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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.

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

By Laura Vecsey …

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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. …

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Gulf Coast Metro Areas Among Fastest-Growing

By Nora Tooher

Two Gulf Coast metro areas recently made the U.S. Census Bureau’s top 10 list of high-growth communities. Daphne-Fairhope-Foley, Ala., grew 2.6 percent and Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Fla., grew 2.5 percent since the last year.

The nation's fastest-growing metro area between 2012 and 2013 was The Villages, Fla. Its population rose by 5.2 percent over the period. Home values there are about $197,900, according to real estate marketplace Zillow. Values have risen 12.1 percent over the past year and are predicted to rise 8.2 percent within the next year.

Sumter, Fla.; St. Bernard Parish, La.; and Fort Bend, Texas, were also among the 10 fastest-growing counties in the vicinity of the Gulf Coast.

Other fast-growing metros were Odessa and Midland, both in Texas; Fargo and Bismarck, both in North Dakota; Casper, Wyo.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Austin, Texas.

Many older industrial metros in the Northeast are struggling to retain their populations. Rochester, N.Y., for example, once a major manufacturing hub and now a center of higher education and technology, eked out only a 0.1 percent population increase last year. …

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

By Laura Vecsey …

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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.

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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.


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

By Laura Vecsey …

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

By Laura Vecsey …

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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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Celebrity Real Estate: Shirley MacLaine, Megan Fox, Akon

By Laura Vecsey


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Income Inequality May Impact a City’s Affordable Housing

By Natalie Wise

Since the recession, the income gap is widening, especially in large cities. But some, including one Florida city, are more equal than others, according to a review of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Brookings Institution.

The nonprofit public policy organization found that cities with high income equality “may fail to produce housing and neighborhoods accessible to middle-class workers and families, so that those who move up or down the income ladder ultimately have no choice but to move out.”

Brookings applied the 95/20 income ratio to measure income equality. The figure takes the income that would have a family earning more than 95 percent of all households and divides it by the income at which a family would be earning more than only 20 percent of other households. This number is the income ratio. A low number represents high equality and a high number represents inequality.

In the United States, larger cities remain more unequal in income than smaller cities and towns. For 2012 the national average as a whole was 9.1, but in large cities it was 10.8.

Atlanta has the highest gap, with an income ratio of 18.8 percent.

San Francisco, the No. 2 city for income inequality, has a ratio of 16.6 percent. Brookings stated that skyrocketing housing costs may increasingly preclude low-income residents from finding a new home in the area altogether.

Miami is the No. 3 city with the highest inequality and an income ratio of 15.7. Brookings found that although Miami has many poor residents and neighborhoods, the city manages to retain several very wealthy areas.

Boston (No. 4) has an income ratio of 15.3. No. 5, Washington, D.C., has an income ratio of 13.3, followed close by the No. 6 city, New York, with a ratio of 13.2.

Oakland, Calif., is No. 7 with an income ratio of 12.7, with Chicago, Los Angeles and Baltimore with income ratios of 12.5, 12.3, and 12.2, respectively.

Which cities are faring better?

Virginia Beach, Va., leads the top 10 cities with the lowest income inequality, with an income ratio of 6.0 – well below the national average. Arlington, Texas, is No. 2 with an income ratio of 7.3.

Mesa, Ariz., is No. 3, with an income ratio of 7.5. Wichita, Kan., is tied with Las Vegas with an income ratio of 7.7.

The No. 6 city is Colorado Springs, Colo., at 7.9. Fort Worth, Texas, has an income ratio of 8.1, followed closely by Omaha, Neb., at 8.2 and Raleigh, N.C., at 8.3.

The last large city on the list is Oklahoma City with an income ratio of 8.5.

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Celebrity Real Estate: Heidi Klum, Kyle Richards, Betty Grable

By Laura Vecsey

She’s Out!

Supermodel-turned-powerhouse host Heidi Klum is selling the Brentwood Estates home she bought out of foreclosure in 2010 with her ex-husband, Seal.

The Mediterranean-style villa was done over in Klum style and includes 8 bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and more than 12,300 square feet. The 8.5-acre estate is just off Mandeville Canyon in one of L.A.’s most prestigious neighborhoods, hence the list price: $25 million.

The “Project Runway” host bought the place for $14.2 million, but then threw some major cash in to make it her own little piece of heaven.

The spread includes 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, ocean views and “secret gardens.”

Inside, the dining room was imported from Paris, where it was a private dining room in a hotel. The previous owner reconstructed it in the home. In the library, there is an ornate wooden bookcase that came from Napoleon’s French country home.


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Should I Start My New Business in Tampa?

By Christina Sturgis

Birthing a business takes brains, determination and luck. Does the Tampa Bay region have the atmosphere to nurture an enterprise in its formative years?

Wallet Hub issued a report recently ranking Tampa 32nd of 150 cities for starting a business, but nearby St. Petersburg ranked much lower, 61st. The analysts favored regions with low costs for office space, employee salaries, real estate and general living expenses.

Other factors are the corporate tax structure, employee availability, length of workday, existing entrepreneurial activity, the five-year business survival rate, the proportion of businesses to population, the variety of industries and the overall welcoming attitude toward small business.

The Sunshine State is very well represented on the list. Cape Coral is 9th, Tallahassee is 3rd, Orlando is 37th, Miami is 57th, Fort Lauderdale is 86th and Hialeah is 108th on the list of 150 cities, which begins with top-ranked Jacksonville and ends with Newark, N.J.

Paul Mason, professor of economics at the University of North Florida, said Jacksonville has a lot to offer those wanting to start a new business. …

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Celebrity Real Estate: Jane Fonda, Walt Disney

By Laura Vecsey

Jane Fonda Parting with Santa Fe Ranch

Actress and activist Jane Fonda is ready to part with her 2,000-acre New Mexico spread called Forked Lightning Ranch outside of Santa Fe. She has listed the home for sale for $19.5 million.

Fonda bought the ranch in 2000, around the time she separated for good from her ex-husband and CNN founder Ted Turner. He is the largest private owner of land in the nation, so it’s apparent that Turner’s love of Western lands rubbed off on Fonda. But now Fonda says she doesn’t have time to visit anymore, even though it was her sanctuary.

Before choosing the location for the house she built on the land, Fonda said she spent two years fly-fishing, hiking, camping and horseback riding to learn everything about the property and its sunrises, sunsets, views and weather patterns.

The main home is almost 10,000 square feet, and there’s also a guesthouse and stable.

Former Disney Estate Sells

The Carolwood estate in L.A.’s coveted Holmby Hills neighborhood once owned by Walt Disney has sold for $74 million.

The home was once listed for as much by $90 million and offered by the high-end brokerage to the stars, The Agency. But even at the final sale price, it was still the fourth most expensive home sale in the United States so far this year.

Carolwood measures 35,000 square feet and has 8 bedrooms and 17 bathrooms. The seller was investor Gabriel Brener, who co-owns the Houston Dynamo soccer club.

Sinatra’s New York, New York Pad For Sale

Frank Sinatra’s “glittering grotto” in the sky is for sale in New York City. Of course, it has been completely renovated since they days when the place served as party central for Sinatra & company.

Located in The Edgewater, a white-glove building on a cul-de-sac overlooking the East River at 530 East 72nd Street in the Lenox Hill section of Manhattan, the apartment was a party pad for the Rat Pack and other high-society figures, including regulars like Mia Farrow, President Kennedy and Sammy Davis, Jr.

The residence – nicknamed the “glittering grotto” by Andy Warhol –
had been listed for as high as $5.595 million, but its current list price is now $4.995 million.

The 3,200-square-foot residence has 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows and two wraparound terraces. The master suite upstairs includes a wet bar, and the master bedroom is elevated.

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