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Mark Zuckerberg Reportedly Buys Hawaii Beach and Plantation

2014-10-23 13:59:00

Filed under: News, Celebrity Homes Kicka Witte via Getty ImagesMark Zuckerberg reportedly bought Pila'a Beach, an almost 400-acre parcel including a white sand beach. APMark Zuckerberg Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's billionaire 30-year-old, has purchased two large and adjacent parcels of land on Kauai's North Shore for about $100 million, according to a Forbes report. Zuckerberg reportedly bought Pila'a Beach, an almost 400-acre parcel including a white sand beach, and the adjacent Kahu'aina Plantation, a former sugarcane plantation. The plantation features 2,500 feet of oceanfront and a working organic farm, Forbes says. Zuckerberg apparently has a fancy for Hawaiian real estate. In January, 2013, Pacific Business News reported that Facebook's chairman and CEO "is buying" several units in a 23-story luxury condo under development in Honolulu. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Jennifer Lawrence Buys Jessica Simpson's Former House

2014-10-23 12:33:00

Filed under: News, Celebrity Homes TruliaThis Beverly Hills house that Jennifer Lawrence reportedly just bought has been home to several celebrities. ShutterstockJennifer Lawrence Jennifer Lawrence just took a cue from Jessica Simpson and purchased a gorgeous Beverly Hills house for $7 million. According to E! News, Lawrence bought the place from an unknown buyer who bought it from Simpson in October 2013 for $6.4 million. Lawrence isn't just buying a new bachelorette pad, she's buying a home with quite the Hollywood pedigree. Prior to Simpson and her family living here, Paul Hogan, Tom and Kathy Freston, Ellen DeGeneres, and Rick Yorn all called this gorgeous Beverly Hills property home. When Simpson sold, she and her family moved to the $11 million dollar Hidden Hills mansion she bought from Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne. She originally paid $5,275,000 for the five-bedroom, six bathroom, 5,500 square-foot in December 2005, right after she announced to the world that she and husband Nick Lachey were divorcing. Now that the stunning home belongs to Lawrence, she can settle in to the idyllic estate and weather the rigors of being a young, beautiful, A-list star. Built in 1991, the custom home is evocative of the stylish real estate found in the Hamptons and is located in one of the most private, guarded celebrity enclaves. The property is walled and gated, with a stone courtyard that leads to a koi pond. Inside, high ceilings punctuate the formal living room and dining room. A family-friendly, restaurant-style, gourmet kitchen leads to the breakfast room then out to the stone courtyard. The media/family room opens out to the serene, private and secure park-like grounds and swimming pool. Nestled in the heart of Beverly Hills in a private community, Lawrence also has some famous neighbors: Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and their new daughter Wyatt recently moved in down the street. Talk about an A-list avenue! Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Mortgage Rates Continue Slide for Fifth Straight Week

2014-10-23 10:29:00

Filed under: News, Buying, Financing, Refinancing Keith Srakocic/AP WASHINGTON -- Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates continued to slide this week, raising prospects of a wave of consumers refinancing their loans. The 30-year mortgage fell further below 4 percent. Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average for a 30-year loan declined to 3.92 percent from 3.97 percent last week - the lowest level since June 2013. It stood at 4.53 percent back in January. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, fell to 3.08 percent from 3.18 percent. It was the fifth straight week that mortgage rates retreated. The possibility of locking in a mortgage rate below 4 percent can be tantalizing for consumers. Across the country last week, homeowners and would-be homeowners eager for a bargain rate fired off inquiries to lenders. Before last week, many bankers, lenders and borrowers had assumed that mortgage rates would soon start rising closer to a two-decade average of 6 percent. That was based on expectations that the Federal Reserve would start raising its key short-term rate next year - a move that likely would lead to higher mortgage rates. But that assumption fell suddenly into doubt as stocks plunged last Monday and Wednesday amid fears about global economic weaknesses, the spread of Ebola and the threat of the Islamic State militia group in the Middle East. Seeking safety, investors poured money into U.S. Treasurys. Higher demand drives up prices for those government bonds and causes their yields to drop. The yield on the 10-year note traded as low as 1.91 percent last Wednesday. This week the yield on the benchmark Treasury note recovered to 2.22 percent Wednesday. It traded at 2.26 percent Thursday morning. To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount. The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was unchanged from last week at 0.5 point. The fee for a 15-year mortgage also remained at 0.5 point. The average rate on a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage slipped to 2.91 percent from 2.92 percent. The fee was steady at 0.5 point. For a one-year ARM, the average rate rose to 2.41 percent from 2.38 percent. The fee held at 0.4 point.  Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Jennifer Lopez Reportedly Buying $22.25 Million NY Penthouse

2014-10-22 19:01:00

Filed under: News, Celebrity Homes Douglas Elliman Real Estate via ZillowJennifer Lopez reportedly is in contract to buy this spacious penthouse in a prime Manhattan location. APJennifer Lopez By Catherine Sherman Jennifer Lopez may be signing a deal to perform regularly in Las Vegas, but she's putting down new roots in her hometown -- the Big Apple. "Jenny from the Block" is in contract to buy a $22.25 million Manhattan penthouse, according to New York's Daily News. When it comes to location, it doesn't get much better. The singer's new digs are on the top floor of The Whitman, a pre-war boutique condominium overlooking Madison Square Park. The building is also home to Chelsea Clinton, who purchased the second floor for $10 million last year. Lopez's last reported real estate purchase was a 3-acre Hamptons property. She bought it for $10 million after touring the place several times with her twins and then-boyfriend Casper Smart. Now unattached, the singer is making real estate moves of her own -- and The Whitman penthouse looks to be her most luxurious home yet. The interior spans 6,500 square feet with four bedrooms, six full bathrooms and two half-baths. The residence also has four terraces totaling over 3,000 square feet. The listing states that the sprawling home features exquisite finishes, an Arclinea chef's kitchen and ceiling heights up to 12 feet, 4 inches. Melanie Lazenby of Douglas Elliman Real Estate is handling the sale, which is currently in contract.  Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

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SJP Does Some Shoe Business on Perry Street Steps

2014-10-22 14:57:00

Filed under: News, Celebrity Homes, Lifestyle, Selling InstagramWith this photo shoot, Sarah Jessica Parker reportedly rekindled the ire of residents at a "Sex and the City" location. Sarah Jessica Parker reportedly has annoyed the folks who live at 66 Perry Street, the West Village townhouse better known as Carrie Bradshaw's single gal pad in "Sex and the City." InstagramDid Parker defy the sign to sell shoes? The New York Post reports that Parker used the steps of the Perry Street building to display her new shoe collection for Nordstorm without the permission of the building's owner. Residents, who constantly put up with masses of "SATC" fans taking selfies in front of the building, reportedly are none too happy that SJ defied the "Do NOT go on the staircase please" sign and chain, and lined up her new shoes for a photo shoot. Pictures of the shoot are posted on the "sjpcollection" Instagram page. Gerald Banu, president of the Perry Street Association, reportedly told The Post's Page Six, "I heard about the shoot. They didn't get the permission from the owner. The situation with 'SATC' visitors is still very intense. People who live here get upset that the sidewalks are constantly jammed." SJ reportedly has not responded to questions about shoegate. Meanwhile, there may be some good news on the horizon for the Greenwich Village townhouse that SJ and husband Matthew Broderick have been trying to sell for $22 million. Broderick, who recently appeared on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live," told host Andy Cohen and rapper T.I., "We're getting ready pretty much to hand it over for a good price." T.I. then tried to poach the listing by saying he'd represent the property for "25 percent." Don't worry, Fredrik Eklund, the Bravo star of "Million Dollar Listing New York," whose team is representing the property on 20 East 10th Street. T.I. was just funning. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Expect Low-Down-Payment Mortgages to Require Good Credit

2014-10-22 12:08:00

Filed under: News, Buying, Financing, Credit ShutterstockGuidelines are said to be coming on a plan to offer low-down-payment home loans to borrowers with limited funds. By Christine DiGangi Mel Watt, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, announced Monday plans to increase mortgage access to borrowers with good credit but limited funds available for a down payment. In a speech at the Mortgage Bankers Association annual convention in Las Vegas, Watt said the FHFA would issue guidelines for making lending to consumers who can afford only 3 percent to 5 percent down payments, according to a transcript of his remarks. He mentioned the low-down-payment loans once, saying details are forthcoming, but the idea is part of a broader message to lenders that tight credit restrictions have prevented creditworthy borrowers from becoming homeowners. For low- and middle-income Americans to have access to affordable mortgages, lenders need to feel comfortable extending credit -- that they won't suffer the massive With some of the changes Watt mentioned, consumers with good credit could access government-backed home loans with little money down and better interest rates than are available under current loan programs. losses they did after the housing bust several years ago. In his speech, Watt sought to reassure lenders that this is the case, as the FHFA refines and clarifies the relationship between lenders and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Traditionally, consumers should plan to save 20 percent of their future home's value for a down payment, but that amounts to tens of thousands of dollars, which many consumers may not have at their disposal especially after other homebuying expenses like closing costs. Home prices have gone up, student loan debt has grown, but wages have remained stagnant, further complicating access to homeownership. With some of the changes Watt mentioned, consumers with good credit could access government-backed home loans with little money down and better interest rates than are available under current loan programs. Interest rates and down payments have a significant impact on how much you pay for a home or whether you can buy one at all. You can calculate how much home you can afford by playing around with these figures, which will help you figure out a plan for becoming a homeowner in the future. Something to highlight from Watt's speech: He repeatedly refers to "creditworthy borrowers," so while lowering credit standards is a part of the plan, consumers will still need to exhibit a positive credit history when applying for home loans. If you're not sure where you stand or think you need to improve your credit before shopping for a home, make a habit of checking your credit reports and scores regularly. (You can get two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.) Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Top Firm Accused of Rigging Mortgage Mods, Foreclosures

2014-10-22 10:03:00

Filed under: News, Financing, Foreclosures The Associated PressBenjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services, detailed allegations in a letter to Ocwen. By Alex Veiga One of the nation's largest servicers of home loans may have denied struggling borrowers the chance to fix loan problems and avoid foreclosures, New York's financial regulator has alleged. An investigation by the state's Department of Financial Services found that Ocwen Financial Corp. inappropriately backdated foreclosure warnings and letters that rejected mortgage loan modifications, making it nearly impossible for borrowers to appeal the company's decision. Many borrowers who had fallen behind on loan payments also received warning letters months after the deadline for avoiding foreclosure had passed, department investigators found. Potentially hundreds of thousands of backdated letters may have been sent to borrowers, likely causing them "significant harm," Benjamin Lawsky, New York's Superintendent of Financial Services, wrote in a letter to Ocwen released Tuesday. "Ocwen's indifference to such a serious matter demonstrates a troubling corporate culture that disregards the needs of struggling borrowers," Lawsky wrote in the letter to company's general counsel. In a statement, Atlanta-based Ocwen blamed software errors in the company's correspondence systems for generating improperly dated letters. The latest claims of wrongdoing against Ocwen come less than a year after the company agreed to reduce struggling borrowers' loan balances by $2 billion as part of a settlement with federal regulators and 49 states over foreclosures abuses. It's the most recent evidence that many of the same kinds of abuses that made the housing crisis and the Great Recession worse are still happening some seven years after the housing bubble burst. Subprime mortgage lenders thrived during the real estate boom years, as many borrowers turned to a variety of nontraditional, riskier loans when they couldn't qualify for traditional, fixed-interest mortgages requiring down payments. But it all began to unravel in 2007, as defaults started to pile up. That eventually triggered a mortgage meltdown that sent foreclosures soaring and propelled the U.S. housing market into its worst skid in decades. In the years since, companies like Ocwen have been enlisted to handle payment collection on behalf of banks and, in many cases, investors who own securities backed by bundled home loans. They also handle customer services, loan modifications and foreclosures. Such companies have also been criticized for not helping homeowners quickly enough -- resulting in delays that lead to more fees and profits for servicers. Many have been the target of consumer lawsuits. Some mortgage-servicing companies processed foreclosures without verifying documents. Ocwen is the fourth-largest mortgage servicer in the country and the biggest that isn't a bank. It specializes in servicing high-risk mortgages. At the start of this year, it managed $106 billion worth of subprime mortgages, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, a mortgage industry tracker The New York Department of Financial Services launched a probe into Ocwen in August amid allegations that the company overcharged struggling homeowners on a product called force-placed insurance, which servicers force borrowers to buy if they don't maintain voluntary homeowners' insurance. If mortgage borrowers don't pay up for newly purchased insurance, Ocwen forecloses on their homes. Among its latest findings, the regulator determined that Ocwen failed to investigate the backdating of its letters to borrowers nearly a year after an employee raised questions about the practice. The letter did not specify whether the backdating was intentional or the result of poor oversight by Ocwen. "The existence and pervasiveness of these issues raise critical questions about Ocwen's ability to perform its core function of servicing loans," Lawsky wrote in the letter. In its statement, Ocwen said initially that its systems generated improperly dated letters to 283 of its borrowers in New York. It later said it is aware of additional borrowers, but didn't specify.. The company added that it is investigating two other cases and cooperating with the New York regulator. "We believe that we have resolved the letter-dating issues that have been identified to date, and we continue our investigation as to whether there are additional letter-dating issues that need to be resolved," the company said. A company spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for details on how many Ocwen borrowers nationwide received backdated letters or lost their homes as a result of the delayed warning letters. Ocwen's stock slumped $4.78, or 18.2 percent, to $21.48 Tuesday. The stock is down 61 percent this year. Josh Boak in Washington contributed to this report. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Best U.S. Cities to Trick or Treat

2014-10-22 09:21:00

Filed under: News, LifestyleBy Alexa Fiander Gather around you spooky ghosts and cackling witches: The best locations for scoring Halloween loot in 2014 are secret no more! Every year, the candy-loving data heads at Zillow team up to find the top 20 cities around the country for trick-or-treaters in search of the most candy on the safest streets. Stealing the coveted title for the fourth year in a row is San Francisco, with Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Jose rounding out the top five on Zillow's sixth annual Trick-or-Treat Index. If your city was sweet enough to make the list this year, be sure check out the top five hottest neighborhoods that also made the cut. Neighborhood Ranking Methodology We take data seriously here at Zillow, even when it comes to trick or treating. While wealthier neighborhoods are often known for their frightfully sweet harvest on Halloween night, we calculate the Trick-or-Treat Index using a holistic approach with four equally weighted data variables: Zillow Home Value Index, population density, Walk Score(R) and local crime data from Relocation Essentials. Based on these variables, the index represents cities that will provide the most candy, in the least amount of time, with the fewest safety risks. Want to put the list or map graphics on your website? Email press@zillow.com, and we'll send them your way! See 2013 Trick-or-Treat Index results Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Zillow: 30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates Stay Below 4%

2014-10-21 15:11:00

Filed under: News, Buying, Financing, Refinancing Zillow*The weekly mortgage rate chart illustrates the average 30-year fixed interest in six-hour intervals. By Lauren Braun Mortgage rates for 30-year fixed mortgages were unchanged this week, with the current rate borrowers were quoted on Zillow Mortgages at 3.81 percent, identical to this same time last week. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovered around 3.85 percent for most of the week, dropping to 3.70 percent Wednesday before rising to the current rate. "Last week mortgage rates experienced dramatic inter-day volatility, falling Wednesday to their lowest level since May 2013 fueled by global economic concerns and the potential threat of an Ebola epidemic," said Erin Lantz, vice president of mortgages at Zillow. "With little mortgage market-moving data scheduled to be released next week, we expect rates to remain stable." Additionally, the 15-year fixed mortgage rate this morning was 2.97 percent, and for 5/1 ARMs, the rate was 2.80 percent. Purchase Mortgage Application Activity: Zillow predicts tomorrow's seasonally adjusted Mortgage Bankers Association Weekly Application Index will show purchase loan activity increased by 5 percent from the week prior. To learn more about this Zillow analysis, click here. What are the interest rates right now? Check Zillow Mortgages for mortgage rate trends and up-to-the-minute mortgage rates for your state. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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10 Cities Where You're Most Likely to Find a Haunted House

2014-10-21 14:26:00

Filed under: News, Buying, Lifestyle ShutterstockCape May, New Jersey, holds the top spot for places in the U.S. with the most potential for finding a haunted house. By Trulia Staff Are you in the market for a good scare? Looking for a spooky spot? Good news -- or is it bad? -- we have you covered. In 2012, we looked at which U.S. metros have the greatest concentration of old, vacant homes. Using that data, Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko was able to determine the cities where you're most likely to find a haunted house. With Halloween just around the corner, we decided to rejigger the numbers and see if ghosts and ghouls are on the move. (And also to prove once and for all -- we ain't afraid of no ghost.) How did we come to our spooky conclusion? We used the same logic, looking at old, vacant homes. As Kolko noted then, "Old homes with creaky bones have a history of previous residents whose spirits might return, or maybe never left. Our other hunch is that ghosts would prefer not to be disturbed, so they haunt vacant homes more than homes occupied by pesky mortals." So did we learn anything new about our otherworldly neighbors? One city floated onto the haunting scene since 2012, but overall it seems like those pesky phantoms like to stay put. Makes sense to us; it's probably tough for even the most seasoned specter start haunting in a new town. Adding to the scare factor, the newcomer has a seriously spine-tingling name: Torrington. (Terrifying!) And remember how we told you that ghosts love capes? Still true. Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Cape May, New Jersey, continue to occupy the top two slots, with the most housing units that are both old and vacant. The No. 3 city for spotting the supernatural? None other than Lebanon, New Hampshire. The rest of the cities are a mix of areas that haven't seen much growth recently, including older cities like Buffalo, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania; and Detroit that are experiencing hard economic times. Ready to settle down in a city where things go bump in the night? Chances are, ghosts aren't going to show up in Trulia's demographic maps, so you might want to keep this list handy when you're hunting for haunted houses. Permalink | Email this | Comments

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Information Deemed Reliable, but Not Guaranteed. The property information being provided is for consumers’ personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the participating Brokers.

Last updated on Oct 23, 2014.

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