Westchester County Real Estate Blog

Gains in Pending Home Sales Likely Short-Lived

Pending home sales broke a six-month streak of declines in May, but eonomists warn the increases likely are temporary. Contract signings - a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings - inched up 0.7% last month, according to the National Association of REALTORS.

Despite the small gain in pending sales from the prior month, the housing market is clearly undergoing a transtition. Contract signings are down sizably from a year ago because of much higher mortgage rates causing pending homes sale to fall 13.6% nationwide as compared to last year.

Economists have pointed to rapidly rising mortgage rates to explain buyers growing more cautious. The monthly payment on a median-priced single-family home - when assuming a 10% down payment - has risen by about $800 since the beginning of the year due to the increase in...

Why You Need to Speak Up About VA Loans

Many service members know little about the benefits of VA mortgages or may even hold negative views about them, according to a survery commissioned by Navy Federal Credit Union and Operation Homefront.

Based on a survey asking 1,000 active-duty service members and veterans nationwide, nearly half of all active-duty respondents believer VA loans have higher interest rates than conventional loans - which is not true. In addition, 17% of veterans and 45% of active-duty soldiers believe a down payment of more than 2% is necessary for a VA loan. The truth is that VA loans offer vets and military service members a chance to buy with 0% down.

It is important that all real estate profesionals educate themselves and their clients about the benefits that the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program can provide,...

Home Sales Retreat to Pre-Pandemic Levels

National home sales are falling from their pandemic-fueled highs as home buyers tighten up their budgets. “Home sales have essentially returned to the levels seen in 2019—prior to the pandemic—after two years of gangbuster performance,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

Total existing-home sales—completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops—dropped 3.4% month over month in May, reaching a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.41 million. Compared to just a year ago, existing-home sales are down 8.6%.

With affordability challnges facing buyers as rising prices and rates continue to cast a cloud over the market, it is safe to say...

Things Every Homeowner Should Know How to Do

Owning a home comes with a lot of responsibilites. While there are certain repairs and improvements in which it would be a wise decision to utilize a professional, there are many maintenance jobs that can be handled on your own. Here is a list of basic skills to help make oneself a better homeowner.

1. Clear Out the Gutters

Even the ladder-averse can clean the gutters twice a year to prevent pests and ice dams. Remove leaves by hand or with the assistance of a leaf blower, garden hose, or wet-dry vac. When you're up on a ladder, be sure to use a stabilizer. If sticking to ground level is more your style, you can still get the job done if you have special attachments for your leaf blower or wet-dry vac.

2. Fix a Dripping Faucet


What the Fed's Aggressive Rate Hike Means for Housing

What the Fed's Aggressive Rate Hike Means for Housing

The Federal Reserve unleased another hike to its short-term benchmark rate Wednesday. The increase, the Fed's largest since 1994, likely will have an impact on the housing market, eonomists say. The Fed's key rate often influences mortgage rates, though it doesn't directly affect them. Rates are. moving at a much faster clip than most housing analysts forecast.

On Wednesday, the central bank's Federal Open Market Committee voted to incease irs benchmark funds rate by 3/4 of a percentage point to help curb inflation. Banks use the Fed's rate as a benchmark for what they charge one another for short-term borrowing. The Fed's latest hike sets a big increase in interest rates and means several more rounds of rate hikes are on the way in upcoming months.

So far this year, the short-term Fed funds...

Don't Make These Bidding War Mistakes

Bidding wars are the new normal for buying a home today. In desirable areas, there may be multiple offers, which might force you to up the ante in a dizzying quest to come out on top.

Yet in the heat of the moment, many buyers run the risk of becoming overzealous, making mistakes that cost them the deal—or worse, land them with a house they regret. Don’t be one of them!

Here are some common bidding war mistakes you might be particularly tempted to make in today’s crazy market,

1. Bidding every last penny you have

While offers that are thousands over asking price seems commonplace in today's market, being a buyer and bidding every last bit of your budget in order to gain the winning bid is setting yourself up for failure. In the event of an emergency or even a potentially needed home repair, if one doesn't...

Mortage Demand Plummets to 22-Year Low

Mortgage applications dropped 6.5% last week, and demand reached the lowest point in 22 years, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. The index reflects applications for refinancings and home purchases.

Mortgage applications for a home purchase, a gauge of homebuying, dropped 7% for the week and are now 21% lower than a year ago, the MBA reports. Refinance applications dropped another 6% this week and are 75% lower than the same week a year ago.

Rising mortgage rates have been chipping away at affordability. The average contract interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a 20% down payment rose to 5.40% compated to 5.22% the previous week, the MBA reports.

Mortgage rates are still low by historical standards. But a year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged below 3%. Home buyers are also facing higher home prices that are up by double-digit percentages annually.

"The purchase market has suffered from persistently low housing inventory and...

The Pros and Cons of ARMs

When interest rates rise, it’s common for some homebuyers to explore whether an adjustable rate mortgage would make sense for them.

With an ARM, as it’s called, the appeal is its lower initial interest rate compared with a traditional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. Yet down the road, that rate can change, and sometimes not to your benefit.

While no one can determine or predict where interest rate will go from here, however the question seems to have evolved into just how high these rates will reach. Interest rates remain low from a historical perspective but have been generally rising amid a housing market that already is posing affordability challenges for buyers.

The average fixed rate on a 30-year mortgage is 5.09%, up from below 3% in November and the highest it’s been since 2018. By comparison, the average introductory rate on one popular ARM is at 4.04%. With ARMs, the initial interest rate is fixed for a set amount of time. After that,...