Celebrity Real Estate: Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Willis, Steve Martin


By Laura Vecsey

Jennifer Lopez Selling California Home

Just days after appearing on the cover of “People” magazine with her 6-year-old twins in a story that showed off her sprawling Los Angeles area home, the ubiquitous pop icon J-Lo has announced she’s changing locations -- by about 2,500 miles.

The singer, dancer and actress has listed her 17,129-square-foot estate in the exclusive Hidden Hills neighborhood for $17 million.

Lopez bought the 9-bedroom, 12-bathroom home in 2010 when she was married to Latin crooner Marc Anthony. But since her divorce from Anthony, and a busted relationship with her backup dancer Casper Smart, J-Lo told “People” she had taken some time to overcome her fear of being alone.

Now it looks like in addition to those internal changes, the New York native is trading L.A. for her hometown. She bought a beautiful $22.5 million penthouse apartment in Manhattan last year and already owns a mansion in the Hamptons.

The newly-listed property in L.A. is set on 3 acres and includes a main house with 8 bedrooms as well as a second home that is strictly for entertaining: bar and lounge, 20-seat theater, recording studio, gym/dance studio and a bedroom suite complete with kitchen.


Dying Hard For the Upper West Side

Bruce Willis’ love for Central Park West knows no bounds. After just selling a $13 million apartment in the El Dorado, the “Die Hard” star and father of five has gone onto bigger and better things: A $16.9 million duplex just doors from the Museum of Natural History and Central Park.

Willis and his wife, Emma Heming, needed more space after the birth of their second child. The new digs deliver: 6,000 square feet, 6 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms over two sumptuous floors with window views of the park.

And, if things get a little too tight in their Manhattan condo, Willis & family can head north to Westchester County where they have also bought a sprawling estate with a sumptuous pool on 23 acres overlooking the Croton Reservoir.


Steve Martin Wants To Get Small

It’s set in concrete now: Comedian and writer and banjo player Steve Martin wants to discard his Santa Barbara modern – for a cool $11 million.

After 20 years of living on the almost 6-acre compound, the art aficionado has listed for sale the all-concrete gem that is as much sculptural as it is a house. The 7,377-square-foot home was designed by Roland E. Coate, Jr. to maximize views of the Pacific Ocean and the hills near Montecito. The main house has 4 bedrooms, 5.5 baths, plus a detached 2-bedroom, 1-bath guest house and a 3-car garage.

The maverick Martin started off doing stand up and making a big splash on “Saturday Night Live” had moved onto other creatively successful ventures beyond movies and TV. He’s written books and pieces for The New Yorker as well as “The Underpants,” a play. He recently recorded a CD with Edie Brickell called “Love Has Come for You.”

Celebrity Real Estate: Channing Tatum, Marc Anthony, Gary Sinise, Leighton Meester


By Laura Vecsey

Channing Tatum’s Oscar-Worthy Move

Jumping streets: That’s literally what Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum are doing as they neighborhood hop from Laurel Canyon, where they still own a 1920s abode, to a brand new, family-friendly home in Beverly Hills.

The “Foxcatcher” actor and star of “21 Jump Street” and his lovely wife paid $6 million for a spot in L.A.’s 90210 ZIP code. The 4,853-square-foot Cape Cod has 6 bedrooms, 6 baths and sits on behind gates on a tree-lined acre and has a beautiful pool, spa and outdoor fireplace. Sure looks like a lovely place to raise their daughter, Everly.


Marc Anthony Goes Coast-to-Coast


With his recent marriage to Venezuelan model Shannon De Lima, singer and Puerto Rican native Marc Anthony is looking to divest himself of mansions on both coast of the United States. Anthony has just listed a 6-bedroom, 9-bathroom Spanish-style mansion in Encino, CA for $2.75 million.

Meanwhile, back in New York, Anthony is seeking $12 million for his Long Island compound in the exclusive Brookville area of the North Shore. The estate includes a main house with 10 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 8 fireplaces and a mahogany-paneled library. He bought the place in 2000 and shared it with his ex, Jennifer Lopez.


Lt. Dan Giving Final Salute to Calabasas

Gary Sinise has listed his mansion in Calabasas, Calif., for $3.895 million. The 4-bedroom, 5-bath home features walnut floors, an outdoor living room with fireplace and a pool, waterfall and koi pond. Sinise has moved on to a new home – he paid $5.25 million last April for a 9,400-square-foot villa on 28 acres, according to Variety.

The “Forrest Gump” and “CSI: NY” actor is working on new projects, including the non-profit Operation International Children that he has co-founded with “Unbroken” author Laura Hillenbrand.


Rumor Has It …

Married life is prompting “Gossip Girl” star Leighton Meester to cast off the last vestiges of her bachelorette days. She has listed her 2,800-square-foot home on Ventura Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Meester is asking $2.35 million for the 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom ranch-style home which she has owned since 2011. A year ago, she wed actor Adam Brody.

Celebrity Real Estate: Joan Rivers, Frank Sinatra, Kobe Bryant


By Laura Vecsey


Dearly Departed Queen of Snark’s Palace Back on NYC Market

Joan Rivers’ opulent penthouse off Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan is back on the market, five months after the comedian unexpectedly died at age 81. The new list price is $28 million, down from the $29.5 million Rivers sought for the 5,100-square-foot triplex in 2012. Rivers had originally listed the grand residence for $25 million back in 2009, when she considered a full-time move to Los Angeles to live near her daughter Melissa and her grandson -- a scenario that failed to materialize despite some pretty hilarious hijinks that the mother-daughter duo chronicled on their reality TV show, Joan & Melissa. The apartment is unique, in part for its grand scale (23-foot ceilings, magnificent ballroom, music room and separate guest quarters) and for the Marie Antoinette decor that’s straight out of Versailles.

Start Spreading the News

Frank Sinatra’s former home finally has a buyer after lots of time on the Manhattan real estate market and a $2.7 million price drop. The last list price was just a hair under $5M for the “glittering grotto in the sky.” The 3,200-square-foot penthouse is in The Edgewater, a white-glove building overlooking the East River in Lenox Hill. It was here that the Chairman of the Board partied with the likes of Mia Farrow, President Kennedy and Sammy Davis, Jr. back in the day.

Kobe Shoots Down List Price

Turns out that Kobe Bryant’s injured rotator cuff isn’t the only thing that has taken a recent cut. The Lakers’ star has also slashed the price of his Newport Coast home in Los Angeles to $6.995 million, down more than $1.5 million from the original list price back in August 2013.

Bryant had surgery on his shoulder on January 28, which will put him out of action for 9 months. That gives Bryant time to try and hustle along the sale of the 8,471-square-foot Mediterranean mansion he and his wife, Vanessa, bought back in 1997 for $1.7 million, then had remodeled to include an 850-square-foot gym, hair salon and an in-home theater with its own lobby and wet bar. The yard features an extra-deep, custom-built pool and spa, fire pit and outdoor kitchen in a yard with ocean and city views.

Becoming a Landlord Pays Off in Pittsburgh


By Paul Tooher

Homeowners in Pittsburgh thinking about putting their property up for sale might want to think twice. Renting out their existing home might be more profitable both in the short term and in the long run.

That’s the conclusion of a new study conducted by Zillow, which looked at the impact the great recession has had on the housing market.

According to Zillow, there are three reasons why becoming a landlord rather than selling a property may make sense today.

The first is that despite the sharp recovery in housing prices recently, many homeowners still find themselves “underwater” – when the value of their home is less than their existing mortgage.

But while housing prices have slowly climbed, demand for rental properties has soared in recent years. Over the past five years, the share of prime working-age adults (25-54) who rent their home has risen rapidly from a two-decade low of 28 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2013.

Among young adults age 25 to 35, only about one-third rented in 1980 compared with about half in 2013. And many analysts say millennials are increasingly likely to defer buying a home in favor of renting.

Home values are expected to continue rising in the future, making it likely that the property you own today will be more valuable in the future.

Pittsburgh home values have gone up 16.8 percent over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.9 percent within the next year. Zillow also states that 11.2 percent of Pittsburgh homeowners are underwater on their mortgage.

According to Zillow’s calculations, a homeowner who elects to rent rather than sell their property can expect to make a monthly profit of $110. And the news gets even better over time.

Rising real estate prices will add another $983 in monthly profit, meaning the net monthly profit from both rent and equity will total $1,093 a month.

Homeowners in San Jose, Calif., who defer selling their homes in favor of become a landlord are likely to see the largest long-term payoff, where rental income when combined with rising equity accounts for a monthly profit of $8,927.

Other communities with the biggest long-term payoffs include San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, Calif., New York City, Boston, Seattle, Sacramento, Calif., and Honolulu.

Pittsburgh a Top City for Love


By Paul Tooher

Romance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Steel City.

But, according to a new report by Zillow, Pittsburgh is one of the 10 best cities in the nation to find love.

To create its ranking, Zillow looked at cities with populations greater than 250,000. It then looked at which cities had the highest percentage of singles, as well as which had the greatest percentage of singles who moved into town during the past year.

Zillow also looked at the median disposable income among single residents (median income minus median rent) and the number of restaurants, movie theaters and other date venues per capita.

Based on those criteria, Pittsburgh ranks sixth, with 67 percent of the population single. The number of single adults grew by 7.6 percent over the past year.

Zillow found that singles have an annual disposable income of $16,159 while the city boasts 30 date spots per 10,000 residents.

One factor attracting singles to the Steel City may be its relatively low rents. According to Zillow, the median rent price in Pittsburgh is $1,100 as of the end of January.

Zillow rated Washington, D.C., as the best city in America to find love, followed by Atlanta, Boston, St. Louis and Denver.

After Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Nashville, St. Louis and Raleigh rounded out the top 10.

Of course, old married couples can find love in Pittsburgh, too. According to Sperling’s Best Places, Pittsburgh has the second-lowest percentage of divorced and separated boomer adults among the nation’s 50 largest cities.

The Steel City also ranks first in floral sales and second in candy sales among Sperling’s top cities for boomer romance.

And online retailer Amazon ranks Pittsburgh among the top 20 romantic cities in the nation, based on the sale of romance novels, music and romantic comedies.

Celebrity Real Estate: Miley Cyrus, Bob Hope, Olivia Wilde, Bruno Mars


By Laura Vecsey


Miley Cyrus’ Childhood Home Hits Market

The childhood home of the girl formerly known as Hannah Montana has hit the Toluca Lake real estate market in Los Angeles for $5.995 million.

Miley Cyrus spent her teen years with her parents, including “Achy Breaky Heart” papa Billy Ray, in the 8,700-square-foot mansion that features kicky amenities like with skateboard ramps, a theater room, an alcove for displaying guitars and outdoor entertainment areas with fireplaces. The Tuscan-style home has 6 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms all tucked behind a gate and tree-lined drive.

While Miley and her own millions moved into her own place when she was 18, Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus followed suit and moved out, too.



Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis Selling Home

Olivia Wilde and former “Saturday Night Live” star Jason Sudeikis were loving life in their fabulous New York City condo until … it got too small for the expanded family. With their son Otis just turning 8 months old, the couple has already moved onto a bigger abode, prompting them to place their Meatpacking District apartment up for sale for $3.995 million. They paid $3.225 million for the 2-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom, 1,670-square-foot unit in 2012.


Bob Hope Estate Back on Market

Also in Toluca Lake, Bob Hope’s massive estate has returned to the market. This time, the 5-acre spread is listed for $24.99 million, down from the original list price of $27.5 million. Bob Hope and his wife Dolores lived and entertained in this home for decades. The property is walled and gated with a main residence that sprawls 15,000 square feet. There’s also a 2-bedroom guest house, staff quarters and offices. The grounds are equally impressive, including a beautiful pool and golfing greens.

Bruno Mars Finds New Home

Bruno Mars’ new hit single “Uptown Funk” shows off the Hawaii native’s James Brown-like chops, but apparently, the younger, newer version of “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” has had time to do something else besides sing, dance and entertain: House shopping.

According to Variety, Mars is the new owner of a $6.5-million gated estate in Studio City, Calif. Taye Digs and Ididna Menzel recently let go of their family home in that area. Mars' new spread is much larger than the home Mars continues to own in star-studded Laurel Canyon.

Celebrity Real Estate: Lena Dunham, Tyra Banks, Donald Rumsfeld


By Laura Vecsey


Lena Moving On Up

Lena Dunham is getting what she wants, and not just being the voice of her generation, or a voice of a generation. This time, the writer and producer of the series “Girls” and author of a new book “Not That Kind of Girl” has gotten a very big girl apartment in Brooklyn Heights.

The new condo cost a cool $4.89 million and sprawls 3,200 square feet, including 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms. The luxury brownstone building comes with indoor parking and a roof deck to take in some pretty alternative views of Brooklyn.

Dunham’s new digs aren’t far from her old one-bedroom abode that she bought in 2012 for $500,000.

Banking On It

Tyra Banks is aiming for a new look. The supermodel and host/producer of “America’s Next Top Model” has listed her Manhattan apartment for $3.795 million. The Soho abode sits in a 1924 Beaux Arts building and has 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and measures just a hair over 2,000 square feet. Banks paid $2.1 million for the apartment in 2005.


Rumsfeld Is Out

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is packing up his Federal-style home in Washington, D.C. Rumsfeld and his wife got $3.9 million for the 7-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom home, which was only about $550,000 more than they paid back in 2001, when Rumsfeld was brought into the Cabinet by former President George W. Bush. The Rumsfelds reportedly split their time between New Mexico and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Fogarty Testing L.A. Housing Market

Creedence Clearwater Revival rocker John Fogerty is looking to sell a rental home he’s long owned in Beverly Crest. The 1,920-square-foot rancher is on the market for $1.549 million. Fogerty paid $1.385 million for the house in 2008, and in recent years has listed it for rent at $5,900 a month and up.


Mortgage Rates Remain Flat, Hold Near 20-Month Lows


Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages rose this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 3.58 percent, up from 3.57 percent at this same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered around 3.63 percent, falling to 3.46 percent on Thursday before returning to the current rate.

“Despite substantial volatility, rates remained essentially flat last week, holding near 20-month lows,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “With minimal incoming data this holiday-shortened week, we expect little rate movement as the markets look to the President’s State of the Union address and the European Central Bank’s Thursday policy meeting.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 2.92 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.83 percent.

Celebrity Real Estate: Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Jason Bateman, Scott Disick


By Laura Vecsey

Country Stars Relist Tennessee Estate

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have sold a portion of their mammoth 753-acre estate outside Nashville, leaving them with 623 acres on two separate parcels. The entire property had been listed for $20 million, but the slightly smaller estate — which includes a renovated log home that dates back to 1800 and an Antebellum-style home built in 1856 — will now be re-listed for $18.5 million.

'Horrible Bosses 2' Actor Sells Home

Jason Bateman has found a buyer for his Beverly Glen home, which had been listed for $2.25 million. According to sources, the 3-bedroom mid-century home fetched slightly more for the “Arrested Development” star, who bought the home with his wife, Amanda Anka, in 2002 for $885,000.


'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' Star Buys Flipper Home

Scott Disick, AKA Mr. Kourtney Kardashian even though the couple is not married, has bought his own Beverly Hills, 90210 pad. The father of three plans to flip the $3.699 million property, which spans 4,095 square feet and features a saltwater pool in the yard.

Celebrity Real Estate: Ellen, Beyonce, Jay Z, Kanye


By Laura Vecsey

Surprise! Ellen Lists More L.A. Real Estate

She’s at it again! Ellen DeGeneres has listed a pair of high-rise condos in Los Angeles for $15.99 million. The talk show queen bought them a year ago, soon after selling the famous Brody House for $55 million.

Now it looks like the condos are just another stop along DeGeneres’ home buying and selling swath through Tinseltown.

The condos occupy an entire floor of a Westwood condo building. The smaller unit ($7.495 million) is 3,813 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The larger condo ($8.495 million) has 4,158 square feet including 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.


Jay Z & Bey Outbid in L.A.

Who can outdo music’s super couple?

That would be a Swedish billionaire who plunked down $70 million in cash for the sizzling modern mansion that so enticed the pair.

Beyoncé and Jay Z were not the winners in the bidding war for a 22,300-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion. The pair was bested Markus “Notch” Persson, a co-founder of a company that developed the sandbox gaming franchise “Minecraft,” which he sold to Microsoft for $2.5 billion.

Persson’s new 8-bedroom, 15-bathroom home overlooks Malibu and downtown Los Angeles in the ultra high-end Trousdale Estates neighborhood. The home has an automated 54-foot curved glass door in the living room that opens onto an infinity pool with iPad-controlled fountains. And, that’s just a start of the list of amenities, which includes $5,600 Toto Neorest toilets in every bathroom.


Kompund for Kimye?

Despite rumors that Kanye West is so sick of the Kardashian Klan that he’s begging Kim to move to New York or Paris, the couple continues to expand their footprint in Hidden Hills, CA.

According to a report, Kim and Kanye will move into their $20 million Bel Air area home, where they have just purchased an additional adjacent lot for $2.925 million. There’s a modest ranch house on the 1.49-acre lot now, but it would appear that the extra land would provide more buffer for the paparazzi-hounded family. All together, the two properties will give Kimye about 4.5 acres for their L.A. estate.


Dennis Miller’s Home For Sale Is No House of Cards

Dennis Miller and his wife, Carolyn Espley-Miller, have listed their whitewashed California beach home for $22.5 million.

The 6,063-square-foot home sits on a half acre along Padaro Lane in Santa Barbara County and contains 5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and 63 feet of beachfront.

Celebrity Real Estate: Patrick Dempsey, Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte


By Laura Vecsey

Venice Beachy Cool Pad for Patrick Dempsey

“Grey’s Anatomy” star and sometimes race-car driver Patrick Dempsey plunked down $1.925 million for a mid-century modern “micro-compound” in Venice Beach, CA. The 1952 home measures 2,288 square feet over three stories, complete with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. The exterior is made up of industrial materials, including large expanses of glass, polycarbonate and corrugated-metal panels. Dempsey has a thing for interesting architecture: He also owns a $7-million Frank Gehry spread in Malibu.

De Niro Signs On For Generous Real Estate Gift

Native New Yorker Robert De Niro has paid $2.85 million for a penthouse loft in the West Village for his daughter, Drena De Niro. The 2-bedroom, 2.5-bath penthouse features high-beamed ceilings, hardwood and slate floors and panoramic views of the city and the Hudson River. It’s the same neighborhood De Niro used to call home, before he went uptown and bought $20.9 million triplex near Central Park.


Nick Nolte Sells, Somewhat

The “48 Hrs.” and “Gracepoint” star collected $3.9 million for a two-acre spread he finally sold after a year on the market. It appears that a 4-bedroom and a 2-bedroom guest house exchanged hands while Nolte is keeping the remaining 3 acres and 3 guest homes. The original list price for the entire spread was $8.25 million.

Celebrity Real Estate: Bruce Willis, Rosie O'Donnell, Andy Garcia


By Laura Vecsey


Bruce & Rosie Snag Buyers in NYC

First, Rosie O’Donnell scored a $9 million sale on her 3,200-square-foot Greenwich Village apartment. Then it was Bruce Willis’ turn to gobble up a contract on his $12.995 million apartment on the Upper West Side.

All in all, a good December for two of NYC’s more colorful (former) residents.

Both O’Donnell and Willis had owned their respective apartments for about two years, but, for different reasons, decided to part ways with their city abodes, both of which had undergone renovations by their celebrity owners.

O’Donnell bought her pad in 2012 for $8 million after returning from Chicago, where her daytime talk show failed. However, after another big family move to New Jersey to access a school for her son Blake, Rosie decided to set up house in NYC and in Nyack, where she owned a compound of homes.

Willis, meanwhile, bought the 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom unit in the El Dorado on the Upper West Side from U2 bassist Adam Clayton in 2013 for $8.9 million. But after a massive remodel, Willis and his wife, Emma Heming, found the apartment too small, so they listed and found a buyer within a week.

No word yet on where Willis will look for another NYC apartment. He and Heming have a 23-acre estate in Bedford, N.Y., about an hour north of Manhattan.

Rent Andy Garcia’s Own ‘Little Havana’ In Key Biscayne

Normalized relations by the United States with Cuba announced this week by President Barack Obama will bring an end to the Cold War-era hostilities between the two countries. For Cuban native Andy Garcia, who fled the island as a child after Fidel Castro took over, Miami has long been his second home.

Now the low-key actor who played Vincent Corleone in “The Godfather Part III” is renting out a 9,084-square-foot estate in Key Biscayne, Fla. The 4-bedroom. 5.5-bathroom property is described as having the “charming and delightful aura of a vintage Cuban estate.” There’s also a pool, dock and a master suite with a lagoon view.

Celebrity Real Estate: Moby, Ozzie and Harriet Home


Moby Scales Down in L.A.

Moby has pumped out all kinds of sample-infused electronic music over the years, but he does have other passions, including animal rights activism and … real estate. Now the descendant of Herman Melville has made another housing switch, trading a sprawling 3.31-acre Hollywood Hills compound with a castle known as the Wolf’s Lair for a smaller Tudor nearby.

According to reports, Moby sold the famous 1927-era Lair this fall for $12.4 million — possibly to graffiti artist Banksy. Moby paid almost $4 million for the property in 2010, and then spent about $2 million renovating it.

He’s now ensconced in a more modest $2.9 million home that has 4 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and opens onto some pretty nice outdoor space, including a pool with a wraparound deck.

Earlier this year, Moby reportedly sold a Manhattan apartment for just over $2 million. In 2012, he was reported to have sold a New York penthouse for almost $6 million. He has also owned a pretty interesting modern home in the upstate New York town of Carmel.

Remodeled "Ozzie and Harriet" Home Sold

The famous “Ozzie and Harriet” home recently sold for over its asking price, this time without many of the details so prominently displayed on television for years. The final price was $5.25 million.

The iconic home for more than a decade of America’s first television family was remodeled extensively for the modern household and listed for $4.995 million. The house has also shown up on “Entourage,” serving as Ari Gold’s home.

Ozzie’s wood-paneled pub still had his precious toy train and previous owners claimed it liked to run on its own. Adding to the rumor that the house was haunted, previous owners have also stated the drawer next to the sink mysteriously opened in the middle of the night, presumably for Ozzie’s midnight bowl of ice cream.

Celebrity Real Estate: Ringo Starr, Idina Menzel, Mickey Rooney


By Laura Vecsey

Ringo Starr Lists in Colorado

Fresh off selling their English estate in Surrey, Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, are looking to scale back their U.S. real estate holdings as well by listing their Colorado ranch north of Aspen.

The 15.8-acre estate located on the banks of the Roaring Fork River is listed for $3.85 million. Nicknamed the “Shoot N’ Star Ranch,” Ringo and Barbara have owned the 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom house since 1991.

According to The Sunday Times, Starr and Bach plan to divide their time between London and Los Angeles. They reportedly own a flat off King’s Road in London, and a Beverly Hills home near Jennifer Aniston’s former house.

They Have Let It Go

Idina Menzel and estranged husband Taye Diggs have sold their Studio City home for $2.555 million. The Hollywood couple called it quits on the 10-year marriage last winter amidst the heady success of the animated movie “Frozen,” in which Menzel sings the lead part that sparked endless sing-alongs in living rooms of little girls across the country.

The 6-bedroom, 5-bathroom home sprawls 5,000 square feet and had been listed for $2.995 million.

Rooney's Former Home For Sale

One of the last homes where legendary actor Mickey Rooney lived before he passed away at age 93 is back on the market for $2.495 million following a massive remodel.

The 3,200-square-foot home in Westlake Village just north of Malibu sold in April 2013 for just over $1 million, but since then, the 1976-era home has seen almost every square inch upgraded, including a state-of-the-art kitchen. The only telltale sign that Rooney lived there: A commemorative plaque and fountain on the property.

Mortgage Rates Ease Following Weak European Economic Data


Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages fell this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 3.77 percent, down from 3.82 percent at this same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell steadily last week before settling at the current rate.

“Rates eased last week on Europe’s weak economic data and the unexpected rate cut from China’s central bank,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “Looking ahead, with several important U.S. data reports scheduled for release, we expect modest volatility in this holiday-shortened week.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 2.96 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.78 percent.

Celebrity Real Estate: Lauren Bacall, Robert Pattinson, Debra Messing


Lauren Bacall’s Iconic New York Apartment Just Listed

Classic Hollywood icon Lauren Bacall’s equally-iconic, long-time residence in New York is for sale following the actress’ August death at age 89.

Bacall purchased the elegant apartment in New York’s famed Dakota building after the death of her first husband, Humphrey Bogart, in 1957. She quickly wearied of the Hollywood scene and wished to move back to New York City. Bacall reportedly called her business manager and told him to cash in all of her stock. She had her eye on the Dakota and purchased the stunning apartment for a mere $48,000, an acquisition that served the actress well the rest of her life.

The uniqueness of this apartment can hardly be overstated, even for the Dakota. A private mahogany vestibule opens into the apartment, where five rooms have a combined 100 feet of Central Park views. An original fireplace is a stunning centerpiece, as are all of the original 19th-century details, including 13-foot ceilings, original pocket doors throughout the house, hard wood flooring, butler’s pantry, built-ins and a Juliet balcony that overlooks the Park, to mention a few. Having lived here since the 1960s, Bacall hardly made any changes and the original floor plan is still intact.

Other famous Dakota residents include John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Judy Garland, Roberta Flack, Connie Chung and John Madden. There are even reports of supernatural inhabitants of the building where John Lennon was killed just outside the gate. Yoko Ono still lives at the Dakota but has had trouble selling her other New York penthouse.

Pattinson No Longer Living in “Twilight”

With a new girlfriend in tow, English actor Robert Pattinson is the new owner of a two-bedroom home in the Hollywood Hills.

According to Variety, the house was purchased under a trust for $2.176 million and fits Pattinson’s preferred style: Spanish Colonial. The low-slung hacienda sports vintage terra-cotta tile, wood flooring, curved archways and custom built-ins.

With this move, Pattinson further distances himself from the snag he hit in his Los Feliz home, the one he shared with Kristen Stewart until she so notoriously cheated on him. Pattinson sold that home to “Big Bang Theory” star Jim Parsons.

No Messing Around

Debra Messing is starring as New York Police Department homicide detective in “The Mysteries of Laura” on NBC, but in real life, she needed some new digs. With her two-and-a-half-year relationship with actor Will Chase kaput, Messing has moved on. Literally.

The actress paid $5.45 million for an elegant eighth-floor co-op on the Upper East Side. The prewar building boasts old-school style with its 10-foot ceilings and has a master suite plus three additional bedrooms.

Messing, best known for her starring role in “Will & Grace,” has been a busy real estate buyer and seller. She recently sold her L.A.-area home for $11.4 million.

Celebrity Real Estate: Renee Zellweger, Jon Stewart, Alan Cumming


By Laura Vecsey

Zellweger Selling Hamptons Home

Frist she listed her historic Connecticut property for sale. Now the Academy Award-winning actress has listed her East Hampton home for $4.45 million. Located just a few blocks from the ocean, the newly-renovated retreat has 3 bedrooms, a den, 2-car garage and loft.

It’s No Joke: Jon Stewart Sets Record Sale

Comedy Central star Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show” may have been laughing all the way to the bank after he snagged $17.5 million for his lower Manhattan penthouse. The New York Times reported that it was the highest-priced sale in the city for the week.

Stewart bought the 5,800-square-foot duplex at 161 Hudson Street in 2005 for $5.8 million, but saw a whopping $3,000-per-square-foot deal close on the massive 9A/9B unit. The penthouse is inside a 1911 building that had been converted to 24 loft units in 2003. The Tribeca building has also been home to the likes of actor Jeremy Piven and former NY Mets catcher Mike Piazza.

Cumming Sells Small Abode Way Off Broadway

Alan Cumming’s penthouse studio at 7 Lexington Ave across from the Gramercy Park Hotel has sold for $762,500. “The Good Wife” and “Cabaret” star quietly owns two other properties in Manhattan, so the renovated alcove studio was ready for its final curtain. Cumming bought the property in 2011 for $580,000, but has since found a new home in the East Village.

Celebrity Real Estate: Taylor Swift, Tom Cruise, Jeff Gordon


By Laura Vecsey

Taylor Swift Shaking It Off In High Style

While native New Yorkers may have their feathers in a flap over Taylor Swift’s Big Apple invasion, you have to hand it to the savvy songstress. When she buys real estate, whether in Nashville, Beverly Hills or Rhode Island, she’s goes big and calls it home.

Swift recently purchased a Tribeca penthouse from “Lord of the Rings” movie maestro Peter Jackson. Rolling Stone made a stop at the apartment recently, now that Swift is promoting her new album, “1989,” and has been a fixture on all sorts of magazine covers and the occasional New York Knicks’ games.

Swift’s NYC digs cost her $19.95 million and leaves her no shortage of room to hang with buddies like Ed Sheeran. There are 7 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and a cool warehouse-loft feel with exposed brick and overhead beams. And given Swift’s fastidious call for security, she is said to have purchased a smaller, 3-bedroom unit across the hall for her staff.

Tom Cruise, Jeff Gordon Selling Big Colorado Estates

The Tom half of TomKat is looking to unload his Telluride estate. The price is $59 million for the cedar and stone estate that the Hollywood star designed and built back in 1994.

With no wife these days, his two older children grown and daughter Suri with Katie Holmes most of the time, Cruise has little need or time for the Colorado spread.

The estate includes 298 acres of national forest land and the nearly 10,000-square-foot main residence has 4 bedrooms and 6 full bathrooms. There’s also a 1,600-square-foot guesthouse with 3 bedrooms and 3 full baths.

Meanwhile, another pretty-faced thrill-seeking star is looking to unload his Colorado ranch. NASCAR king Jeff Gordon has dropped the price of his 1,930-acre ranch in Missouri Heights, north of Aspen.

Gordon originally listed for $12.5 million in May 2013 and knocked down to $10.95 million last October. The eternally verdant land is now priced at $10.5 million. In addition to killer alpine views, one major draw of Gordon’s ranch is its ample water rights and no conservation restrictions.


Celebrity Real Estate: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Bruce Willis


By Laura Vecsey

Celebrities Picking Up Bedford, NY Properties

Now here’s a threesome: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas and Bruce Willis.

Well, not completely together, but in the same tony area of Bedford, New York.

After reconciling, Zeta-Jones and Douglas have sold one Bedford area home and bought another for $11.25 million – perhaps a way for the Oscar winners to make a fresh start in a bigger, better Colonial in Westchester County, about an hour north of New York City.

How hot is Bedford? Hot enough to attract yet another Hollywood star.

Willis has purchased a hilltop property overlooking the bucolic Croton Reservoir for $12 million. The estate has 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, a pool and heated cabana. He also purchased adjoining properties that include an additional 8 acres and 2 guest cottages.

The spread gives Willis an option for when he and his family need a break from the sumptuous Central Park West apartment he bought from U2 bassist Adam Clayton.

Willis has long been a fan of country living. In fact, he owned tons of property in Hailey, ID dating back to when he was married to Demi Moore. But his new place still gives Willis room to roam: 22.32 acres on one of the highest points in Bedford.

As for Zeta-Jones and Douglas: Their new digs come in the form of a 19th-century estate that spans 15,458 square feet and includes 8 bedrooms, 13.5 baths, equestrian facilities, gardens, greenhouse, tennis court and pool.

Other famous residents of Bedford include Bill and Hillary Clinton and Ryan Renyolds and Blake Lively.

Celebrity Real Estate: LeBron James, Elvis, Lady Gaga, Ted Turner


By Laura Vecsey

LeBron’s Miami Vice House For Sale

He’s definitely hot now that he’s back home in Cleveland, so what good would a luxury home in Miami do anymore for LeBron James?

Not a lot, which is why the NBA great’s waterfront home has hit the market for $17 million. That’s well over the $9 million LeBron paid back in 2010, but hey, maybe the aura of those four NBA Finals appearances gives the place added value. The home has also been finished to the hilt and staged for maximum exposure.

The concrete concoction is being hailed as the “most opulent estate in Miami” and sprawls over 12,000 square feet. There’s a huge kitchen, wine cellar, movie theater and private sun deck on the roof accessible from the master bedroom. And, this being Miami, there’s a concrete dock with ample room for not one but two 60-foot yachts.

Graceland West Hits The Real Estate Jungle

The Palm Springs residence of Elvis Presley that was dubbed “Graceland West” is heading for auction. Any offer the owner receives in the next 10 days will become the starting bid, said listing agent Jeff Egan of Keller Williams Realty.

The house, currently priced by the lender at $2.59 million, measures 5,040 square feet with 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, a wet bar, sauna and steam room. Many of the fixtures, decor and appliances are original.

Presley bought the home in 1970 because Palm Springs had always been a quiet place for him to escape, especially during the late summer and early fall. By ’73, after the divorce from wife Priscilla, Presley began partying with his large entourage at the property, making use of a large hot tub and 2,000-square-foot wing.

After Presley’s death in 1977, the home was sold to crooner Frankie Valli. Despite attempts to capitalize on Elvis’s legacy, the home, which has had several owners since his passing, fell into foreclosure two years ago.

Reportedly, She Went Gaga In Malibu

She may be a native New York City girl who kicked it up in Brooklyn, but this time, Lady Gaga has looked west, where she reportedly bought her first California home for $22.5 million.

And in true Mama Monster spirit, Gaga went big: The $24.95 million home sits on six acres across from Malibu’s prime Zuma Beach.

When Gaga isn’t living for the applause on the beach, she can turn to her new 800-bottle wine cellar, a home theater and the bonus: A 1960s era bowling alley.

Ted Turner Lists His S.C. Coastal Island

For the man who’s the second largest private landowner in all of North America with over 2 million acres to his name, what’s the big deal about listing for sale a coastal Carolina vacation spot of a “mere” 4,680 acres?

Well, even for Ted Turner, the CNN founder-turned-philanthropist, environmentalist and land baron, the listing of his pristine St. Philips Island comes with a few pangs.

For the past 35 years, Turner and his family and friends created a lot of nice memories on the white sand beaches, marshland and hills of this pristine oasis. But with less opportunity to get to the place – accessible only by boat near Beaufort and Hilton Head – the island is for sale for $23.777 million.

In addition to beaches, ponds, marshes and more than 1,000 acres of uplands, the property includes a 5-bedroom main house that Turner had built after he bought the place in 1979, plus a caretaker’s house. The island has its own water and power supply, complete with generator.

Despite a conservancy easement from The Nature Conservancy that restricts use of the land, there is a provision that allows for 10 additional dwellings.

Remodeling Your Home: What Buyers Want


By Sally Slack

Thinking about remodeling your home? Make your move carefully and think with a potential buyer in mind. Some upgrades might be exactly what you want but might be a complete turnoff to a buyer when it comes time to sell.

“Some people say updating a bathroom or kitchen can instantly add a certain amount of value to a home,” says Chris Vinci, broker at da Vinci Realty. “The truth is that it only adds value if it enhances the beauty and function of the home.”

Traditional remodels are being upended, adds Vinci. Instead, high-return on investment (ROI) projects such as an entry door replacement with a steel door top the list on Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value report.

Second on the list is the addition of a wood deck. Garage door replacement, attic bedrooms, minor kitchen remodels, wood window replacement and vinyl siding are all appealing to prospective home buyers.

“Details will catch a buyer’s eye,” says Vinci.

A new item on the high-ROI project list is a back-up power generator. It shouldn’t be unexpected, however, as workers rely more heavily on home offices. There’s nothing worse than being expected at meetings and being unable to connect.

Vinci offers another piece of advice to would-be remodelers. Before making a decision on style, review the range of home design styles.

“The style of updates should be based on whether you’re remodeling for your enjoyment or because you’re selling your home now,” he says. “If it’s the latter, make your choices as neutral as possible. There is nothing worse than a buyer saying, ‘I’m not paying a premium for your updates when I want to change them.’”

Let the competition in your neighborhood guide you a bit as well. If you ever plan to sell, you’ll want the home to attract the most potential buyers. Look at homes on the market as well as recently sold homes before making major updates.

Combine that with the high-ROI projects you can manage and price your home accordingly to make it stand out. Remodeling can be fun. If you can do remodel with a buyer’s eye toward your own home, you’ll come out ahead – with updates both you and a future buyer both love.

Mortgage Rates Plunge to Lowest Level in 16 Months


Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages fell this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 3.81 percent, down from 3.96 percent at this same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate dropped Wednesday, then hovered around 3.88 percent for most of the week before falling to the current rate.

“Rates dropped to the lowest level since June 2013 on news that the Federal Reserve has more reservations about the health of the U.S. and global economy than expected, which in turn, may delay rate hikes,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “With little economic news planned to overshadow the Fed’s latest comments, this week we expect rates to fairly remain stable, hovering just shy of 4 percent.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 2.96 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.70 percent.

Celebrity Real Estate: Jake Gyllenhaal, Kelly Ripa, Michelle Williams


By Laura Vecsey


Broadway Bound, Gyllenhaal Lists in L.A.

With a new gig in New York, it looks like Jake Gyllenhaal won’t need his mid-century modern in Los Angeles. The 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom Hollywood Hills home has hit the market for $3.5 million.

The home’s great room offers views of the city — “sensational panoramic views,” according to the listing — and the outdoor space includes a patio, private yard and pool. It’s nestled on almost two acres.

While Gyllenhaal has several movie winners under his belt, his next project is a Broadway production, Constellations, in which he’ll co-star with Ruth Wilson.

Kelly Ripa Is No Longer Pent Up

Talk show host Kelly Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos, have parted with their swanky New York penthouse for $20 million.

The 5-bedroom SoHo apartment had been listed for as much as $24.5 million, but the couple settled on a pretty decent deal for the 6,792-square-foot residence that was all about high ceilings, a huge gourmet kitchen, two dining rooms and a big master suite.

In addition to a media room and 3,000-square-foot deck, the home included an indoor gym for the eternally fit and perky Ripa.


Michelle Williams' Brooklyn Home for Sale

She was an early adopter of the Boerum Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn back in 2005. And it was there on Smith Street that actress Michelle Williams stayed after the tragic death of her then-boyfriend Heath Ledger in 2008.

Now the “My Week with Marilyn” star is ready to sell the corner home, which is listed for $7.5 million. The 4-story home is 22 feet wide and has a 3-car garage and a rooftop garden with a waterfall. It contains 6 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a 1,000-square-foot parlor.


Mayoral Rental

Who needs Brooklyn when you’ve got the Upper East Side and a swell home called Gracie Mansion?

Not the new mayor of New York City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has listed his Brooklyn home for rent, now that he and his family have moved into the famed mayoral residence along the East River. The mayor’s 4-bedroom, 1-bath home was the kind of working man’s abode that fit de Blasio’s populist image during last year’s mayoral campaign. But now it’s for rent for $4,975 a month, according to StreetEasy.

Who Will Buy Homes in 2018?


By S.E. Slack

There are many predictions about whether the housing market will still be on the rise in the coming years. Time will bear out the truth of those predictions. A new question to ask is, “Who will be buying the homes that are available in 2018?”

The economy still not bouncing high enough for many people to consider a home purchase. Real estate firm Zillow states that low mortgage rates are keeping homes within reach of some consumers across most of the country for now, but affordability is fast becoming an issue within a number of markets.

“As of the first quarter of 2014 – the most recent data available at the time the third-quarter survey was fielded – the national homeownership rate was 64.8 percent,” says Meredith Miller, research analyst at Zillow.

Miller spoke with a number of housing experts, many of whom believe that homeownership levels will definitely drop below current levels by at least a percent or two. If so, the nation is hovering dangerously close to its lowest homeownership point on record, which was recorded in 1965 – 62.9 percent.

The affordability issue is significant to the problem. The typical age of first-time homebuyers is expected to rise in coming years as millennials enter their prime home-buying years. In 2013, the typical first-time homebuyer was 31. As the age of first-time homebuyers rises into the mid-30s, experts expect the homeownership rate to drop.

At the same time, more than 100 housing experts and economists expect home prices to end 2014 up 4.6 percent year-over-year, on average, and almost 20 percent cumulatively through 2018.

A byproduct of lower homeownership rates, of course, is higher rental rates. In currently affordable rental markets, such as Salt Lake City – one of the nation’s industrial banking centers – rentals are $959 per month. Pittsburgh rates are not too much higher at $1,195. Comparatively, the median rent price in Chicago is $1,700 each month.

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Landlords Make More Money in These Five Cities


By S.E. Slack

Few homeowners hold the bonus of hanging onto a home when moving. Equity amassed in the home is often necessary to fund a down payment on the next residence. Some homeowners, however, are benefiting by renting out their homes. They hope to cash in on the big bucks with an eventual sale in a stronger market.

As the homeownership rate has declined, more individuals are looking for homes for rent. Real estate firm Zillow found that among young adults age 25-35, only about one-third rented in 1980 compared to about half in 2013.

Zillow's recent study revealed that homeowners in five markets have the best shot at making a profit when renting out their home after living in it for a period of time. The firm ran several simulations to determine where landlords can make the most money.

Homeowners in Oklahoma City, Miami, Tulsa, Cincinnati and Denver earn the largest monthly dollar profits from rental income. That means their rental income is sufficient to cover their full mortgage payment after accounting for maintenance, taxes and vacancies. These cities are the best for short-term financial gain.

In Oklahoma City, where homeowners can make a $536 profit through renting, the median rent price is $855 per month. Further south in Miami, the second best place to own a rental property, homeowners can net around $515 in profit monthly. The median rent price in Miami is $2,250.

Tulsa, Okla., took third place for short-term gain. Homeowners in that city can pocket $396 each month. The median rent price in Tulsa is $887.

Number four on the list, Cincinnati, has happy homeowner/landlords, too. They see an average profit of $385 every month in a city where rents average $775 each month.

Denver rounds out the top five best places for homeowners to rent out their homes. Those landlords can squirrel away about $355 each month. The median rent price in Denver is $1,599.

Although Pittsburgh did not make the top 5 list, Zillow estimates that the city’s landlords can expect to make a short-term monthly profit of $110 and a long-term monthly profit from both rent and equity of $1,094. The median rent in Pittsburgh is currently $1,195.

The worst places in the nation to rent out your home are all located in the West: San Jose (-$1,211), San Francisco (-$789), Los Angeles (-$544), Honolulu (-$379) and Sacramento (-$350). Locales such as Detroit (+$169), Kansas City (+$62) and Las Vegas (-$20) are examples of the moderate sections in the market.

Celebrity Real Estate: Beyonce, Jay Z, Daryl Hannah


By Laura Vecsey

Los Angeles Rental Fit for King & Queen

Well, so what if the monthly rent was $200,000? The Los Angeles-area home that rapper Jay Z and his fierce wife Beyonce camped out in this summer was the picture of modern luxury.

Now that the touring twosome is onto Paris, the 16,000-square-foot spread they temporarily called home is on the market for $45 million in the exclusive Holmby Hills area of Tinseltown.

The big stars no doubt appreciated the European flair, including the 20-foot ceilings in the grand entryway, plus the 7 bedrooms, 8.5 bathrooms, the tennis court and pool.

Daryl Hannah Ready to Sell Malibu Retreat

It’s not exactly built for a mermaid, but Daryl Hannah’s Malibu retreat is quite unique. Now the “Splash” star and long-time environmental activist is selling her sustainable retreat for $4.25 million.

The listing isn’t on the MLS. The Los Angeles real estate group, The Agency, is quietly shopping the 17-acre estate.

The new attempt to sell the oasis comes as rumors of a romance between Hannah and rock master Neil Young.

While Hannah, 53, and Young, 68, hit the road to save the planet on various causes, her California beach escape may attract a buyer who appreciates the property’s unique indoor/outdoor/naturalist features.

The compound contains three buildings: a house with an art studio; a standalone master suite with a Japanese-style soaking tub and a fireplace; and a guest room with a loft and views of the ocean. There’s also plenty of stained glass, a stone cottage and several gardens.

She Built Her Case, Now Nancy Grace Is Selling

After 18 years and a steady parade of contractors, legal commentator and host Nancy Grace is parting with her Atlanta residence. The home is pending sale at $1.599 million.

Grace bought the home in 1996 for $407,500, but has cycled through almost as many remodels as CNN has broadcast criminal trials.

Baseball Star Pitches AZ Estate Onto Market

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum has listed his Arizona mansion for sale for $4 million. But, for anyone who thinks the 30-year-old Seattle native’s desert retreat might reflect his “The Freak” nickname, forget it.

The 4-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom contemporary at 4793 E Charles Dr in Paradise Valley is a very mature and serene abode, even with its indoor basketball court with a retractable batting cage and theater room with an adjoining bar.

The 11,000-square-foot home is slick and tricked out with wood built-ins, limestone flooring, a granite-packed kitchen and sweeping views of the desert. Outdoors, there’s a pool with two waterfalls, a whirlpool spa and sundeck, plus a built-in grilling station.

Celebrity Real Estate: Sarah Jessica Parker, Adam Levine, Randy Johnson


By Laura Vecsey

Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick Relist Home

They have been proud “Village People,” but Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick are still looking for an exit plan.

Newly relisted at $22 million, the couple’s 25-foot-wide, 6,800-square foot Greenwich Village townhouse was first on the market in 2012 – one year after they purchased the place for $18.995 million.

(Real Estate) Moves Like Jagger

Newlyweds Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo are getting down to consolidating their holdings. First up: Selling Prinsloo’s East Village duplex for $1.65 million.

The decision to sell the 1-bedroom apartment comes as the Maroon 5 front man and the Victoria’s Secret model complete the purchase of a 2,700-square-foot loft in SoHo, which is reported to be under contract for $4.55 million.

The 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment is in an historic cast-iron building awash in sleek glass and steel – a smooth move for the hot couple.

'The Big Unit' Selling Huge Arizona Home

Future Baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson is looking to downsize in the desert. The former Mariners and Diamondbacks ace is listing his 25,000-square-foot estate for $25 million in Paradise Valley.

Situated on a 5-acre parcel, the main residence features 24-foot ceilings, 7 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms – including a secluded master retreat with his-and-hers oversized vanities.

There’s also a detached guesthouse; 1,700-square-foot fitness facility; a temperature-controlled wine cellar; an oversized 8-car motor court, billiards parlor and a dedicated “pet suite.”

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Rise Above 4%


Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages rose this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 4.05 percent, up from 3.96 percent at this same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate gradually increased last week, peaking at 4.19 percent on Saturday before coming down to the current rate.

“Rates rose steadily last week despite the lackluster jobs report released on Friday,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “This week, with little domestic economic news slated for release, we expect international news to determine whether rates will keep rising, or fall back below 4 percent.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 3.11 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.88 percent.

Purchase Mortgage Application Activity

Zillow predicts tomorrow’s seasonally adjusted Mortgage Bankers Association Weekly Application Index will show purchase loan activity increased by 4 percent from the week prior. To learn more about this Zillow analysis, click here.

Celebrity Real Estate: Reese Witherspoon, John Denver, J.D. Salinger


By Laura Vecsey

Tennessee Calls Reese Witherspoon Home

Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon has a new project: Renovating a historic mansion she bought last month in her hometown of Nashville, Tenn.

The stately white home sits at the end of a long driveway on a 6.5-acre flat lot in the upscale Oak Hill area. Witherspoon paid $1.95 million for the 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath property.

The 3,855-square-foot abode has an elegant staircase, three fireplaces and a paneled library, but needs major renovations. The nice part? Witherspoon will be near her parent’s home when she undertakes the project.

Witherspoon put her Los Angeles-area estate on the market earlier this year for $10.5 million, according to Variety.

Rocky Mountain High Retreat For Sale

The man whose ode to Colorado made a huge splash in the airwaves back in the 1970s continues to be a legend in the Rocky Mountain state. Now John Denver’s Aspen estate is for sale for $10.75 million.

The blond-haired singer, who sported wire-rimmed granny glasses, released his song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” in 1971. He built a unique estate the next year. He entertained there and attracted so many fans that his neighbors asked him to build a gatehouse to keep down the commotion.

The estate was sold to its new owners after Denver’s death in 1997, and while they have made some adjustments, the home still maintains the timeless and peaceful features that made it his Rocky Mountain oasis. There are four indoor fireplaces, an outdoor fireplace and decks looking over magnificent Rocky Mountain views. The singer had a recording studio in the guesthouse on the property.


Secluded Literary Masterpiece For Sale

J.D. Salinger was one of the most notoriously reclusive writers in America. Now, four years after his death, the writer’s former New Hampshire home is for sale.

Situated on 12 acres at 342 Lang Road in Cornish, the home of the “The Cather in the Rye” author is 2,900 square feet and listed for $679,000. There are 4 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and a separate apartment over the garage. There are gardens and many private trails.

Salinger moved to Cornish in 1953 and eventually died in the town, though not at this address.

PNC Park a Hit for Vegetarian Residents


By Paul Tooher

While the Pirates may be struggling at the moment on the field, the team’s hit a home run with its vegetarian fans.

That’s because PNC Park has been named as one of the 10 most vegetarian-friendly ballparks in the major leagues for 2014 by animal-rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

To compile its rankings, PETA states it assessed the vegan and vegetarian options at every major league stadium across the United States and Canada.

PETA ranked PNC Park third, finding that in addition to the more traditional ballpark offerings, fans could chow down on “veggie burgers, fish-free sushi, seaweed salad, vegan coleslaw and Sloppy Janes.”

According to VeggieHappy, vegetarian foods available at general concession stands include veggie burgers, fruit cups, veggie wraps, veggie hoagies, chopped salads, soup of the day, various pizzas, french fries, onion rings, nachos (can be ordered vegan with just salsa), egg rolls, cole slaw, veggie roll (sushi), vegetable fried rice, udon noodles, edamame and seaweed salad, various salads, sweet potato fries and pickles.

And of course, there’s always peanuts and Cracker Jack available for the traditionalist.

It’s not surprising that the park ranks high for its food offerings. The 42,180-seat facility, which opened in 2000, was ranked as the best in major league baseball by ESPN.

AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, was rated as the most vegetarian-friendly ballpark, based on offerings that include field roast frankfurters, portobello sandwiches, made-to-order vegetable tacos and burritos, hummus, and rice, bean and vegetable bowls with pineapple salsa.

Citizens Bank Park, where the Philadelphia Phillies play, ranked second with menu items that included faux-chicken patties, black-bean burgers and broccoli rabe, seasoned with garlic, lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil.

For those looking for another home in a city that has vegetarian-friendly ballparks, consider others in the top 10 including Citi Field, home of the New York Mets; National Park in Washington, D.C.; Coors Field in Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies; the Seattle Mariners’ Safeco Field; Fenway Park, the 102-year-old home of the Boston Red Sox; and Turner Field, home park of the Atlanta Braves.

Despite an extensive selection of vegetarian offerings, Comerica Park in Detroit, known as the Motor City, failed to make the top 10.

Pittsburgh Among Most Pet-Friendly Cities


By Paul Tooher

Pittsburgh is one of the best cities in the nation for pets.

That’s according to WalletHub, a financial news website, that ranked the Steel City 13th out of the 100 largest cities in the nation it reviewed.

To create its ranking, WalletHub states it used 14 different metrics including veterinary care costs, the number of pet-friendly restaurants per capita and the number of dog parks per capita in each city.

The city ranked 34th when it comes to the cost of keeping a pet and 33rd in health and wellness categories. But the city ranked 16th when it comes to dog parks per capita and pet friendly trails.

According to American Veterinary Medical Association, 36.5 percent of Americans households had a dog while 30.4 percent were cat owners in 2012, the most recent figures available. There were nearly than 70 million dogs in the United States and more than 74 million cats, according to the website.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular breed of dog in America.

And, according to the American Pets Products Association, Americans spent nearly $56 billion on their pets in 2013, including $21.57 billion on food, $13.14 billion on supplies and over-the-counter medicines, $14.37 billion on veterinary care and $4.41 billion on boarding and grooming.

According to WalletHub, Milwaukee had the lowest veterinary costs while Boston had the highest. Cincinnati had the greatest number of veterinarians per capita while Newark, N.J., had the fewest.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, six to eight million cats and dogs enter the nation’s 3,500 animal shelters each year. While three to four million of those animals are adopted each year, another 2.7 million are euthanized.

Considering a move to another city in the nation that’s friendly to pets? Cincinnati was ranked as the most friendly, followed by Las Vegas; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Irvine, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif.; Atlanta; Tampa, Fla.; St. Louis; Orlando, Fla.; and Glendale, Ariz.

Pittsburgh Among Top Housing Markets for Gains


Pittsburgh is among seven of the top 35 U.S. metro areas noted for its rise in home values over the past year.

According to Zillow, the online real estate marketplace, the Steel City joins San Jose, Austin, Dallas, Denver, San Antonio and Houston in housing markets where values are above their pre-recession peaks or will exceed them in the next year.

This is in addition to many cities (versus the larger metropolitan regions), like San Francisco, Washington and Boston that have also surpassed their pre-recession peaks.

Pittsburgh city homes have a median value of $86,000; up 11 percent over the past year with an additional 2.8 percent increase in the coming year.

Within the extended metro Pittsburgh area, Squirrel Hill North has seen a 7.5 percent increase over the past year, with a median home value of $431,000. Shaler Township is up 4.8 percent; McCandless is up 5.1 percent. Home values in the Oakland neighborhood are up a whopping 20.5 percent this year.

In the 508 metro markets covered by the Zillow’s Real Estate Market Reports, 301 markets showed quarterly home value appreciation. Sixteen metros remained flat, while 191 metros show home values losses. Approximately 82 percent of the metros covered by Zillow posted annual increase in home values.

Among the largest metros, Riverside, Calif., showed the largest annual increase with home values rising 23.3 percent from the first quarter of 2013 to the first quarter of 2014. Riverside was one of the metros hardest hit during the housing recession and home values are still down 34.9 percent from their June 2006 peak, despite the recent extreme increases in home values.

Zillow reports that overall, national home values are back to December 2004 levels, down 13.5 percent since their peak in May 2007.



Celebrity Real Estate: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger, Heidi Klum


By Laura Vecsey

A Sign of Better Times for Zeta-Jones & Michael Douglas?

Parting ways with the past might be quite profitable for Catherine Zeta-Jones. The Welsh-born actress has listed the Bedford, NY home where she lived during her separation from Michael Douglas.

The $8.1 million brick colonial is for sale and the couple is reportedly back together.

The couple rented the 6-bedroom, 6-bath brick colonial at 541 Guard Hill Rd for about six months before buying it for $5.075 million in 2010. According to the listing, the home was recently renovated. There is a new guesthouse and a master suite with huge closets and a dressing room.

Zellweger Lists Her Connecticut Yankee Retreat

It completed her – for a little while. Now Renee Zellweger is ready to give the ultimate cold shoulder to the 1770s Connecticut country home.

Listed for $1.6 million, the historic rural retreat is set on 38 acres and overlooks the Quinebaug River in rural Pomfret Center.

There’s no roughing it in this luxurious updated farmhouse, which was re-done in 2004 and sprawls 3,463 square feet. There’s a chef’s kitchen, beamed ceilings, a family room and a swimming pool. There are also 7 fireplaces – plenty enough mantel space to hold the actress’s Oscar for her Best Supporting Actress award for “Cold Mountain.”

Klum Closes the Deal

“Project Runway” host Heidi Klum has sold her 8.5-acre property in Brentwood Estates for $24 million. Klum had bought the place in 2010 with her ex-husband, Seal, and had the place completely done over. The Mediterranean-style villa has 8 bedrooms, 10 baths and spans 12,300 square feet.

Klum bought it for $14.2 million but pumped a lot of cash into the remodel, restoring doors, windows and thresholds, designing her dream closets and adding home technology and security. She also added a master bathroom with a view of the Pacific.

The home has a motor court with a fountain, an infinity-edge pool and spa, a koi pond, a formal rose garden, a rolling lawn for golf putting and driving, a children’s playhouse and slide and “secret gardens.” And that’s just the outside.

Celebrity Real Estate: Idina Menzel, Taye Diggs, Leona Helmsley


By Laura Vecsey

Unfreezing Their Assets, Diggs & Menzel Selling in L.A.

With their impending divorce after 10 years of marriage, Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel are looking to unload their 5,000-square-foot Studio City home, listing the 3121 Oakdell Ln property for $2.995 million. The former couple bought the sleek, traditional 6-bedroom, 5-bathroom in 2010 for $2.09 million.

Menzel has had a huge year thanks to the movie “Frozen.” She voiced Elsa in animated film, and its signature song, “Let It Go,” was nominated for an Oscar.

Diggs is a stage, movie and TV actor best known for his roles in films such as “Rent” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” and the TV series “Private Practice.” He and Menzel met while filming “Rent” in the 1990s.

Leona Helmsley Estate Back on the Market

After a very “taxing” history, the Greenwich, CT summer home where hotelier Leona Helmsley died in 2007 is back on the market. The new list price from the owners who bought the Helmsley estate: $65 million.

It is a house with a story – a juicy tabloid kind of story.

The completely-renovated mansion was at the center of the tax evasion scheme that landed Helmsley in jail in the 1990s, leading Helmsley to be infamously dubbed the “Queen of Mean” and quoted as saying that “only the little people pay taxes.”

The 17,493-square-foot brick estate sits on 40 acres on Round Road, one of the most famous parts of Greenwich. Among the luxuries they added to the home: a marble dance floor above the swimming pool, a $45,000 silver clock and $500,000 worth of jade art objects, according to The New York Times.

Helmsley’s estate was originally listed for $123 million, but several price cuts led to its eventual sale to the current owners, for $35 million. The 1918 estate was soon re-listed at $42.9 million, and taken off the market for the massive remodel.

Mortgage Rate Rises Slightly


Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages rose this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 4.08 percent, up from 4.03 percent at this same time last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered around 4.10 percent for the majority of the week, peaking at 4.17 percent on Thursday before easing back down to the current rate today.

“Mortgage rates were subdued last week as ongoing geopolitical concerns and economic softness in Europe encouraged investors to buy U.S. mortgage-backed securities as a safe haven,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “This week, we expect international headlines, rather than U.S. economic data, to drive any meaningful changes to mortgage rates.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 3.12 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.77 percent.

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