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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.

Related:

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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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Celebrity Real Estate: Brooke Shields, Shirley Jones, Ashley Benson

By Laura Vecsey …

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Large Cities Where Buying a Home is Too Expensive

By Natalie Wise

Living in a big city with over a million residents is expensive no matter how you look at it, but owning a home in these 10 large cities is even more expensive.

The difference in median income and the average price of a home is considered the home price-to-income ratio, where a low number is better because it means homes are more affordable for the average family.

However, Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine, Calif. has a sky-high ratio of 10.8 percent, making it the top most expensive city. While the average income is $60,583, the average home price is more than 10 times that: $681,640.

Many tech hot spots in California also face high housing costs. The No. 2 city is San Francisco with a ratio of 8.8. Incomes in San Francisco are higher at over $77,000 but home prices remain over $679,000.

San Jose has a home price-to-income ratio of 8.7 with average income nearly at $90,000 but the highest average home price on the list of $780,000.

In San Diego, prices are a lot lower than the previous California cities ($464,280) but the ratio is still at 7.3 there.

No. 5 is New York City-Wayne-White Plains N.Y./N.J., with a ratio of 7.1 and an average home price of $465,700.

Los Angeles’ ratio of 6.0 lands it at No. 6, where the average income is just over $60,000 and an average home sells for $405,580.

A second metropolitan statistical area of New York City that includes Northern New Jersey and Long Island comes in at No. 7 with a ratio of 6.0.

Boston is No. 8 with a 5.2 ratio and average home price of $375,900, still high for the average income of $72,769.

The only Florida city to make the list is Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, at 5.1 for the home price-to-income ratio. While the income there is lower at $48,582, houses average $246,000.

Last on the list is Seattle, where houses average $336,300, a ratio of 5.0 when compared to the median income of $67,437.

In these 10 cities, it may be worth consdering renting rather than purchasing a home, given the high ratios. For those looking into the possibilities, Zillow’s Breakeven Horizon can be a useful tool.

Related:
Suburban Living Heats Up in 2016
The Down Payment Quandary: Trying to Save 20 Percent
When Should Renters Become Buyers?

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Best States for Living According to Residents

By Natalie Wise

When it comes to where to live, the best advice might come from the people who actually live there. Some states get high rankings from their residents, while in other states residents agree it’s a terrible place to live. The No. 1 state where residents are happy is Montana.

Gallup polled residents, asking them to rate their state as a place to live. The responses were categorized by what percentage said the state was the best or one of the best, what percentage said it was the best, and what percentage said it was the worst state to live in.

In the winning state, Montana, an overwhelming 77 percent of residents said their state was the best or one of the best places to live. The state had zero percent of respondents saying it was the worst state.

The No. 2 state, Alaska, also had 77 percent of residents saying it was the best or one of the best places to live. Despite a slightly higher percentage of respondents saying it was the very best, there were also 4 percent of respondents who said it was the worst, landing the state in second place. …

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Report Names States with ‘Least Active’ Residents

By Natalie Wise

Residents of some states exercise more regularly than others to exercise according to Gallup’s Well-Being Index. While residents in Vermont are the most likely to exercise, residents in Delaware are the least likely to get in regular exercise.

States were ranked according to the number of respondents who said they exercise three or more days a week for at least 30 minutes.

In Delaware, only 46.5 percent of residents get regularly weekly exercise. For comparison, the fittest state, Vermont, has 65.3 percent of residents exercising several times a week.

The No. 2 least active state is West Virginia, with only 47.1 percent of residents saying they exercise three or more times weekly.

Alabama residents did slightly better with 47.5 percent of residents saying they exercise throughout the week, placing the city at No. 3.

Residents of New Jersey (No. 4) are not that likely to exercise three or more times a week: 47.7 percent of residents reported they do.

Just over 48 percent of Rhode Island (No. 5) residents exercise for 30 minutes or more several times a week.

The second half of the list are all close in the percentage of their residents that get adequate exercise, but all fall below 50 percent.

The No. 6 state, Tennessee, has 49.2 percent, and New York, at No. 7, was only slightly better with 49.3 percent.

New York tied with Ohio (No. 8), which also had 49.3 percent of its residents exercising regularly. An Ohio city also made a recent list of most obese U.S. cities: Toledo, where 34.2 percent of residents are considered obese.

Indiana (No. 9) was only 0.1 percent better, at 49.4 percent of the population exercising three or more times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes.

The last state on the list, South Carolina, was the best of the worst with 49.7 percent of its residents regularly engaging in exercise. …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Alicia Keys, Kesha, Fred Armisen

By Laura Vecsey

Alicia Keys Scales Real Estate Markets in Arizona and Jersey

Recording artist Alicia Keys and her music-producer husband, Swizz Beatz, have listed their Phoenix-area modern home for $3.85 million. The decision to unload the modern Arizona gem comes just after the couple listed their majestic New Jersey spread for $14.9 million. They bought that Garden State estate in 2013 from Eddie Murphy and then set about a pretty cool makeover in order to display their pretty amazing art collection.

With two little kids, the musically-inclined couple said they aren’t making much use of the 7,881-square-foot view home just north of Phoenix. The new moves in the desert and in Jersey come a few years after Keys and Beatz unloaded a pretty sensational loft in her native New York City.


Kesha Finds Buyer in Nashville

With a high-stakes and increasingly ugly legal battle with Sony Music, pop star Kesha is looking to shed her lovely Nashville oasis. The expansive, 4,800-square-foot home was on the market for $1.449 million and has a pending offer.

It may be tough to say goodbye to the place, which is open and light-filled and backs onto a tree-filled state park. It’s the second home the “Tik Tok” singer has parted with, including her Venice Beach abode which fetched her $1.81 million.


Fred Armisen Lists in L.A.

It wasn’t “Portlandia,” but Fred Armisen’s bungalow in Silver Lake did give the comic actor a leg up in one of Los Angeles’ more indie-chic neighborhoods.

Now Armisen is looking to sell the no-nonsense pad for $949,000. The 1927 Craftsman is a cozy 1,400 square feet and contains 3 bedrooms and a plateaued backyard with a deck. He paid $763,000 for the home in 2014.

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Celebrity Real Estate: Charlie Sheen, Katie Couric, Stockard Channing

By Laura Vecsey …

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