Tag Archives: Westchester NY Homes for Sale

Westchester NY Homes for Sale

NY tax and spend democrats raise Westchester’s sales tax | Bedford Corners Real Estate

Shoppers in Westchester will be spending a little more after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to increase sales tax in county municipalities.

Cuomo signed the Westchester Property Tax Payer Protection Act on Sunday, June 30, which will increase sales tax by 1 percent – up to 8.375 – in the county’s 20 villages, 19 towns, and the cities of Peekskill and Rye. It takes effect on Aug. 1.

As part of the bill, the property tax levy will remain flat for the next two years. The proposal is expected to help stabilize the county’s finances after losing its AAA rating – the highest ranking available – in each of the Big 3 rating agencies, last year.

The sales tax hike is expected to generate nearly $150 million in sales tax revenue annually, including nearly $60 million through the end of the year.

The Westchester County Board of Elections has scheduled a special meeting to enact the measure on Monday, July 1, County Executive George Latimer said. Latimer noted that “(his) administration is working on a number of very specific actions that will be implemented immediately in response to this news” that will be announced at a press conference on Monday, July 8 at Greenburgh Town Hall.

“Today in Westchester County we are grateful Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Property Tax Payer Protection Act,” he said. “This county owes a debt of gratitude to the governor and New York lawmakers, especially Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Speaker of the New York State Assembly Carl Heastie and Westchester’s New York State Delegation Leader Assembly Member Gary Pretlow, for giving property taxpayers relief, and for giving us the ability to stabilize the county’s finances.”

The current tax rate in most of the county is 7.375 percent. That rate is a point higher in Westchester’s biggest cities of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and White Plains, and slightly higher than those in Yonkers. The proposal would see a jump to an 8.375 percent countywide, with Yonkers maintaining the highest rate.

Officials noted that the proposed rate is the same as Rockland County, and slightly lower than Nassau and Suffolk County on Long Island.

“We fought a long hard battle for parity with other counties and with other cities in our own county, and today we are able to say property taxpayers will soon see some relief,” Latimer said. “This is a victory for municipalities and school districts in this County – today we all benefit.

“This is a new day in Westchester County, and I am thankful and proud of the teamwork and unity exhibited to accomplish this.”

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Westchester Democrats taxing and spending | Waccabuc Real Estate

Despite already being one of the more heavily taxed counties in the country, Westchester homeowners and shoppers may soon see a hike in sales tax.

Westchester officials are reportedly hopeful that the state will approve an increase in local sales tax which could help steady the county’s finances. However, according to a lohud report , no formal request has been made, and it is unclear how much taxes may be increased.

The report states that Westchester County Executive George Latimer plans to first reach out to area business owners before he makes his formal cause to New York State officials.

The average Westchester homeowner paid nearly $20,000 in property taxes last year, with a sales tax rate of 3.375 percent, which is a lower rate than surrounding counties and lower than the county’s four largest cities.

In recent years, Westchester has found itself facing millions of dollars in deficits and the county has seen its reserves dwindle, leading to a downgrade of their credit rating. Westchester’s financial report card saw its credit rating cut one level by two prominent agencies.

Westchester County was notified by S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings that the county’s financial outlook has been downgraded to AA+. Moody’s also assigned Aa1 to Westchester. The county has lost its AAA rating – the highest ranking available – in each of the Big 3 rating agencies.

Late last year, lawmakers approved the $1.9 billion budget, with the measure quickly signed off by Latimer. The budget was approved by a 13-4 vote, with the support of county Democrats. The budget contains a 2 percent property tax hike.

Officials said that the tax rate increase is to help offset tens of millions of dollars in deficits that the county is currently operating against. There are no planned cuts to staff or service in the approved budget, which is contingent on the county selling several parking lots that surround the County Center in White Plains. The sale of the lots is expected to net more than $20 million.

The tax levy increase is the first since Latimer took over as county exec last year. The county could have raised taxes by as much as 4.5 percent, but was able to curtail that number with certain allowances. The county was operating at a $32 million deficit to end 2017 year, which only ballooned in 2018.

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Westchester loses AAA bond rating | Pound Ridge Real Estate

  • County used reserves to pay retroactive salary increases
  •  S&P cuts Westchester rating to AA+ and it could go lower

New York’s Westchester County, home to the wealthy suburbs of Scarsdale and Bronxville, lost its AAA grade from S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings after drawing down its cash reserves to cover retroactive raises given to government employees.

The county, which borders New York City to the north, had its grade cut one level by both companies Tuesday to AA+. S&P said there’s a one-in-three chance that it will downgrade the county’s bonds again in the next two years as the government contends with budget shortfalls, given how “narrow” its reserves were at the end of the 2017 fiscal year.

The downgrades came ahead of the county’s planned auction of $200 million of general-obligation bonds on Thursday.

“We remain concerned over the county’s ability to sustainably align revenue and expenditures and rebuild reserves to a level consistent with that of similarly rated or higher-rated peers,” said S&P analyst Nora Wittstruck.

Westchester’s general fund balance could fall to less than 4 percent of spending at the close of fiscal 2018, about half the level of reserves the county had previously maintained, S&P said.

The new federal limit on deductions for state and local taxes and mortgage interest could further strain the county’s budget. That cap could make it harder for residents who pay the the highest property taxes in the U.S. to sell their homes, while others could challenge their real-estate tax assessments, potentially weakening Westchester’s biggest source of income.

The average property-tax bill in the county last year was $17,179, the highest in the the U.S., according to a report by Attom Data Solutions. The federal tax law changes set a $10,000 limit on deductions for state and local levies and capped the mortgage-interest deduction to loans of $750,000.

There are some signs that high property taxes and the federal shift are having an impact.

The median price of single family homes in the county dipped to $675,000 in the third-quarter of 2018, a 3.6 percent decline from the previous quarter, according to an October 11 report by Miller Samuel Inc. and and Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Luxury homes prices fell even more, with a 6.4 percent decline to $2.1 million.

Westchester is New York’s third-wealthiest county by median family income, after Nassau and Putnam and has the second-highest per-capita income after Manhattan.

The county’s new executive, George Latimer, has proposed selling parking lots in White Plains to plug a $22 million hole in his 2019 spending plan, according to the Journal News.

If the parking lot sale falls through, the county would have to cut spending, raise property taxes above the planned 2 percent increase or tap reserves again. The county’s $1.94 billion proposed budget includes $453 million in sales-tax revenue, 5 percent more than the year end-estimate of fiscal 2018, based on the expectation that the state will allow collections on Internet purchases.

“We believe the revenue forecast assumes a couple of significant risks,” Wittstruck said.

In a statement, Latimer said the downgrades weren’t a surprise.

“As we have said these past few months, the county is in serious financial stress,” Latimer said. “Regardless of the many steps we are taking to improve our footing, these problems were not created overnight and they will not be solved overnight.”

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US home prices dipped in Nov. on colder weather | Katonah NY Real Estate


U.S. home prices fell slightly in November as colder weather slowed buying, ending nine straight months of price gains.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slipped 0.1 percent from October to November, partly reversing the previous monthly increase of 0.2 percent. But the index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the monthly decline partly reflects slower buying in the late fall as temperatures drop.

“November was a good month for home prices,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones index committee. “Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter.”

Despite the overall decline, home values have continued to rise in many Sun Belt cities. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix have registered 20 straight months of rising prices.

But home prices surged for much of 2013, driven by big gains earlier in the year. Prices have risen 13.7 percent over the past 12 months.

Dallas enjoyed its strongest annual gain since 2000. And Chicago home prices climbed at their strongest annual clip since December 1988. Among the cities in the index, only Detroit prices remain below their 2000 level.




‘Pay for what agents value, unless they’re wrong’ | Chappaqua NY Real Estate


Joseph “Joe” Rand has what he says is one “golden rule” to profitability, at least when it comes to expenses: Pay as little as possible, only for what your agents really value, and pay for nothing else — unless they’re wrong.

Rand is managing partner at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty in the New York metro area. Last year, the firm generated about $45 million in revenue, Rand said.

He spoke to a roomful of his colleagues at Real Estate Connect New York City today in a session called “Survival War Room for Brokers.”

“If your business model is aligned with what your agents value, you’ll be just fine. It really depends on you being a good operator and executing on that,” Rand said.

But ”sometimes there’s a disconnect between what agents want and what they should want,” he added.

For instance, his brokerage used to pay for personal assistants for their most successful agents. But then the industry changed and the agents didn’t need those assistants as much, so the firm allowed the agents to spend that money on marketing.



– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2014/01/15/the-golden-rule-to-profitability-for-brokers/?utm_source=20140116&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.Gw830cZN.dpuf

Spike In Westchester Home Sales Is Good For Buyers And Sellers | Chappaqua NY Homes


Westchester home sales increased 21 percent in 2013 over the previous year, which has created a great environment for sellers, said Diane Cummins, president of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR).

The White Plains-based group released its 2013 year-end home sales report this week. It showed 13,781 total sales in its coverage area, which includes Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Rockland counties. This is the highest number of sales since 2007, according to the report.

Among the four counties, Westchester only trailed Orange in increased sales over 2012.

“I think we’ve turned the corner,” Cummins said. “I think these numbers demonstrate a consistent growth pattern.”

Sales really picked up in the second and third quarters of the year. They slowed down somewhat in the fourth quarter, which is typical due to the weather and holidays, Cummins said. However, fourth quarter sales in 2013 were up 16 percent over 2012 and 34 percent over 2011, according to Joe Rand, managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens.

“That finished a really strong year. Sales came back in a really big way in 2013,” he said in a video.

With two years of increased home sales, prices are starting to follow, which Rand said usually trails home sales by one-to-two years.



Make popular social media site a relationship machine | North Salem NY Real Estate


I need about 3,000 words to thoroughly cover this topic, but the nice people at Inman Next aren’t down with that, so I’ll be efficient. Which is exactly what real estate professionals should be with Facebook. Be efficient and effective.

Many people I talk to in the real estate industry feel far too much time is wasted on social networks, especially Facebook. I agree. That’s why for the last few years I have focused my efforts on helping agents be strategic with Facebook. With a couple tweaks, Facebook can be a relationship machine.

Are relationships important in real estate? I’ve posed this question to hundreds of real estate professionals and the answer is always “yes.”

The tweaks are not on a Facebook business page. They have value for many businesses and industries, but, in my opinion, real estate is not one of those industries. Gaining “likes” and traction is labor-intensive; there is little to zero engagement; and people do not go to Facebook to search for homes.

For most agents, their Facebook profile is where relationships can be built and maintained. We have become a nation of “oversharers,” and while that can be annoying to many people, it is great news to real estate professionals.

Wouldn’t it be great if agents could customize the Facebook news feed so it showed updates from only their best clients? Then it would be simple to engage the most important people, especially if they like to overshare. Wouldn’t this help maintain and build on these relationships? Wouldn’t this make Facebook more effective?

– See more at: http://www.inman.com/next/custom-friend-lists-make-facebook-a-relationship-machine/?utm_source=20140115&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.5wvMXleq.dpuf

Marketing center users can now create full display ads with contact info, photos, company logo | Bedford Corners NY Homes


When Craigslist got rid of enhanced listings in November, many real estate agents were forced to pull back on one of their main marketing channels.

The online classifieds giant prevented agents and other advertisers from including links in their Craigslist ads, and forced them to revert to plain text and fixed photos.

Now, real estate marketing software firm Imprev Inc. has come up with a workaround for agents who lost the ability to post full display ads on Craigslist when the classifieds giant changed its site specifications.

Through a new Craigslist display ad format available via Imprev’s marketing platform, agents will once again be able to create full display ads, complete with their contact information, brokerage logo, custom text, property images, and personal or team photos.

Per Craiglist’s rules, the ads will still not contain hyperlinks, but agents will be able to lay out full display ads easily, without having to use a cumbersome desktop software program, Imprev spokesman Kevin Hawkins told Inman News.

“Real estate agents were left hanging when Craigslist effectively pulled the plug on display ads,” said Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev, in a statement.

“Agents that use the Imprev platform can once again create engaging, high-quality display ads for Craigslist.”

– See more at: http://www.inman.com/2014/01/13/imprev-rolls-out-new-craigslist-display-ad-workaround/?utm_source=20140114&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=dailyheadlinesam#sthash.Flc9EiC2.dpuf

Australia Housing Report Revives Bubble Fears | Katonah Homes

Australia’s latest housing data, while promising on the surface, has increased concern the market may be overheating, posing a potential threat to a still fragile economic recovery.

A government report Monday showed the value of home loans approved in Australia rose 1.1% in November from October and 15% from a year earlier, confirming that record-low interest rates are continuing to fuel demand for houses and apartments.

However, the data also highlighted two trends that policy makers will be less thrilled about.

First, the rise in the value of mortgages approved continues to be driven by people looking to invest in property, rather than those seeking to move into houses or apartments. Second, first-home buyers are increasingly being frozen out of a market in which house prices have hit record highs in some large cities.

“While owner-occupier demand is intensifying, investor demand is surging well ahead,” said Janu Chan, a Sydney-based economist at St. George Bank in a note to clients, pointing out that investor loans for housing exceeded 30% in November.