Saturday, October 23, 2010

New Hyde Park Community Profile

Community Profile

While most of New Hyde Park is unincorporated, it includes a compact village with almost 10,000 residents. The area comprises quiet neighborhoods, parks, houses of worship, civic groups and about 2,000 businesses along thriving thoroughfares, including Jericho Turnpike and Lakeville Road.

The village is working on a master plan, said Mayor Daniel Petruccio, noting the first phase of a streetscape project including new brick pavers and street lamps along Jericho Turnpike is complete. (This stretch is where a street fair, which attracts 20,000-plus people, is held each September.) A library being built on Lakeville Road should open in the summer of 2007.

The housing stock is dominated by capes and Colonials, but ranches and two-family homes also exist. Prices range from $499,000 to nearly $1 million. Although the number of houses on the market has doubled since last year, the starter market is still healthy.

-Lisa Doll Bruno (8/26/2006)

Roslyn Community Profile

The tiny village of Roslyn has a historic district with some 80 landmark sites. The area, anchored by the recently restored 1895 clock tower and the Roslyn Gristmill, has 18th and 19th century houses - Italianate, Federal and Greek Revival styles - and a variety of restaurants and boutiques along Main Street, East Broadway and Old Northern Boulevard.

Some houses have a view of the water in the 24-acre Gerry Pond Park, which has a gazebo, picnic area and playground.

Neighborhoods also include Colonials, split-levels and ranch styles. Sales in the last six months have ranged from $450,000 to $1.875 million, said Diane Stigliano of Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty in Roslyn Heights.

Sterling Glen of Roslyn, a 158-unit senior residence under the viaduct, which is being replaced, should be completed by spring, said Mayor John Durkin. The village is reviewing an application for 80 units of row houses on Old Northern Boulevard at the site of the former Stop & Shop.

- Lisa Doll Bruno (12/15/06)

Two Gold Coast Estates on the Market

A new listing gets the spotlight: make it sing

Thursday, October 21, 2010

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Fed Beige Book: Housing Still Weakest Sector

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Fed Beige Book: Housing Still Weakest Sector

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-FHA Calls for Mortgage Principal Write-Downs

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-FHA Calls for Mortgage Principal Write-Downs

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Moody's: Commercial Bright Spots Amidst Decline

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Moody's: Commercial Bright Spots Amidst Decline

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Houses Get Smaller but Furniture Remains Big

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Houses Get Smaller but Furniture Remains Big

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-The Aging of Practitioners Impacts Real Estate

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-The Aging of Practitioners Impacts Real Estate

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Courts, Insurers, HUD Try to Curb Foreclosure Mess

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Courts, Insurers, HUD Try to Curb Foreclosure Mess

A Dream House After All

First, the bad news. What has happened in the housing markets since 2005 is a catastrophe that may take years for our economy to recover from.

Anyone who believed that home prices never fall has learned a tough lesson. The Case-Shiller price indexes released on Tuesday suggest that since their national peak in 2006, home prices have fallen by 29 percent. Some areas of course look better than others. Las Vegas is down 57 percent from its peak and Phoenix is down 51 percent. On the other hand, Boston is down just 13.5 percent and Dallas only 4.2 percent.

The effect on household wealth has been huge. Data maintained by the Federal Reserve show that the value of residential real estate directly held by households fell to $16.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2010, down from $22.9 trillion in 2006. It has yet to be determined who will end up bearing those losses. The decline in wealth has substantially reduced consumption, stifling the economy.

Depressing, yes — but the end of a dream? Not exactly. I have never quite understood what the American dream really means when it comes to housing. For some people, it means having a solid and fairly safe long-term investment that is coupled with the satisfaction of owning the house they live in. That dream is still alive.

Others, however, think the American dream is owning property that appreciates by 30 percent a year, making a house into a vehicle for paying bills. But those kinds of dreams have become nightmares for the millions of foreclosed property owners who have found themselves sliding toward bankruptcy.

But for people with a more realistic version of the American dream, buying a house now can make a lot of sense. Think of it as an investment. The return or yield on that investment comes in two forms. First, it provides what is called “net imputed rent from owner-occupied housing.” You live in the house and so it provides you with a real flow of valuable services. This part of the yield is counted as part of national income by the Commerce Department. It is the equivalent of about a 6 percent return on your investment after maintenance and repair, and it is constant over time in real terms. Consider it this way: when Enron went belly up, shareholders ended up with nothing, but when the housing market drops, homeowners still have a house. And this benefit is tax-free.

The second part of the yield on investment in a house is the capital gain you receive if it appreciates and you sell the house. Gains are excluded from taxation if the property is a primary residence and the gain is less than $250,000 for a single filer or $500,000 for a married couple filing jointly.

Consider a few other bonuses of buying a home today. You can deduct the interest you pay on the mortgage. Interest rates are about as low as they can get. And, don’t forget, home prices are down by 30 percent on average from the peak. The mortgage-interest deduction and the tax-free income from housing cost the government at least $200 billion a year.

During this recession the government has been doing even more on behalf of the American dream. It offered a tax credit of $8,000 to first-time buyers, and eventually $6,500 to other qualified buyers. Not only did the Federal Reserve continue to keep the short-term interest rates it sets at essentially zero, it purchased $1.4 trillion in mortgage-backed securities so that lenders could keep mortgage rates low.

Do the math. Four years ago, the monthly payment on a $300,000 house with 20 percent down and a mortgage rate of about 6.6 percent was $1,533. Today that $300,000 house would sell for $213,000 and a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with 20 percent down would carry a rate of about 4.2 percent and a monthly payment of $833. In addition, the down payment would be $42,600 instead of $60,000.

IN fact, until about two months ago, it looked as if potential buyers were beginning to understand all these advantages and that the market was turning around. By May 2009, housing prices had stopped falling in a majority of the metropolitan areas surveyed in the Case-Shiller index. Sales were also up. In 2008, 4.9 million existing homes were sold. In 2009, the figure rose to 5.2 million; last November, sales hit an annual rate of 6.5 million (a boom-time number). Even new construction showed a pulse.

So, what happened to kill the momentum? For one thing, the first-time buyer credit expired at the end of April. And some longer-term demographic changes may also be affecting the housing market.

Source: New York Times

Waiting to sell? There are good reasons to list now

With interest rates well under 5 percent, and home prices at or near rock bottom, the real estate mantra that "now's a great time to buy" seems like a bit of a no-brainer.

But is there any reason to sell right now? Plenty of consumers are holding off from listing their homes because they want a tidier profit. Pose that question — why sell? — to local real estate professionals, and they tick off a number of reasons, with caveats attached.

1. You really need to sell. It could be a job transfer or it could be a need to have less house or a smaller mortgage payment at a lesser interest rate.

A homeowner who has been in a property more than five years, and who didn't tap into a large home equity line of credit or a cash-out refinancing, still has a chance of coming out ahead. Keep in mind that buyers in the market during the fourth quarter typically are serious buyers.

2. You want to trade up. It could be a bigger house, different neighborhood or a better school district, but it comes with a higher price tag. Do the math; this might be the right time.

A home that was once worth $300,000 may now be worth $240,000 in a market where prices have fallen 20 percent. Wow, you think, the seller is taking a bath.

But that seller may also be a prospective buyer who wants a house that once was valued at $400,000. With an equivalent market drop and a realistic listing price, that house may now sell for $320,000. So, in effect, the person is losing $60,000 on the sale of one home but coming out ahead $20,000 on the purchase of another.

Keep in mind the spread may be even greater. There's a smaller pool of potential buyers for more expensive homes, so sellers may be more willing to cut their price to get a deal done.

3. You want to live in a worse-hit market. It depends on the debt load carried on the current residence, but if you've dreamed of moving to a "sunshine" state like Florida, Nevada or California, your money will go far.

4. You're the new supply. There's an abundance of properties that have been sitting on the market six months or more, many of them with multiple price reductions. A home that has just come on the market, particularly if it's priced competitively, will get the attention of serious buyers tired of the existing inventory.

Bad timing: Last week, the White House said the president would not sign a bill that would have, according to critics, made it easier for lenders to reclaim ownership of homes in foreclosure.

The bill, the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010, would have required federal and state courts to recognize the work of a notary public on a document, even if the notary was licensed or commissioned in a state different from that of the court. It was introduced a year ago and was easily passed by the House of Representatives in the spring and by the Senate late last month.

That, of course, was before some of the nation's largest mortgage servicers began temporarily halting foreclosure sales, as it became clear that some of the paperwork on foreclosures may contain factual errors, and employees were signing off on cases without reviewing documents on property ownership.

"It is necessary to have further deliberations about the intended and unintended impact of this bill on consumer protections, including those for mortgages, before this bill can be finalized," communications director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House's blog.

Final fix-it event: The last of six 2010 Fix Your Mortgage events is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Westinghouse College Prep, 3223 W. Franklin Blvd., Chicago.

Volunteer attorneys, city personnel and housing counselors certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be available to help delinquent borrowers determine if they qualify for mortgage loan modifications.

Preregistration is encouraged. For more information, call 773-329-4185 or 773-329-4181 (Spanish). Doors to the event will close at 12:30 p.m., or when 1,000 people have been registered. If all goes according to plan, organizers say, about 2,300 families will have received help this year in applying for mortgage loan modifications.

Source: Chicago Tribune by Mary Ellen Podmolik