Cities seeing a rise in underwater homes
The number of homeowners underwater has increased, according to the latest data from Zillow. The online real estate databased reported that in 21 out of the 50 biggest housing markets it researched there were more owners in negative equity in the fourth quarter of last year than the three months before.
Nationally there was a slight improvement; 16.9% of all mortgaged homes, down 0.1% on the previous period. However, this is far higher than the 5% that Zillow says is the normal rate of underwater homes. With home prices generally increasing, there are some at the bottom end that are not and those owners may never be freed from negative equity.
President Obama rumored to have bought Magnum P.I. home
Rumors are circulating that President Obama may have acquired the house formerly used in TV show “Magnum P.I.” The Honolulu home has been bought and sold on a couple of times recently and both transactions are said to have involved people or companies with close links to the president.
Obama was born and raised in Hawaii and still has, and visits, family on the island so it wouldn’t be a strange choice. The house, real name Pahonu but known as “Robin’s Nest” in the TV show, is a waterfront estate set on three acres with an 11,000-square-foot home. The $8.7 million home includes five bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a large four-car garage.
New York developers create ‘entry level to luxury’ housing
There’s a sector of housing in New York City that has been underserved in the past but is now starting to boom. It’s those homes that are just on the cusp of the luxury market.
Developers are targeting those buyers who want something special but are not at the income level to leap head first into the luxury market. The properties come in at around $1,400 to $2,500 per square foot and would typically mean a price tag of around $600,000 for a one-bed apartment and more than $3 million for a duplex townhome.
Douglass Elliman data shows that the average price of a luxury home is more than $7 million so this emerging market is creating “affordable luxury”.