Weekly Roundup: Slower pace of rent increases, rise of mortgage rates, Gen Y’s influence on house design, tech myths, market predictions

Rents rise at diminishing rate

UWS has highest absorption rate in Manhattan

Glassy condo buildings unwelcome among old money residents of UES

Free shuttle bus can be a deal maker

Those pesky brokers will write anything to set listings apart

Westchester markets enjoys strong finish

Knowing building’s rules one of seven tips for novices renting out apartments

First-time foreclosures drop to seven-year low in the city

Philanthropist’s 26-acre estate on Cape Cod private island sells for $19.5 million

Actor hunting for house Continue reading

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Weekly Roundup: Lawsuits, rising sales, falling foreclosures, ghostly cities, rosier forecasts

Everywhere in the city, brown sandstone is a fading commodity

Having tried a $500,000 two-week Hamptons rental to snag a man, Cheryl Mercuris buys $13.72 million UWS condo

Good investment property must first of all be in — duh — right location

Record 33 contracts signed for luxury properties last week

To track down pre-construction bargains, start with city’s Web site, then negotiate hard

Priciest zip isn’t on the Upper East Side after all

Median price of lower-end homes swoons in the Hamptons

Agents have reasons stemming from mid 90s lawsuit for withholding square footage

Mauritian national seeks more than $1 million on claim that co-op board broke anti-discrimination law

Rise recorded in foreclosure, delinquency rates in metro region

Stigmatized Kennedy property in Connecticut finds buyer in week

Acting couple rid themselves of Mediterranean-style mansion in Los Angeles for $6.7 million

Moving four blocks away, funny man and wife add a room

Ex-wife of billionaire financier/philanthropist Continue reading

The Big Apple: Median price grew most here

My coverage of New York City news likely will be sporadic over the next couple of weeks, but please do check here to catch up with important developments or perhaps my idle musings.

BANKS STRUGGLE TO SEIZE HOMES, MORE SO IN NEW YORK THAN ANYWHERE ELSE

It takes longer to foreclose on homes in New York than in any other state—and it’s getting longer every month.

Two years ago, the state began requiring that banks and borrowers attend settlement conferences before a foreclosure takes place.

While the conferences are popular with borrowers and have succeeded in helping some families keep their homes, banks have been reluctant to participate. That, and recent revelations that some lenders have improperly submitted foreclosure documents, has prompted judges to take a harsher stance with lenders.

CUOMO IS UNRELENTING ON PLEDGE TO CAP PROPERTY TAXES

Gov.-elect Andrew M. Cuomo is making clear to legislative leaders that one of his priorities is to cap local property taxes, a notion that would have large consequences statewide for homeowners and school districts.

Take my refrigerator, please, as the eighth item below suggests. No, not YOU! (Flickr photo by Tammy Green)

Cuomo is proposing a limit on the total amount of property tax dollars that can be collected annually by a school district, municipality or special district by capping the increase in the local tax levy at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, according to his campaign literature.  Schools traditionally receive the largest share of property taxes.

A cap would not directly affect New York City, where property taxes are relatively low because of revenue from the city’s personal income tax and where the schools are financed through the general city budget. But outside the city, New York is among the most heavily taxed states in the country.

D’YA THINK THIS NOMAD MIGHT HAVE A BOOK OR MOVIE DEAL IN THE BACK OF HIS MIND OR HIGHEST OF HIS HOPES?

Ed Casabian’s nomadic existence Continue reading

Condo refinancing may be easier than was known; One reason: some banks now welcome jumbos

A downtown Manhattan Web site called The Broadsheet tells the tale of a condo owner with good credit whose applications for refinancing his mortgage at Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase were rejected.

The banks said they based their decision on a Fannie Mae rule that discourages banks from making loans on apartments in buildings in which a single entity (even the sponsor) owns more than 10 percent of the units.

Unable to get specific answers from loan officers about how any condo where the developer retains a substantial presence (there are hundreds in Manhattan alone) could be eligible for financing, the unidentified applicant went directly to Fannie Mae and discovered the following:

“When I finally tracked down the people who are in charge of mortgages for condos, they explained to me that most banks were not interpreting these rules correctly.The Fannie Mae executive I spoke to said that banks in places like New York actually have much more leeway than they realize.”

This executive pointed out that the new rules do not apply to every bank and to every market on a blanket basis.  Continue reading