Concerns about pollution have people rethinking the value of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jan 21, 2011 2:48PM

© Ivan Hunter/Getty ImagesA fireplace has long been considered one of the top amenities that buyers seek in a home. What can be more romantic than an evening with a loved one in front of a blazing wood fire?

But the romance of the fireplace seems to be cooling, The New York Times reports, over concerns that fireplaces waste energy and pollute the air.

Sally Treadwell of Boone, N.C., would like to build a fire every night during the winter, but she says she feels too guilty.

"We’re in the Appalachian Mountains, and I know what pollution does to us all," Treadwell told the Times.  "I very definitely limit fires."

That's right. A wood-burning fire, once a symbol of calm and relaxation, is now something to feel guilty about or hide behind closed doors -- if you could hide the smoke.


More than 82 percent of millennial renters say they think they'll own a home, compared to 64 percent of Gen X renters.

By MSN Real Estate partner 4 hours ago

biglove/Getty ImagesBy Cory Hopkins, Zillow


As the housing recovery continues, Americans are growing more confident in the housing market in general. And that confidence comes in part from a potentially surprising source: millennial renters, who to date have been perceived by many as largely uninterested in or unable to attain homeownership, or both.


But even as younger renters express a strong desire to one day buy a home, the question remains if they will be able to just yet, as difficult buying conditions persist. Millennial renters (ages 18 to 34) often have a lot of student debt and pay very high rents in many of the nation’s largest cities, which can make saving for a down payment difficult. In addition, the inventory of the least expensive, entry-level homes is also tight, according to Zillow’s August Real Estate Market Reports.


Although London is still the most expensive place to relocate staff, Hong Kong remains the most expensive place to buy a home, a new report says.

By MSN Real Estate partner 8 hours ago

Johnnie Pakington/Getty ImagesBy Katy Barnato, CNBC


London has trumped Hong Kong as the world's most expensive city, according to a report from international estate agent Savills.


For the first time since the Savills "Live/work index" was launched in 2008, London has outdone Hong Kong as the priciest city for companies to locate staff.


Londoners have been hit by resurging property prices — unlike in Hong Kong, where residential rents have fallen. On Monday, the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics reported that house prices in London and other areas of England and Scotland had rebounded to the levels seen before the 2007/08 global financial crisis.


Zillow has ranked the top markets based on how long it takes homes to sell, sale prices and more criteria.

By MSN Real Estate partner 10 hours ago

© SuperStockBy Diana Olick, CNBC


During the Great Recession, the housing market crashed nationally for the first time in U.S. history. There had certainly been local and even regional housing downturns in the past, but it was the first time home prices fell nationwide.


Now, as the recovery moves forward, the national market is turning local again, with more clear distinctions between "buyers" and "sellers" markets.


A market's particular leaning isn't necessarily based on where prices are rising most. Home prices are still stronger nationally than they were a year ago, according to various surveys, although the gains are shrinking. A market is a buyers or sellers one depending on how long it takes to sell a home, whether price cuts occur or whether homes sell above asking, according to a new report from Zillow, which ranked some of the top markets for both.


The talk-show host and her husband unloaded the SoHo property that they first listed in January.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 3:16 PM

By Emily Heffter, Zillow


Talk-show host Kelly Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos, have sold their New York penthouse for $20 million.


The five-bedroom apartment in SoHo has high, stamped ceilings, a huge, eat-in gourmet kitchen, two dining rooms for easy entertaining and a big master suite. The living room has a dramatic staircase running up one side.


Upstairs, there is a media room, home gym, and an office — in all, the penthouse has 6,792-square-feet of indoor space. The more than 3,000-square-foot rooftop deck includes a grill area, a covered patio, a steam shower and a hot tub.

Tags: celebrity

The actor is asking $3.5 million for the midcentury-modern home.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 12:22 PM

ZillowBy Emily Heffter, Zillow


Actor Jake Gyllenhaal has listed his Los Angeles midcentury modern, asking $3.5 million for the three-bedroom, three-bath home in Cahuenga Pass.


Gyllenhaal, known for "Jarhead," "Donnie Darko," and "Brokeback Mountain," among other films, bought the gated compound in 2005 for $2.5 million.


The home's great room offers views of the city — "sensational panoramic views," according to the listing — and the outdoor space includes a patio, private yard and pool.

Tags: celebrity

The housing market hit a soft patch in August after a brisk summer.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 8:50 AM

By Josh Mitchell, The Wall Street Journal


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Walking to work may not be a good option for homebuyers in these areas.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 10:46 AM

PBNJ Productions/GettyImagesBy Jerry Kronenberg, MainStreet


If strip malls and septic tanks are your idea of paradise, here's a look at five major U.S. cities that feature car-centric suburban layouts rather than Manhattan-style "urban walkability."


"These are places where they built everything around the car," says Christopher Leinberger of George Washington University, who co-wrote a report with GWU's Patrick Lynch that ranks America's largest metro areas for what the pair calls "walkable urbanism."


Leinberger and Lynch define "Walkable Urban Places" (or "WalkUPs" for short) as city or suburban neighborhoods that score well for walkability and host a high amount of office and/or retail space in a compact area.


Homes on the outskirts of cities are seeing recovery, especially in the South and West.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 9:58 AM

© Cameron Davidson/Getty ImagesBy Kris Hudson, The Wall Street Journal


The exurbs are starting to make a comeback, signaling that the housing market's recovery is slowly spreading beyond major cities.


Areas on the outskirts of cities went bust earlier and harder than most other places during the housing downturn. That is partly because job losses, mortgage defaults and high gasoline prices hit families living there particularly hard, hampering home sales and construction in the far-flung neighborhoods. Builders, blaming weak demand in these areas, shifted to building on more expensive land closer to city centers.



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