Where the Market Has Stalled: 10 Cities With the Steepest Drops in New Listings

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Springtime in the United States looks a whole lot different this year. No kids playing on playgrounds or filing into classrooms. No groups of friends sitting at sidewalk cafes to enjoy the warmer weather. Beaches and public parks? Roped off.

But few areas are more altered than the process of home buying and selling. In some places, real estate agents can’t even visit a client’s house until stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Since it became apparent that COVID-19 was spreading across the United States, many of the usual spring sellers have opted to hold off listing their properties—whether real estate has been deemed an essential business in their state or not.

“There’s a noticeable change in inventory and market behavior in general,” says Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers & Consulting.

Although news of the deadly pandemic spreading across Asia had been coming in for weeks, for many Americans the threat didn’t become real until many states closed schools and businesses and instituted stay-at-home rules in early to mid-March. Today, the inventory of homes for sale is down all across the United States, from Portland, ME, to Portland, OR.

But some places have been more deeply affected than others. The metros with the highest COVID-19 infection rates per capita, pervasive fears from a health perspective, and the most stringent shelter-in-place mandates have seen greater numbers of sellers pulling their homes from the market. Considering that the U.S. housing market already had a shortage of homes for sale, this means buyers—many of whom are still motivated to get a new home even amid the pandemic—will have even fewer choices.

In the short to medium term, real estate professionals expect to see more listings enter the market as the spread of the novel coronavirus slows and restrictions on public life are lifted. But the economic and housing recovery will continue to vary from place to place.

“I see a tale of two markets,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®. “Those that will have a healthy economic recovery, and markets that will struggle to see buyers come back fast enough because they’ve been impacted by job losses.”

To figure out which parts of the country are currently seeing the sharpest declines, the realtor.com data team pulled listing stats from the 100 largest metros in the United States for the month of April to see where new listings are down the most compared with the year before. To get a better sense of the regions affected, we limited the rankings to just two per state (otherwise, five of the top 10 metros would have been in Pennsylvania). The remaining metros were clustered in the mid-Atlantic area, the Midwest, and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Ready to take a look? Let’s look at some of the trends across the U.S.

Metros With the Biggest Drop in New Listings

Tony Frenzel

Pennsylvania: Challenges in the Rust Belt

On March 18, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf issued a stay-at-home order commanding all businesses that were not “life-sustaining” to close—including real estate.

“It’s very restrictive,” says Joe Golant, a real estate agent with Weichert Realtors. He says he can no longer meet clients in person, visit homes, or even send a photographer out to market a new listing.

“Some homeowners have made their own arrangements for video and photography,” he adds. “We can’t facilitate that right now.”

Things had been really looking up for Allentown and the greater Lehigh Valley before it became one of the state’s biggest hot spots for COVID-19. Now it’s No. 1 on our list of areas in the U.S. with the steepest year-over-year declines in listings.

Set at the juncture of interstate highways that lead straight to New York City and Philadelphia, the region has been transformed into a logistical transport hub, which has led to a booming economy and a slew of new jobs at companies like Amazon and ADP financial services.

Allentown’s affordable real estate has been booming, a solid seller’s market for the past three years. In March, the median sale price of $235,000 was $66,000 above the median asking price.

But when the state shut down, real estate activity ground to a screeching halt. The metro saw the biggest year-over-year decrease in new listings in the nation, down a whopping 80.5%.

But the few homes that are on the market are going quickly—days on market decreased 20% in March—and the median sales price increased 10.6% for the homes that did sell.

“Things are still happening,” Galant says. “Someone in our office had a listing under contract in two days.”

Nearby Scranton (No. 3) is in a similar position, with easy interstate access as well as a growing population, job market, and real estate market. It has also been deeply affected by the coronavirus lockdown. New listings have dropped 78%, the third-steepest hit in the nation.

The other Pennsylvania metros that would have made it into the ranking if it weren’t capped at two per state were Pittsburgh (minus 74.8%), Harrisburg (minus 74.2%), and Philadelphia (minus 68.8%).

Midwestern metros

Milwaukee, WI

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With similar amenities to nearby Chicago and housing that is just a fraction of the price, Milwaukee has been a millennial magnet in recent years. While the city’s economy hasn’t been its strong suit since the Great Recession, it has been growing nicely over the past two years. And it had recently been experiencing a strong seller’s market with a shortage of inventory. But with a COVID-19-related decline in economic activity, recent job losses, and stay-at-home order, few homeowners are putting their places on the market—even though real estate has been deemed an essential business in Wisconsin. Brew City has seen the second-steepest drop in new listings in the pandemic, down 80% year over year.

“We’re still working, and things are selling fast,” says Colleen Prostek, a real estate agent with Homestead Realty. “But we’re in a conservative area where many are, like, ‘let’s wait and see what happens.’”

The state of Michigan, like Pennsylvania, is still on total lockdown, with real estate deemed nonessential. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order on March 23 in response to the dramatic coronavirus spread in Detroit, one of the hardest-hit cities in the nation.

The strict orders and understandable fears of locals—who have already been experiencing long-standing economic difficulties—have led to a decrease in new listings by 75.3% from last year, the fourth-biggest decline in the U.S.

The binding statewide order has also affected metros that haven’t been as affected by the virus. That includes Grand Rapids (No. 6), which has seen a 69.4% drop in new homes on the market.

Agents are not allowed to take photos, hang “For Sale” signs in yards, or place lockboxes on doors. So they have had to use technology, virtual tours, and open houses to bridge the gap on the few listings that have been going live.

And there are still people out there who want to buy a home.

“Three months ago, home values were increasing and there was nothing to buy,” says Steve Volker, a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate. “So some buyers who couldn’t buy before feel like they might as well get out there before the big buyer pool comes back.”

The tri-state area: Pandemic central

Buffalo, NY

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New York City has become the tragic epicenter of America’s COVID-19 pandemic—but the former industrial hub update, Buffalo, has also been deeply affected by the virus. On Wednesday, the home of New York state’s second-largest population is “heading in the wrong direction” in terms of managing the pandemic, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said.

The revitalizing border town already had low inventory—and lots of bidding wars—before the coronavirus spread across the globe. But since New York’s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 22, Buffalo has dropped to fifth place for the largest decline in new listings in the United States, down 69.5% from 2019.

While Buffalo has seen the highest drop in the tri-state area, New York City (No. 7), which has suffered nearly 20,000 deaths from the virus, has experienced a 67.9% drop in new listings. However, given how long and hard the city has already been attacked by the novel coronavirus, experts hope the city and its housing market will begin its recovery shortly.

“We’re at the apex,” says Miller Samuel’s Miller. “There’s some sense we’re moving to the other side. There’s an expectation that as markets wake up from their slumber, you will see inventory ramp up significantly.”

Right behind the Big Apple with the eighth- and ninth-highest drops in new listings are nearby Conecticut metros Bridgeport (minus 67.1%) and, a bit farther out, New Haven (minus 56.3%), both of which are economically aligned with New York City. Between the high infection rates for the region and shelter-in-place mandates, many people do not want potential buyers going in and out of houses in their neighborhoods.

“An agent put up open house signs in mid-March, and someone posted on Nextdoor, ‘How dare these realtors show open houses in this period?” says Matt Murray, real estate salesperson with the Higgins Group.

Given the antipathy toward foot traffic, listings are down and sales have slowed substantially. However, there has been a surge in interest for furnished short-term rentals throughout the more affluent Bridgeport metro burgs. Because of the rush of new people, one community had to strongly suggest that anyone coming in from New York City quarantine for 14 days. The trend has led agents to expect a potential inundation of New Yorkers seeking more room to spread out.

“I’m anticipating that we get an influx of people wanting to buy here,” says Murray. “If we get a second [COVID-19] wave, people will think, ‘Get me out of New York City. I want a house now.’”

Northern California: An early epicenter

San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a local emergency due to the coronavirus on Feb. 23, following a similar declaration in Santa Clara County, about 40 miles to the south. Although there were no cases in San Francisco at the time and only a handful in Santa Clara County, the greater Bay Area is a major gateway for travel between the United States and China, so the area started to see an uptick in cases weeks before most of the rest of the country.

San Francisco and five other Bay Area counties were the first in the nation to establish a shelter-in-place order, on March 16. This decisive action is credited with flattening the region’s curve—the graph of new cases. On March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom locked down the rest of California.

Those orders were taken seriously by residents of San Francisco, the second-most densely populated city in the nation. Along with everything else, property showings and contracts came to a dead stop. Many listings were pulled off the market. San Francisco, once one of the hottest housing markets in the country, took the 10th spot on the list of metros where new listings have dropped the most, down 56.1% over last year.

As agents, sellers, and buyers have been getting accustomed to this new normal—with orders slightly relaxed this weekend and extended until the end of May—folks have been starting to pop their heads out of their hiding holes.

“Activity has been ticking up in recent weeks as agents, buyers, and sellers have been slowly figuring out how and how much business can continue in a safe manner,” says Patrick Carlisle, Compass chief market analyst for the Bay Area. “But it is still far below what it would usually be during what is typically the biggest selling season of the year.”

Metros that have seen the biggest drop in new listings

  1. Allentown, PA, minus 80.5%
  2. Milwaukee, WI, minus 80%
  3. Scranton, PA, minus 78%
  4. Detroit, MI, minus 75.3%
  5. Buffalo, NY, minus 69.5%
  6. Grand Rapids, MI, minus 69.4%
  7. New York City, NY, minus 67.9%
  8. Bridgeport, CT, minus 67.1%
  9. New Haven, CT, minus 56.3%
  10. San Francisco, CA, minus 56.1%

The post Where the Market Has Stalled: 10 Cities With the Steepest Drops in New Listings appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Why I Don’t Regret Moving Back to New York City—Coronavirus and All

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Right now, I’m on Day 30- or 40-something of lockdown with my husband and two grown kids in New York City, looking out at deserted streets.The only traffic outside consists of ambulances and Amazon Prime delivery trucks.

I’d grown up in NYC, but moved out to the nearby suburbs when my kids were young.

A year ago, with our college-age kids nearly out of the nest, we moved back to the Big Apple, excited by this city’s promise of midlife reinvention. It was time for a change.

And at first, it was good—really good—being able to walk everywhere unencumbered by a car, meeting friends for dinners out (“You want Malaysian or Nepalese tonight?”) without the worry of catching the last commuter train back to the ‘burbs. I realized how much I’d missed New York City.

That was before coronavirus arrived, and changed everything.

Now, it’s terrifying and tragic here, although so far, at least, I am lucky: Neither I nor my immediate family has contracted COVID-19, which has taken the lives of more than 13,000 souls here.

To be healthy in the epicenter of a pandemic means I have nothing to complain about.

Like many New Yorkers, I’ve gotten a flurry of calls and texts from friends and family urging me to flee the city. Some go so far as to ask, point-blank, whether I regret that I so recently moved here.

Many people assume that I must miss my old house in the suburbs, which I’d recently sold. That I miss its yard and garden, which I could be tending right now without a mask covering my face. Or miss stretching my legs in front of my old fireplace, without the fear of pressing the elevator buttons of the high-rise I live in now, which might be covered in COVID-19.

Who, at this tragic time, wouldn’t miss their old life in the ‘burbs, and regret their decision to move to NYC?

But here’s the truth: I have no regrets, and don’t want to leave. Here’s why.

Reason 1: The virus isn’t a city-centric germ

As the pandemic took root in New York City, concerned friends in faraway places texted, “You need to GTFO now!”

I lay awake at night, wondering if they were right, thinking of my city pals who’d quite literally headed for the hills.

A dear friend who had flown to Florida to take care of relatives when the pandemic began kindly offered me her house in the ‘burbs. Her desire was to give me and my family relief from the oppressive tsunami of anxiety in the city.

But I realized it would be the same stress, different Zip code. The supermarket would still feel like a scene out of a terrifying virus movie, in the vein of “Contagion” or “Outbreak.”

I would still be fighting for FreshDirect delivery slots and frantically swabbing everything down with disinfecting wipes. COVID-19 is an awful, equal-opportunity disruptor around the globe.

Much as I was touched by my friend’s offer, I chose to stay put.

Reason 2: I am loyal to NYC healthcare

Even when I moved to the suburbs, I kept most of my NYC doctors for continuity and because I think (translation: I know) they are the best of the best.

I was commuting in daily for my job anyway, so it made sense.

I’ve been seeing these M.D.s for years, so if I or a loved one were to get sick, I’d know who to call and believe that I could get good treatment.

In the suburbs, the idea of being in a small community with a small, easily overwhelmed hospital wouldn’t offer much comfort.

And although the NYC medical system has been strapped and stretched to the limit, I take heart in the thousands of retired frontline workers who have stepped up, as well as the ready-to-graduate medical school students who are joining the fight and the plane-loads of workers from elsewhere across the country who flew here to help.

Reason 3: Despite what you’ve heard, there is nature in New York City

“You sure must miss your yard right now,” a friend said when asking whether I was doing OK in NYC. Damn straight, of course I do!

The lilacs my husband planted for me must be gearing up to bloom; the lilies of the valley are probably perfuming the air; and the cardinals, chipmunks, and baby bunnies are likely frolicking in true Disney-esque fashion.

That said, we were never those “spend the day in the backyard” kind of people. That’s part of the reason we moved.

And even in NYC, I can still get a nice hit of nature, even at this grim time. Once properly masked and gloved, I can walk around and see spring unfold in local parks.

The ornamental pear trees nearby bloomed bright white, daffodils are still swaying, and the cherry blossoms are falling to the ground, like crepe paper underfoot after a high-school dance.

Is it as good as a glorious suburban half-acre? The city-person answer is: absolutely.

Reason 4: My city roots run crazy-deep

Other than my sojourn in the suburbs, NYC is the only place I’ve lived. I was born here, educated here, got married here, gave birth here. All members of my small family are here.

As we reached the peak of the outbreak, I engaged in catastrophic thinking at 2 a.m., wondering if the bridges and tunnels might get sealed off, as they were on 9/11.

If that were to happen, I did not want to be on the other side in the ‘burbs.

I wanted to feel as if I could walk or bike my way to my mother and sister, who were also inside the NYC perimeter.

I did not want to be stuck on the porch of my lovely suburb house, wondering how they were. It’s not just where you live, it’s who lives nearby.

Reason 5: I want to be on the ground and on the grid

Maybe you’ve watched Gov. Andrew Cuomo give his daily talks, and refer to our being “New York Strong.”

People who live in the city have made the choice to live somewhere very intense and very stressful.

For whatever reason, we flourish when packed together in tight spaces; it’s some kind of foxhole-bonding that I’ll leave to the sociologists to fully explain, but here’s my take.

Being a New Yorker forces you to engage with the dark truth of the situation. It compels you to support those less fortunate. My family, like so many others, has donated food to the frontline workers and held fundraisers for charity.

And then there is the clapping every evening at 7 p.m.—a daily wellspring of joy where New Yorkers open the windows wide and whoop and bang pot lids together.

It’s an expression of thanks for the frontline workers who risk their lives to care for the sick, and an expression of hope. Every day, new voices join. Every day, the roar gets louder.

For me, this is the essence of what I love about New York City, or any city really—being thrown together with strangers and finding common ground.

We’re here for the good times, and we’re here for the bad. And we’re going to be in it, and get through it, together.

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Borrowers Will Find It Harder Than Ever to Get a Mortgage This Spring—Here’s Why

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It’s a stark good news, bad news story. The good: The lowest mortgage rates in recorded history are motivating many would-be home buyers and refinancing homeowners to seek out a loan. The bad: Amid the economic upheaval caused by the novel coronavirus, it’s become significantly more difficult to get one of those loans.

As more Americans are getting furloughed and pink-slipped, lenders—ever mindful of the housing bust of more than a decade ago—are requiring higher credit scores and larger down payments. Some have ceased making loans they consider riskier, such as those for self-employed borrowers and real estate investors; those that require lower credit scores and down payments; and those for larger amounts, such as jumbo mortgages. Or they may be jacking up fees to make the loans prohibitively expensive.

That will mean that some folks who still want to go ahead and take advantage of those record-low mortgage interest rates won’t be able to do so. Rates fell to just 3.23% on a 30-year fixed-rate loan for the week ending April 30, according to Freddie Mac.

That’s the lowest it’s been since Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971.

Yet the availability of mortgage credit dropped 16.1% in March—a clear indication that lending standards are tightening up, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Mortgage Credit Availability Index. That’s the lowest level of the index since mid-2015.

Lenders have reasons to be cautious. Roughly 7% of mortgages were in forbearance as of April 19, according to the MBA. Experts predict the number of homeowners unable to make loan payments due to economic hardship will rise as the downturn drags on. Another wave of foreclosures may not be far behind when forbearance periods end, typically in 12 months.

“Guidelines have tightened up immensely, which is to be expected at times like this,” says Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. “While it’s definitely unfair to borrowers who would make all their payments on time, lenders are adjusting for the higher probability of forbearance.”

About 5% to 20% of prospective borrowers could have trouble getting a mortgage due to the higher standards, says Javier Vivas, realtor.com®’s director of economic research.

Those numbers will likely rise as the recession worsens. Unemployment could top 20% in some worst-case scenarios, and even those who hold on to their jobs could see their salaries fall and lose bonuses, overtime pay, and side gigs. Many of these folks have already ruled out immediate plans to buy a home.

“In the short term it will be a challenge for buyers to qualify for a home mortgage,” says Vivas. “In the mid- and longer term, the bigger concern will be whether they can carry that mortgage through the recession.”

Some lenders are requiring higher credit scores

Many folks with average credit scores, who may have even been pre-approved for a loan at the beginning of the year, may have trouble qualifying for a loan in today’s environment.

Before most folks had heard of COVID-19, credit score requirements started at just 580—or lower in some cases. These were primarily for government-backed loans, such as Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Department of Agriculture mortgages. Now, most lenders issuing those loans are asking for credit scores starting between 640 and 680.

“It’s a fairly substantial increase,” says longtime mortgage broker Rocke Andrews, who’s based in Tucson, AZ. He’s also the president of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. “It hurts a lot of the first-time home buyers.”

Most JPMorgan Chase borrowers will need a minimum 700 credit score—and 20% down—to qualify for a new loan. (There is at least one exception, the DreaMaker program targeted toward low- and moderate-income and first-time home buyers with lower credit scores and down payments.) The bank was the fourth-biggest mortgage lender in 2019, according to Inside Mortgage Finance.

“Due to the economic uncertainty, we are making temporary changes that will allow us to more closely focus on serving our existing customers,” a Chase Home Lending spokesperson said in a statement.

Flagstar Bank and Better.com are also now requiring borrowers to have higher credit scores. Flagstar is asking for 660 scores for FHA loans and 680 for VA and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans. Better.com is asking for minimum 680 scores. Previously, lenders’ minimum scores were 640.

During this crisis, Navy Federal and Better.com have temporarily stopped offering FHA loans altogether.

“Credit policies are tightening for everything. … We don’t want to see another crisis happen when people are getting loans they can’t afford,” says Better.com spokeswoman Tanya Hayre. The online brokerage made nearly 3,000 loans totaling about $1 billion in March. “Hopefully, this will all go back to normal soon.”

Fewer jumbo mortgages are being offered

Fewer lenders are offering jumbo mortgages during this crisis. That’s because for these larger loans, there’s more money on the line if the borrowers go into forbearance or default on their payments. Jumbo loans typically start around $510,000 and go up to just over $765,000 in some of the nation’s most expensive real estate markets.

Banks don’t like to keep loans on their books, because it ties up capital they could be using to make more loans. So they typically bundle up mortgages and sell them to investors in the secondary mortgage. But jumbo loans aren’t backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. So investors consider them risky, especially in a time when many folks are going into forbearance and not making payments on them, and aren’t buying.

That means banks will have to hold on to those loans if they can’t unload them, which limits how many new loans they can make money from. So some lenders aren’t doing them at least for now—or they’re raising fees to give themselves a financial cushion against a potential default and discourage folks from taking them.

“We did see a really rapid slowdown in that market,” says Joel Kan, an economist at the MBA. “It’s harder to get a jumbo loan, and rates are higher.”

Wells Fargo is still offering the loans to buyers, but will refinance jumbo loans only for its customers with at least $250,000 in assets at a Wells Fargo bank.

“The jumbo market hasn’t disappeared entirely,” says Matthew Gardner, chief economist of Windermere Real Estate. The Seattle-based brokerage has locations in 10 Western states. However, he adds, investors “are turning their attention away from loans that are not guaranteed by the government-sponsored entities” such as Fannie and Freddie.

Self-employed, gig workers and real estate investors may have a harder time

Self-employed, gig workers and real estate investors may also struggle to obtain a mortgage. Many of these are the folks who would normally apply for a non-qualified mortgage because they need to verify their income with bank deposits instead of more traditional W-2 forms, pay stubs, and tax returns.

But these mortgages are deemed riskier—and investors in the secondary mortgage market have little appetite for anything but the safest investments. So fewer lenders are offering them—or they’re upping the cost of these loans to account for the risk.

Those extra fees or charging additional points are “a backhand way of not doing those loans,” says lender Andrews.

Plus, some lenders are discounting self-employed income. That means they might count only a portion of what these borrowers made last year, perhaps 70% or 80%, as qualification for a mortgage. Some aren’t factoring in bonuses, expecting that these folks will earn less money this year with the economy in turmoil.

The discounting of earnings also boosts debt-to-income ratios—another factor that goes into whether someone gets a loan. Lenders traditionally like to see less debt and more money coming in.

Lenders are doing additional income verifications

With folks losing their jobs or getting furloughed every day, lenders are also waiting until the last minute to verify employment and income. So instead of checking in with borrowers’ employers two weeks or 10 days before a closing, they’re doing it a few days before, or even on that day.

“It can be catastrophic if someone loses their source of income right before buying a house,” says longtime mortgage lender Jason Lerner. He’s a vice president at George Mason Mortgage in the Baltimore suburb of Lutherville, MD.

Erika and Ian Rasmussen were set to close on a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in the seaside town of Greenport, NY, on Long Island. The couple, who live in nearby Port Washington, wanted to use the century-old home as a vacation home and short-term rental property.

But a few days before the closing, Erika, 38, was laid off from her marketing job at an advertising association. This threw the deal into jeopardy, despite her husband’s work as the owner of a zoning consultancy practice and the extra income they earn from a rental property.

Erika had been planning on striking out on her own as a consultant and had picked up a few clients, but the pandemic and layoff threw off her timetable. Her lender wouldn’t factor in her consulting income as she hadn’t yet established those earnings for two years.

“We really scrambled a lot to try to save the deal,” says Erika.

They wound up dipping into their 401(k) accounts to come up with a larger down payment, about 40% of the purchase price, to satisfy their lender. Last week they closed on the property. (Lawmakers recently allowed folks to take out up to $100,000 from their 401(k) accounts due to the crisis. They have three years to repay it before facing the typical early-withdrawal penalties.)

“The unemployment picture has definitely gotten a lot worse and quickly,” says MBA’s Kan. “This is one of those economic events where we really don’t know when it’s going to be over and when things are going to go back to normal.”

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5 Amazing L.A. Mansions Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Could Buy Right Now

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While the coronavirus has put many people’s house hunts on hold, there’s one couple who’s forging on: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

According to the New York Post, the ex-royals are shopping for mansions in the $15 million to $20 million range near Los Angeles. Eager to put down roots with their sweet tot Archie, who’s nearly a year old, they’re homing in on such tony enclaves as Beverly Hills and Brentwood.

Meanwhile, they continue to rent a 10,000-square-foot estate in the great white north of Canada on Vancouver Island.

So is a forever home in L.A. finally in the cards for the couple?

“While it may seem like there are endless options for the newly ‘unroyal’ couple, it really comes down to what’s going to make the most sense as they balance an energetic, growing family with the need for utmost privacy and security,” says Cara Ameer, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Los Angeles.

To that end, we asked the pros (aka real estate agents) to sift through the luxe amenities and expansive landscapes of L.A.-area homes for ones that would suit the power couple. Here are the five megamansions they deemed worthy.

1. 9520 Hidden Valley Road, Beverly Hills

Price: 19,950,000

9520 Hidden Vally Road, Beverly Hills, CA

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New construction is always a draw—and this seven-bedroom, 12-bath manor with a pool, pool house, and six-car garage is part of a gated community, adding necessary privacy for the famous pair.

“This house has a traditional feel with a modern spin, so it blends with Harry’s British roots and Meghan’s contemporary style,” says Ameer.

This 12,000-square-foot abode is wired for smart technology, which should appeal to a younger set that’s used to running their lives with apps, she adds, and the built-in home theater and fitness center mean the couple won’t have to leave the property to hang out with friends or to exercise.

2. 815 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades

Price: $19,896,680

815 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades, CA

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This move-in ready manse has a quaint English cottage aesthetic thanks to its Nantucket style and paved driveway flanked by grass.

“The layout is very well-appointed with finishes that are transitional and universal, which would work well for a young family,” says Ameer. The only neighbors here are verdant hills and the ocean—and the elevated perch affords spectacular views of both.

Along with an infinity pool and spa, plus 12 bedrooms and eight baths, the master suite features its own balcony and fireplace. And when it’s time to entertain, the 11,800-square-foot mansion doesn’t disappoint: There’s a 10-seat theater, billiard room, and wine cellar that holds nearly 1,000 bottles.

3. 940 E. Oakmont Drive, Los Angeles

Price: $16,900,000

940 E. Oakmont Drive, Los Angeles, CA

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This swanky six-bedroom, 10-bath aerie sits high up in Brentwood Hills and offers endless canyon views and an acre lot for roaming with a toddler.

“And while the house itself is stunningly large, it flows in a simple yet elegant style that makes it livable and conducive to children,” says Odest T. Riley Jr., CEO of WLM Financial, a real estate brokerage firm in Inglewood, CA.

This Cape Cod–style home features a gym, home theater and a wine cellar within, plus a pool, spa, and putting green on the grounds.

“It makes good sense that the young couple would choose this neighborhood as it’s a community in which they can easily move around without their wealth and celebrity being a huge deal,” he adds.

4. 1235 Tower Road, Beverly Hills

Price: $16,500,000

1235 Tower Road, Beverly Hills, CA

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“For something a little more secluded at the end of a cul-de-sac, this choice might be the perfect situation,” says Riley.

City and water vistas are included in this Mediterranean-style villa, along with six bedrooms, six baths, a wine room, and a walk-in refrigerator for convenient late-night snacking.

But a price cut may help it to move.

“If the house could be had for around $12 million instead, it’d be a great deal because the ocean views make it worth enduring a renovation project, and with the $3 million to $8 million left in the budget, you can customize it to meet all of your needs,” says Cedric Stewart, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, DC.

5. 14175 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles

Price: $16,950,000

14175 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, CA

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This glass-front wonder makes it seem more museum than home, but the grounds, including over 4 acres with plenty of recreational options out back, add up to a quality find for the couple, says Stewart.

Security abounds in this 10-bedroom, 11-bath manse, with a gated enclosure and 200-foot driveway.

Drenched in sun, thanks to sparkling glass walls and windows in every room, this spot also includes a 30-car motor court for guests and staff. And the outdoor property is a veritable wonderland, complete with koi ponds, waterfalls, a grotto, pool, and tennis court.

“Archie would have his choice of playing basketball, tennis, swimming, chasing his puppy—you name it,” Stewart adds.

The post 5 Amazing L.A. Mansions Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Could Buy Right Now appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

It’s Lit! Lakefront Home With Private Lighthouse Is the Week’s Most Popular Home

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Perched on the shore of Doe Valley Lake in northern Kentucky is a ranch house with a nautical surprise—a private lighthouse. It has lighted its own way to a spot atop the most popular homes on realtor.com® this week.

Built in 1974, the home is loaded with everything needed for lakefront fun and was recently updated throughout. The looming lighthouse out back is a bonus, with primo views for miles.

Speaking of views, you also clicked like crazy on a house outside Seattle, complete with its own hangar and airstrip. For a buyer who loves the friendly skies, this nearly 11-acre property has a manicured grass runway for takeoffs and landings.

You were also interested in a bungalow begging for a chic makeover in Laurel, MS—a town that’s buzzing with activity, thanks to HGTV’s “Home Town.” Oh, and there are must-see listing photos on a meticulously maintained midcentury modern in the woods of South Carolina.

We won’t ask you to be our lighthouse keeper, but we would like you to sail into the safe harbor of this week’s most popular homes …

10. 39 Warrensburg Road Access, Greenville, TN

Price: $235,000

Why it’s here: Built in 1900, this charming two-story farmhouse sits on nearly 5 lush acres.

Highlights of the three-bedroom home include a huge, remodeled kitchen with fresh black-and-white checkered tile, multiple fireplaces, and beamed ceilings.

Outside, there’s a roomy front porch where you can sit back, relax, and breathe in the fresh country air.

farm house greenville tn overhead
Greenville, TN

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9. 449 E. King St, Franklin, IN

Price: $275,000

Why it’s here: It’s a beautiful brick house! Constructed in 1876, this historic four-bedroom Italianate residence is located in the center of downtown Franklin, IN. It still has its original hardwood floors, a dramatic winding staircase, antique light fixtures, and a fireplace.

The formal library is decked out with enviable floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, complete with a sliding ladder. Outside, the spacious lot is filled with mature trees and includes a wraparound porch, basketball court, and hot tub.

Franklin IN historic house exterior
Franklin, IN

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8. 2004 S. M St, Fort Smith, AR

Price: $189,900

Why it’s here: Affordable and adorable! Oversized windows, hardwood floors, and an open floor plan are just a few of the notable features of this charming four-bedroom home.

The blond brick beauty was constructed in 1980 and sits astride two lots in the desirable Park Hill part of town.

Fort smith AR brick house exterior
Fort Smith, AR

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7. 3666 Watson Rd, Indianapolis, IN

Price: $225,000

Why it’s here: Another Hoosier State honey. This one is a brick Tudor Revival built in 1928. The four-bedroom home includes more than half an acre in the Watson-McCord neighborhood on the city’s north side.

Highlights of the house include an elevator, a 25-foot barrel ceiling in the great room, atrium doors and windows made of leaded glass, and marble fireplaces.

Indianapolis, IN brick house exterior
Indianapolis, IN

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6. 405 Blossom Ln, Port Townsend, WA

Price: $874,000

Why it’s here: Pilot’s license required? Park your plane, and fly in and out of this Seattle-area home with its own airstrip, hangar, and workshop.

The four-bedroom house is set on nearly 11 acres and is close to trails, golf, yet just 25 minutes to Seattle’s King County airport.

Inside, the home is filled with light and views of the treetops below, thanks to the huge walls of windows throughout. And if you’re not taking flight, simply soak in the sun from one of the home’s extensive decks.

Port Townsend, WA
Port Townsend, WA

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5. 305 Botany Rd, Greenville, SC

Price: $535,000

Why it’s here: Must-see midcentury modern! Impeccably preserved and wonderfully funky, this five-bedroom home was built in 1962. Walls of windows allow for plenty of natural light, and there’s an upper deck for grilling with a view of the surrounding woods.

The home is ringed with multiple patios, has a fenced backyard, and comes with an attached two-car carport with a workshop and storage.

Greenville, SC mid century modern house exterior
Greenville, SC

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4. 245 Turquoise Dr, Hedgesville, WV

Price: $775,000

Why it’s here: A huge bargain. Measuring in at nearly 12,000 square feet, this massive mansion with mountain views is priced to move at just $65 per square foot.

The six-bedroom Colonial was built in 2005, and features a two-story entry, a rec room, and an exercise room, as well as a huge kitchen and butler’s pantry.

Outdoors is a heated in-ground pool and cabana with changing rooms. This bargain beauty also sits on a gated, private 5-acre lot.

Hedgesville WV mansion exterior
Hedgesville, WV

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3. 1014 N. Sixth Ave, Laurel, MS

Price: $99,995

Why it’s here: With a five-digit price tag, this 1940-built bungalow comes with a quarter-acre on the Avenues of Laurel, made famous by the HGTV show “Home Town.” It’s loaded with potential for a buyer who wants to emulate the renovation formula of the show’s hosts, Ben and Erin Napier.

A savvy buyer would probably want to take up the carpets and make best use of the home’s large rooms and natural light.

Laurel MS bungalow exterior
Laurel, MS

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2. 6521 Stacy Rd, Charlestown, IN

Price: $315,000

Why it’s here: This double A-frame is constructed with an intriguing shape. Built in 1974, the three-bedroom home has plenty of space to spread out.

It has tall ceilings, exposed beams, massive windows, and even a floating fireplace. Two sets of spiral staircases lead upstairs, where you’ll find a loft and stained-glass windows.

The secluded location and four-car garage with a shop make this an ideal choice for a buyer in search of something off the beaten track.

Charlestown IN double A frame house exterior
Charlestown, IN

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1. 315 Sunnyview Rd, Brandenburg, KY

Price: $400,000

Why it’s here: Built in 1976, this lakefront property has a feature we rarely see—its own private lighthouse.

The three-bedroom home was recently updated throughout, with new paint, floors, and siding. It also has a finished walkout basement for entertaining, with a game room, wet bar, private office, and full bathroom. Gorgeous views of the lake are visible from the kitchen, breakfast room, and great room.

But who are we kidding? We’d spend most sunny days perched at the top of the lighthouse!

Brandenburg KY lake house with lighthouse
Brandenburg, KY

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The post It’s Lit! Lakefront Home With Private Lighthouse Is the Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.