Friday, January 19, 2018

Corp renews Homebuyer Program

Written by Serena Cho of the Yale News, click here to read on Yale News website

The Yale Corporation last month renewed the Homebuyer Program, which provides financial assistance to Yale employees purchasing homes in New Haven, for another two-year cycle through Dec. 2019.

Established in 1994, the University Homebuyer Program gives employees working 20 hours or more per week substantial income benefits to buy a home in designated areas of the city. In its meeting last December, the Corporation recognized the program as one of the most long-lasting examples of Yale’s commitment to its home city.

“The Homebuyer Program is one of the many fantastic benefits Yale offers to its employees. In particular, this program demonstrates how the university is committed to being a good neighbor and partner to our hometown,” said Karen King, a community affairs associate in the Office of New Haven and State Affairs. “We consider this an important investment for both Yale and New Haven communities.”

The Corporation assesses the impact of the Homebuyer Program every two years. In the December meeting, trustees collectively agreed that the program continues to support employee welfare while also promoting strong New Haven neighborhoods, King said.

The program grants up to $30,000 to its participants: a $5,000 bonus on the first year and an annual contribution of $2,500 for the following 10 years, as long as the employee continues to work at Yale and live in the home.

The neighborhoods covered by the program — Beaver Hills, Dixwell, Dwight, East Rock, the Hill, Newhallville and West Rock — attracted many Yale homebuyers in the most recent two-year phase. As of last fall, 1,221 Yale employees had purchased homes in New Haven through the program, according to King. These purchases summed to a total market value of more than $237 million, and employees benefitted from a total commitment of more than $31 million from Yale.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said the Homebuyer Program helps Yale employees not only by providing financial incentives but also by hosting information sessions for potential homebuyers that address the process of selecting, financing and maintaining a home.

King emphasized that these information sessions are particularly important because around 80 percent of the program’s participants are first-time homebuyers.

The program also represents one of the University’s key initiatives aimed at engaging with the city, according to Bruce Alexander ’65, vice president for New Haven and state affairs.

“Realtors say the Homebuyer Program is very important in helping to stabilize neighborhoods,” Alexander said. “Homeownership not only helps Yale employees build financial equity, but it also helps the neighborhoods build community because of the owner’s ongoing stake in its safety and stability.”

Conroy added that employees living in New Haven are more likely to befriend the city’s residents, strengthening the University’s relationship with its neighbors.

While 29 percent of all homebuyers who have benefitted from the program are faculty, 30 percent are clerical and technical staff, and 27 percent are management and professional staff. According to the Office of Institutional Research, around 32 percent of Yale employees are faculty, 28 percent are clerical and technical staff, and 32 percent are management and professional staff.

Conroy emphasized that the program benefits all Yale employees who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of their employment sector.

“One of the great attributes of the program is that it has appealed to unionized staff, management staff, professional staff and faculty,” Conroy said. “Because the incentive is not tied to the cost of the home, the benefit is a larger share of the cost of less expensive homes.”

Yale employees must commit to own and reside in the home for at least two years to qualify for the Homebuyer Program.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Ten Great Reasons to Live in Greater New Haven and Connecticut

10.  75 Miles from NYC and 125 Miles from Boston

9.  332 Miles of Coastline

8.  60% of State is Forested

7.  Top 10% of Metro Areas in Support for the Arts

6.  4th Oldest Symphony Orchestra in the Nation

5.  5th Among States in Quality of Life

4.  4th Most Intelligent State

3.  Yale University Ranked #3 in U.S.

2.  Median Home Price of $229K is Below U.S. Median of $256K


1.  World's Best Pizza

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Current Absorption Rates

Explanation of absorption rate: The rate at which available homes are sold in a specific real estate market during a given time period. If you look at the number for Hamden you can say “If market conditions do not change and if no new listings come on the market it will take 3.1 months for the current inventory to sell at the current pace of the market. A balanced market’s absorption rate is typically between 5 - 7 months.”

Set A New Deadline

We are just coming off of what turned out to be a very busy December.  There were lots of changes, of course, with the new Federal tax bill, but it was--and still is--very unclear as to whether some things should have been done last year, or will be more advantageous to do in 2018,  Nowhere is that more true than in the real estate realm.

So, while uncertainty generally slows a process down, last month it sped up.  When I tried to think of why that would be, I realized that the end of a calendar year is a powerful and motivating deadline.  All sorts of people rush to finish projects and clear off their to-do lists before a year ends.  This year, despite all the potential changes, was no different, and even busier.

It made me conscious of the fact that the real estate market has been slowed down by people feeling that there was no pressure to make decisions.  Instead, they thought that properties would continue to be available, maybe even for less, into the foreseeable future.  Our job as agents was to try to create urgency.  That was often hard.

Therefore, our hope for next year is that all potential and current clients have a self-imposed deadline of some sort.  Whether their hope is to move, sell, or redeploy assets, everyone needs a finish line to cross.  Uncertainty can be problematic, but, if it lasts too long, more is lost by waiting than by simply moving on.

Greater New Haven, or Connecticut as a whole, residential, commercial, or investment, buy, sell, or rent--all are choices.  Just make one, and you will feel accomplished and relieved.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

What Will 2018 Bring?

The latest Federal tax bill is only hours old, but pundits have been debating various proposals and exclusions for months.  People are frantically trying to figure out what it means for real estate, and what to do before the end of the year.  Unlike making a charitable contribution, it isn't quite so easy to implement changes in the next ten days.  However, we can see that some are trying.

It's unusual for us to still be getting offers and selling at this season, when thoughts often turn to shopping and partying.  This year, the phones are ringing more, and more transactions are coming together.  There aren't too many of those buyers and sellers who expect to close instantly, so it's a sign of something else, and we hope that it's a sign that people are moving on with their lives.

They hesitated during the presidential election, they hesitated during the first few months of Trump's term, but they finally seem to be inclined toward action.  Whether that's just life, or it's in reaction to the various proposals is hard to know, but I'd bet on the former.  I think we all know that mortgage rates are heading up, and that, in the end, that makes more difference to buyers than almost anything else in a purchase.

There hasn't been enough time for digestion of all of the parts of the tax bill, so we aren't even sure what 2018 will bring.  However, it is the time of the year for predictions, so here goes:  Connecticut is going to be hurt under the bill, and more people will leave the State in 2018.  Since not all of them will be able to sell their houses, they will reduce prices on big, expensive homes.  At some point, those properties will seem like a bargain to those who have lived elsewhere, or in times past, and they will start to move.  Some of them will be sold as second homes, since those mortgage deductions were preserved in the final bill.  Buying real estate will seem prudent compared to betting that the stock market will keep going up.

Millennials will be a major force.  They may need help, and we may see more sellers taking back money, as used to happen in different cycles of the market.  Big employers may turn to housing allowances, in order to attract employees from out of the area.

On the commercial side, we will see more and more 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, as those were preserved as well.  Investment real estate will be strong in Greater New Haven, where properties seem inexpensive compared to Boston and New York.  The State Legislature may actually listen to the new commission on fiscal health, and make changes that will cause business to expand or relocate here.

And our New Year's resolution here in Connecticut?  We will continue to do our best to sell our beautiful State and region, in little pieces.  Happy New Year to all!