Tag Archives: Westchester Real Estate

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 sales and prices down | North Salem Real Estate

Westchester sales down 5.2%

WHITE PLAINS—Home sale prices were up sharply in the third quarter in the four-county market area of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, with the exception of Westchester County where sales prices were relatively flat as compared to a year earlier.

Sales volume was off marginally throughout the region, with overall third quarter sales down 5.2% in Westchester; 1.8% in Orange and 1.2% in Rockland, while Putnam County’s sales numbers were flat with an increase of 0.3%.

Market results were mixed depending on product type and location. Realtors interviewed by Real Estate In-Depth said that while some negative market influences, specifically the cap on SALT deductions, low inventory and higher interest rates, may be impacting some buying decisions, it is way too early to tell just what real impacts they will have on the market going forward.

Westchester County posted a third quarter median sale price for a single-family home of $679,000, which was slightly lower than the third quarter of 2017 ($680,000). The median sale price for a single-family home in Putnam was $360,000, up 5.9% from the third quarter of 2017; the median sale price in Rockland was $475,000, up 6.7% and the Orange County median was $275,000, up 7.8%.

Hudson Valley Home Sales—Third Quarter 2018
County                 Change from 2017
Putnam                +0.3%
Rockland             -1.2%
Orange                -1.8%
Westchester       -5.2%

Editor’s NoteFor further coverage, including region-wide home sales statistics

Paul Breunich, president and CEO of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Real Estate, said in connection with the Westchester County market that the declining sales numbers, while noteworthy, are not a sign of a troubled market. He insisted that the market appears to be in transition and that most market observers expect home sales to fall between 4% to 6% for the year countywide.

“The market is in an adjustment period and is in flux,” Breunich said. “With what is going on in the economy—the stock market, GDP, (low) unemployment and consumer confidence through the roof, that is all pointing to a very strong, healthy real estate market, but that is not being reflected in our marketplace, yet.”

Breunich said that he is concerned about consumer market perceptions of a severe downtown in Westchester home sales based on erroneous sales numbers released recently by a local brokerage firm that garnered national media coverage.

“These news stories have contributed toward an exaggerated negative narrative about the state of the real estate market in Westchester, spreading misinformation and miseducating consumers,” Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s stated in its third quarter market report on Westchester County. “The actual picture is dramatically different, according to our own analysis, and varies greatly by town and price range.”

He noted that the market is seeing a decline in sales, but not double digits as was erroneously reported in the press. He also said that some locations are stronger than others both in terms of home sales volume and pricing.

“You have to look at the reality of it,” Breunich said. “The market is still down five to six percentage points. That is not something to pull the fire alarm on about, but it is something to be aware of.”

He added that the federal tax reform law and the cap on SALT deductions might be having some impact on demand. However, there are other factors that influence demand, such as high consumer confidence and the strong economy, for example, and the market is working through all the factors, both positive and negative.

While bullish on the future of the Westchester County residential market, Breunich said the real estate market is no longer booming, but is in transition. He said it is too early to tell the true impact of federal tax reform and added that the first indications of its effect on the market will likely show up in the next six months or so when people file their taxes in the spring of 2019.

Joseph Rand, managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, said the federal tax reform might be having a small impact on the very high end of the market where the loss of deductibility for mortgage interest and local taxes hits the hardest.

He noted that price appreciation was more pronounced in the lower‐priced markets.

In terms of the loss of the SALT deductions, he said, “We’re talking about a marginal, not a major, impact. Prices aren’t rising at the rate they are in the lower‐priced markets, they’re basically flat, not falling.”

A plus for the marketplace is that inventory levels are starting to respond to rising prices, noting that for the first time since 2012, inventory levels went up in the third quarter.

Rand noted the what is happening region wide is that after years of decline, single-family inventory was higher in almost every county in the region, stabilizing near that six‐month level that usually signals a balancing market. This market phenomenon occurs when demand is strong, and supply stays steady (or goes down) and prices go up. In response to the rising prices, eventually new inventory comes onto the market, he explained.

“Going forward, we believe that the appetite in the market can handle both the impact of tax reform and this increased inventory while still driving continued price appreciation,” Rand said. “With strong economic conditions, relatively low‐interest rates (and the specter of rate increases on the horizon), and pricing still at attractive 2004‐05 levels, we expect a robust market through the end of the year.”

Brokerage network Westchester Real Estate Inc. in its third quarter market report on Westchester County also discussed the positive and negative economic and regulatory forces affecting the housing market.

The firm concluded that with those forces factored it, it believes, “Westchester properties will always remain in high demand based on our proximity to NYC and fantastic quality of life. While we may see pullbacks or shifts at times, our housing market possesses innate strength and resilience. Prices are not decreasing, home sales are still strong, and Westchester’s real estate market is just fine!”

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Construction worker shortage | South Salem Real Estate

The drumbeat of hammers echoes most mornings through suburban Denver, where Jay Small, the owner of company that frames houses, is building about 1,300 new homes this year.

That’s more than triple what he built a few years ago, when “you couldn’t buy a job” in the residential construction industry, he said.

Now, builders can’t buy enough workers to get the job done.

Eight years after the housing bust drove an estimated 30 percent of construction workers into new fields, homebuilders across the country are struggling to find workers at all levels of experience, according to the National Association of Homebuilders. The association estimates that there are approximately 200,000 unfilled construction jobs in the U.S. – a jump of 81 percent in the last two years.

The ratio of construction job openings to hiring, as measured by the Department of Labor, is at its highest level since 2007.

“The labor shortage is getting worse as demand is getting stronger,” said John Courson, chief executive of the Home Builders Institute, a national nonprofit that trains workers in the construction field.

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The impact is two-fold. Without enough workers, residential construction is trailing demand for homes, dampening the overall economy.

And with labor costs rising, homebuilders are building more expensive homes to maintain their margins, which means they are abandoning the starter home market. That has left entry-level homes in tight supply, shutting out may would-be buyers at a time when mortgage rates are near historic lows.

Nationwide, there are 17 percent fewer people working in construction than at the market peak, with some states – including Arizona, California, Georgia and Missouri – seeing declines of 20 percent or more, according to data from the Associated General Contractors of America.

The labor shortage is raising builders’ costs – and workers’ wages – and slowing down construction.

Small, the Denver builder, estimates that he could construct at least 10 percent more homes this year if he had enough workers. But he remains short-staffed, despite raising pay to levels above what he paid during the housing bubble a decade ago.

“It’s getting to the point where you’re really limited in what you can deliver,” Small said. “We lost so many people in the crash, and we’re just not getting them back.”


The average construction cost of building a single family home is 13.7 percent higher now than in 2007, even as the total costs of building and selling a house – a figure that includes such items as land costs, financing and marketing – are up just 2.9 percent over the same period, according to a survey by the National Association of Homebuilders.

The problem is accentuated by strong demand for newly constructed homes, with sales reaching a nine-year high in July.

Private companies say that they are having a hard time attracting workers, and they are often forced to give employees on-the-spot raises to prevent them from going to competitors. Carpenters and electricians are often listed as the most in-demand specialties, such is the case of Electrician in Perth.

Tony Rader, the vice president of Schwob Building Company, a general contractor in the Dallas area, said his company has started handing out flyers at sporting events, churches and schools in hopes of luring more people into the field.

“The biggest problem I face every day is where are we going to find the people to do the work,” he said, adding that it’s becoming increasingly common for his company and others to turn down projects.

Dallas contractors are fighting over the limited supply of workers as three major mixed-use projects are going up right next to each other on the so-called “$5 billion mile” in Frisco, a northern suburb. Meanwhile, the metropolitan area is adding about 30,000 newly built homes annually.

With fewer workers, contractors are becoming wary of signing new work contracts, especially as many of them include fines for not completing a job by a designated date.

“I’ve got two lawsuits right now where it may cost us mid-six-figures because there’s not enough labor out there to get it done,” said one contractor in the North Dallas area who declined to be identified.

Lawyers in hot residential markets say that it is becoming increasingly common for construction companies to try to negotiate for more time.

“Subcontractors are having a hard time staffing up,” said Edward Allen, a Denver attorney who said he has seen more lawsuits over project delays in the past two years.


Colorado alone will need 30,000 more workers in the construction field in the next six years, a number that does not account for those who will retire, according to a study by the Association of General Contractors.

The state passed a bill last year pledging $10 million over three years to fund free training for plumbers, electricians and carpenters.

Yet Michael Smith, who heads a Denver-based nonprofit that administers the training, said that he can’t fill the seats. High schools are focused on preparing students for college, ignoring those that may be better suited for vocational work. Students may be put off by construction’s reputation as a dangerous, cyclical field, he said.

“We’ve so demonized working with your hands in this country,” he said. “We’ve got a booming economy, and we can’t keep up with the pace of growth.”

Students who go through the four-week program are all but guaranteed a job paying $16 an hour or more immediately, with the possibility of commanding $80,000 or more in annual income after five years without taking on any student debt, he said.

On-the-job training is also a common path for new workers. Eduardo Salcido – a 25-year-old concrete finisher working at a 232-home Toll Brothers subdivision going up in the Denver suburb of Broomfield – said that he received on-site training after entering the construction field as a painter.

He has earned one raise since beginning the training two years ago and is now certified as a semi-skilled finisher.

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Plug the holes in your house this winter | Katonah Real Estate

Leaky spots around windows and doors are notoriously big problems for homeowners in locations with cold winters and humid summers, and they can lead to bigger problems. Even before adding insulation to your house, the most important step in making your house more comfortable is controlling air movement. The principle is pretty simple: plug up the holes in your house. Since doors and windows are the biggest holes in a home, weather-stripping is where your efforts should begin. Weather-stripping is a great DIY project too, since it involves just a very basic knowledge of tools.

Below you’ll find the best ways to weather-strip for reduced drafts and leaks this winter.

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.”

HUGE NEWS: Websites soon to end in .mortgage or .home | Katonah NY Realtor

Imagine coming to this website by simply typing “housing.wire” into your web address bar.

That’s right, no “.com” necessary.

This hugely flexible option for online businesses — as well as other, brand-specific URL endings — is one step closer to reality.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers recently released more than a thousand potential URL suffixes, a vast increase in the 22 currently in use.

According to law firm Ballard Spahr, which broke the news in its Privacy and Data Security and Intellectual Property Alert, website domain names will start looking dramatically different.

These listings are the first wave of ICANN new generic top-level domain names, or gTLDs, as they are more commonly referred to. Some are already online, and the mortgage-type listings will be available in a matter of months.There is no specific timetable.

“What it means to the mortgage banking industry is they also need to consider their internet security, as well as their trademarks and whether or not they need to defensively register,” said Amy Mushahwar, privacy and data security cousel for Ballard Spahr. “Any internal naming architecture, internal email server with .loans for example, could also create a conflict. They need to take a peek and not only see any names worth registering, but whether any of the thousands of new names could impact their existing digital structure.”

In response to a request from HousingWire, Ballard Spahr pulled a list of housing and banking potential substitutes for .com or .org.

Those examples include, but are not limited to:


There are also many brand strings available, below are a few examples: .BBT .CAPITALONE .CITI .HSBC Ballard Spahr said it plans to complete a more comprehensive list of potential URL endings in the near term. Companies, and no doubt there will be plenty, looking to cash in on this new option should be warned, however, as risks include adding to consumer confusion.

And that’s not all.

“Issues arising from the complexity of Domain Name System (DNS) expansion, if not fully resolved, could pose security risks and potentially destabilize global Internet operations,” the Ballard Spahr alert stated.





Armonk, Chappaqua Lead in Highest Ask Price | #RobReportBlog

Armonk,   Chappaqua Lead in Highest Ask Price | #RobReportBlog
Pound   Ridge$5,700,000.00
South   Salem$12,200,000.00
Mt Kisco$3,950,000.00
North   Salem$18,500,000.00
Bedford   Hills$10,995,000.00
Bedford   Corners$12,000,000.00

The Facebook Conversion Formula: A Blueprint for Turning Fans into Customers | Katonah Realtor

The Facebook Conversion Formula- A Blueprint for Turning Fans into Customers

Just having a Facebook Page is really just the beginning of building a  successful social media strategy. But with the right formula will not only help  you engage with Fans, but generate hot leads and real ROI from your Facebook  following.

So the Facebook sales cycle in its simplest form is:

  1. Grow your Facebook fans
  2. Promote to gain email and phone inquiries
  3. Nurture those fans to convert them to hot leads
  4. Convert those hot leads into revenue

That is the Facebook conversion formula. In essence a blueprint for turning  fans into customers

sales cycle Facebook

So how do you implement that process?

How to get more (relevant) fans

8.11% of all traffic on the internet comes from Facebook. The people looking for your products are already  on Facebook, the question is how do you find them where they are already  looking? The first step to growing your fan base is developing a user persona around  your ideal Facebook Fan. You can’t find what you’re not looking for.

Traits of your ideal fan, and ultimately your leads and customers, are based  on demographics, interests and likes, jobs experience and geography. Combining  characteristics from each of these categories will allow you develop a usage  scenario. In this case, the usage scenario is how your brand and ideal user  interact on social media and Facebook in particular.

All of your usage scenarios come together to become your content strategy.  Your content strategy should be broken into pillars; categories of content that  are relevant to your ideal fan personas and on-strategy for your business.

Below are 5 examples of types of pillars you may develop for your persona.  All of your content and posts should fit into one of these categories. Note,  that these 5 may or may not be relevant to your own business.

Turning Facebook Fans into sales

Convert your Facebook fans into leads

A fan becomes a lead when they willingly provide contact information, sign-up for your email  newsletter or otherwise opt-in to learn more about your business. This is best  achieved when there is already brand affinity in-place and you have already  positioned yourself as the industry expert.

To build that brand awareness and affinity, you’ll use your content pillars  to create good and engaging content. In providing immense value, you will create  trust and solidify yourself as an industry expert. This exchange of information  will create long-term, loyal customers.

Start by encouraging engagement with your content in the Facebook news feed.  According to a Hubspot Study in 2013, photos on Facebook generate 53% more  likes than the average post. The more likes, shares and comments you receive,  the more visible future content will be to your fans.




Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/12/06/the-facebook-conversion-formula-a-blueprint-for-turning-fans-into-customers/#ucYOOSCXLMH6x0jm.99

Indian Point Responds To Schumer’s Security Remarks | Mt Kisco Homes

Officials from the Indian Point Nuclear Facility issued a response to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) suggestion that the plant’s maritime security be upgraded with around-the-clock boat patrols.

Here is the statement issued by Indian Point officials:

“We take every aspect of the security of Indian Point seriously, including the safety of the waterfront. The plant’s security capabilities are reviewed regularly by federal inspectors at the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission), including during mock scenarios where our security teams must effectively defend against water-born adversaries in extremely realistic drills. The NRC has said that Indian Point is secure and that our highly-trained onsite security teams can protect the facility on land and at the waterfront. We look forward to working with the Dept. of Homeland Security in any additional review and expect that their work will confirm Indian Point has significant security capabilities and is a secure facility.”

Day and night boat patrols are not currently required of Indian Point, but Schumer said that 24-hour security by boat is a reasonable and achievable goal – by drawing on the combined resources of the U.S. Coast Guard, New York State, and local law enforcement – and called for federal experts to provide recommendations on the best way to close any gaps in Indian Point’s security.