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Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day 2017…A Time to Remember Our Fallen Heroes

Memorial Day is a time to remember all the men and women who lost their lives serving our country.  Driving by the American Legion Hall in Southold, with the moving display of 500 poppies on the lawn, I wondered about this symbol of Memorial Day and here’s what I learned:

            The wearing of poppies in honor of America’s war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day.  In war-torn battlefields, the red field poppy (papaver rhoeas) was one of the first plants to grow. Its seeds scattered in the wind and sat dormant in the ground, only  germinating when the ground is disturbed—as it was by the very brutal fighting during World War I.

            The practice of wearing of poppies was further inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” written in 1915 by Canadian soldier John McCrae when he saw the poppies in burials around his artillery position in Belgium.
Here are excerpts from “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrae, May 1915:

 In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
  We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
  Loved and were loved, and now we lie
  In Flanders fields...

  The torch; be yours to hold it high...

            Today, poppies are both a symbol of loss of life and a symbol of recovery and new life, especially to care for the servicemen damaged physically or emotionally.  If you would like to support the good work of our American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 803, you may send your donations to PO Box 591, Southold, NY 11971.
Please join us in thanking and honoring our service men and women, including our own Southold Veterans; and remember those who have died in the service of our great Country. _____________________________________________________________

Happy Birthday, Chris...you’re our hero! We miss you every day... ever so much!!! 

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Last Tuesday’s article, “Home Sales Hit Best Pace in Decade,”* in the Wall Street Journal discussed how the first quarter’s 6.9% rise in median home prices and slightly higher mortgage rates haven’t kept home buyers away. In fact, the first quarter posted the highest rate of sales since 2007.  Last Wednesday’s article in the Wall Street Journal, “A Dip in Construction is Bad for Home Buyers,”** talks about April housing starts declining 2.6% from March and how this is “intensifying the housing shortage and will push home prices and rents up...the slowdown in (housing) starts is likely to exacerbate an imbalance of supply and demand.”

This constant analysis of monthly results of housing data sales, inventory, housing starts and median sales, puts pressure on all of us to keep up with and understand the implications of the information so we know what to do.  Should we buy now?  Should we sell now?  Should we wait for a few months? Should we wait for a few years?  All very important questions with a real financial impact on your net worth.

As a Real Estate Broker, with past professional experience in Finance, Economics and Accounting, I have studied economic trends for many years.  I’ve learned that the one thing we can be sure of – trends change!  So the best advice I can give buyers and sellers is to focus on the current market situation, analyze it and be sure it works for you now, in the short term and into the next 3-5 years. 

If you’re selling, it’s a very good time to sell. Not knowing for sure how long this will last, it seems logical, to make your move sooner rather than later.  If you are selling and buying, check the market where you are moving and then make your decision.  Since the national climate is similar to what we are experiencing in Southold, you probably will be able to preserve net worth and if you are downsizing, put away some capital for the future. 

If you’re buying, it appears that the shortage of inventory is likely to last a bit longer.  That suggests that prices will continue to rise, so buy sooner rather than later.  Look for value, but understand that this market is moving up quickly and something at today’s prices will likely be more expensive for a similar property in a few months.  If you find something you like and it is a bit higher than you planned to spend, measure the impact of the price increase on your monthly expenses and see if you can handle the additional cash outlay.  If you are financing, you’ll find that a higher purchase price may translate to a smaller monthly payment -  which will not change if you get a fixed mortgage – perhaps smaller than you thought.  Higher real estate taxes, on the other hand, are likely to increase over time, so carefully analyze the difference of the monthly cost of a higher prices home with lower real estate taxes, versus a lower priced home with high real estate taxes.  Most importantly, check with your financial advisor, tax accountant, or attorney.

The bottom line - do your home work, ask questions and work with a Realtor who understands the financial in’s-and-out’s of purchasing property. At Beninati Associates, we can help you with the process and the numbers. Call me at 631 765 5333 or email, Marie@BeninatiAssociates.com.

* Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, May 16,2017, page A2.

** Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, page A2.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


There are no surprises in the 1st quarter  of 2017, but definitely some differences in what has been reported  by  area newspapers such as Newsday.  I attribute the differences to the data sources, which includes towns that are not truly part of the East End.  So here’s the real skinny about the 1st Quarter Results for Southold Town and Riverhead and the South Fork for trend comparison purposes.

Southold Town reported a 2.7% increase in Median Price versus the 1st quarter in 2016 - $524,000 vs. $510,000.  Sales actually declined by 8%  to $78 million from $85 million in 2016, It should be noted that the most current two years sales and unit sales were significantly higher than the previous three years’ first quarter.

Riverhead Town reported a 4.3% increase in Median Price to $365,000 from 350,000 in 2016.  Sales increased 10.5% to $52 million from 47 million.   Pretty good numbers.

East Hampton and Southampton continue last year’s trend of mixed results – East Hampton had a decline in Median Price and overall unit sales,  -.1% and -28%.  East Hampton’s Median Price was the highest on the East End at $1,150,000.  Southampton had increases in Median Price of 7.7% to $900,500 and increase in sales of 3.7%.

What does this mean to you as a seller? With higher average prices, it’s a very good time to sell.  The sales volumes, suggest some softness in the market, so if you’re thinking of selling this year, the sooner the better.  Get an updated market value estimate, figure out your equity  and decide whether it’s time to sell.

As a buyer – clearly price are increasing and if you are in the market to buy, remember it is a sellers’ market and will continue that way for a very long time until inventory catches up to demand.  Adjust your thinking to the fact that prices are higher and even if it does cost a bit more  - make your deal!  I assure you, you will regret losing the house of choice when you look back and find that you have bought another a home that may fit your requirements but not your heart and desires or by waiting, end up buying at a much higher price.

There’s a lot happening in this market and it is happening quickly.  If you’d like advice, call us at 
631 765 5333 or email me at broker@BeninatiAssociates.com. We have our finger on the pulse of the North Fork.  We’ll gladly help you sort things out and move forward!