I love New York…Brooklyn, that is..

It has long been my dream to return to Brooklyn and purchase one of my beloved Brownstones…. While I have come close in finding my true love in -Historic West End, Atlanta… my 1920 Craftsman with all it’s beautiful details (original hardwoods, 4 fireplaces, pocket doors) still can not melt my heartthe way these NY Corcoran listings do….

Brooklyn Brownstone

Take  a look:  MACON STREET 

Macon Street Rental

Quincy Street

Quincy Street #2

St Marks Ave.

St Marks

Failed Projects Turned Into Affordable Housing

Expensive cities like New York and Seattle are trying to find ways to change failed luxury projects into affordable housing for families with moderate incomes.

Seattle has a measure on the ballot in the next election that would create a fund to buy market-rate real estate developments. New York is studying a plan to subsidize unsold or half-built apartments to make them affordable for families earning between $55,000 and $158,000,

Cities need affordable housing for teachers, police, and firefighters, says Alan Berube, research director of the Brookings Institution’s metropolitan policy program.

Source: USA Today, Martha T. Moore (07/01/2009)

Top 10 Most Heavily Taxed States

It’s April, so people’s thoughts are turning to taxes, and where they live makes a big difference in how much they pay.

Here are the 10 states with the highest taxes, including property, individual income, sales, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, motor vehicles, hunting and fishing, motor fuels, death and gift taxes, as well as insurance premiums. The per capita tax was derived by adding up all the taxes and dividing the total by the number of citizens.

1. Vermont, $3,861
2. Hawaii, $3,856
3. Connecticut, $3,596
4. Minnesota, $3,203
5. New Jersey, $3,024
6. New York, $3,019
7. Massachusetts, $2,953
8. Washington, $2,553
9. Wyoming, $2,357
10. Pennsylvania, $2,223

Source: Forbes, Matt Woolsey (03/30/2009)

Mortgage Fraud Rises as Sales Decline

Mortgage fraud increased 26 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, according to a study released Monday by the Mortgage Asset Research Institute.

The increase reflects fewer loans. About $1.4 trillion in home loans were made in 2008, down a third from the previous year.

More than 60 percent of the mortgage fraud cases last year were tied to falsified applications; 28 percent reflected falsified tax returns or financial statements; and 22 percent were related to appraisals.

The fastest-growing scams, the report said, are perpetrated by foreclosure prevention specialists, who offer to rescue distressed borrowers, then flee with their money.

The 10 states with the most fraud (in descending order) were:

  • Rhode Island
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Michigan
  • California
  • Missouri
  • Colorado


Source: The Associated Press, Alan Libel (03/19/2009)

Foreign Buyers Bolster NYC Real Estate

New York City has been nearly immune to the housing slowdown. And thanks to foreign buyers, that may continue.

In Manhattan, where the median home costs exceed $1 million, prices were actually up 14 percent in the second quarter of 2008 compared with 2007. And prices in desirable suburbs have held steady.

Now home sellers, real estate practitioners, and mortgage lenders are listening uneasily to the bad news from Wall Street, wondering if now is the time that prices will take a nosedive.

“This can’t be good, because people are losing jobs,” says Ellen Bitton, CEO of Park Avenue Mortgage Group. “Nobody would have ever thought that a Lehman would go out of business.”

But some real estate practitioners are dubious that prices will go down. They say an influx of foreign buyers, taking advantage of the weak U.S. dollar, will actually drive prices up.

Wealthy buyers from Italy, Russia, and Great Britain in particular have snapped up properties in recent months, taking advantage of their strong currency compared with the U.S. dollar.

“Everybody wants a piece of the city,” says Debra Duneier, senior associate broker with Corcoran Group. “People with money will seize the opportunity to buy real estate.”

Source: The Associated Press, Alan Zibel

Buying Makes Sense in These 66 Metros

It’s more affordable to buy than to rent in many U.S. markets, according to data compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Of the 100 most populous metro areas, 57 have average three-bedroom rental costs higher than the cost of a 6-percent interest rate loan for a typical low-priced house, the coalition said in a just-released report. That means people renting two-bedroom apartments would be better off buying a low-priced home in 24 of the 100 largest metro areas.

However, when determining if it’s better to buy or rent, credit history is a crucial component to consider. A prospective buyer who is credit worthy of a 6 percent mortgage will pay a third less in monthly payments than someone who qualifies for an 8 percent loan.

And in many cities that can be a difference of hundreds of dollars and push them over the line to where renting actually makes more sense.

These are the top 10 markets where it makes sense to buy rather than rent. The full list of 66 markets is available at MSN.com.

  1. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas
  2. San Antonio, Texas
  3. New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La.
  4. Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas
  5. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas
  6. Rochester, N.Y.
  7. Syracuse, N.Y.
  8. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y.
  9. Jackson, Miss.
  10. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

Source: MSN Real Estate, Marilyn Lewis