony Shorris, de Blasio’s first deputy mayor; Emma Wolf, the director of intergovernmental affairs; and Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development. Kyle Kimball, president of the Economic Development Corp., who Mr. de Blasio recently renamed to that position, is also likely to be at the event, sources said. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer will likely attend as well.




Manhattan Real Estate Market Surging at Year’s End | North Salem NY Real Estate

The Manhattan real estate market continued a yearlong trend, ending the final quarter of 2013 with a scarcity of listings and surging sales, while prices remained relatively flat.

Despite the flurry of sales activity at the end of the year, the median sales price of $855,000 was up just slightly from the same quarter of 2012, according to a report by the Douglas Elliman brokerage firm that will be released on Friday.

That number is still far from the market’s peak in 2008, when the median was close to $1 million, but it is up from the market’s bottom in 2009, when the median hovered around $800,000.

“I think we’re going in a very good direction,” Diane M. Ramirez, the chief executive of Halstead Property, said. “The prices are going up but at a very sustainable rate.”

A strong local economy, stock market gains and steady foreign interest helped bolster demand for Manhattan apartments as supply continued to shrink, brokers said. The year ended with the fewest available fourth-quarter listings in 14 years, according to the Elliman report. Despite the low inventory of apartments, the number of sales rose 26.8 percent to 3,297 — the highest fourth-quarter total recorded, outpacing the sales surge at the end of last year when wealthy buyers rushed to close deals before new tax laws kicked in with the new year.

This uptick in sales at the end of 2013 was driven in part by closings in expensive condominiums aimed at the upper echelon that had been in contract for many months. Those deals helped push the median sales price for Manhattan condos, including resales, up 14.3 percent to a record $1,320,000, according to the Elliman report.

“The smart developers realized there was an underserved need for large apartments in New York City and this quarter in particular saw a lot of large apartments closing, which helped to drive up the price,” Pamela Liebman, the chief executive of the Corcoran Group, said.

New development had a robust 32 percent increase in median price, as closings skewed toward the high end, according to a report by the Corcoran Group.

It is a trend that is expected to continue in 2014 as a number of new luxury developments currently in contract at record-breaking prices are poised to close, Ms. Liebman added, noting that highly anticipated closings in Extell Development’s luxury tower, One57, have just begun. More than 10 condos there priced above $45 million were under contract at the end of 2013, two for more than $90 million.

The luxury category, which represents the top 10 percent, “continues to grab headlines” with double-digit year-over-year increases, said Andrew Heiberger, the chief executive of Town Residential, which found in its report that the median sales price of the top 10 percent of the market increased $4,604,019 in the fourth quarter, up 15.1 percent from the same period in 2012. The rest of the market, he said, “remained status quo.”

Co-ops, which account for the majority of sales, sold at a median price of $660,000 in the fourth quarter, down 2.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012, according to Town Residential. But at any category, said Hall F. Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, buyers do not want to feel like they have overpaid. “They’re wanting the price they pay to be very justifiable,” he said, adding that price sensitivity continues to help keep the market “very healthy.”

In 2014, brokers expect supply to begin to loosen up. “I think you’ll see a little rise in inventory,” said Dottie Herman, the chief executive of Douglas Elliman, adding that as sales prices increase and sellers gain equity and confidence that they can find something to buy, they are more willing to list. “When you have no equity, you’re kind of stuck,” she said.

Jonathan J. Miller, the author of Elliman’s report and the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, agreed. But he said that rising mortgage rates could slow the pace of sales and that “in 2014 we expect inventory to edge higher, but it’s not going to be enough to meet demand.”

U.K. Home Prices Cap Best Year Since 2006 as Mortgages Surge | Mt Kisco NY Homes

U.K. house prices rose and mortgage lending surged more than forecast as the property market’s momentum continued to build at the end of 2013.

Nationwide Building Society said home values increased 1.4 percent in December, taking their gain last year to 8.4 percent, the biggest annual increase since 2006. Separate reports in London showed mortgage approvals are now at the highest in almost six years and growth in construction is being led by homebuilding.

The housing revival, fueled by an improving economy and government measures, has prompted a response from the Bank of England. It ended incentives on mortgage lending in a credit-boosting program and will focus on corporate credit. The need for such a move was highlighted today by data showing business lending fell the most in at least 18 months in November.

“Surveys consistently show markedly rising buyer interest and strengthening activity so house prices look set to see further strong increases,” said Howard Archer, chief U.K. economist at IHS Global Insight in London. The decision “to end Funding for Lending support for lending to households looks a highly sensible decision, although in itself it is unlikely to act as a major brake on housing market activity.”
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Balconies sit on the exterior of white stucco residential terrace properties on Eaton… Read More

In contrast to the increase in home loans, the BOE data showed that business lending fell 4.7 billion pounds ($7.7 billion) in November, the biggest drop since the data series began in May 2011. Lending to manufacturers has fallen 3.1 percent in the past year.

Home-loan Surge

Home-loan approvals rose to 70,758 in November, the most since January 2008, compared with 68,029 in October, the Bank of England said today. The median forecast of 15 economists in a Bloomberg News survey was for 69,700 approvals. Mortgage lending increased 910 million pounds.

“A large part of the pickup in the housing market can be attributed to further improvements in the labor market and the brighter economic outlook,” said Robert Gardner, chief economist at Nationwide. “Policy measures also played an important supporting role.”

Gardner also said “ultra-low” borrowing costs were fueling demand for property.

The BOE’s Monetary Policy Committee has pledged to keep its key interest rate at a record-low 0.5 percent until unemployment, now at 7.4 percent, falls to 7 percent. The MPC will leave the rate unchanged when it announces its next policy decision on Jan. 9, according to a Bloomberg News survey.