By Laura Vecsey …Full Story
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By Laura Vecsey …Full Story
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.
By Laura Vecsey
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.
By Laura Vecsey
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.
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. …Full Story
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.
Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages fell this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace at 4.03 percent, down from 4.06 percent at this same time last week.
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered around 4.08 percent for the majority of the week, before dropping modestly to the current rate on Tuesday morning.
“Last week, mortgage rates remained stable as the Federal Open Market Committee’s policy statement contained few surprises,” said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. “With little anticipated economic news this week, we expect rates will remain steady, similar to the pattern they’ve held for the past few weeks.”
Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 3.0 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.79 percent.
By Natalie Wise
When finding the right place to live and work, the availability of public transportation can play a major role in the decision-making process. Commute times and stress can be reduced substantially when public transit is available, and with the rising costs of gas, it can be economical as well.
Walk Score ranked the best cities for public transit on a scale of 100, with 100 being a perfect score, based on availability, usefulness and the scope of public transportation available within a city.
The Transit Score aims to “help home shoppers and apartment hunters find places to live with better commutes and more transportation choices.” …Full Story
By Laura Vecsey
Fan Buys Whitney Houston’s NJ Estate …Full Story
By Laura Vecsey
Former Gov. Romney Sells Massachusetts Condo
So long, Massachusetts?
Mitt Romney, the former governor of the Bay State, and his wife, Ann, have parted company with their adopted home state. According to reports, the couple has sold their Belmont condo for $1.2 million.
The home served as the couple’s home base during Romney’s failed presidential run in 2012, and with much larger compounds in New Hampshire, Utah and California, it’s not as if the Romneys needed another place to hang their hats.
According to the Boston Globe, the Romneys bought Unit 65 in the Woodlands at Belmont Hill development about four years ago for $895,000. They had owned another Boston area home for 20 years before selling that place for $3.5 million several years ago. …
By Paul Tooher
There is finally some good news for first-time homebuyers coming out of Washington.
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Melvin Watt, the regulator who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, announced that he is reversing plans to reduce the agency’s role in the mortgage market.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, organizations that buy loans and package them into securities, were created to increase liquidity in the housing market. But the institutions were also at the heart of the housing crisis in 2007 and received $187.5 billion in taxpayer funds to stay afloat. But the recent rebound in the housing market led to the two agencies recently recording record profits.
Today, the two companies back about two-thirds of new U.S. home loan originations, giving them a broad influence on lending and credit availability.
In remarks delivered before a Congressional committee on May 13, Watt said, “Our overriding objective is to ensure that there is broad liquidity in the housing-finance market and to do so in a way that is safe and sound.”
Earlier this year, Watt announced he was delaying a planned increase in the fee the companies charge banks to guarantee loans. The fees, which are usually passed on to borrowers by lenders, were expected to increase rates on 30-year fixed rate loans.
The move should be good news to the millions of current renters who say they want to buy a home.
According to the Zillow Housing Confidence Index, millions of current renters nationwide aspire to buy a home in the next year, suggesting strong demand among potential first-time homebuyers if market conditions are favorable.
In Tampa, 58.2 percent of renters said they aspire to buy a home while 13 percent said they expected to buy a home within a year. While the housing inventory in Tampa increased 15.4 percent in 2013, higher mortgage rates may have held back some potential buyers.
Zillow reported that its Housing Confidence Index stood at 62.6 percent in Tampa, slightly below the national average of 63.7 percent.
• Learn About Federal Housing Administration Loans
• Find Out About Mortgage Insurance
• Explore the Types of Homeowners Insurance
• Discover How to Improve Credit to Get a Home Loan
By Christina Sturgis
Movoto.com recently compiled a list of the top 10 "most stressed" cities starting with the nation's capital. What can this list, which includes Miami, tell us about keeping our cool in Tampa?
The editors crunched the numbers: hours worked, unemployment, commuting time, cost of living and the crime rate for the nation's major cities and came up a list that starts with Washington, D.C., and follows with New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Jersey City, Oakland, Calif., Chicago, Newark, N.J., Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
The analysis begins with a look at economic indicators, “usual hours worked” as compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, a measure of whether businesses have more or less demand for labor, and unemployment. Tampa’s hours fell from 39.6 to 39.1 in the years of the study, due to involuntary part-time work and decreased overtime.
The unemployment rate for the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan statistical area is 6.3 percent, implying a bit less stress than in the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan statistical area, where the rate is 5.9 percent. …Full Story
By Christina Sturgis
The Tampa metropolitan area rental market is a bit more affordable than the Sunshine State or the nation as a whole, according to Zillow, but that does not mean making rent is easy for all households.
The rent list price is $1,150, up 15 percent from last year, and the Zillow rent index is $1,213, while the prices are $1,409 for Florida and $1,311 for the United States.
A household is considered “burdened” rental costs if their monthly housing costs equal or exceed 35 percent of their income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A federal study released in April 2013 found that 49.33 percent of Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater households were burdened by housing costs, higher than the national percentage of 44.32.
The dubious honor of highest percentage of rent-burdened households went to the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach at 55.67 percent, exceeding the 45.75 percent of struggling households in the New York-Northern, N.J.-Long Island area, known for its high cost of living. …Full Story