Homes sales up, prices down in San Fernando Valley:In yet another encouraging sign for the Valley's housing market, sales increased 13 percent in May from a year ago, one of the best performances since late 2009, a Realtor association said Friday. Last month 567 previously owned houses changed owners, 66 more than in May 2011, said the Van Nuys-based Southland Regional Association of Realtors. Sales increased 11 percent from 512 in April. "I think we're finally starting to see the increase in activity ... we've been hearing about the last couple of months," said Jim Link, the association's CEO. The median price of a Valley home fell 6 percent to $375,000 last month from $399,000 a year ago and in April. Home sales figures released Thursday by the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at Cal State Northridge showed a 25 percent jump in sales last month. The center tracks the market from Glendale through Calabasas. The Realtors figures cover Toluca Lake through Calabasas.
Oprah Winfrey’s House: The Former Queen of Entertainment Settles for a Less Than Royal Sale Price:The 4,600 square foot, 13-room apartment was purchased by Ms. Winfrey in 2006 for just over $5.5 million dollars. Fast forward to 2012, and Oprah Winfrey’s house was recently put back on the market (after a previous failed attempt in 2008) for a mere $2.8 million. The abode on East Lake Shore Drive has multiple foyers, a solarium, a butler’s pantry, a room entirely devoted to wine storage, a breakfast nook, an office, a terrace, high ceilings, stunning views of the water, and three bedrooms. It is one of three properties Ms. Winfrey owns currently, and the least used of the three, hence her decision to offload it. Though she is not as powerful as she once was, it would still be kind of cool to boast that you now own Oprah Winfrey’s house. here was a time when you were definitely the queen of, well, just about everything. You could make a movie a hit, a book a bestseller, and a minor celebrity into a major one, just by turning your attention their way. Your retirement party brought out every entertainment giant of the last two decades. You made headlines when you launched your own magazine, and then your own network, and for all intents and purposes you looked to be made of gold. However, the magazine has only done so-so, and the network is struggling. While your talk show is missed, two or three other “gabfests” have happily sucked up your large afternoon audience, and are now doing better than ever. While you are still a prolific and successful producer, Oprah, sadly, your star has seemed to dim somewhat. Which may be the reason you are having so much trouble selling your apartment. If anyone out there is looking for a place, Oprah Winfrey’s house is now on sale for half of its original price.
Arnold Schwarzenegger made a $65000 down payment on a house for his ex-housekeeper Mildred Patricia Baena:Arnold Schwarzenegger made a $65,000 down payment on a house for his ex-housekeeper Mildred Patricia Baena less than a year before he admitted to fathering her child. According to loan doents, Arnold made the "gift" payments in two installments from his own personal bank account one for $5,000 in April 2010 and one for $60,000 in May 2010. According to the docs, the money was used to secure a loan for Patty's house in Bakersfield, CA -- where she currently lives with Arnold's 13-year-old love child. The purchase price of the house was $268,000 -- so Arnold's down payment covered nearly a quarter of the total cost.