The Hell of Living in a Home With Any Celebrity Connection | Kanebridge News
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The Hell of Living in a Home With Any Celebrity Connection

Move over, Graceland. Thanks to social media and Google maps, even mildly famous houses now get tons of visitors—some owners get a kick out of it.

By CANDACE TAYLOR
Tue, Aug 8, 2023 8:34amGrey Clock 4 min

NEW YORK—It’s a Tuesday evening on Cornelia Street, a side street in Manhattan’s West Village. A little after 6 p.m., 17-year-old Lily Posner and her grandmother stroll down the street and come to a stop about half way down the block. There, they start snapping photos of a brick house.

Posner, clad in a grey hoodie and carrying a shopping bag, explains she is a “very big fan” of Taylor Swift, who rented the house around 2016 and immortalised it in her song “Cornelia Street.” A Vermont resident, Posner spent the day shopping and sightseeing before stopping by to get a glimpse of Swift’s former abode.

Though the singer never owned the house and only lived there for a brief time, Posner’s enthusiasm is undimmed; she calls the Cornelia Street visit a highlight of their trip. “I love the song,” she says. “It’s iconic.” As she speaks, another pair of fans arrive at the house to take photos.

A few blocks away, a similar scene is unfolding in front of 66 Perry Street, a brownstone that appeared as the home of Carrie Bradshaw in the TV series “Sex and the City.” Never mind that the series ended in 2004: Every few minutes, another group meanders down the tree-lined street to snap photos of the house. A chain strung across the stoop bears a “Private Property: No Trespassing” sign as well as instructions to keep voices down and stay off the steps.

Step aside, Graceland. These days, a home doesn’t have to be especially famous to get a steady stream of curious—and sometimes pushy—visitors. Thanks to social media and Google maps, homes that are even moderately well-known can now be inundated with people eager to take selfies or relive on-screen moments. This can come as a surprise to the homeowners, who find themselves fielding requests for tours or overhearing impromptu singalongs.

“Now because everything is online, anybody who has a passing interest can find out exactly where it is in about five minutes,” says Erika de Santis, who owns the Redding, Conn., house where Mark Twain died. She says the number of so-called Twainiacs stopping by to see her home has steadily increased in recent years.

In Albuquerque, N.M., owners of the house that served as the home of Walter White in “Breaking Bad” erected a fence around the property after fans kept throwing pizzas on the roof, in homage to a pivotal scene in the show. When Compass real-estate agent Larissa Petrovic recently showed Swift’s former Cornelia Street home to potential buyers, she says they were shocked by the number of people photographing it. They didn’t make an offer.

Real-estate agent Danny Brown of Compass has the listing for the Los Angeles house that served as the exterior of the home on “The Brady Bunch.” His client, HGTV, renovated the interiors to match the sitcom’s set, and put it on the market in May for $5.5 million. “It’s been bonkers, with nonstop showing requests,” Brown says. Most aren’t from serious buyers, but people simply trying to get a look inside. Recently, potential buyers came dressed in “full ‘70s retro-wear,” Brown says. While they were touring the home, two women stood outside for 20 minutes singing the show’s theme song. The potential buyers headed outside to join the serenade. “It was a whole chorus of five or six people singing the theme song,” Brown says. “That’s the sort of crazy stuff that happens in front of this house.”

The house is now in contract and set to close in a few weeks, he says.

In 2017, John and Katie Tashjian bought the South Carolina house where the ‘80s movie “The Big Chill” was filmed. When they bought the circa-1850s house, it was in disrepair and still had two sets in it from the filming of the movie, says John Tashjian, a real-estate developer. The couple embarked on a three-year renovation before moving in full-time.

The home is a local landmark. Still, they were taken aback by the number and persistence of visitors. Every weekday some 25 to 50 people stop by and twice that many on weekends, John Tashjian says. In addition to snapping photos, many belt out songs from “The Big Chill,” especially “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people singing ‘Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog’ like it’s some kind of old-time revival,” he says.

When they first moved in, they left the property’s gates open. So many people ventured into their yard, however, that they ended up putting in gates that close automatically. “There were people sitting in our yard, taking videos,” says John Tashjian. Others brought picnics or re-created scenes from the movie. Some knocked on the door to ask for a tour. Sometimes he obliged, depending on “what kind of mood I was in.”

These days, visitors are welcome to take photos from outside the gates, he says. He does get irritated when looky-loos drive on the grass, or knock over the steel bollards that edge the property. Still, he realises attention comes with the territory. “If you’re going to own this house, you can’t be surprised by the reception,” he says. “It’s like living next to an airport and complaining about airplanes.”

One reason for the growing attention to these homes is that streaming services make older TV and movies instantly available.

In 2012, real-estate agent Adele Curtis represented the buyers of the Winnetka, Ill., house where the 1990 movie “Home Alone” was filmed. “At that point, it was kind of ho-hum, it’s the ‘Home Alone’ house,” she says. While at the brick Georgian, she never noticed passersby taking pictures.

Nowadays, fans can be spotted outside the house snapping photos “at any time of the day or night,” she says. “It’s become more popular than it ever was.”

James C. Barry, whose parents were longtime owners of the house that served as the home of Blanche, Dorothy, Rose and Sophia on “The Golden Girls,” says the show had a surge in popularity before the family sold it in 2020. Once, a man knocked on the door and said his girlfriend was a huge fan of the show, and asked if he could propose to her in the home’s driveway. Barry’s mother agreed, and after he popped the question, “she came out with some champagne to toast them.” The couple sent Christmas cards every year expressing their appreciation.

Mallory Crichton and her husband live next door to what is known in Los Angeles as the Black Dahlia murder house, where an unsolved 1947 murder is believed to have taken place. Both homes are gated and set back from the street, so the many true-crime fans who stop by each week often get confused and take pictures of Crichton’s “pretty normal” three-bedroom rental instead.

She points them in the right direction if she happens to be home, but she’s not always around so many likely return home with photos of her abode instead. “But good for them,” she says. “Ignorance is bliss. They and their friends probably don’t know that it’s not actually the Black Dahlia murder house.”



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UAE Residential Market Review Shows Strong Growth and Record Transactions in Q1 2024

The total transaction volume in Abu Dhabi for the first quarter of the year reached 2,795.

Thu, May 16, 2024 4 min

The CBRE Middle East, a global leader in commercial real estate services and investments, released its latest edition of the UAE Residential Market Review for the first quarter of 2024.

Abu Dhabi Market Overview

During the first quarter of the year, the total volume of transactions in Abu Dhabi stood at 2,795, registering a 22.6% increase compared to the year prior. This increase has been underpinned by an 18.1% rise in off-plan sales and a 34.5% rise in secondary market sales. In the year to Q1 2024, Abu Dhabi’s average apartment and villa prices increased by 4.3% and 2.3%, respectively.

Abu Dhabi’s rental market witnessed a total of 46,130 residential rental contracts in Q1 2024, registering a decline of 10.9% from the year prior. This has been due to a 15.5% decline in the number of renewed rental contracts registered and a 2.4% drop in new rental registrations over the same period. In the year to Q1 2024, average apartment and villa rents have increased by 4.5% and 1.1%, respectively. On the supply front, only 80 units have been delivered in Abu Dhabi in the first three months of the year, with all of this new stock being in Al Raha Beach. An additional 8,660 units are expected to be completed by year-end with 55.8% of this scheduled stock located in Yas Island, Al Sowwah, and Al Shamkha.

Dubai Market Insights

In Dubai, price growth has continued to accelerate during the first quarter of 2024, with average prices increasing by 20.7% in the year to March 2024. Throughout this period, average apartment and villa prices increased by 20.4% and 22.1%, respectively. Although headline average sales rates are still marginally below the 2014 highs by 0.1%, several prominent residential neighbourhoods have already surpassed their 2014 figures.

As of March 2024, average apartment prices stood at AED 1,486 per square foot, and average villa prices reached AED 1,776 per square foot. Average villa sales rates are currently above their 2014 baseline by 22.9%. Rental growth has also gained momentum in 2024, after a period of moderation in 2023. In March 2024, average residential rents registered a year-on-year increase of 21.2%, up from the 20.4% growth registered a month earlier. Over this period, average apartment and villa rental rates grew by 22.1% and 14.5%, respectively. Data from the Dubai Land Department revealed that, in the year to date to March 2024, the total number of rental registrations stood at 159,941, marking an increase of 5.8% from the previous year. As for supply, a total of 6,526 units were delivered in the first quarter of the year, with 59.7% of this supply being located in Meydan One, Jumeirah Village Circle, and Al Furjan. A further 46,086 are expected to be handed over the remainder of the year. However, given historic materialisation rates, the report expects that a limited portion of this upcoming stock will come online as planned.

Record-Breaking Transactions

March 2024 witnessed another record in Dubai’s residential market, with transaction volumes reaching the highest monthly figure on record, marking a year-on-year growth of 13.2%. Throughout this period, off-plan sales and secondary market sales increased by 20.2%, and secondary market sales increased by 2.2%.

In the first quarter of 2024, Dubai’s total transaction volumes reached 35,310. This is the highest total ever recorded in the first quarter of the year, marking an increase of 20.5% from the year prior. Over this period, off-plan transactions recorded an increase of 23.9%, and secondary market transactions rose by 15.2%.

However, in Q1 2024, the total number of sales transactions within the prime market segment registered a decline of 2.1% compared to the year prior. Throughout this period, super-prime transactions recorded a drop of 16.5% year-on-year to stand at a total of 227. These declines witnessed in both markets have been largely underpinned by significant declines in off-plan sales largely attributable to the high levels of demand for off-plan properties and the limited level of upcoming supply. In terms of performance, in the first quarter of 2024, average prime prices registered a year-on-year increase of 16.0%, standing at an average of AED 4,661 per square foot, and average super-prime prices grew by 14.8% over this period, reaching AED 4,978 per square foot.

Taimur Khan, CBRE’s Head of Research MENA in Dubai

Future Projections 

Looking ahead, CBRE expects Dubai’s residential sales market to maintain its upward trajectory. Prices in both the apartment and villa segments of the market will continue to grow, however, not at the same pace. On the rental front, we forecast that residential rents will continue to increase. That being said, the rate of growth will likely moderate.

Taimur Khan, CBRE’s Head of Research MENA in Dubai, comments: “The UAE’s residential market started the year on a relatively strong note, where the elevated demand levels continue to drive performance. The strong levels of activity and high absorption levels, which have reduced available supply, will continue to support price growth in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai over the remainder of the year. In terms of rental growth, we expect that rental rates in Abu Dhabi will continue to rise, with prime areas set to outperform the market. In Dubai, residential rents will continue to increase; however, not at the same rate that we have been seeing to date, and we expect that the rate of change will diminish in the second half of the year.”

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