Sunday, May 20, 2018

LI HOME PRICES CONTINUE TO GO UP


Suffolk County home prices increased 7% in April, to a median price of $363,750 compared to $340,000 last year.  The number of sales transactions decreased 4.7% to 1,040 for the month and listings fell 13% .  Nassau County median price in April increased 4.2%  to $495,000, with a 3.2% increase in transactions and a 2.4% drop in inventory.   Southold Town’s annual median sale is higher than the county’s average at $565,000.

The higher prices and lower inventory for April, supports the competitive market for buyers, but also demonstrates that some sellers are considering options for using the strong seller’s market to their advantage sooner rather than later.  Newsday calls it a “HOT REAL ESTATE MARKET” where, “Long Island’s high home prices have prompted some sellers to come up with creative solutions.”  Some examples cited include an earlier than planned sale of a larger home and a move to a condo, thereby reducing maintenance and carrying costs.   Such a move, simplifies life as well as reduces expense.  A very creative couple, advanced their retirement plans without moving by selling their waterfront home and buying a “house” boat to live in locally at a marina until they are ready to retire and sail off into the sunset!

If you are thinking about selling and would like to discuss possibilities, now’s the time!  There is still time to get into this market and sell your home during the peak season.  Call us at 631 765 5333.  Visit our office at Main and Horton’s Lane in Southold, or email me at Marie@BeninatiAssociates.com.  We are here to help and I am happy to sit down with you to put together various short term and mid-term scenarios for your real estate investment.  At Beninati Associates, we listen, we care and we get results for you!




Source: Multiple Listing Service (MLS) of Long Island; Newsday, “Demand Hikes LI Home Prices,” May 15, 2018, pages A12-13.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

CONFIDENCE HIGH ON HOUSING, BUT...


“High home prices and good economic conditions helped push the share of Americans who think it’s a good time to sell to a fresh record-high; however, the upward trend in the good-time-to-sell share seen since last spring has done little to release more for-sale inventory,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist and senior vice president at Fannie Mae.

We have been advising our clients and our readers that this is an ideal time to sell.  If you are planning to sell your home in the short term, don’t wait.  Take advantage of the low inventory and the high demand, especially in our North Fork marketplace, and especially during the next 2-3 months.  Remember it takes time to get your home in shape to sell.  Recently a client told me she did not realize how much had to be done and how much time needed to be invested to get the house ready for sale.
We have a team ready to help you get it done.  We will share our experienced and expert advice with you on how to get your home ready for sale AND we will help you do it! If that isn’t the best service you can get, I don’t know what is!

A word of caution... “the tightest supply in decades, combined with rising mortgage rates from historically low levels, will likely remain a hurdle for mobility and a persistent headwind for home sales,” says Duncan at Fannie Mae. 

We don’t know what next year will bring.  BUT we do know that in addition to rising prices due to low inventory and rising mortgage rates, the income tax changes will hit New Yorkers harder than most states,  the stock market is good today, but current volatility is unsettling for some.  With all this uncertainly, why not get in front of the curve, not behind the wave! Call us at 631 765 5333 or email me at marie@BeninatiAssociates.com, or even better, come in and sit down with us and let’s talk!


Sources: Fannie Mae’s National Housing Survey® (NHS); RISMedia e.News, May 9, 2018.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

MAY IS THE BEST MONTH TO SELL...MAYBE


“If you are considering listing this spring, now is the time.”  I have been suggesting this for the past few months, and I am happy to see the analysis below with statistics that back me up!

“May is the best bet for home sellers”, according to an analysis by ATTOM Data Solutions, which found that the average seller gains 5.9% more than market value—the highest of all months.

“June is profitable for sellers, as well, with an average 5.8% premium, with June 28, pointedly, reeling in 9.1%—the best day of the year. May 29 and May 31 are also high-returning, with an 8.2% premium and an 8.3% premium, respectively. Last year, May 1 through May 15 was found to be the ideal listing window. The difference now is that inventory is tighter—down 7.2% year-over-year—and, although homeowners are getting multiple offers, there is the burden of buying another home at the record prices they are today.”  In addition, even higher interest rates may be looming in the not too distant future.

For you, the homeowners, “timing is everything.”  The analysis suggests the listing advantage drops off sharply after June, with a 3.8% premium in July, 4.2% in August, and 3.2% in September.   For the North Fork, our busiest selling season peaking in August.  What we can learn from this study, is the sooner you put your home on the market in the spring, the more likely you will have a sale at a higher price.  It also suggests that your home should be priced right to sell, or you will miss the season.

If you’re ready to list your home – we are ready to assist you?  We will work harder than anyone to help you get your home ready and on the market in this prime listing time – call us at 631 765 5333, email me at Marie@BeninatiAssociates.com  or come to our office at the corner of Horton’s and Main Road in Southold. We’re ready, when you are!!!!

Source: “Homeowners: May Is the Best Month to Sell.” RISMedia Suzanne DeVida,  April 26, 2018

Sunday, April 29, 2018

WHO GETS THE 2% REAL ESTATE TRANSFER TAX


A 2% transfer tax is paid by the buyer for each East End real estate closing and the money is sent to the town where the property is located.  The Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund (CPF) is a public program managed by each of the East End Towns for the protection of farmland, open space and community character including historic structures.

The CPF was established by voter referendum in 1998, when voters in the five towns (East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold) approved a new real estate transfer tax of 2% on each transaction occurring in these towns.  This is a one-time tax that the buyer of real estate is required to pay when purchasing improved property or vacant land.  The first $250,000 in East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island, and $150,000 in Riverhead and Southold of the purchase price of improved property and $100,000 and $75,000 for unimproved land, is exempt from the tax.  In 2016, voters in all five towns approved a third referendum, extending the collection of the tax through 2050 and giving each town the opportunity to invest up to 20% of the CPF revenues in water quality projects.

First time homebuyers are exempt from the tax (except Riverhead). The exemption applies to property purchased as a primary residence by one or more persons, each of whom is a first-time homebuyer, provided that certain criteria regarding household income and the purchase price are met.

There is a CPF Advisory Board, composed of citizens from each town, that makes recommendations on acquisitions to the respective town boards.  For more information see references below or contact Southold Town, Suffolk County or New York State.



Sunday, April 15, 2018

IS FACEBOOK HISTORY?

At the end of 2017, Facebook saw 1.4 billion people, on average, log on daily - more than any other social network.  Most of us are wondering what did  Cambridge Analytica really do with the Facebook information and should I close my account or do something to protect my personal information on Facebook?  Could  what happened during the elections, be the beginning of the end of the goliath social network?  While most of us agree that Facebook is too big to collapse, we are still left feeling uneasy about the safety of the personal information we put on the social network, and the long reach that Facebook seems to have over what we naively thought was our “private” lives.  
Content Square 1.
Why is the scandal such a big deal?
              While Facebook used personal information before, for things like ad targeting, it was based on the information provided by the user—political affiliation, location, pages liked, etc. This time, according to
The Guardian, Cambridge Analytica “used personal information [through Facebook] without permission to build a system that could target U.S. voters with personalized political advertisements based on their psychological profile.” To obtain this information, Facebook users were prompted to take a quiz called “thisismydigitallife,” which then gave Cambridge Analytica access to both their own and their friends’ personal information. Even though a little over 270,000 users took the quiz, because they gave access to more than just their own information, researchers were able to obtain data from 50 million user profiles.
This breakthrough has also brought to light the fact that Facebook collects metadata from its users. For those using the Messenger app, Facebook requests access to users’ contacts, call and text history, locations and time spent there. Facebook attempts to make it clear that the reason they compile and track this information is to help users connect with people they care about and have a better experience on the social platform.
Content Square 2.

What should I do now?
           

           While we’ve seen swarms of people leave Facebook over the scandal, overall, the vast majority of users have moved on with their lives and continued to scroll through their newsfeeds. With the information being presented as of now, Facebook is attempting to regain their credibility  by creating stronger privacy settings and promising to make amends by publishing privacy shortcuts that will allow you to quickly access privacy.  Also, Congress has entered the scene and Mark Zuckerberg is currently in Washington saying, “sorry,”  and promising big changes in how they protect their billions of users’ information.  In the meantime, it’s important to remember that all users have options when it comes to the site. To protect your privacy, consider turning off features such as location-based settings and automatic updates. Review your current settings to see what data you’re making available and consider whether you really need to have instant gratification or is protection of your privacy a better choice.  Don’t give all the information requested just because they ask!  Remember, it’s impossible to retrieve what you have  put out there in cyberspace, so think twice, even three times before you reveal personal data.


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Hope SPRINGS Eternal…


This week, we celebrate two very important holidays – Passover and Easter.  These religious holidays are celebrations of hope and salvation – Passover commemorates God’s deliverance of the Jews from Egypt and the birth of the Jewish people as a nation.  And Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and the birth of Christianity.

Both religious holidays remind us that even in the most trying of circumstances we must always “Hope”. 

This lovely verse about HOPE is by Father James Keller, Founder of The Christophers:

Hope opens doors where despair closes them.

Hope discovers what can be done instead of grumbling about what cannot.

Hope regards problems, small or large, as opportunities.

Hope looks for the good in people, instead of harping on the worst.

Hope cherishes no illusions, nor does it yield to cynicism.

Hope sets big goals and is not frustrated by repeated difficulties or setbacks.

Hope pushes ahead when it would be easier to quit.

Hope puts up with modest gains, realizing the “the longest journey starts with one step.”

Hope accepts misunderstandings as the price for serving the greater good of others.

Hope is a good loser because it has the divine assurance of final victory.

Hope draws its power from a deep trust in God and the basic goodness of human nature.

Hope “lights a candle” instead of “cursing the darkness.”

All of us at Beninati Associates wish you a Happy Passover and a Blessed Easter.  May you always HOPE!

Our office will be closed on Easter Sunday, April 1st.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP): Reauthorization*

(Article published on March 22, 2018) 

Congress is required to periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On February 9, 2018, the President signed legislation passed by both houses of Congress that extended the National Flood Insurance Program to March 23, 2018.  Congress must reauthorize the NFIP, which is administered by FEMA, before midnight on March 23, 2018. By the time some of you read this, you will know if the program was reauthorized or not.

FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders.  If the NFIP’s authorization lapses, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. The National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings each month.   If flood insurance is not available, home closings, where banks require flood insurance, may be in jeopardy and homes that cannot get flood insurance and suffer losses will have no recourse.

A timely, multi-year reauthorization is critical for insured survivors and businesses affected by the devastating impact of last year’s hurricanes and past events that are still under resolution.  It’s hard to understand the logic in holding home owners and businesses hostage to extending the NFIP for such short time frames.  It’s understandable that the work needed to stabilize the program is complicated and needs lots of research to be sure that changes are implemented fairly.  However, policyholders need confidence not only that FEMA can pay flood insurance claims, but also that the NFIP will be able to sell and renew policies to help them protect against future flooding. Flood insurance – whether purchased from the NFIP or through private carriers – is the best way for Americans to financially protect themselves from losses caused by floods.

On April 28, 2018, I hope you will join SoutholdVOICE at an Information Session on this topic at the American Legion Hall on Main Road in Southold.  Save the date and stay tuned for more details. 


*Source: Information from FEMA and National Association of Realtor’s websites and interviews with subject matter experts.