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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.

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Waterfront Property Boasts Huge Premium

By Christina Sturgis

The fact that the supply of land at water’s edge is limited certainly boosts its value, but in the case of Tampa, that boost is turbo-charged. Tampa property “on the water” or within 150 feet of it, sells for more than eight times the median property value of non-waterfront property, according to new research by Zillow.

In a comparison of median sale prices, a non-waterfront property in Tampa goes for $125,300, while the waterfront property goes for a whopping 733 percent as much – $1,043,700. That large premium puts Tampa in fourth place nationwide behind only three cities: Riviera Beach and Sarasota, Fla.; and Gary, Ind. Nationwide, waterfront property is worth about 116 percent more than non-waterfront locations. …

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Tampa Among Best Cities to Rent Out Your Home

By Christina Sturgis

Zillow is forecasting a 3.7 percent increase in Tampa home values over the next year, but the market is currently cool, favoring buyers, not sellers. Record-low mortgage rates are also adding another dimension to the either.

What if you need to relocate, but the time is not right for you to sell? Perhaps you should consider keeping your home as income property.

Homeownership declined during the recession, increasing the proportion of renter households. In the past five years, the share of adults ages 25 to 54 who rent their homes has risen from a two-decade low of 28 percent in 2005 to 36 percent in 2013.

Tampa is No. 7 on Zillow’s list of top 10 markets for short-term gain in renting a home. A Tampa landlord is estimated take in $287 in profit from each monthly rent payment after the cost of ownership is deducted. When you add in the increase in equity, the long-term profit is $1,414 per month.

The other short-term gain markets are Memphis, Indianapolis, Dallas, Rochester, N.Y., Denver, Cincinnati, Tulsa, Okla., and Miami. …

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Tampa a Top Market for Cash Buyers

By Christina Sturgis

Tampa ranks second for the proportion of cash purchases of homes among the 30 largest markets in the nation, Zillow analysts have found.

Placing second after Miami, Zillow found more than 81 percent of homes at the bottom of the Tampa area’s price range being purchased outright. After Tampa, Zillow found high proportions of cash transactions in Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati and Orlando. Jacksonville and Memphis had equal proportions of cash sales, followed by Chicago, Milwaukee, which was tied with Tucson, and Pittsburgh.

There are likely greater challenges for traditional buyers when competing with cash offers for a home in Tampa. But there is good news – the amount of homes purchased with all cash is down from 2013. This should even the playing field for low-income and first-time homebuyers.

One way to secure a stronger position before making an offer is knowing how much you can afford and getting pre-approved for a loan – before shopping for a home. Another way to get an edge might also be to find a local lender. The seller or listing agent might recognize the lender's or bank’s name. …

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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.

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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. …

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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. …

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

By Laura Vecsey …

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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. …

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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.


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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.

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

Lauren Bacall’s Iconic New York Apartment Just Listed …

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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.

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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.

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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. …

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