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Agents scramble to meet demand…in Rochester?

There’s a sustained, nationwide surge in housing demand, plus a crippling lack of inventory – and Rochester is hardly impervious to either of these historic trends. 
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Rochester, New York

On Saturday, high temperatures in Rochester, New York, will plummet to a frigid eight degrees Fahrenheit and the city has already seen over 18 inches of snow since the start of the year. 

That’s standard for Rochester, a city on the banks of Lake Ontario that quickly grew after the American Revolution and gave birth to Eastman Kodak and Xerox, but whose population has tumbled from around 350,000 in the mid-20th century to just over 200,000 today.

In November, Rochester’s median home sales price was $154,838, according to Redfin, less than half of the national median that month of $335,519.

Still, there’s a sustained, nationwide surge in housing demand, plus a crippling lack of inventory – and Rochester is hardly impervious to either of these historic trends. 

“The market last year was unprecedented,” said Mark Siwiec, a Keller Williams agent in Brighton, a town just southeast of Rochester. “It left us breathless. Until about mid-May of this past year the market was unlike anything we’d ever experienced. Then we downshifted from securing 20-25 offers and selling for $15,000 to $75,000 over asking to a market that was still a great seller’s market, but just not as insane, and that market lasted until about mid-September.”

That median sales price is up 3.8% year over year, per Redfin, and the November 2020 price was itself up 12.4% from 2019. In addition, the sale-to-list price ratio was 106.3% in November, per Redfin, suggesting listing agents perhaps underestimated continued market demand. 

“While we are finding some pockets of the market that are cooling off, others, like suburban Rochester, are even more competitive than they were a year ago,”  local Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Zambito agent Sichel Cignarale said. “The city of Rochester itself is still very competitive. People are using escalation clauses [a clause in an offer that automatically increases the purchase price by a certain amount over competing offers] and other strategies in their attempts to outbid the competition.”

Cignarale noted signs of cooling off, including some properties appraising for lower than expected and once desperate buyers no longer waiving home inspections. But the market remains elevated, especially for the winter season when things typically slow down in Rochester as illustrated in the number of homes on the market and percentage of homes selling for over list price.

Agents claim that buyers are leaving pricey, big cities for Rochester including “boomerang buyers” who grew up in Rochester but moved away. 

“We are seeing a decent amount of boomerang buyers, who, due to job changes or just being able to work remotely, are able to return home,” Mandy Friend Gigliotti, a local Keller Williams agent said. “Truthfully, Rochester is just a beautiful place and a great place to raise a family. There are so many amenities, there is not a lot of traffic and the culture is really strong here.”

Aside from Brooklyn, Siwiec and other local agents have helped buyers from Manhattan, New Jersey, Connecticut, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco move to Rochester. 

“We are experiencing the phenomenon of people realizing that their job is portable, so they sell the Brownstone in Brooklyn for $1.5 million, pocket $750,000 in equity and use the remaining money to buy a house in Rochester that is three times the size of what they were living in, with the added benefits of a larger yard and less congestion,” Siwiec said.

Many agents also cited the area’s public school system and the many local highly-rated universities, including Rochester Institute of Technology and Eastman School of Music, as well as the city’s proximity to the picturesque Finger Lakes region. 

This increase in demand for housing has resulted in high levels of competition and multiple offer situations. 

“We are still seeing 15 to 20 offers on properties and that has been during the holiday time,” Tiffany Hilbert, a Rochester Keller Williams agent, said. “I think a lot of buyers want to try to buy a house and lock in before mortgage rates potentially go up, so people are still seriously looking to find a home.”

“Generally, you pretty much have to go in at or above ask, if you really want to be competitive on a house and you definitely want to use an escalation clause,” Hilbert said. “I think the big thing, if you are representing a buyer, is to have a strong and fierce conversation with them prior to even going out and looking because you’ve got to set that expectation the correct way for them and you have to gain their trust so they will listen to you when it comes time to put a competitive offer in.”

In addition to heightening the level of competition for properties, this influx of homebuyers has placed increased stress on the area’s already tight housing inventory.

“In the six county region, which Rochester is part of, six years ago or so there were typically around 7,500 homes on the market,” Siwiec said. “But for the past three or four years that number has not risen above 1,000 units and right now we have less than 560 homes on the market in this region.”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the median number of days a home has sat on the market in Rochester has not risen above 12. Currently, it is less than 10 days on the market.

“Some new properties came on the market last Friday morning and they are not accepting offers until Monday,” Cignarale said. “So some of these homes, agents are only giving one weekend and then they are gone.”

Local agents do not see any hope on the horizon for the city’s low inventory issues, especially with starter homes suited to first time homebuyers.

“People are staying in their existing homes longer, so less inventory is hitting the market and there just aren’t enough starter homes being built, so we are struggling with that too” Siwiec said. “Of course, COVID plays into things as well. With all the uncertainty we have seen a lot of people decide to invest in their current home rather than find something new. Even with it being such a strong seller’s market people are thinking, ‘Well, I just dropped $125,000 in my property to make it what I want, why should I sell now?’”

Local agents expect things to continue escalating, but hopefully at a slower pace.

“We are forecasting the spring market will begin sometime in the middle to the third week of January, Siwiec said. “Once again we are anticipating that the first six months of this year are going to be reminiscent of last year with lots and lots of buyers and very few properties available. Values will more likely than not increase again, but due to inflation and rising interest rates, we are thinking that come Memorial Day, things will start to cool off significantly.”

The post Agents scramble to meet demand…in Rochester? appeared first on HousingWire.

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About 35% of People Who Received Placebo in Vaccine Trials Report Side Effects and More COVID-19 News

According to a recent study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 76 percent of the adverse side effects (such as fatigue or headache) that people experienced after receiving their first COVID-19…



About 35% of People Who Received Placebo in Vaccine Trials Report Side Effects and More COVID-19 News

The placebo effect is where a person who received a placebo instead of a drug or vaccine shows clinical signs, positive or negative, associated with the actual treatment. Much has been made about the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, but a new study found a startlingly high number of adverse events associated with people who received placebos in clinical trials. For that and more COVID-19 news, continue reading.

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects: Real or Placebo Effect?

A recent study out of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center evaluated 12 COVID-19 vaccine trials with a total of 45,380 participants. The study found that 76% of the adverse side effects reported, such as fatigue or headache, after the first shot were also reported by participants who received a placebo. Mild side effects were more common in people receiving the vaccine, but a third of those given the placebo reported at least one adverse side effect. The statistics from the study showing that 35% of placebo recipients reported adverse side effects is considered unusually high. Several experts suspect that there’s such a high report of adverse events because of the amount of misinformation found on social media about the dangers of the vaccines and the amount of media coverage.

This is not to say that the adverse side effects felt by people who received the vaccines are all in their heads. People do have side effects to vaccines, but this study reports on an unusually high level of the placebo effect. Nocebo is used to describe a negative outcome associated with the placebo.

Source: BioSpace

“Negative information in the media may increase negative expectations towards the vaccines and may therefore enhance nocebo effects,” said Dr. Julia W. Haas, an investigator in the Program in Placebo Studies at Beth Israel Deaconess and the study’s lead author. “Anxiety and negative expectation can worsen the experience of side effects.”

Four Factors for Long COVID

A study published in Nature Communications identified specific antibodies in the blood of people who developed long COVID. Long COVID is not well understood and has a range of up to 50 different symptoms, and it is difficult to diagnose because there is no one test for it. The study, conducted by Dr. Onur Boyman, a researcher in the Department of Immunology at University Hospital Zurich, compared more than 500 COVID-19 patients and found several key differences in patients who went on to present with long COVID. The most obvious was a significant decrease in two immunoglobulins, IgM and IgG3. The study found that a decrease in these two immunoglobulins, which generally rise to fight infections, combined with other factors, such as middle age and a history of asthma, was 75% effective in predicting long COVID.

75% of COVID-19 ICU Survivors Show Symptoms a Year Later

A study out of the Netherlands found that a year after being released from an intensive care unit (ICU) for severe COVID-19, 75% of patients reported lingering physical symptoms, 26% reported mental symptoms, and up to 16% noted cognitive symptoms. The research was published in JAMA. The research evaluated 246 COVID-19 survivors treated in one of 11 ICUs in the Netherlands. The mental symptoms included anxiety (17.9%), depression (18.3%), PTSD (9.8%). The most common new physical symptoms were weakness (38.9%), stiff joints (26.3%), joint pain (25.5%), muscle weakness (24.8%), muscle pain (21.3%) and shortness of breath (20.8%).

Pennsylvania Averaging Most COVID-19 Deaths Per Day in a Year

In general, COVID-19 deaths are dropping across the country. However, in two states, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the numbers are increasing. Pennsylvania is averaging 156 COVID-19 deaths per day over the past seven days, which is a 17% uptick compared to two weeks ago. The number of deaths per day in Pennsylvania is below what was hit in January 2021, largely due to the availability of vaccines. New Jersey averages 111 deaths from COVID-19 per day, an increase of 61% over the last two weeks and the highest since May 2020. Similarly, New Jersey cases and hospitalizations are declining.

Omicron Surge: Shattering Cases and Hospitalizations, but Less Severe

According to the CDC, although the current Omicron surge is setting records for positive infections and hospitalizations, it’s less severe than other waves by other metrics. Omicron has resulted in more than 1 million cases per day in the U.S. on several occasions, and reported deaths are presently higher than 15,000 per week. However, the ratio of emergency department visits and hospitalizations to case numbers is lower compared to COVID-19 waves for Delta and during the winter of 2020–21. ICU admissions, length of stay, and in-hospital deaths were all lower with Omicron. They cite vaccinations and booster shots as the likely cause. Although the overall result is that Omicron appears less severe, it’s not completely clear if that’s because the viral variant doesn’t infect the lower lung as easily as other variants, or because so much of the population has either been vaccinated or exposed to the virus already. It is clearly far more infectious than other strains, which is placing a real burden on healthcare systems. The number of emergency department visits is 86% higher than during the Delta surge.

J&J Expects Up to $3.5 Billion in COVID-19 Vaccine Sales This Year

Johnson & Johnson projected annual sales of its COVID-19 vaccine for 2022 to range from $3 billion to $3.5 billion. This was noted during the company’s fourth-quarter 2021 report. In December 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the PfizerBioNTech or Moderna shots over J&J’s due to a rare blood condition observed with the J&J shot. By comparison, Pfizer and BioNTech project their vaccine will bring in $29 billion in 2022, after having raked in almost $36 billion in 2021. Moderna expects approximately $18.5 billion this year, with about $3.5 billion from possible additional purchases. Although final figures for Moderna aren’t in yet, they projected 2021 sales between $15 and $18 billion.

BioSpace source:

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Oil Could Be The Haven Stocks Traders Need To Shelter From Fed

Oil Could Be The Haven Stocks Traders Need To Shelter From Fed

By Nour Al Ali, Bloomberg Markets Live commentator and analyst

Oil is starting to look like an unlikely haven from the stocks selloff in the run-up to anticipated Fed tightening.



Oil Could Be The Haven Stocks Traders Need To Shelter From Fed

By Nour Al Ali, Bloomberg Markets Live commentator and analyst

Oil is starting to look like an unlikely haven from the stocks selloff in the run-up to anticipated Fed tightening.

Traders are pricing lower volatility in the commodity than in the Nasdaq and S&P 500. Barometers of market anxiety for both indexes have shot up recently, suggesting trader sentiment is souring. Meanwhile, the CBOE Crude Oil Volatility Index, which measures the market’s expectation of 30-day volatility of crude oil prices applying the VIX methodology to USO options, shows that oil prices are expected to remain relatively muted in comparison.

With a producer cartel to support prices, the outlook for oil is more sanguine, even if the Fed raises rates. The commodity has ample support, with global oil demand expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year. The U.S. administration has been pushing oil-producing nations under the OPEC+ cartel to ramp up output, while the group has stuck to a modest production-increase plan and is expected to rubber-stamp another 400k b/d output hike when they meet next week. This means that oil is likely to stay a lot more stable than in recent years.

The relatively low correlation between the asset classes provide diversification benefits. The relationship between the S&P 500 and the global oil benchmark is weak and lacks conviction; it’s even weaker between the Nasdaq 100 and Brent crude contracts. The divergence in price action this week could indicate that stocks have been tumbling in fear of a hawkish Feb, more so than geopolitical risk alone. That would perhaps offer traders an opportunity to seek shelter amid stock volatility in anticipation of the Fed’s next move.

Oil might have tracked the decline in stocks at the beginning of this week, but the commodity is back to its highs now. It’s up close to 15% this year, while the S&P 500 is struggling to reclaim its footing after plunging as much as 10%.

Tyler Durden Wed, 01/26/2022 - 13:45

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AT&T down 10% despite topping estimates

AT&T (NYSE: T) has revealed that Q4 results indicated continued users for the HBO MAX, wireless and fiber segments. In addition, the company gained more postpaid phone users for the whole year than the last ten years adding one million fiber subscribe



AT&T (NYSE: T) has revealed that Q4 results indicated continued users for the HBO MAX, wireless and fiber segments. In addition, the company gained more postpaid phone users for the whole year than the last ten years adding one million fiber subscribers. Similarly, the company beat its high-end outlook for international HBO Max and HBO users with almost 74 million subscribers as of December 31, 2021.

CEO John Stankey said:

We ended 2021 the way we started it – by growing our customer relationships, running our operations more effectively and efficiently, and sharpening our focus. Our momentum is strong and we’re confident there is more opportunity to continue to grow our customer base and drive costs from the business.

Q4 2021 revenue dropped 10% YoY

Consolidated revenue in Q4 2021 was $40.96 billion beating consensus estimates $40.68 but dropping 10% YoY, which reflects the impact of divested segments and low Business Wireline revenues. In the third quarter, the company divested US Videos, and in Q4, it divested Vrio. The drop was partially offset by high Warner Media revenues, recovery from pandemic impacts, and high Consumer Wireline and Mobility revenues. Stankey commented:

We’re at the dawn of a new age of connectivity. Our focus now is to be America’s best connectivity provider and also ensure our media assets are positioned to grow and truly become a global media distribution leader. Once we do this, we’ll unlock the true value of these businesses and provide a great opportunity for shareholders.

AT&T reported Q4 net income (loss) attributable to $5 billion or $0.69 per diluted shared share. On an adjusted basis, including merger-amortization fees, a share of DirecTV intangible amortization, gain on benefit plans, and related items, the company had an EPS of $0.78 topping consensus estimate of $0.76 per share.

AT&T had total revenue of $168.9 billion in 2021

AT&T’s consolidated revenues were $168.9 billion in 2021, compared to $171.8 billion a year ago, reflecting the split of the U.S Video division in Q3 2021, as well as the effects of other divested operations. However, higher revenues in WarnerMedia and Communications somewhat offset these declines.

For the full-year, net income (loss) attributable to commons shares was $19.9 billion or $2.76 p were per diluted share. On an adjusted basis, FY 2021 earnings per share were $3.4.

La notizia AT&T down 10% despite topping estimates era stato segnalata su Invezz.

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