‘Golden Girls’ House in L.A. Is This Week’s Most Popular Home

most popular homes 7/24

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Thank you for being a friend! After the home used for exterior shots on “The Golden Girls” landed on the market last week, the web went bananas.

Obsessive fans of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia clicked like crazy and made the Los Angeles lair this week’s most popular home on realtor.com®.

On the popular sitcom, the home’s address was in Miami. However, the home we saw onscreen is in the tony enclave of Brentwood. Built in 1955, the home hit the market for the first time ever, and nostalgic fans clamored for a peek.

The home’s interiors weren’t used on the show, and are more modern and elegant than you might expect. A buyer might want to make some cosmetic changes, so we’ll stay tuned to see who winds up with the iconic residence. HGTV, perhaps?

Aside from sitcom scenery, you also clicked on a couple of massive mansions in Connecticut, a historic home in Alabama, and a marvelous midcentury home in Minnesota built by a chief draftsman for Frank Lloyd Wright.

We won’t ask you to name your favorite “Golden Girls” episode, but we will implore you to scroll on down, for a full look at this week’s most popular properties.

10. Undisclosed address, Manchester, CT

Price: $2,450,000
Why it’s here: The Philip Cheney Mansion Estate sits on over 6 acres filled with spectacular gardens and a beautifully preserved Georgian Colonial mansion.

The 13,500-square-foot residence is filled with beautiful antiques and one-of-a-kind finishes. Built in 1860 and reconstructed in 1928, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Manchester CT Philip Cheney estate overhead
Manchester, CT

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9. 1805 Westwood Ct, S.W., Rochester, MN

Price: $750,000
Why it’s here: It’s a Frank Lloyd Wright connection. Wright’s chief draftsman, John Howe, designed this Minnesota marvel known as “The Grabow House.”

Built in 1970, the three-bedroom home features all the hallmarks of organic design.

You’ll find abundant windows, plenty of built-ins, and seamless indoor-outdoor living. Layered in wood and lovingly maintained, this classic beauty is a timeless choice.

Rochester, MN modern house exterior
Rochester, MN

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8. 1403 N. Main St, Scotland Neck, NC

Price: $296,800
Why it’s here: An affordable opportunity to score some history! This meticulously maintained manse was built in 1910 and still oozes stately charm.

For the past two decades, the five-bedroom home has been in service as the Tartan House Bed and Breakfast, offering a charming historical escape for countless guests.

Close to parks and a historical district, this Carolina charmer is a step back in time.

Scotland Neck, NC exterior
Scotland Neck, NC

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7. 1233 Rock Rimmon Rd, Stamford, CT

Price: $49,500,000
Why it’s here: It’s Connecticut’s most expensive home. The Hillandale Estate is a jaw-dropping, 261-acre property originally built in 1900 for the Sulzbergers, the publishing family behind the New York Times.

The European-style estate features the finest finishes, an indoor, Olympic-sized swimming pool, private lakes, gardens, and even a hedge maze for kids.

According to the listing details, the current owners have poured over $30 million into expanding and restoring the classic residence.

Stamford CT estate exterior
Stamford, CT

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6. 4037 Victory Pkwy, Cincinnati, OH

Price: $174,900
Why it’s here: Storybook charm is alive in Ohio. The low price on this cute Tudor has attracted multiple offers from potential homeowners who aren’t put off by a renovation project.

The four-bedroom home has hardwood floors and is loaded with quaint architectural details, like arched doorways and ceilings. It’s ready to be reimagined into something worthy of its charming exterior.

Cincinnati, OH tudor exterior
Cincinnati, OH

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5. 648 Glenside Dr, Lafayette, CA

Price: $3,898,000
Why it’s here: Just a 30-minute drive down Highway 24 to Oracle Arena, this Mediterranean manse in the leafy Bay Area suburb of Lafayette is owned by the former Golden State Warrior star Andre Igoudala.

The three-time NBA champ has moved on from the Dubs, and is ready to part with his residence. The stylish, five-bedroom home was built in 2004, and its highlights include dual kitchen islands, beamed ceilings, and a putting green.

Lafayette, CA tuscan Andre Igoudala
Lafayette, CA

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4. 2710 Rural St, Rockford, IL

Price: $259,900
Why it’s here: A midcentury bargain. This piece of local history was designed and built by A. Reyner Eastman in 1943, and features an oval foyer, wood-grain walls with secret compartments, and built-ins.

The listing photos of this four-bedroom classic are a must-see for fans of vintage decor. There’s also a basement rec room, music room, screened porch, and plenty of storage.

Rockford, IL
Rockford, IL

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3. 93 Forest Ridge Ct, Columbus, OH

Price: $569,900
Why it’s here: This house was built in 1972, but that didn’t stop the owners from giving it a quirky midcentury makeover. The bold orange house numbers let guests know they’re in for a surprise, and the chartreuse cabinets in the kitchen are a must-see.

The five-bedroom home has clearly been loved and updated throughout its 4,200 square feet. Outside, the large lot leaves plenty of room to relax on the patio or by the stone koi pond.

Columbus, OH mid century modern
Columbus, OH

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2. 1209 Government St, Mobile, AL

Price: $1,050,000
Why it’s here: Immaculately restored and remodeled, this historic home from 1907 is known as the Burgess-Maschmeyer Mansion.

Its ornate interiors include the Louis XVI-inspired living room and a dramatic staircase. The 5,500-square-foot residence sits on 1.5 acres in the city’s Oakleigh Garden District and is accessible through two gated entries.

Mobile, AL historic home exterior
Mobile, AL

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1. 245 N. Saltair Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Price: $2,999,000
Why it’s here: No need for a laugh track—TV nostalgia drives traffic. As we saw with the “Brady Bunch” home in 2018 and the home featured in “Full House” in 2016, fans love to pull back the curtain on iconic sitcom locations.

Now the home used for exterior shots on “The Golden Girls” has landed on the market, and we’re seeing the pattern repeat. We’re curious to see if a buyer will pony up and try to replicate the success that HGTV had with renovating the Brady home.

One big difference from the “Brady Bunch” house? This one is move-in ready. However, if a buyer chooses to recreate the soundstage look of the fictional residence of the four iconic ladies, there’s plenty of work ahead.

The four-bedroom home currently features elegant, understated interiors without a hint of a Florida grandma vibe, although Dorothy might feel right at home in the original turquoise, avocado, and yellow kitchen.

Stay tuned for the next episode of this sitcom home saga!

Los Angeles, CA Golden Girls house
Los Angeles, CA

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The post ‘Golden Girls’ House in L.A. Is This Week’s Most Popular Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

$110M Oceanfront Mansion in Palm Beach Is Most Expensive New Listing

Palm Beach

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An oceanfront estate in Palm Beach, FL, has floated onto the market for $110 million. The prodigious asking price makes the posh property the most expensive new listing on realtor.com® this week.

Located on what’s known locally as Billionaires’ Row, the Mediterranean-style mansion, on over an acre, is about a half-mile south of President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago.

The home is reportedly owned by a securities systems executive, Edward “Chris” G. Watkins, according to the Palm Beach Daily News. He reportedly paid $17.7 million for the property in 2001, and proceeded to have a grand estate custom-built on the coveted parcel. Construction was completed in 2003.

It was available for a bit as a whisper listing at $105 million, then officially splashed on to the market for the slightly higher price of $109.5 million in 2018. Known as Pietra Mare, the estate caught our eye last year, as one of a handful of hundred-million-dollar-plus homes in the country.

After a brief respite, the property has returned to the market with a tiny price bump, at the attention-getting sum of $110 million.

This week’s most expensive home, in Palm Beach, FL

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Grand entryway

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Living room with French doors

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Wood-paneled library

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Formal dining room

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Kitchen

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Glassed-in breakfast room

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Grassy lawn

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With 28,399 square feet of living space, the massive mansion has seven bedrooms, nine full bathrooms, and six half-bathrooms. 

The oversized rooms include soaring ceilings, stone floors, and walls of arched windows. The residence opens to a dramatic, double-height formal entry hall, with a patterned floor and ornate staircase. 

An expansive living room has French doors that open outside. A wood-paneled library offers built-in shelves, a fireplace, and coffered ceiling.

The layout also features a formal dining room with overhead chandelier, and a brightly lit, white kitchen, which flows to a glassed-in breakfast room. 

Upstairs, the main bedroom comes with a private balcony and a luxuriously large bathroom. 

The landscaped grounds include towering palms, a grassy lawn overlooking the beach, a pool, spa, and a covered outdoor space for dining and lounging. The property also has a separate guesthouse and includes 170 feet of beach frontage.

Other perks include parking for six, an elevator, a wet bar, sound system, and a gym.

Lawrence Moens with Lawrence A. Moens Associates holds the listing.

The post $110M Oceanfront Mansion in Palm Beach Is Most Expensive New Listing appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Will Trump Really Save the Suburbs by Cutting a Rule To Stop Housing Discrimination?

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President Donald Trump is doing away with a little-known rule created to prevent racial discrimination in housing that he claims is having “a devastating impact” on America’s suburbs.

Just four months before the presidential election, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced on Thursday that it will end the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation. The rule, introduced by President Barack Obama‘s administration in 2015, was a provision of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. Its aim was to force cities receiving federal housing money to assess and then address local housing discrimination.

“At the request of many great Americans who live in the Suburbs, and others, I am studying the AFFH housing regulation that is having a devastating impact on these once thriving Suburban areas,” Trump tweeted on June 30.

The president has accused his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, of wanting to “abolish” the suburbs. Biden supports the regulation.

HUD called the AFFH “complicated, costly and ineffective” in a press release issued Thursday.

“We found it to be unworkable and ultimately a waste of time for localities to comply with, too often resulting in funds being steered away from communities that need them most,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. “Washington has no business dictating what is best to meet your local community’s unique needs.”

The original rule, if it had been left in place, would have likely resulted in communities allowing more affordable housing to go up. It may have also led to zoning changes to allow apartment and condo buildings, as well as smaller, more affordable, single-family homes to be built. This would have affected some wealthier communities that have long fought these developments claiming they could bring down property values.

However, AFFH didn’t result in any sweeping changes nationally. The Trump administration took the teeth out of the regulation in 2018 by eliminating the requirement for cities to use the government’s reporting tool and granting them an extra two years to turn in their assessments.

This latest move by the administration is just the final nail in the AFFH’s coffin.

“This is coming at a time when we’re seeing the heavy price that communities of color pay when we allow segregation and discrimination to happen,” says Peggy Bailey. She is the vice president of housing policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan think tank.

“The impact will be, communities will be allowed to sweep housing discrimination under the rug,” she says. “There will be limited, if no accountability, if communities enact policies that advance segregation and discrimination.”

The replacement rule, called Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice, is designed to ensure that housing is “affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination and accessible under civil rights laws,” according to the press release.

But some see the rule swap as a ploy in the presidential election campaign.

Trump “is trying to win back the suburban vote by scaring them and claiming he is up against an opponent who wants to destroy the suburbs through racial and economic integration,” says Evan McKenzie, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “He’s invoking the idea of the suburbs of the past, that were uniformly white and prosperous.”

The post Will Trump Really Save the Suburbs by Cutting a Rule To Stop Housing Discrimination? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Big Homes Had Fallen Out of Favor—Then Came the Coronavirus Pandemic

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In recent years, Americans have been less interested in living in those sprawling McMansions in the suburbs, as people of all ages gravitated toward walkable urban neighborhoods. The prevailing wisdom: Who needs all that space, anyway? What does it matter if you have only 400 square feet of living space when you can just pop out of your condo or apartment and enjoy all the amenities of the city?  Fascination with tiny homes and micro-apartments grew, and experts predicted those supersized homes in the suburbs would struggle to find buyers.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Suddenly, small homes felt very small.

Millions of Americans were confined to their homes with their families—all the time. With kids interrupting Zoom meetings with the boss, bedrooms pulling triple duty as offices and fitness centers, and dining rooms being repurposed as online schools, itty-bitty living spaces no longer seemed to work.

Instead, COVID-19 has made those boring big homes with large backyards hot again as folks are seeking enough space to accommodate being home around the clock, say real estate experts. An extra 300 square feet for a dedicated home office never sounded so good. So, are we looking at the return of the McMansion?

“The pandemic has been long enough and deep enough that it might bring a change in collective thinking toward bigger homes,” says Sonia Hirt, an urban planning and landscape architecture professor at the University of Georgia in Athens. “The suburban home that was so stereotypical and boring suddenly proved itself to have benefits we’ve completely forgotten about.”

The COVID-19 crisis has certainly led some city residents with means to trade their cramped apartments and condos for single-family homes in the burbs. But the virus isn’t the only factor at play. Record-low mortgage rates are also allowing buyers to afford more home for their budgets.

Before the public health crisis, the median size of an existing (previously lived in) home purchased was 2,060 square feet, according to the National Association of Realtors® 2020 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report. Newly built single-family homes had a median 2,291 square feet in the first quarter of 2020, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

The pandemic is likely to boost those footprints, real estate experts say. After being cooped up for months, buyers and homeowners want to “tack 500 to 1,000 square feet on top of” their previous goal, says Chris Brown, principal architect at b Architecture Studio in Winchester, MA, outside of Boston.

Americans are seeking more space—but not McMansions

Americans may want more space, but that doesn’t mean the 5,000-square-foot McMansions of the 1980s and 1990s are back. Many folks don’t want to deal with the sticker price—or the upkeep.

Instead, millennials who remember the financial pain of the Great Recession are likely to make more reasonable trade-ups. They may go from an 800-square-foot condo to a 1,500-square-foot home, or sell their three-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot house and buy a five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot abode.

Folks are also finding ways to repurpose the homes they already have, says Brown. An unfinished basement can become a fitness center, an attic could be transformed into a bedroom or play space with the addition of skylights and windows. Homeowners are also building additions, like offices.

“The market is not being driven by people looking for massive homes,” says Ken Perlman, managing principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “It’s being driven by people looking for the right combination of functionality and price.”

Multigenerational families could drive demand for larger homes

Families may also need more space to accommodate adult relatives moving in because of the pandemic.

Many college students and 20-somethings are returning to the nest as colleges have closed and entry-level jobs have dried up. Meanwhile, many folks have pulled their vulnerable parents out of nursing homes or assisted-living facilities, which have been ravaged by COVID-19. All of those extra people need places to sleep.

“We’re going to see another bump in multigenerational living,” says Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, a Washington, DC–based multigenerational advocacy organization.” By combining resources, they can afford a bigger house or a more comfortable lifestyle.”

It happened during the Great Recession, when the number of multigenerational households swelled by more than 10% from 2007 to 2011, according to a 2011 survey from Generations United.

Whether larger homes are just a passing fad or here to stay may depend on the length of the pandemic. When a vaccine is found and folks can go out and about again, these bigger homes may fall back out of favor. But if the crisis drags on for years, the change in housing preference could be more permanent.

“I don’t think the 5,000 square feet will be as fashionable and popular as it was in the ’80s and ’90s,” says professor Hirt. However, “there will be some shift.”

The post Big Homes Had Fallen Out of Favor—Then Came the Coronavirus Pandemic appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Could New Shutdowns, Lower Unemployment Benefits Drag Down the Hot Housing Market?

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The U.S. housing market has defied the odds during a public health crisis, economic recession, and the highest unemployment since the Great Depression. Home prices are surging nationally as buyers duke it out over a very limited number of properties for sale. However, there are fears the already battered economy is on the verge of taking yet another hit.

COVID-19 cases are spiking in many parts of the country, which could lead to a second round of shutdowns, furloughs, and layoffs in some areas. The additional $600 that more than 17 million people are getting in weekly unemployment benefits is set to expire at the end of this month if Congress doesn’t act soon. And several large companies have announced tens of thousands of job cuts on the horizon.

Can residential real estate remain unscathed in the face of this looming financial pain?

Most experts expect the market will remain strong—at least in the short term. The blockbuster combination of record-low mortgage interest rates, which dipped below 3% for the first time ever this month, hordes of still-employed buyers descending on whatever listings they can find, and a brutal housing shortage have kept prices high.

“I don’t expect an immediate impact on the housing market,” says realtor.com® Senior Economist George Ratiu. “The housing market’s summer season will remain hot. It’s going gangbusters. In the late fall and winter, it could cool off as the market tends to be a lot slower and more small businesses close.”

Congress and the White House are attempting to bang out another coronavirus stimulus plan by the end of the month. This will likely provide another jolt to the economy. But it’s not yet decided what this stimulus would consist of, and how much of it would make its way to cash-strapped consumers.

This likely won’t be the last time the government is called on to step in. Another wave of foreclosures could deal the housing market a blow, knocking down prices and making families homeless. But that wouldn’t materialize until at least next year, after the maximum 12 months of mortgage forbearance runs out for homeowners with government-backed loans. The hope is by that time, laid-off homeowners will have returned to work and can make their payments or the federal government offers additional assistance.

“Will there be some fallout? Of course,” says Matthew Gardner, chief economist of Windermere Real Estate. “But I don’t think it will be enough to cause [housing] prices to drop.”

Additional unemployment benefits have helped keep the economy afloat

The additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits has helped sustain unemployed workers and their families—as well as the economy itself. If it isn’t renewed or the amount is cut significantly, “it can be catastrophic,” warns Edgar Ndjatou, executive director of Workplace Fairness, a national organization that educates the public on worker rights.

Normally when people lose their job, their spending drops by about 7%, according to a recent JPMorgan Chase & Co. study. But this time, those receiving the boosted unemployment benefits increased their spending by about 10%.

“In many parts of the country, it goes a long way,” says Ndjatou.

While the fate of the unemployment benefit isn’t likely to affect the housing market directly, the impact of its disappearance could trickle down to homeowners and potential buyers—and possibly even lead to more layoffs and corporate cost cutting, according to Gregory Daco, chief economist of Oxford Economics, a global economics consulting firm.

“There are a host of industries that depend on people and businesses spending money,” says Ratiu.

More than 51 million Americans have filed for unemployment since the beginning of the crisis in March, with about 17.3 million continuing to collect unemployment as of July 11. In plain English: Nearly 1 in 5 workers received unemployment in June—five times more than the previous record, according to to JPMorgan Chase.

Buying a home is such a monumental financial commitment, of course, that those who lost their jobs or a substantial chunk of their income are much less likely to be looking to buy a home.

For some, the extra $600 a week contributes to the most money they’ve ever brought home. More than two-thirds of Americans who lost their jobs, 68%, are receiving more in unemployment than they did at their previous jobs, according to a May University of Chicago study.

“The life support the economy was on is being removed,” says Taner Osman, manager of regional economics analysis at Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles–based economics consulting firm. “If you withdraw this level of income from  the economy, this is going  to act as a drag on the recovery.”

More layoffs on the way

The unemployment picture may currently be looking a bit brighter as states have reopened and some workers are back at their jobs—but the layoffs are far from over.

Many economists expect the double-digit unemployment rate, which hit a high of nearly 15% in April before falling to roughly 11% in June, to continue through the year and probably into the next. New rounds of layoffs could hurt workers in higher income brackets this time around. But those job losses could be offset by folks going back to their jobs in newly reopened industries such as shipping, warehousing, or manufacturing.

“Whether things get better or worse, it’s not going to be a big movement one way or another,” says New York University economics professor Lawrence White.

Big-name companies like LinkedIn, Wells Fargo, and United Airlines are slashing jobs. This week, LinkedIn announced it was eliminating 960 jobs, roughly 6% of its workforce. Wells Fargo is planning layoffs later this year that could total in the tens of thousands, according to Bloomberg Law. United Airlines could let go of up to 36,000 workers, while American Airlines could cut up to 25,000 workers.

COVID-19 is compounding the struggles of big retailers as well. They’re shuttering stores and letting go of lower-paid clerks along with higher-paid corporate staff. Tailored Brands, the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and JoS. A. Bank, announced this week that it will lay off 20% of its corporate staff and could close up to 500 of its stores. J.C. Penney, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, eliminated about 1,000 corporate and management positions. Macy’s let go of nearly 4,000 corporate workers.

Small businesses are also suffering, with more than 100,000 shuttering for good.

“It’s going to be a roller coaster, unfortunately, because of these scale-backs of reopenings,” says Holly Wade, director of research at the National Federation of Independent Business. Even when they can reopen, “there are still small-business owners who are experiencing declining sales or sales far below pre-COVID-19 levels.”

Renewed lockdowns could be headed to a city near you

Some cities that have reopened could be closed for business again soon. Los Angeles is on the verge of another citywide stay-at-home order. Many cities have imposed new restrictions on businesses like bars, gyms, and restaurants. The mayors of Houston and Atlanta attempted to close down their respective cities, but their plans were vetoed by state governors.

If COVID-19 cases continue to tick up and businesses are forced to close once more, it could keep down the already insufficient number of homeowners putting their properties up for sale, and intensify the housing shortage.

However, even a new round of shelter-in-place orders or business closures likely wouldn’t bring the market to a standstill. Homes can now be shown virtually, and much of the paperwork done online. So unless real estate is deemed a non-essential business, the industry could emerge just fine.

“If there is a second lockdown, it will be bad for the economy,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®. “But the housing market shouldn’t suddenly see a drop-off.”

The post Could New Shutdowns, Lower Unemployment Benefits Drag Down the Hot Housing Market? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Take Me Away! 10 Private Islands for Sale Right Now

Private islands for sale

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Owning your own home is nice and all, but staking a claim on your very own private island—now that’s the ultimate in getting away from it all.

Ideal for separating yourself far from the crowds, an island retreat might be just the antidote to all your physical distancing concerns.

If you’re in the market for your own slice of heaven surrounded by beautiful water—or if you just want an imaginary escape—you’re in luck! We’ve spotted 10 private islands currently for sale. Prices range from fairly affordable to megamillions. Set sail with us, and select your favorite from among these 10 beauties.

Hog Island

Price: $7.9 million

The small town of Palatka, FL, sits between Palm Coast on Florida’s east coast and Gainesville to the west. It’s an unassuming farm and fishing town. However, that doesn’t mean that pristine waterside living is off the table. Hog Island is located on Lake George and is currently Florida’s largest private island on the market. The 237-acre spit of land includes three cabins with modern amenities, two docks, and two all-terrain vehicles for exploring the island.

Hog Island
Hog Island, Palatka, FL

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Terra’s Key

Price: $15 million

The Florida Keys is an internationally famous for its private islands. But most of the tiny specks dotting the tail end of the Sunshine State are either unavailable or uninhabitable. Terra’s Key is a welcome exception.

When it came on the market last spring, it easily earned the title of the week’s most popular home. You won’t need a helicopter or boat to access this beauty. The gated island comes with a private drive, and restaurants and shopping are just a car ride away. The 15-acre parcel includes a pool and spa, a five-bedroom compound, and tennis courts.

Terra’s Key, Islamorada, FL

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Potato Island

Price: $4.9 million

Just off the coast of Connecticut, Potato Island offers a whole new level of privacy. Accessed by boat, the island is mostly shielded by walls of trees and foliage.

You can catch the sunrise from the long, serene pool. For the sunset, enjoy it on the west end of the island in a custom hot tub. The two-story home is perched at the tip of the island, and offers amazing water views and a wraparound porch from which to enjoy them. This island also comes with a deep-water dock and boat.

Potato Island, Branson, CT

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Lakeville Lake Island

Price: $460,000

This private island on Lakeville Lake in Michigan proves that owning your own spit of floating land doesn’t have to cost millions. Accessed by a private bridge, this quarter-acre island includes a roomy, three-bedroom home with two-car garage, boat storage, and abundant parking.

Lakeville Lake Island, Addison Township, MI

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Cedar Island

Price: $499,000

Some private islands are all about the acreage, and Cedar Island in Michigan fits this bill. The island on Baw Beese Lake measures about 11.7 acres, but the sale also includes an additional 19 acres on the mainland.

The island has a small but efficient guesthouse, and there’s plenty of space for an intrepid buyer to build the ultimate lakeside retreat. A dock, walking trails, and footbridge make this the ultimate spot for exploration.

Cedar Island, Hillsdale, MI

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Columbia and Pea Islands

Price: $13 million

How about two islands for the price of one? Columbia and Pea Islands come as a package deal.

Columbia island is self-sustaining and includes a pristine, four-bedroom brick fortress with a massive great room and media room. The top-of-the-line interior is perfect for enjoying waterfront living in luxury. Pea Island complements Columbia island, offering a beautiful beach. Best of all? The islands are only 30 minutes from Manhattan.

Columbia and Pea Islands, New Rochelle, NY

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Lake Mahopac Island

Price: $9.95 million

Two Frank Lloyd Wright–designed homes on one private island? It’s true—Lake Mahopac Island, in Carmel, NY, offers 10 acres of paradise with two impeccable midcentury modern homes designed by the renowned architect. The first home has four bedrooms and an abundance of windows to take full advantage of the lakeside views. Details include natural stone, terraces, and water fountains. The other is a guesthouse.

Lake Mahopac Island, Carmel, NY

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North Topsail Beach

Price: $3.9 million

A tiny town at the north end of North Topsail Island, North Topsail Beach is a pristine 14.5-acre spit of ocean frontage in North Carolina. A lighted boardwalk leads to a picturesque estate that measures more than 5,000 square feet. There’s a pool as well as waterfront views from just about every room in the home. A second dock on the other side of the property leads right out to the water.

North Topsail Beach, NC

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Boca Raton Peninsula

Price: $3.95 million

Boca is well-known for its golf courses and beaches. But owning a private island in this posh Florida ZIP code is a serious step up.

The best part of this “island” is that it’s actually a peninsula, which offers easy accessibility. A tree-lined drive leads to 4.2 acres of lush, lakefront land. This island is already set up like a compound, with a large main house, a guesthouse, and a boat dock.

Boca Raton, FL

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Big Grand Cay, Bahamas

Price: $29.9 million

For those looking to truly escape the U.S., it doesn’t get much better than the Bahamas. The balmy breeze and gentle waves crashing on the white-sand beaches make it easy to see why island life is all the rage.

This is a rare opportunity to own not just one, but eight islands fully equipped with resort-style amenities. The cay comes with a four-bedroom manor, a great house designed as an entertainment hub, and eight (yes, eight) individual cottages—all offering waterfront views.

Big Grand Cay, Bahamas

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How to Plan an Outdoor Movie Night

In the height of summer, your backyard or porch is headquarters for family time and date night alike. Combine both, and cue up a movie on your DIY movie screen for a staycation highlight.

A bedsheet or table cloth affixed to a fence or wall plays projection screen, and your at-home projector makes movie magic.

Setting up a snack station with seasoned popcorn and traditional concession stand candies will win over guests of all ages.

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Creating a homemade touch is a nice way to personalize the experience. Gather a few common household materials – canvas dropcloth, painters’ tape, fabric-safe paint and a roller – and you can craft a custom blanket that feels expensive but only costs a few dollars. The stripes lend a nautical look that let this throw pull double duty as a beach blanket or picnic spread.

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Whether you choose action, comedy or thriller, your backyard movie night is sure to be a hit.

Want more tips from Douglas? Watch more home entertaining and design videos

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Originally published September 2016.