Entries in Real Estate (40)


California Home May Be Second Most Expensive Property Ever Sold

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The $117.5 million estate of a financier in Northern California may be the second most expensive property ever sold in the U.S., according to SF Luxe.

SF Luxe reported that financier Tully Friedman, the previous owner, sold the property on Nov. 27, 2012, according to public records.

The four-bedroom home was created by architect Allan Greenberg, and has 360-degree views of the Woodside Mountains. It sits on nine acres and was built in 2005.

If the home was sold for $117.5 million, it would outrank the nearby estate that Russian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner bought for $100 million in 2011, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The most expensive estate sold in the U.S. is likely a Montana ranch that was listed for $132 million but sold for an undisclosed price last year to real estate billionaire Stanley Kroenke. He also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, and the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Most County Housing Markets Worse Off over Last Four Years, Says RealtyTrac

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While housing prices are on the rise, foreclosure and real estate research firm RealtyTrac reported that 65 percent of 919 county housing markets are worse off than they were four years ago, based mostly on factors including average sales price and foreclosure inventory.

With the 2012 Election Day just two weeks away, both Republicans and Democrats are grabbing at data to show that the economy has improved or worsened.

Housing data from S&P/Case-Shiller index and the National Association of Realtors show a rise in the average price of a home. Last week, the association showed sales fell 1.7 percent in September compared with a month earlier, but were up 11 percent over a year ago.

In the latest RealtyTrac report, the company compared data from the second quarters of 2008, the near-end of President George W. Bush's administration, and 2012 under President Obama. During the last four years, foreclosure inventory peaked in 2010 at 2.2 million, but has declined to 1.5 million.

Here are 10 counties that RealtyTrac noted are worse off and five counties that are better off compared to four years ago.

Cook County, Ill.
Average sales price: -17 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 37 percent

King County, Wash.
Average sales price: -16 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 62 percent

Salt Lake County, Utah
Average sales price: -36 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 49 percent

Pima County, Ariz.
Average sales price: -31 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 17 percent

Honolulu County, Hawaii
Average sales price: -20 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 650 percent

Du Page County, Ill.
Average sales price: -18 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 65 percent

Gwinnett County, Ga.
Average sales price: -19 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 24 percent

Montgomery County, Pa.
Average sales price: -7 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 77 percent


Snohomish County, Wash.
Average sales price: -16 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 94 percent

Lake County, Ill.
Average sales price: -22 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 78 percent

Orange County, Calif.
Average sales price: 2 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: -38 percent

New York County, N.Y.
Average sales price: 29 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: -12 percent

Middlesex County, Mass.
Average sales price: 10 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: -10 percent

Cuyahoga County, Ohio
Average sales price: 13 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: -44 percent

Fairfax County, Va.
Average sales price: 7 percent
Foreclosure Inventory: 60 percent

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Loses $4.68M Down Payment on NYC Apartment

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The ex-wife of a software executive lost a $4.68 million down payment on a New York City home after a judge ruled unfinished floors, and lack of heat, hot water and uninstalled closet rods were not good reasons to pull out of a contract to purchase the $18.75 million luxury cooperative apartment.

Roberta Campbell, the ex-wife of Intuit CEO William Campbell, filed a lawsuit against Mark Hotel Sponsor in late 2009 alleging the East Side property was found to be "unsafe, uninhabitable, and substantially not in conformity with the offering plan and purchase agreement” during a pre-purchase inspection leading her to fail to close.

But a judge ruled that a laundry list of problems, including missing microwave grates, did not render the suite “unsuitable for occupancy,” and ruled in favor of the Mark Hotel.

But “based on the evidence” and the “one-sided language of the parties agreement,” Mark Hotel Sponsor was entitled to the more than $4 million down payment, the judge concluded.

An attorney for Roberta Campbell declined to comment on the matter since parts of the case are still ongoing.

The multi-million-dollar suite -- the third-most expensive suite of the 42 available -- was located on the 14th floor and was expected to come with a range of benefits, according to the suit, including a doorman at all times, concierge services, package room in the vicinity of the lobby, fitness center, and incoming mail sorted by the hotel staff.  According to a posting by the Corcoran group, the Mark’s amenities also include valet parking, a business center and in-house John Lobb shoe care service.

Since failing to close on the “absolutely fabulous” suite, Campbell has settled into a new Central Park West luxury apartment, while the Mark Hotel residence remains unsold, according to judge William H. Pauley III.

“We’re gratified by the judge’s decision,” Jeffrey Louis Braun, a lawyer for the developer with Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, told ABC News in a statement.

According to the judge’s ruling, “all prerequisites to closing were satisfied by April 16, Campbell breached the Purchase Agreement by failing to close.  Accordingly, Sponsor is entitled to retain her down payment and any accrued interest as liquidated damages.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Home Sales and Goods Orders Most Likely Increased in July 

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – Economists said ahead of reports this week that home sales and durable goods orders most likely increased in July, indicating that the country is beginning to strengthen after a slowdown in the second quarter, Bloomberg News reports.

The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey showed that combined purchases of new and existing houses rose from a 4.72 million annual rate in June to a 4.89 million annual rate in July. Another report may show that bookings for long-lasting goods climbed the most this year, the news agency says.

Less expensive properties and record-low mortgage costs are bolstering a sagging real estate industry that helped trigger the national recession, according to Bloomberg.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio



Tiger Woods Takes a Hit and Other Celebrities Who Sold Homes at a Loss

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Tiger Woods' strong start in the 2012 PGA Championships may be making up for the fact that he recently sold his condo in Corona del Mar, Calif., at a loss.

The PGA champion sold his home, which he bought for $3 million in 2004, for just $2.2 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Here are seven celebrities who took a loss on the sale of their homes or mansions. Fortunately for them, most have second or multiple homes to give them shelter from adoring fans and paparazzi, and all but one of these homes sold in the multi-million dollar range.

1.Tiger Woods -- Corona del Mar, Calif.

Tiger Woods' condo with beach views, reportedly one of the locations for Woods's infamous affairs, was first listed in April 2012. The property, near Laguna Beach and south of Los Angeles, has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and spans 2,000 square feet.

The listing showed a price cut in June before it ultimately sold for $2.2 million. Woods' main residence is an estate with a golf course in Jupiter, Fla., Zillow reports.

2. Britney Spears -- Beverly Hills, Calif.

Pop princess Britney Spears reportedly took a hit on her Beverly Hills home that she bought in January 2007 for $6.8 million and first listed in September 2008 for $7.9 million.

Zillow reports the listing sold for $4.5 million in April 2012 after six price cuts. Spears bought the five-bed, six-bath home for $6.75 million after her divorce to Kevin Federline in 2006.

"Built in 2001, the Mediterranean-style villa is located in the high-security, prestigious Summit neighborhood," Zillow reports. The 5-bedroom, 6-bath home has a master suite with his-and-her bathrooms and a fireplace.

3. Jennifer Aniston -- New York, N.Y.

Actress Jennifer Aniston bought two New York City apartments in 2011 for $7 million with the intent to combine them.

A year before that, Aniston told ABC's Good Morning America she was looking to return to New York City.

"I grew up here. I miss it," Aniston said in February 2010. "There's nothing like being in the city … [it's] the city of every man. It's all walks and I love that."

Fast forward to April 2012. Aniston has said she felt overwhelmed by paparazzi in New York City. She sold the units with a loss of $500,000, the New York Daily News reported.

4. Rihanna -- Beverly Hills, Calif.

Singer Rihanna sold her Beverly Hills eight-bedroom home in December 2011 for $5.03 million. She listed it in November 2010 for $4.5 million after paying $6.9 million in September 2009. The home reportedly has water damage from the roof and windows and was described as a "major fixer," which previously led to legal wrangling against her landlord.

The gated, three-story home spans 8,520-square feet and has eight bedrooms, 10 bathrooms and three fireplaces.

5. Penelope Cruz -- Los Angeles, Calif.

Actress Penelope Cruz sold her 3,334-square foot home in Los Angeles for $2.88 million in December 2011, after buying it for $3.14 million in May 2005.

On the market for over a year, the final sale price was $807,000 less than Cruz originally sought and $250,000 less than what she paid.

"The 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom Balinese-modern style home was built in 1956, and as since been completely updated by the star and husband Javier Bardem," Zillow reported. "The unique piece of Hollywood Hills real estate is tucked in a cul-de-sac near Sunset Strip and features high ceilings, carved-wood doors, private courtyard, bamboo floors, and an in-ground heated pool with a luxurious tented cabana."

6. John Krasinski -- West Hollywood, Calif.

The Office's John Krasinski bought a two-bedroom, two bath home in West Hollywood in March 2006 for $1.05 million, just one year into his role as "Jim" in the popular mockumentary. Krasinski's career took off while the economy took a turn for the worse.

He listed it in March 2011 for $945,000 and it sold for $880,000 in June 2011.

7. Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott -- Encino, Calif.

Despite being featured on television, the home in which Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott's reality television show, Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, was filmed for the Oxygen network sold at a loss.

The couple bought the home in Encino, Calif. for $2.95 million in October 2008 and listed it in April 2011 for $3.20 million. They sold it for $2.5 million in December 2011, according to public records.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Apartment for Rent: Live Like President Obama!

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Searching for an apartment and harboring dreams of becoming president one day? A two-bedroom pre-war apartment on Manhattan's far Upper West Side may be the place for you.

The Harlem apartment once occupied by a young Barack Obama is on the rental market once again, though the asking price has increased from $360 in the early 1980s to today’s $2,400 a month.

According to broker Zak Kneider with New York real estate firm CitiHabitats, the apartment is a third-floor walk-up with exposed brick, large windows, and charming details.

“Live Like the President!!!” the online posting for the apartment reads. “Barack Obama’s former apartment is now on the market for rent. Be a part of history and live where the President lived while he attended Columbia University. Who knows, you just might end up in the White House one day.”

The apartment is the exact one where Obama lived while he was attending Columbia in the 1980s, Kneider said, noting that because of that connection, the real estate office and tenant have been “inundated” with more than 50 inquiries about the property since it was posted on Wednesday.

“I think it’ll go very quickly actually,” Kneider said. “The amount of calls is just amazing.”

The apartment will be ready for an August move-in, Kneider said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Manhattan’s Million-Dollar Parking Spot

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It used to be that $1 million could buy you a healthy chunk of real estate–a mansion, maybe, or a few acres of land. But in Manhattan’s tony Greenwich Village, it will buy a parking spot.

That’s right: A garage space at 66 E.11th Street will soon be offered for a cool $1 million, perhaps intended for that discerning Ferrari driver for whom a mere six-figure parking spot just won’t do.

If you think a million dollars is way too much to spend on a measly piece of concrete to park the old set of wheels, think again. “It really is the defining luxury amenity,”  says Dolly Lenz, vice-chairman at New York real estate firm Prudential Douglas Elliman, which will sell the space. “You’d be surprised about how many people have big car collections. We wish we had more garage spots.”

And the specs are pretty sweet. The coveted parking spot is inside the apartment building, complete with curb cut, a rarity in the New York City parking landscape. The garage space boasts 15-foot ceilings, which allows for ample storage space, and the owner could even stack two cars onto ramps to create a duplex parking arrangement. In light of all that, “this is actually undervalued,” Lenz told “Normally, when you buy a garage, you are literally buying between two lines in a designated spot.”

Lenz has even witnessed bidding wars reaching $600,000, just for a space between two lines. That’s because–like any other luxury item, from Birkin bags to rare diamonds–it’s the scarcity of available parking in New York that creates such cache.

To put it all in perspective, Lenz says she sold a double penthouse at 200 11th Avenue to Domenico Dolce (as in, Dolce & Gabbana) for $50 million, which included two garage spots. “So there is precedent for this type of situation,” she said.

As the word has spread about the city’s swishest parking spot, Lenz has received “overwhelming interest” in buying the spot, even though she can’t even discuss sales because the plans for 66 E.11th Street haven’t yet been approved by the city.

As in, dozens of inquiries? Hundreds? She would only say, “More than dozens. We’d probably get more if I could respond.”

First dibs will go to the buyer of the building’s  townhouse or penthouse; with the latter going for $38.8 million, the parking spot is just a drop in the bucket.

Lenz added:  “We’re not talking about really big numbers here, at $1 million. It will be more about getting it. I think people will bid above what the asking [price] is.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Home Ownership Falls to 15-Year Low

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The number of American households that own their home is down to a level last seen in early 1997. The Census Bureau said Monday that the homeownership rate fell to 65.4 percent at the end of March, down from a peak of 69.2 percent in mid-2004.
Compared to the end of last year, the homeownership rate fell in all four U.S. regions: Northeast, Midwest, South and West. The biggest decline was in the Northeast, which slipped 1.2 percentage points to 62.5 percent, according to the Census report.
Since the recession started in December 2007, African-American households have seen the biggest drop in home ownership, down 4.6 percentage points to 43.1 percent.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Increased Bidding Wars a Sign of Growing Demand for Housing

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The worst may well be over for the housing market, especially in much of the country where foreclosures have not been as widespread. Even bidding wars are back in some areas, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper reports that in markets across the country, more and more buyers are competing for the same properties.  But the bidding wars are not an indication of surging sales, WSJ says, but rather the result of supply shortages. This could be a sign that demand for housing is picking up.

As for home builders, shares for Pulte shot up 10 percent after the company reported an increase in permits to build homes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Divorcing Wife Sues Billionaire Over $88M NY Penthouse

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Dmitry Rybolovlev, the billionaire who purchased the most expensive property in New York City, is facing a lawsuit from his wife Elena Rybolovleva.  She claims he purchased the $88 million penthouse to hide his assets as the couple endures a divorce.

On March 14, Rybolovleva sued her billionaire husband alleging that he “fraudulently transferred property acquired during his marriage,” violating a Swiss Court order. The suit also alleges that he used the property to purchase the penthouse at 15 Central Park West, which once belonged to former Citibank CEO Sandy Weill, for his own personal use.

The couple is currently in the middle of divorce filed in December of 2008, which should have prevented the purchase of the property.

A spokesperson for Crowe Horwath, which is listed as the company in care of the company that owns 15 Central Park West, told ABC News, "many clients use our address and client matters are confidential.”

David B. Newman, an attorney for wife Rybolovleva, told ABC News, ”Mr. Rybolovlev has taken assets that were acquired during the marriage and has moved them to places to make them unavailable to the wife.”

“Mr. Rybolovlev has lots and lots of assets and they’re all over the world and we’re trying to do what we can in regards to the assets in the United States,” said Newman.

According to the lawsuit, Rybolovlev allegedly “formed a sham entity for the sole purpose and with the specific intent of hiding and diverting his personal interest in the property.”

The New York City property came with a hefty price tag of 66 percent more than previous record sale, according to The Wall Street Journal.  The sale of the home with wraparound terrace brought in city and state taxes of around $2.5 million, according to WSJ.

Why the $88 million home? The two allegedly looked at the home before divorce proceedings but the Weills were not looking to sell, according to Rybololeva’s attorney.

“If you look at these Russian oligarch, they want to buy the biggest and best and most expensive,” said Newman. Another example is the $95 million mansion purchased from Donald Trump in Florida.

Rybolovlev’s attorney in the Florida dispute could not comment on the New York state lawsuit.

He continued, “if you look at someone like that they’re very ego driven. They want to get the biggest and the best, and that appears to be what he wants to do.”

The fertilizer billionaire with an estimated net worth of $9 billion is expected to contest the suit.

Rybolovleva is asking the court for a “constructive trust” over the multi-million dollar property and the trust company so that it “cannot be alienated, conveyed, encumbered, transferred or wasted” pending the ruling of the Swiss court and an award of costs and attorney fees.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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