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Hot Property: Producer's done, after a long run

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Jerry Bruckheimer can call it a wrap in Brentwood. The prolific film and television producer, whose credits include the "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "CSI" franchises, has sold his architectural home in the Westside neighborhood for $11.5 million.

Set on three-quarters of an acre, the pristine International-style home was ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Refinancing in a time of rising rates and property values, part 2

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While rising interest rates have sharply reduced the number of mortgage borrowers who can refinance into a lower rate, rising home prices create opportunities for some borrowers to refinance into mortgages that are less costly in other respects.

One possibility, discussed in a previous column, is to refinance a mortgage carrying mortgage ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Refinancing in a time of rising rates and property values, part 2

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

While rising interest rates have sharply reduced the number of mortgage borrowers who can refinance into a lower rate, rising home prices create opportunities for some borrowers to refinance into mortgages that are less costly in other respects.

One possibility, discussed in a previous column, is to refinance a mortgage carrying mortgage ...Read more

Corktown: Will Ford's move transform inner-city neighborhood, and with it Detroit?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DETROIT -- In 1979, Jerry Esters was working on the roof of a property he had inherited from his father in North Corktown when he had an epiphany: He could see downtown. First the train station, then the downtown skyline.

The property at 14th and Perry had been in the family for years, but as Esters sat perched on the shingles, he couldn't help...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Should I rely on lender-placed insurance or get my own?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We have let our mortgage lender choose our hazard insurance for our home. Although it was more expensive, we figured that if our lender picked it, then it must be great coverage. A friend just told me this is not the case. What is the truth? -- Frank

A: This type of homeowner's insurance coverage is known as "force-placed" or "lender-placed"...Read more

High cost of housing drives up homeless rates, UCLA study indicates

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Sky-high housing costs are a significant factor behind California's homeless crisis, according to a new analysis from UCLA.

In a study contained in the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, released Wednesday, UCLA found that higher median rent and home prices are strongly correlated with more people living on the streets or in shelters. The research ...Read more

This Argentine family visited Miami in 2001 — and changed the city forever

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

MIAMI -- It was supposed to be an ordinary, weeklong business trip.

But after Jose Luis Ferreira de Melo and his sons Carlos and Martin -- the president and two principals of the Argentine real estate developer Melo Group -- spent a few days in Miami in 2001, they saw so much untapped potential in one downtown neighborhood they decided they ...Read more

Susan Tompor: How to plan for next round of Fed interest rate hikes

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The easy money officially ends Wednesday, as interest rates, much like summer temps, heat up once again.

It's a "slam-dunk" that the Federal Reserve will increase rates by a quarter point after its meeting this week, according to Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics.

And it's likely we're in for two more quarter-point hikes in ...Read more

Hot Property: Off the block with a quick move

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Joey McIntyre won't be hanging tough on this block anymore. The singer-songwriter of New Kids on the Block fame has sold his renovated home in the historic Hancock Park section of Los Angeles for $5.84 million.

The traditional-style home, designed by architect Paul Williams, appears to have been in high demand. The property sold ...Read more

Come for the workout, stay for the shopping: As retailers struggle, malls look to gyms to fill space

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOMBARD, Ill. -- While mall walkers strolled Yorktown Center's quiet corridors before most shops opened Monday morning, a handful of visitors in search of a tougher workout strode straight from their cars to the fitness studios along the Lombard mall's western side.

Shopping centers used to shun gyms and workout studios, believing clients would...Read more

Baby bust: Bay Area housing prices go up, births go down

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Sarah Low always figured she'd have her first baby, and own her own home, by the time she turned 30.

Instead, she's 32 and living in a rented house in Hayward, Calif., with her husband and two roommates. There's no room -- or money -- for kids.

"At this point, if we had a child there'd be nowhere to put it," Low said. "No bedrooms left."

A ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: My shutters were installed 15 years ago. Can board make me replace them now?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We purchased our condo 15 years ago with hurricane shutters already installed. The new property manager is saying that there is no Architectural Approval form for the shutters in our file and we may be compelled to take them down. Since nothing was told to us about the shutters for 15 years, I believe that the shutters were approved but the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Refinancing in a time of rising rates, property values

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With interest rates no longer at rock-bottom levels, few borrowers still have an opportunity to profit by refinancing into a lower interest rate. However, the escalation of house prices in many areas raises the possibility of profitable refinances directed to lowering other costs.

For example, borrowers who purchased mortgage insurance when ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Refinancing in a time of rising rates, property values

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With interest rates no longer at rock-bottom levels, few borrowers still have an opportunity to profit by refinancing into a lower interest rate. However, the escalation of house prices in many areas raises the possibility of profitable refinances directed to lowering other costs.

For example, borrowers who purchased mortgage insurance when ...Read more

For Vanguard employees' own retirement fund, the firm will no longer offer its signature S&P 500 index fund

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

At Vanguard, which popularized the S&P 500 index funds, workers will no longer be able to choose that option in their 401(k) retirement plan.

The S&P 500 index fund, one of the low-cost examples of passive investing that put the firm on the investing map, will be dropped this month from the mutual fund giant's menu of options for its employees'...Read more

Lottery and other prize scams cost Americans millions in losses, BBB says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

An investigative study of prize and lottery scams found that between 2015 and 2017, more than 500,000 scams resulting in more than $344 million in losses were reported in the U.S. and Canada, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Included in the BBB's findings was the case of Ted Ruppert, a St. Louis area man in his 80s who lost nearly $8 ...Read more

A farewell to Tribune Tower and a shout-out to its architects

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Deadlines focus the eye as well as the mind.

As Chicago Tribune journalists prepare to leave Tribune Tower on Friday, I find my eyes roaming over the tower's flamboyant neo-Gothic silhouette and its innumerable alluring details, like a sculpture of a wise old owl who clutches a camera and symbolizes the powers of careful observation. These last...Read more

Foreign buyers no longer finding deals in California real estate

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DeLeon Realty used to shuttle Chinese investors on home tours around Silicon Valley in a 14-seat Mercedes van.

But when the flow of Asian investors slowed about two years ago, the Palo Alto brokerage replaced the van with a couple of sedans -- a Bentley and a Maybach -- to cater to a new, smaller class of wealthier clients.

"We sold the bus," ...Read more

Chicago has more underwater homes than any other U.S. metro area, report finds

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- Conversations about the current housing market often have good news/bad news scenarios.

Case in point, a recent report from Zillow, the real estate website, shows the share of homeowners across the country who are underwater on their mortgage is 9.1 percent, falling below 10 percent for the first time since the housing market ...Read more

'Big blow' marks end for celebrated Seattle glass studio set to make way for apartments

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- It's a delicate, dangerous and blazing-hot dance being orchestrated by Seattle glass sculptor Martin Blank.

He wears a Kevlar apron and leather gloves to protect from the sweltering heat radiating from ovens used to store and shape glass art. He weaves expertly among a team of artists he has assembled in his South Lake Union shop, ...Read more

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