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We’re just days away from the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first of the franchise’s sequel series picking up three decades after the fall of the Galactic Empire. While we anxiously await lightsaber duels and starfighter battles (and new planets!), we’re tapping into our own Jedi powers to rank some of the most iconic homes in the galaxy.
5. Theed Royal Palace
Atop a cliff in Naboo’s capital city, the Royal Palace was modeled after the real-life Marin County Civic Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright—regrettably not a long time ago, nor in a galaxy far, far away. The interior is actually the Palace of Caserta (Italy’s answer to Versailles), with 1,200 rooms, a library and a theater, all overlooking a garden blooming on nearly 300 acres.
What’s it worth? Based on approximations for the French landmark and the Civic Center, the palace and its many watch towers could fetch up to $2 billion if it ever went to market.
4. Hutt Castle
Otherwise known as Jabba’s Palace, this durasteel monastery-turned-crime lord retreat offers unobstructed views of Tatooine’s Dune Sea. Powered by energy produced at an in-house facility, the castle features a tower with spiral staircase and holoprojector, an elevator with a capacity for Hutts and polished stone floors throughout.
The real selling point? A pit below the throne room perfect for a pet rancor.
3. Ewok Tree Hut
Nestled more than 150 feet above ground on the Forest Moon of Endor, these treetop huts form Bright Tree...
Set amid towering pines, this contemporary-style wood-and-stone mountain lodge sits on 1 1/2 acres along Lake Arrowhead. A walkway leads across the lawn to a sandy beach and two docks. Inside, a dramatic two-story-plus living room has vaulted beamed ceilings, a wall of windows and a massive stone fireplace.
Location: 463 Sky View Ridge Drive, Lake Arrowhead 92352
Asking price: $9.997 million
Year built: 2009
House size: Eight bedrooms, 10 full bathrooms, two powder rooms, about 12,000 square feet
Lot size: 1.54 acres
Features: Open-plan kitchen with center island and breakfast area, media room, gym, game room, inside play area with built-in trampoline, nine fireplaces, wood floors throughout, sports court
About the area: Last year, 469 single-family homes sold in the 92352 ZIP Code at a median price of $311,000, according to CoreLogic. That was an 11% price increase from 2013.
Agent: Vicki Smith, (909) 499-9639, Coldwell Banker Sky Ridge
WASHINGTON (December 1, 2015) – The conference agreement for a multi-year surface transportation authorization was released in Congress this week, with both the U.S. House and Senate set to vote on the measure in the days ahead.
The bill funds several highway and transit-related projects, with monies coming from a variety of sources.
National Association of Realtors® President Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida, praised sections of the legislation that are important to strengthening neighborhoods and promoting safety, and in particular, applauded the decision not to use guarantee fees, or g-fees, from government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as a funding mechanism.
Following is a statement from Mr. Salomone:
“The multiyear transportation bill moving through Congress is a win across the board, making critical investments in America’s infrastructure.
“NAR is pleased at the emphasis placed on safety and alternative transportation options to strengthen neighborhoods, improve property values and make non-motorized transportation, like sidewalks and bike lanes, a priority.
“Moreover, this legislation recognizes the value of homeownership and the need to protect future homeowners from unnecessary costs. NAR applauds the conference committee for standing with the homeowners of today and tomorrow.
“We hope to see this conference report win swift approval, so communities around the country can reap the benefits as soon as possible.”
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
WASHINGTON (November 30, 2015) — Pending home sales were mostly unchanged in October, but shifted marginally higher after two straight months of declines, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Gains in the Northeast and West were offset by declines in the Midwest and South.
The Pending Home Sales Index,* a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, inched 0.2 percent to 107.7 in October from an upwardly revised 107.5 in September and is now 3.9 percent above October 2014 (103.7). The index has increased year-over-year for 14 consecutive months.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says pending sales have plateaued this fall as buyers struggle to overcome a scant number of available homes for sale and prices that are rising too fast in some markets. "Contract signings in October made the most strides in the Northeast, which hasn't seen much of the drastic price appreciation1 and supply constraints that are occurring in other parts of the country," he said. "In the most competitive metro areas – particularly those in the South and West – affordability concerns remain heightened as low inventory continues to drive up prices."
According to Yun, although contract activity has slightly trended downward since the spring, the ongoing strengthening of several local job markets continues to fuel the improved demand for buying that has now pushed existing-sales above a 5 million sales pace for eight consecutive months.
"Areas that are heavily reliant on oil-related jobs are the exception and have already started to see some softness in sales because of declining energy prices," adds Yun.
Yun presented his 2016 economic outlook and housing forecast earlier this month at the 2015 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Diego. With demand expected to remain stable through the final two months of the year, he forecasts existing-home sales to finish 2015 at a pace of 5.30 million – the highest since 2006.
Although further expansion in existing-sales is expected next year, ongoing inventory shortages and affordability pressures from rising prices and mortgage rates will likely temper sales growth to around 3 percent (5.45 million) in 2016. Home prices are expected to slightly moderate from a 6 percent increase in 2015 to 5 percent next year.
"Unless sizeable supply gains occur for new and existing homes, prices and rents will continue to exceed wages into next year and hamstring a large pool of potential buyers trying to buy a home," says Yun.
The PHSI in the Northeast rose 4.5 percent to 93.6 in October, and is now 6.8 percent above a year ago. In the Midwest the index declined 1.0 percent to 103.9 in October, but remains 3.3 percent above October 2014.
Pending home sales in the South decreased 1.7 percent to an index of 118.1 in October and are now 0.3 percent below last October. The index in the West climbed 1.7 percent in October to 106.2, and is 10.4 percent above a year ago.
The National Association of Realtors®, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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1The median home price in the Northeast in October was $248,900, up only 1.3 percent from a year ago. The other three major regions had price gains higher than 5 percent.
*The Pending Home Sales Index is a leading indicator for the housing sector, based on pending sales of existing homes. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed, though the sale usually is finalized within one or two months of signing.
The index is based on a large national sample, typically representing about 20 percent of transactions for existing-home sales. In developing the model for the index, it was demonstrated that the level of monthly sales-contract activity parallels the level of closed existing-home sales in the following two months.
An index of 100 is equal to the average level of contract activity during 2001, which was the first year to be examined. By coincidence, the volume of existing-home sales in 2001 fell within the range of 5.0 to 5.5 million, which is considered normal for the current U.S. population.
NOTE: NAR's new quarterly Homeownership Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) Survey will be released December 16, Existing-Home Sales for November will be released December 22, and the next Pending Home Sales Index will be December 30; release times are 10:00 a.m. EST.