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Why the Upscale Suburb of Westfield, NJ, May Be the Scariest Place to Live in the U.S.

Westfield NJ: Watcher house, List house, Addams house

Composite by Erin Culton for realtor.com

Westfield, NJ, a town of grand, restored Victorians and stately mansions perched on tree-lined streets, is the kind of place many folks aspire to one day call home. The downtown features mom and pop shops and bakeries alongside a Williams-Sonoma and Baby Gap stores. Even before COVID-19, busy roads were often closed off so residents could listen to live music while dining outdoors, participate in children’s arts and crafts projects, or take open-air yoga classes. Many who grow up in the affluent suburb, about an hour west of Manhattan, return after college to raise their families there.

The pandemic has boosted its upscale appeal, making it a popular destination for folks escaping nearby cities in search of more space. That’s led to a nearly 13.5% annual surge in home prices, to a median list price of $884,050 in September, according to realtor.com® data.

But most newcomers aren’t immediately aware that Westfield has a macabre side—and a deeply dark history.

A string of high-profile murders has taken place within Westfield’s 6.7 square miles, leaving homes across the city with gruesome footnotes in their property history. They include the sprawling home on a hill where accountant John List murdered his wife, three children, and mother, and then vanished for 18 years—perhaps the most famous “family annihilation” in U.S. history. Then there’s “The Watcher” house, whose new owners were subjected to a campaign of terror by a mysterious letter writer, inspiring a 2016 Lifetime movie and an upcoming Netflix flick.

It seems in nearly every generation, Westfield makes the national news for a sinister crime.

The town’s imposing, Victorian-rich architecture may have even inspired Charles Addams to create “The Addams Family” cartoons, with its spooky mansion and spookier inhabitants.

“It does seem like a lot for a town of 30,000,” says Lauren Barr, editor and publisher of the Westfield Leader, the local newspaper. She grew up here and graduated from Westfield High School in 1998.

But “I don’t think that it has affected the town’s reputation,” she adds.

The thing is, few would expect such heinous acts to occur in such a wealthy, picture-perfect community, says Arthur Lurigio, a criminology and psychology professor at Loyola University Chicago.

The crimes “stand out because of the place,” says Lurigio. “This isn’t supposed to happen. … It’s not a place where you expect violence to occur.”

The infamous ‘Watcher’ house wrenched Westfield back into the spotlight

The previous owners of “The Watcher” house received chilling letters from an anonymous writer.

Clare Trapasso

Westfield’s most recent touch of national infamy was the twisted tale of “The Watcher” house.

A couple purchased the six-bedroom, turn-of-the-century Dutch Colonial for more than $1.35 million in 2014, then spent an additional $100,000 on renovations. But Derek and Maria Broaddus and their three children never moved in.

The family’s nightmare began when they received the first in a series of chilling letters. The anonymous writer claimed to be charged with “watching” the house, just as the writer’s father and grandfather did before. The “watcher” seemed to be particularly interested in the couple’s children, referred to in the letters both as the “young blood” and by their individual names.

“Will the young blood play in the basement? Or are they too afraid to go down there alone. I would [be] very afraid if I were them. It is far away from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream,” one of the letters said.

Perhaps most frightening, the writer appeared to be omnipresent and yet nowhere, perhaps hiding in plain sight.

“All of the windows and doors in 657 Boulevard allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house,” the watcher wrote.

Then later in the same letter: “I pass by many times a day. 657 Boulevard is my job, my life, my obsession. And now you are too Braddus family.”

Another note asked: “Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard?”

“It was quite the story at the time,” says newspaper editor Barr. “Everyone put their sleuthing hats on in town. … It was all anyone talked about for a while.”

The Broaddus family found themselves stuck with an expensive home they didn’t feel safe visiting, much less living in.

They sued the former owners of the home, who had received one letter from the watcher a few days before they moved out, but never told the new owners. The case was dismissed. Next, the couple proposed razing the place and selling the lot for two new homes to be built in its place. The idea was soundly rejected by the town’s planning board. The couple resorted to renting out the home.

Last year, the Broadduses finally sold the place for about $959,000, a substantial loss.

So who was the watcher? At various times, different neighbors came under suspicion. Some residents, unhappy with the unwelcome attention placed on their town, even surmised that the Broadduses sent the notes to themselves (which the couple staunchly deny). The mystery has never been solved.

One longtime Westfield resident walking her two dogs by the home on Tuesday morning said interest in the episode had died down.

“It was really intriguing at the time and very scary,” says Rebecca Jezierski, 70, who lives a few blocks away. But “all of a sudden [the letters] just stopped when these new people moved in.”

John List murders his family—and then disappears

Accountant John List murdered his family and then eluded capture for 18 years.

Courtesy of The Westfield Leader

“The Watcher” house would be a creepy enough local legend for one town. But one day a half-century ago, Westfield accountant John List shot his mother, wife, and three children to death in their 19-room Colonial, known as Breeze Knoll.

List struggled to hold down a job, and hadn’t told his family he’d lost his latest one and was broke. Moreover, he felt his family was turning away from the church (he was a devout Lutheran) and toward temptation.

On Nov. 9, 1971, List shot each one, then wrote a letter to his pastor explaining he was saving them from the embarrassment of losing their home and from endangering their place in heaven.

Then List disappeared.

The original List home burned down in a mysterious fire after the List murders.

Courtesy of The Westfield Leader

He created a new identity, remarried, and moved to Colorado. It wasn’t until an “America’s Most Wanted” episode on the murders aired that he was finally caught—18 years after the murders. List died in prison in 2008 at the age of 82.

“People still remember it. When I was growing up, John List was the ghost story,” says Barr. She used to live two streets over from the List property.

During List’s 1990 trial, townspeople would line up outside of the courthouse as early as 6 a.m. to get a seat in the galley.

A wanted poster seeking the capture of John List, who murdered his family.

Courtesy of The Westfield Leader

The home where the List family perished burned down nine months after the murders, in 1972. Locals traded theories about the suspicious fire. Some believed List returned to torch the mansion, says Barr. Others dismissed it as the handiwork of kids—or Satan worshippers. The property was auctioned off late that year to local newspaper publisher Kurt Bauer for a winning bid of $36,100.

The property itself then became the link to another high-profile killing in town, 25 years after the List murders.

Jeffrey Bauer, 48, Kurt Bauer’s brother, was shot by his estranged wife, Meta Bauer, in 1996 at the Westfield Leader, the local newspaper where he was the publisher. She then killed herself.

“It was just another very strange thing to happen in what’s usually a quiet, sleepy town,” says Barr, who did not work at the newspaper at the time.

A new home stands in the spot where List’s home burned down in Westfield, NJ.

Clare Trapasso

Several more murders were committed in Westfield

The List murders weren’t the first case of a local parent killing a child in Westfield. In 1959, 17-year-old high school basketball star Raymond Bailey III was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife by his mother in their home. She then stabbed herself 25 times, but survived.

There were other murders in the tony town as well.

In 1974, Dr. John J. Graff, 56, was killed in a mugging after leaving the local train station. Authorities believed he was on his way home, just three blocks away. No one was ever caught.

Two years later, Lena Triano, 57, was hogtied with electrical cords cut out of her appliances, raped, strangled with a tie from her bedroom blinds, and stabbed multiple times in her Westfield home. It took 36 years for authorities to track down the murderer, Carlton Franklin.

More recently, college student Sohayla Massachi, 23, was abducted from Seton Hall University by her ex-boyfriend in 2000. He brought her to his Westfield apartment and shot her to death.

‘The Addams Family’ creator found creepy inspiration growing up here

Cartoonist Charles Addams grew up in this Westfield home.

Clare Trapasso

Maybe it’s fitting that Westfield’s most famous former resident was cartoonist Charles Addams, known for his dark characters and pitch-black sense of humor, as seen in “The Addams Family.”

His beloved characters grace the windows of the town’s downtown shops at this time of year, and the town’s AddamsFest puts on a series of family-friendly, Halloween events (this year with social distancing measures in place).

Addams was born in 1912 and grew up in a modest home with canvas awnings over the windows near the heart of town. On his walks to school, he passed by spooky, abandoned Victorians said to have inspired the “Addams Family” mansion.

“When Charles grew up, a lot of those houses were empty and rotting and falling apart,” says Kevin Miserocchi, executive director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation. (Marilyn “Tee” Addams was the cartoonist’s wife.) “That [Victorian] architecture intrigued him.”

The first “Addams Family” cartoon ran in the New Yorker in the late 1930s, after the cartoonist left Westfield for Manhattan.

Addams biographer Linda H. Davis disputed the rumors the architecture in the “lovely town” of Westfield inspired the “Addams Family” mansion.

“It’s a persistent myth,” says Davis, author of “Charles Addams: A Cartoonist’s Life.” She claims he borrowed architectural details from different buildings he saw and used them in new variations of the mansion. “The house is never drawn the same way twice.”

Cartoonist Charles Addams may have been inspired to create “The Addams Family” mansion by the local architecture.

Clare Trapasso

Why Westfield’s housing market hasn’t been hurt by these tragedies

The pandemic has spurred buyers from nearby cities, like New York City, Hoboken, and Jersey City, to descend on Westfield. Many are searching for big homes with even bigger backyards to ride out the COVID-19 crisis and any new stay-at-home directives. Westfield’s more unsavory history doesn’t often come up in conversations with these soon-to-be residents.

“People coming to Westfield don’t know anything about ‘The Watcher’ house and don’t care about it,” says local real estate agent Scott Gleason, of Re/Max Select. “I haven’t heard about it in town conversations or real estate conversations in a year. … [And] John List is ancient lore.

“They’re not related to our real estate reality,” he says.

Westfield, NJ, is the site of some unsettling events.

Clare Trapasso

“If you have a spate of burglaries or there are armed robberies on the street in the central business district, you might see people wanting to move out,” says criminologist Lurigio.

But that is not the case here.

Westfield received an A-plus crime rating from AreaVibes, which evaluates the best places to live. It had 96% less violent crime and 71% less crime overall than the national average, according to the site.

“Lots and lots of people want to live here,” says Gleason.

Victorian homes abound in Westfield, NJ.

Clare Trapasso

The post Why the Upscale Suburb of Westfield, NJ, May Be the Scariest Place to Live in the U.S. appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Kimberly Guilfoyle Reportedly Selling Her NYC Apartment for $5M

Kimberly Guilfoyle

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Kimberly Guilfoyle, adviser to President Donald Trump and a former Fox News host, has listed her Manhattan apartment for $4,999,000, the Daily Mail reported.

The former television personality purchased the three-bedroom unit in 2015, when she was employed by the news network. She paid $3.4 million for the place, according to the Mail.

Guilfoyle renovated the space after buying it, apparently transforming a showcase for taxidermy into an interior with sleek and modern spaces.

The apartment is located in The Beresford, a building from the late 1920s. You enter via a 28-foot-long gallery at the opening of the 2,400-square-foot “trophy residence,” as the listing calls it.

Foyer of Manhattan apartment

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Living room

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Dining room

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Chef’s kitchen

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Bedroom

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The gallery leads into blue-and-gray entertaining spaces. The living room has a wood-burning fireplace and tree-lined view and the updated dining room, in a powder-blue palette, has a modernistic chandelier.

The updated chef’s kitchen contains stainless-steel appliances, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Wolf stove, Miele dishwasher, and a large washer and dryer.

The three marble bathrooms include the marble master en suite, which has double sinks, a walk-in shower, clawfoot bathtub, walk-in closets, designer lighting, and custom built-in sound system.

Other details of the swanky space include 10-foot ceilings, crown moldings, hardwood floors, new soundproof windows, and central air conditioning.

Just next to Central Park on the Upper West Side, the iconic building, which was designed by Emery Roth, comes with 24-hour door attendants, elevator attendants, a private health club, private storage units, bike and laundry rooms, and security.

Guilfoyle left Fox News in 2018. An article in the New Yorker alleged that she left as a result of charges of sexual harassment against her, which she denies.

Since then, she’s served as an adviser for the Trump 2020 reelection campaign, delivering a speech at a memorably high volume at the Republican National Convention in August.

She began dating Donald Trump Jr. in mid-2018. The two purchased a home in the Hamptons together in 2019.

Carol Levy with Compass holds the listing.

The post Kimberly Guilfoyle Reportedly Selling Her NYC Apartment for $5M appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals a Sweet Upgrade We Should All Add by Our Front Door

Fixer to Fabulous

HGTV

“Fixer to Fabulous” has returned for Season 2—and its hosts, Jenny and Dave Marrs, have a lot at stake helping homeowners who are particularly eager to make their lake house feel like a restful respite.

In the HGTV series’ season premiere, “A New Lease on Life,” Dave and Jenny meet Troy and Melode, who are hoping to give their house on the lake some classic lake-house style.

While Jenny and Dave always want to deliver top-notch looks with their stylish renovations, this project is especially close to their hearts because Troy is recovering after having a brain tumor removed. The tumor had left him blind in one eye, and though he and his family are already doing well, Jenny and Dave want to give them one more reason to celebrate.

With a $310,000 renovation budget and six weeks to finish the home, these two need to work hard to make Troy and Melode’s dream house a reality.

Read on to find out how Dave and Jenny transform this plain abode into a stunning lake house, which might inspire a few new upgrades to your own home (whether it’s on the water or not).

A home’s exterior needs to fit its surroundings

house
Melode and Troy thought their house looked too plain.

HGTV

Melode and Troy love living by the lake, but they hate that their house doesn’t have a classic lake house look. So Jenny and Dave decide to give the home a traditional Nantucket lake house vibe by fixing up the exterior.

They add cedar siding, which brings warmth to the home. Then they install black horizontal railings to the new back deck, which give the house dimension without blocking the view of the water.

house
With new siding, this home looks like a true lake house.

HGTV

Of course, Troy and Melode love the new exterior. Once all the work is done, it looks like a modern take on the classic Nantucket lake house.

“Wow, it’s perfect in every way,” Melode says.

A custom entryway makes a house feel like a home

entrance
This detail really customizes the home.

HGTV

Jenny and Dave are taken by Troy’s story of recovery and are touched when he and Melode say that now they’re always trying to “seize the day.”

So, Jenny and Dave decide to surprise the homeowners by having “Carpe Diem” etched into the wood flooring in the entryway. This permanent welcome is fun and unique, and a special nod to Troy and Melode’s journey.

“Every time you walk in the front door—anytime anybody walks in your front door—your story starts right here,” Jenny says.

When Troy and Melode finally see the custom feature, they love how unique it is.

“It’s awesome—it’s something you don’t see every day,” Troy says.

White matte appliances create a high-end kitchen

kitchen
These white matte appliances make the space look even brighter.

HGTV

When Dave and Jenny first see the house, the kitchen is a blank canvas. The cabinets and appliances have already been removed, but even with the space completely open, the kitchen space feels small and dark.

So they decide to expand the kitchen and fill it with high-end design.

Jenny knows that Melode wants the kitchen to be filled with light colors, so she chooses light-blue cabinetry. Then, to bring in some white tones, she chooses white matte-finish appliances. To finish the kitchen, Jenny adds some light-wood open shelving.

In the end, the kitchen looks gorgeous. Jenny explains that she wanted to make this kitchen feel like the waterfront was brought inside, and with the blues, whites, and sandy-colored shelves, it looks just like the beautiful lake.

Bring some color into the bathroom

bathroom
This bathroom needed to be rearranged.

HGTV

Jenny and Dave work hard to make sure that the whole house is filled with light and bright features, but they decide to make a change when it comes to the bathroom. While many would choose light tiles for a bathroom, hoping to make this small space seem larger, Jenny and Dave still want to give Melode and Troy’s master bathroom some character.

“I picked this cement tile because the pattern is bold [but] still classic and just a little unexpected,” Jenny says of the black and white floor tile.

bathroom
These tiles bring some dimension to this otherwise white bathroom.

HGTV

When Troy and Melode finally see the bathroom, they’re overwhelmed by all the gorgeous details, from the new lighting to the glass shower to the large soaking tub. And they can’t help but notice the unique floor tile, too.

“I would never have thought about putting that color in here,” Melode says, “but it goes perfectly.”

Get creative with lighting fixtures

boat house
This canoe light feature adds some fun lake house style to the space.

HGTV

While the whole house looks beautiful, Jenny and Dave also lavish some attention on the boathouse, transforming it from a simple spot to dock the boat to a stylish hangout spot.

With hanging plants, bar stools, and even a sink to keep beers cold, this dock has all the amenities of a modern backyard. Still, this space is extra special because it’s on the water, so Dave wants to give it a nautical theme. He ends up repurposing an old canoe as a fun lighting feature.

When Dave and Jenny finally reveal the new boathouse, Troy loves it.

“We really wanted a place, like, where you could come down, get out of the sun, have a beer after you’ve been fishing,” Dave says. From the look on Troy’s face, this looks like a mission accomplished!

The post ‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals a Sweet Upgrade We Should All Add by Our Front Door appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Read the Tea Leaves and Brew Up a New Life at an $8.5M Tea Plantation on Kauai

Tea

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Steeped in gorgeous scenery, the dream life just might be—to borrow another pun—in the bag if you snap up this tea plantation for sale.

Because whatever you’re doing at the moment isn’t as intriguing as harvesting tea leaves and cultivating your own tea brand, right? If you require any additional enticement, this dream life is located on the lush and verdant north shore of Kauai.

On the market for $8,500,000 in the town of Kilauea, HI, Cloudwater Tea Farm was launched by a flight attendant (who studied abroad in Japan) and an architect, according to Fast Company.

Health and wellness have long been connected with Hawaii’s tourism industry, and this tea farm hits the spot. It’s one of Kauai’s two tea plantations (the other is Kauai Farmacy).

Former flight attendant Michelle Rose purchased the land and then planted Camellia sinensis (used to make tea leaves). Her partner in life and love, architect Parker Croft, designed the Zen-like, bungalow-style buildings dotting the property.

The 20 acre-spread straddles two parcels and comes with 1,500 feet of “flowing waterways that wind in and out and all around the home.” The main residence comprises four structures under one roof, all connected by lanais.

The offering includes two buildings, each with two bedrooms and baths; a two-story guesthouse; and plenty of outbuildings to store bulky items like kayaks, canoes, bicycles, and gardening equipment and tools.

The “flowing waterways” that cut through the property mean there’s no need to head to the beach: Numerous private swimming holes are on site.

Aerial view

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One of the homes on property

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Lanai

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View of property

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Kitchen

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One of the baths

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Fireplace

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One of the bedrooms

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Interior of one of the houses

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For a reduced price of $6,500,000—which is $2 million less than the asking price—one can purchase the home and 10 acres, but not the additional 10-acre lot. Finished in 2007, this property “can not be duplicated or built today,” the listing states.

In addition to the tea gardens, 25 clumping varieties of bamboo also grow on the property.

Mark Goodman of Oceanfront Sotheby’s International Realty is handling the listing.

The post Read the Tea Leaves and Brew Up a New Life at an $8.5M Tea Plantation on Kauai appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Wayne Gretzky Selling a $22.9M Mansion So Nice, He Bought It Twice

Wayne Gretzky Thousand Oaks mansion

realtor.com, Andy Devlin/NHLI/Getty

NHL legend Wayne Gretzky and his wife, Janet, have a soft spot for the sparkling estate they built with the help of architect Richard Landry back in 2002.

They created it, sold it, and bought it again. Now they’re selling the home for a second time. It’s on the market for $22,900,000.

After construction on the estate in the prestigious Sherwood Country Club community was completed, the couple enjoyed the Colonial Revival–style mansion for about five years. In 2007, they sold the 6.5-acre property to former baseball star Lenny Dykstra for $18,500,000.

Dykstra wound up losing the mansion in bankruptcy proceedings in 2010. The bank let it go at auction for a mere $760,712, with the buyer agreeing to pick up the nearly $12 million still owed on the property.

The lavish estate changed hands several times after Dykstra’s folly. In 2018, the Gretzkys purchased the property once again for $13,500,000.

“The Gretzkys built the house and understood the value of the property and the quality of the views and the finishes, so when the opportunity to purchase it came around, they didn’t hesitate,” says listing agent Arvin Haddad, of The Agency.

Sherwood Country Club manor

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The estate

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Why were the Gretzkys so enamored with the property? The grand estate really is one of a kind, even in its extremely ritzy environs. The luxe living space measures 13,276 square feet, divided among a main residence and two guesthouses. All in all, there are six bedrooms and eight baths.

Drone view

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Guesthouse

But the numbers don’t do justice to the elegant craftsmanship of the homes—from the gleaming wood floors to the marble surfaces to the elegantly coffered ceilings.

Entryway

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Then there are the awe-inspiring views. From almost every room in the home, you can soak in vistas of the Santa Monica Mountains and placid Lake Sherwood.

Views from the balcony

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Outdoor amenities include a championship tennis court, rolling lawns, manicured hedges, and a huge pool. There’s also a kitchen with a wood-burning pizza oven and barbecue. A circular motor court with a fountain and formal gardens offers an extra touch of extravagance.

Inside, the home is filled with elegant extras, among them a master suite with a sitting room, dual baths and closets, a private screening room, a fitness facility with a gym and spa, and a billiard room,

The large kitchen features a marble-topped island, high-end appliances, and a butler’s pantry.

Kitchen

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“The Sherwood Country Club is known for its privacy, security, and top-notch facilities,” explains Haddad, who also stars on CNBC’s “Listing Impossible.”

“The grass is from Wimbledon, the clay is from Roland-Garros, the golf course was designed by Jack Nicklaus,” Haddad continues. “The public and private schools are second to none.”

Gretzky, 59, starred for 20 seasons in the National Hockey League, from 1979 through 1999, and earned his nickname of “The Great One” for his extraordinary abilities on the ice. Considered the greatest player ever in the NHL, he won four Stanley Cups and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player nine times.

Since retiring, Gretzky has been involved in hockey team ownership and management. In 2016, he became a partner in and vice chairman of the Oilers Entertainment Group. He also owns restaurants, a winery, and a distillery.

The post Wayne Gretzky Selling a $22.9M Mansion So Nice, He Bought It Twice appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

U.S. Home Prices Rise at Fastest Pace in Two Years

A home for sale in Monterey Park, California

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The numbers: The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city price index posted a 5.2% year-over-year gain in August, up from revised 4.1% in the previous month, according to a report released by S&P Dow Jones Indices on Tuesday. The gain was in line with expectations of Wall Street economists surveyed by Econoday. On a monthly basis, the index increased 0.5 in August.

What happened: The separate national index released with the report noted a 5.7% increase in home prices across the U.S. over the past year. This is the fastest pace in more than two years.

The strength was consistent nationally. All of the 19 large cities tracked by Case-Shiller posted increases in housing prices in August.

A separate measure, the Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index, rose 1.5% in August and is up 8% year-on-year. That’s the fastest annual gain since March 2006.

Phoenix once again led all other markets nationwide with a 9.9% annual price gain in August, followed by Seattle with an 8.5% increase and San Diego with a 7.6% increase. Phoenix has been the strongest housing market for 15 months.

Big picture:  The housing sector is showing strength across the board resulting from a combination of low mortgage rates, rising demand, and shift in consumer preferences as a result of the pandemic.

What S&P Dow Indices says: “If future reports continue in this vein, we may soon be able to conclude that the COVID-related deceleration is far behind us,” said Craig Lazzara, global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

What are other economists saying: “We expect some moderation in home price growth in the fourth quarter as the pace of home sales cools in the face of a resurging pandemic and a faltering recovery,” said Nancy Vanden Houten, economist at Oxford Economics.

Market reaction: U.S. stock benchmarks opened lower Tuesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 121 points.

The post U.S. Home Prices Rise at Fastest Pace in Two Years appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees Selling $2.05M Townhome on Kauai

Drew Brees Princeville home

realtor.com, Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is looking to pass his townhome in Princeville, HI, to a buyer for $2.05 million.

The Super Bowl champ is no stranger to the real estate game. Purchased in 2007 for $2.26 million, the condo on the lush island of Kauai offers three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms spread across 2,864 square feet.

Located in a prime spot within the Ka’iulani development on the island’s north shore, the space boasts ocean and golf-course views.

Inside, the floor plan features two living areas, a dining area, and a kitchen with a center island, stainless-steel appliances, plentiful storage, eat-in area, and bar.

In addition, the layout includes a lanai and a patio area that looks out to the water.

Other details include 11-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and air conditioning. The grounds feature a resident manager, as well as tropical landscaping and a lighted walking path.

Residents also have access to three heated pools, a spa, two barbecue areas, and a covered pavilion.

Brees also owned another condo in Kauai, which he listed in 2015 for $1.75 million, the Los Angeles Times reported. The NFL star purchased the place in 2006 for the slightly higher price of $1.76 million.

The investment property had been on the short-term rental market for $351 a night for a three-night minimum, according to NOLA.com. The 1,752-square-foot abode with panoramic views offered two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, breakfast bar, and an ocean-facing lanai.

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Watch: Cam Newton Is Selling This Crazy Deluxe Condo in NC as He Heads to Boston

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Stateside, the QB and his wife, Brittany, also let go of a Southern California home in Carmel Valley, CA, last year.

After the perk-packed property was listed last year for $2.6 million, the home found a buyer within a month. The floor plan boasted a billiard-room, wet bar, casita with steam room and sauna, as well as a putting green, pool, and spa.

The couple also own a four-bedroom, two-story home in New Orleans, which they picked up in 2006 for $1.6 million and reportedly renovated themselves. The over 10,000-square-foot spread includes a huge kitchen, solarium, living and dining rooms, den, wine cellar, as well as an outdoor pool.

Recently, the four-bedroom Austin, TX, home where Brees grew up came on the market for $1.89 million.

Starting his career with the San Diego Chargers in 2001, Brees signed with the Saints in 2006, and has been in the Big Easy ever since.

Along with a Super Bowl championship, he has records in passing yards and 300-yard games, and holds the NFL records for career pass completions, career pass attempts, career completion percentage, and career passing yards.

Nathan Smith with Corcoran Pacific Properties-Kauai holds the listing.

The post New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees Selling $2.05M Townhome on Kauai appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

9 Surprising Things Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover: Do You Know Them All?

home insurance

tiero / Getty Images

Whether your home is hit by lightning, hail, or some other calamity, you’ll be awfully glad you have a home insurance policy in place to help foot the cost of repairs.

Yet while homeowner insurance typically covers a variety of common hazards that can befall your home, don’t get too confident, because it may not cover every mishap that may come your way.

The exact instances that are and aren’t covered by a typical home insurance plan depend entirely on the details of your policy—and, contrary to what you may think, each policy is different.

“Insurance policies are like snowflakes; no two are exactly the same,” says Ashleigh Cloud Trent, an insurance adviser with Swingle Collins and Associates in Dallas.

Generally speaking, most home insurance policies cover natural disasters, certain crimes, and accidents. Think: Wind and hail, dog bites, theft and vandalism, snowstorms, burst pipes. Beyond that general framework, however, there’s no blanket guarantee you’ll be covered.

In our latest installment of our Home Buyer’s Guide to Home Insurance, we’ll flag certain things that most standard policies exclude. Don’t bank on your insurance company footing the bill for the following unfortunate situations.

1. Does home insurance cover floods?

If the “flood” you speak of is a puddle of water from a burst pipe, yes, insurance should cover it.

But if the flood is due to excessive rain, a hurricane, or an overflowing river, most standard home insurance won’t cover it. (The National Flood Insurance Program defines flooding as “an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties.”)

“Many homeowners don’t realize that flood damage is not covered under typical home insurance policies,” says Amy Danise, chief insurance analyst at Forbes Advisor.

“With many parts of the U.S experiencing floods, this is one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make.”

With both floods and earthquakes (more on that below), the damage caused by these natural disasters can be so extensive that private insurance companies can’t afford to provide coverage for all (or will only provide costly policies to select homeowners).

Luckily, though, the federal government has stepped in, and is now the primary seller of flood insurance.

If you live in an area that’s prone to floods, you’ll want to purchase this additional flood insurance. This is especially true since flooding tends to cause expensive damage—even 1 inch of floodwater can result in $25,000 in repairs, on average. So don’t buy a home in a flood-prone zone without it!

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Watch: 5 Surprising Things That Can Jack Up Your Home Insurance Rates

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2. Does home insurance cover earthquakes?

If you live in an area with earthquakes, you’ll need to purchase additional insurance here, too.

Most insurance companies offer special earthquake policies or, if you live in California, you can purchase it from the California Earthquake Authority (most Californians live within 30 miles of an active fault line, so it makes sense to do so).

Your insurance company may offer you a discount or even a rebate when you pay for certain improvements that help your home better withstand earthquakes.

3. Does home insurance cover water leaks?

It depends. Damage caused by slow leaks—technically “seepage and leakage”—can be denied coverage. Water damage has to be “sudden and accidental,” explains Trent.

“A prime example is a client whose contractor nicked a pipe behind a wall. The pipe was connected to a seldom used guest bathroom, so nobody noticed the leak,” he recalls.

“When they rented out the home years later, the tenants called a few months later, to report that the floorboards were warping.”

The slow leak caused $25,000 in damage—and the homeowner insurance didn’t pay out a nickel.

4. Does home insurance cover mold?

This depends on what caused the mold to appear. A policy might cover mold if it’s the result of a “covered peril,” such as water damage from a burst water heater or firefighters dousing flames on your home.

However, mold won’t be covered if it was caused by perils outside your policy, such as flooding (see above), or preventable ongoing problems, like a slow water leak or high humidity.

5. Does home insurance cover sewer and drain backups?

If the sewer backs up and fills your house with water, you might have to clean up the mess yourself—and on your own dime.

“In a lot of places, when there’s serious rain, the sewers and drains can back up into people’s homes,” says Trent. “Not all policies will cover that.”

6. Does home insurance cover wear and tear?

Sorry, your home insurance policy also won’t pay for damage caused by normal wear and tear.

They’re there for actual emergencies that can’t be avoided, not damage that could easily have been prevented. So make sure not to neglect little problems at home that could balloon into bigger problems later on!

7. Does home insurance cover damage from renovations?

A lot of homeowners don’t realize they need to take out a specific renovation policy if they’re doing major work, even if the contractor has a builder’s risk policy.

According to Trent, the builder’s risk policy covers only new construction, not the existing structure.

“It’s OK if you’re just doing cosmetic updates; but if you’re taking the roof off, that’s more than a standard homeowners’ policy is designed to protect,” she says.

Even if the house is a tear-down, a renovation policy will cover any liability issues for people who wander onto the property and get hurt.

“If someone gets hurt on the property, you’re liable,” she explains. “If neighborhood kids are playing around in the empty house, that’s your liability.”

8. Does home insurance cover historically accurate repairs?

If you live in a landmark area and you need permission from the historical society to make changes to your home, there might be a cap on how much your insurance will pay to fix a problem. And the historical society might dictate the kinds of material you must use on your home, no matter how expensive it is.

“A hailstorm decimated all of these historic homes in Dallas recently,” says Trent. “What should have been a $9,000 vinyl siding repair ended up costing homeowners $90,000, because the historical society insisted they use” a specific type of shingle. A typical policy would not have made up that difference.

9. Does home insurance cover acts of war?

“If the U.S. government determines we are at war, and your home is destroyed as a result of the war, you will not be covered,” says John Espenschied, agency principal at InsuranceBrokersGroup.com. Destruction from acts of terrorism, however, is generally covered.

The post 9 Surprising Things Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover: Do You Know Them All? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

The Biggest Myths About Moving to the Suburbs—Busted

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For generations, people have been drawn to big-city life by the irresistible lure of career opportunities, cultural riches, and the sheer excitement of rubbing shoulders with hundreds of thousands—even millions—of people doing varied and interesting things.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, and suddenly, those tiny apartments, public transportation, and crowded public spaces lost their appeal. Many city dwellers fled their densely populated confines.

According to a study by MyMove.com that analyzed U.S. Postal Service data, during the first six months of the pandemic, big cities lost the most people.

New York City, with the country’s largest population at more than 8.5 million, experienced the highest losses. More than 110,000 residents left the city from February to July of this year.

That’s 487% more than the number of people who left New York during the same period in 2019. And where did many of these people relocating set their sights? Smaller towns and suburbs.

In fact, as people snap up homes in the suburbs, housing inventories in those areas are dwindling faster than in urban areas, according to realtor.com®’s September Urban vs. Suburban Growth Report.

Currently, inventory is down 34.3% year over year in urban areas, while suburban inventory has declined 41.2%.

But despite all this, city dwellers are often hesitant to leave the hustle and bustle behind. Lifelong urbanites may feel that moving to the suburbs is accepting defeat, and they may have lingering assumptions about what they’ll gain—and lose—by moving from a big city to a smaller town.

“People believe moving from the city is an isolating experience where neighbors are distant, nightlife is dull, and cultural experience is lacking,” says Lisa Collins, a licensed real estate salesperson for Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in New York.

But that’s not always the case. Below, we bust some of the biggest myths about buying and owning a home in the suburbs.

Myth No. 1: Real estate is less expensive in the suburbs

Historically, the average listing price of an urban home has been higher than a suburban home. But these days, don’t expect to hit the suburbs for a bargain.

During the pandemic, listing prices in the suburbs have actually grown at a faster rate than in cities, according to realtor.com.

Currently, the median listing price of suburban properties within the 10 largest metros is growing by 5.2% year over year. In urban areas, the growth rate is only 2.4%.

That’s true in Fairfield County, CT, where prices have risen an average of 33% since September 2019, according to Debbie Rehr, a licensed real estate salesperson for Compass Westport in Westport, CT.

Rehr, who lives in Weston, CT, says this area is only an hour’s drive from New York City and is attracting attorneys, financiers, entrepreneurs, and other affluent professionals looking for places to live, relax, and raise children.

Myth No. 2: The suburbs are boring

Moving to the suburbs means giving up all kinds of fun activities and resigning yourself to a boring, lonely existence in the middle of nowhere, right? Wrong!

In March 2020, Wendy Silverstein left New York City with her husband for Columbia County—about 120 miles to the north, closer to Albany—to stay in their cottage on a lake. She was wary that small-town life would be too slow, too quiet, and there would be a dearth of things to do.

Instead, she was pleasantly surprised by the activities available, and she’s adjusted to the different pace of life. In her time there, she says she’s discovered delicious farm stand offerings and terrific markets.

“There are lots of interesting neighbors and opportunities to meet people,” says Silverstein. “I love the quiet, and you can drive into small towns and small cities for interaction.”

Collins, who lives about 20 miles north of New York City in Larchmont, says the pandemic has brought together many neighbors who are now working from home, for a new network of socializing and support.

“Our neighbors are gifted artists, musicians, writers, and teachers,” she says. “During the pandemic, our neighborhood created an outdoor movie night so that kids can socially distance and have fun.”

Also, being in the suburbs often means you’re closer to the great outdoors.

“Just outside of town, you can go apple picking in orchards and wine tasting at vineyards,” says Collins. “Skiing at a small mountain can be as close as an hour away.”

Myth No. 3: There’s no culture

Leaving the big city means you’re no longer down the street (or a short subway ride from) world-famous museums, Michelin-starred restaurants, and other great cultural resources. But it turns out, the suburbs give cities a run for their money.

“I think many transplants are surprised with how much good food, wine, public schools, health and wellness, shopping—even high-end fashion—is right in town,” says Rehr.

Collins says the reality is that the suburbs north of New York City are vibrant. The towns of Larchmont, Mamaroneck, and Rye, for example, have many restaurants, shopping, kids’ activities, and cultural experiences within walking distance or within a short bike ride or drive away.

“There are hiking trails nearby, outdoor music on weekends, and our local colleges and high schools have educational and cultural programs to experience,” says Collins.

Even during a pandemic, Silverstein says there is an incredible amount of culture where she lives.

“Towns nearby are becoming more and more interesting, with bookstores, food stores, and art exhibits,” she says.

Myth No. 4: The commute will be a nightmare

Those thinking of moving to the suburbs but keeping their jobs based in the city might be apprehensive about a hellish commute. It might not be as much of a slog as you’d think, though.

“Work in midtown Manhattan? In Larchmont, you can take a quick drive or walk to the train station. The Metro-North train gets you to Grand Central Station in 35 minutes,” says Collins.

There’s also faster job growth in the suburbs, so you might end up finding work closer to home. Some 32% of U.S. jobs are in the suburbs of large metropolitan areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

In addition, remote work is likely to be here to stay even after COVID-19.

A study by the research and advisory company Gartner found that 82% of business leaders say their organizations plan to let employees continue to work from home at least some of the time, while 47% plan to allow employees to do so permanently.

The post The Biggest Myths About Moving to the Suburbs—Busted appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

NAR Releases 2021 Statistical & Forecast News Release Schedule

2021 Statistical & Forecast News Release Schedule

The time for all news releases in this schedule will be 10:00 a.m. Eastern.
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Troy Green 202-383-1042