Cape Cod sales breaking records; Seattle’s holdout “Up” house on the market and more

Snapshots of real estate news from around the country
By Andrea Cetra and Ariel Stulberg | May 01, 2015 07:00AM
Edith Macefield's "Up" home

Edith Macefield’s “Up” home in Seattle

Cape Cod

Vacation home sales are breaking records on Cape Cod, part of a national boom in second home buying fueled by high stock prices and low interest rates. Single-family home sales in Barnstable County, which encompasses the Cape, were up 11 percent in February compared with the previous year. Total sales in Massachusetts gained just 0.7 percent over the same period. Similar trends prevailed in other vacation property markets like the Hamptons, Lake Tahoe and Miami, according to Bloomberg Business. Nationally, sales of vacation properties were up 57 percent in 2014, to a total of 1.13 million transactions, 21 percent of all transactions for the year, the highest proportion since the National Association of Realtors started counting in 2003. Larry Yun, NAR chief economist, attributed the rise to increased confidence and purchasing power among the affluent, and to Baby Boomers buying second homes for retirement.

Seattle

Even if a prospective buyer would like to live in one of the country’s most famous development holdouts, it may be demolished. Seattle resident Edith Macefield became a legend in 2006 when she refused to sell her 600-square-foot bungalow in the Ballard neighborhood, despite a $1 million offer. Dubbed the “Up” house by fans for its resemblance to the home in the 2009 Disney movie, visitors often leave balloons on the fence outside in homage. Macefield died in 2008 at age 86, and the home, which is now surrounded by a large commercial building, went into foreclosure. North Carolina-based investment management company American IRA took control of the site earlier this year and put the property on the market, the New York Times reported. It may be torn down regardless of the buyer, as zoning restricts residences from remaining in commercial districts.

Cleveland

The city’s commercial real estate market has turned around dramatically since 2011, opening up opportunities for businesses looking for property. Citing a Cushman & Wakefield/Cresco Real Estate survey, Cleveland.com reported the recovery has led to increased property values and interest from outside investors. Improved market confidence is also playing a role. The strengthening economy is expected to increase demand for industrial property nationwide through 2015, and the industry is expected to return to pre-Great Recession levels of growth by 2016, according to the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks. In Northeast Ohio, estimates say property values will increase between 4 and 5 percent, and rents will outpace home values by the end of the year.

Park City, Utah

Foreign investors are being drawn to Park City’s charm — or more likely to Vail Resorts’ presence in town. The company’s Epic Vail Pass works at Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort, where visitors are finding that Park City offers a prime location for ski homes. Visitors from Europe, South America, and Mexico are skiing for $729 a week at the resorts in the city. And brokers are reporting that many of these visitors are deciding to return to the area, putting down cash on ski homes where the current median price of a single-family home is 12 percent below peak values. However, this new interest amid generally low inventory might raise area prices, pushing out local buyers.

Hawaii

Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts listed her Hanalei, Hawaii, home for $29.85 million. The two-acre, 3,792-square-foot property located on 200 feet of beach frontage boasts seven bedrooms and four full baths. In its earliest days, the house was owned by Hans Faye Peter, a well-known Garden Isle sugar plantation manager.

Tom Cruise Hollywood Hills House

Tom Cruise and his Hollywood Hills home

Hollywood Hills

Tom Cruise is offering his European-style villa for $13 million. The 2.75-acre property overlooks the city and features floor to ceiling glass, an Italian farm-style kitchen, wide-plank oak floors and Venetian plaster walls. There’s also a four-bedroom guest house, as well as a patio, bridge, lagoon-style heated pool, spa and waterfall.

Ohio

Mike Tyson’s 58-acre former palace, now abandoned, was bought by The Living Word Sanctuary church. The congregation spent $750,000 on the 33,000-square-foot property although the land was valued at $1.3 million in 1999. The space will be converted into a place of worship, replacing an indoor boxing glove-shaped swimming pool with a sanctuary.

Manhattan Beach

“New Girl” star Zooey Deschanel purchased a 5,166-square-foot home with her fiancé for $4.6 million. The quasi-Cape Cod/Colonial-style home is newly built and includes six bedrooms, a large kitchen and built-in wine storage.