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Celebrity Real Estate: Puff Daddy, Playboy Mansion, Rebel Wilson

By Laura Vecsey …

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More Adults Living With Roommates as Rents Soar

By Natalie Wise

Zillow research shows that rent as a percentage of the national median income is reaching an all-time high. It’s no surprise, then, that more American households are doubling up. That is, more and more working adults are sharing their living spaces with at least one other adult who is not their spouse or partner.

Nationally, one can expect to spend nearly 30 percent of the national median income (which is $53,216) on rent, an all-time high that is putting the squeeze on more and more households. Instead of moving to a smaller home or trading a longer commute for less-expensive housing, more and more adults are taking on roommates.

In 2006, only 27.4 percent of adults were sharing their living spaces. In 2010, the number climbed to 30.8 percent, and it keeps rising. In 2012, a full 32 percent of adults were sharing their homes with roommates. The trend is nationwide, but particularly prevalent in major metros and areas where rents are substantially higher.

In San Francisco, for example, rent was only 25 percent of income in 2000. By 2012, it was up to 40 percent of income. Interestingly, households that were sharing rent rose from 24 percent to 39 percent during the same time.

San Francisco isn’t even the city with the highest concentration of doubled-up households. In Los Angeles, nearly 50 percent (47.9 percent) of adults live with roommates. In Miami, 44.5 percent of adults live with others who help pay the bills. New York City sees 42.5 percent of adults have roommates, and in San Diego, it’s 39.7 percent.

In the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area, 32 percent of adults live with roommates, with an estimated 30 percent of income going toward rent. The median rent is $1305 a month, rising from $1263 a year ago.

With rents continuing to increase and incomes staying stagnant, it’s no surprise that more and more adults, particularly in large metros, are seeking roommates to maintain their lifestyles.

Doubled-Up for Dollars
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How Much Do You Need to Make to Afford Rent?

By Natalie Wise

Can your job support your housing? Zillow has the numbers for average hourly rates needed to afford the median rent in cities across the country, so get ready for some sticker shock. These U.S. cities require much more than minimum wage to make the monthly rent payment.

If you’re into skiing, the best place for living cheaply is Sandpoint, Idaho. At $22 an hour needed to pay rent, you’ll have a bit more cash for the slopes than in other places. Jackson, Wyoming, South Lake Tahoe, California, and Bend, Oregon, can all be enjoyed in a cozy apartment with $30-an-hour jobs.

If a big city is more to your liking, there actually are a few inexpensive options. In Las Vegas and Philadelphia, some of the cheapest on the list, a $24-an-hour job will cover rent. Dallas requires $25 an hour, while Chicago is still relatively inexpensive at $34 an hour. One might think New York requires the highest hourly wage, but it’s in the middle at $44 an hour, while Boston requires $50 an hour and San Francisco a hefty $79 an hour.

Anything near San Francisco and Silicon Valley will cost a pretty penny. To live in Cupertino, you’ll need a job that pays $86 an hour, and for Menlo Park, $103 an hour. The most expensive city in California, though, was Atherton, where you’ll need a job that pays $193 an hour to pay rent.

But the highest price tag of them all is in Florida – Fisher Island, to be exact – where the average rental requires a job that pays a whopping $234 an hour.

Fortunately, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area isn’t quite so expensive. If you calculate how much it takes to cover the rent, renters will need to earn at least $25 an hour. In February, the most recent month that information was available, the median rent was $1,305 a month.

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Want Waterfront Property? Be Prepared to Pay a Premium

By Natalie Wise …

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Home Values Expected to Rise in Tampa Bay Area

By Christina Sturgis

Home values in the Tampa metropolitan area are expected to rise 2.4 percent from the current median value of $163,000 over the coming year, according to Zillow, just beating the nationwide forecast of an increase of 2.3 percent from a median value of $184,600. That’s based on data through the end of February, the most recent month for which information was available.

Florida real estate was hit extremely hard by the Great Recession, which was followed by a crisis in foreclosures and negative equity, the term for mortgage balances that exceed the current value of the home. Zillow currently puts the Tampa metro negative equity rate at 14.7 percent, higher than the nationwide percentage of 13.1 percent.

Year over year since February 2015, there has been healthy appreciation in the Tampa metropolitan area.
-13 percent in St. Petersburg
-11.7 percent in Tampa
-9.4 percent in Clearwater
-9 percent in Spring Hill
-4.7 percent in New Port Richey

The homebuyer market also affects the rental market because people who lose their homes through foreclosure or are unable to qualify for a mortgage add to the demand for rental housing, forcing prices upward. …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Salma Hayek, Beyonce, Kylie Jenner

By Laura Vecsey …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Alan Cumming and Colin Powell

By Laura Vecsey

Alan Cumming Lists in NYC

With renovations on the 1899 East Village townhouse he and his husband bought a few years back, actor Alan Cumming is ready to sell the couple’s East Village apartment. “The Good Wife” actor and Grant Shaffer are seeking 2.2 million for the 4-bedroom apartment that overlooks Tompkins Square Park. The couple is set to move into their townhouse complete with garden in a matter of weeks.

Cumming previously owned a posh penthouse across from the historic Gramercy Park Hotel. The renovated studio featured hardwood floors and a designer bathroom.

Fit For a Four-Star General

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and his wife, Alma, have listed their New York City apartment for sale for $2.8 million. The New York native's 3-bedroom co-op is on the Upper West Side and has just undergone a pretty thorough renovation, rendering the 1,566-square-foot unit pretty bright and spiffy with a new kitchen. The Powells have a home in McLean, VA.

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Investor Fears Lead to Drop in Mortgage Rates

Current mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages decreased this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow at 3.41 percent, down 3 basis points from last week.

The 30-year fixed mortgage mortgage fell throughout the week, dipping below 3.40 percent before rising to the current rate.

“Mortgage rates fell for the second week in a row and are now back near three-year lows due to the combination of investor fears after weak European financial sector earnings and a relatively weak jobs report last Friday,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “Several Fed speeches are likely to drive rates this week, although markets will also keep an eye on oil markets.”

Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate was 2.66 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.67 percent.


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Celebrity Real Estate: Jonah Hill and Mickey Drexler

By Laura Vecsey

Jonah Hill: The Wolf of Bleecker Street

Last fall, Jonah Hill went into accelerated “sell” mode on his SoHo apartment, dropping the price from $3.75 million all the way down to $3 million to close the deal. Now we know why. It turns out that the actor/comedian had found a way better Big Apple crash pad.

Hill’s new $9.2 million residence is a 3,200-square-foot loft in the newly remodeled Greenwich Village area condo building call The Schumacher. A former printing press, the building is classic old New York, though now the residences are completely modern and decked out in top-notch finishes and amenities. Hill’s unit sports 4 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and views overlooking an arty inner courtyard. For a non-Wolf in New York, living this large is a pretty sure sign of success.

Hill made a bit of a profit with his last real estate endeavor. He previously owned a Hollywood Hills home which he sold in 2015 for $3.65 million – twice what he paid in 2010.

Housing ‘Crew’ Cut for Fashion House Kingpin

J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler is no stranger to big deals and amazing houses. He’s owned and tried to sell at least two others in Manhattan and the Hamptons in the past few years as his clothing company weathers headwinds. Now Drexler is looking for a sale of $29.995 million on his pretty amazing art deco, steampunk home in Tribeca.

The 5-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom loft building spans a pretty surreal 9,000 square feet over five floors – all of it decked out in the most elaborate finishes and decor that puts the residence in a class by itself. The building was a former coffee roasting plant, but you could never tell given this fashionable makeover.

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Celebrity Real Estate: Phil Lesh and Don Cheadle

By Laura Vecsey

Grateful Dead Bassist Selling Home

There’s nothing jam-session casual about the home of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. The 7,900-square-foot Dutch colonial is the model of very upscale suburban sprawl. The world got a look at the 7 bedroom, 6-bathroom abode when Lesh listed the Marin County property for sale for $10.35 million.

The home is located on two acres across the bay from where Lesh joined forces with Jerry Garcia back in the Haight-Ashbury heydey of San Francisco flower power. Lesh has been keeping busy with Terrapin Crossroads, a food and music venue in San Rafael, CA that he started with his wife, Jill, and where Phil Lesh & Friends concerts go down.

Bandmate Jerry Garcia lived in Marin County at the time of his death in 1995. His home, a Mediterranean-style abode, was later put on the market for $3.995 million.


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Celebrity Real Estate: Judy Blume, Jillian Michaels, Marvin Hamlisch

By Laura Vecsey …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Benji Madden, Keith Olbermann, Moby

By Laura Vecsey

Benji Madden Sells Bachelor Pad

Back when he was a bachelor and the frontman for the now defunct band Good Charlotte, Benji Madden went out and bought himself a nice little bungalow in Nichols Canyon in Los Angeles. That was in 2013, before the many-tattooed Madden met and married Cameron Diaz after his brother, Joel Madden, and Nicole Richie introduced the couple.

After moving into Diaz’s Beverly Hills estate, there was no reason for Madden to hang onto the past. So he sold his 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom chill house to Australian drummer Chris Cester for $1.55 million.

Olbermann Takes Parting Shot at Trump

Former MSNBC political commentator Keith Olbermann has left Trump Palace with an attack on the GOP presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump. Olbermann has listed his Trump Palace condo for sale for $3.9 million. So what that he paid $4.2 million for it in 2007?

Olbermann said he feels a lot less “icky” about himself and feels a lot lighter now that he’s out of the Trump property at 200 East 69th Street in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Trump, meanwhile, commented that Olbermann is just trying to get some buzz off the Trump name. Maybe. Maybe not. …

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4 Signs You're Not Ready to Sell Your Home

By Sally Deneen

Selling a home can be emotional and sometimes sellers think they're ready to sell but they're not. That ultimately can hinder finding a buyer or force the seller to lower the sale price since the seller isn't putting their best foot forward, advises real estate agent Brendon DeSimone.

Here are four signs you're not ready to sell:

If you don’t have a new home to move into or a plan for what you'll do once you sell, then it’s not a good time to list your home for sale, DeSimone says.

"Sellers without a real and concrete plan are not serious sellers, but only opportunistic," he said.

Did you interview several agents before signing a listing agreement? If your agent suggested making changes to the home to make it appealing to buyers, did you follow through? If not, you're probably not a serious seller, DeSimone suggests.

"That’s OK; it happens to a lot of people," he points out. Yet, he says going on the market without putting your best foot forward "will result in a lower selling price on your home." …

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May Is Best Time to List a Home in Tampa

By Sally Deneen

The best time to put a home on the market in the Tampa metro area is the first half of May, according to research by Zillow. Local sellers earn an extra $2,000 on the final sales price, on average.

Homes also sell 20 days faster, on average, when listed during this two-week window, the report states.

“The window’s effects are so potent even homes in the most downtrodden markets tend to sell faster than the national average,” Data Scientist Jamie Anderson of Zillow writes in the report.

While tight inventory in many housing markets makes the first half of May the magic listing time nationally — boosting the sales price by $1,700, on average — there are variations. St. Louis's and San Diego's best time for listing is the second half of March, Miami's sweet spot is the second half of April, Denver's window is the second half of May, and the magic time frame for Charlotte, N.C., is early June.

If you thought mid-March was the best time to put a home up for sale, that's understandable. It was the rule of thumb for smart sellers back in 2011 and 2012 as the housing market started to recover from the Great Recession, Anderson notes. …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Britney Spears, John Cusack, Ice-T, Kathleen Turner

By Laura Vecsey

Britney Spears Selling Home in Thousand Oaks

Her lip-syncin’ good show at Planet Hollywood in Vegas has kept Britney Spears in Sin City for the last few years, so it’s little wonder she’s taken some time to part with her Southern California mansion. She has listed the marble-laden estate for $8.995 million.

Located in the Lake Sherwood area of Thousand Oaks with views of the mountains, Spears’ 5-bedroom, 7-bathroom property boasts a Spanish architectural flavor and comes with a backyard fit for kids of all ages. But her children still have plenty of space to play. In October, the pop star and mother of two bought a $7.4 million, 21-acre estate, also in Thousand Oaks.

John Cusack Parting With Malibu Home

Chicago native John Cusack has owned a Malibu beach house since 1999, but the actor is looking for an out – any way he can. His beachfront home is listed both for sale and rent, at a respective $13.5 million or whopping $75,000-per-month.

By waiting a long time to sell, Cusack is sure to make a pretty profit from his California beach community home. The actor paid $2.1 million for the 4,300-square-foot, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath home 17 years ago. …

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