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Posted by: Dean Foust on December 13, 2005

It seems to me that one of the residual perks of being a Hollywood celebrity is the ability to make a killing in real estate. The easy explanation is that everyone wants to be on the other end of the transaction so they can say they buy/sold a house to/from a celebrity. That seems to be the case with the highly annoying Kelly Ripa who sold her New York place for $7.5 million just a few years after buying it for $2.8 million. (This article jokingly calls her “the new Donald Trump.”) But even when actors and actresses are on the way up, some use the long layoffs between gigs to speculate in real estate. I remember reading once in InStyle magazine (HEY, it was my WIFE’s copy, OK?) that a young Courtney Cox would buy a tiny fixer-upper in Hollywood, spend a lot of sweat equity fixing it up, decorate it, then flip it for a hefty profit—before moving on to her next project. Never lived in a house for more than a year, but made a ton of money before Friends doing that—fixing up, flipping, fixing up, flipping…

Of course, the king of Hollywood real estate was none other than Fred McMurray, he of My Three Sons fame. Apparently, he took his savings from the TV show and put it all into California real estate back in the 1970s—and sat on it for the next couple of decades. And the rest is history, as they say. If you’ve got any good stories of celebrity killings or losses in real estate, let’s get a thread going here…

Reader Comments


December 14, 2005 3:05 PM

Bob Hope sunk much of his money into raw land in outlying areas of California. While I believe he made money, I don't think it was all that great. Development really didn't arrive until he was selling it.


December 15, 2005 7:34 AM

non-celebs are smarter. As a mortgage broker, i have seen a wave of people buying investment property and holding on to it. I do the same althoug I am not a CA resident. The deal is in my area You can buy a 3500 square foot house for under 200k. or you could by 7 houses for under 200k-fix them refi the loan to 80% to avoid PMI-rent it to clients who receive gov't subsidies or rent to those who don't (with the gov't check is in the mail, with others, you collect or have management co do it for you (personally I set up auto drafts) in any event you can clear 2k at a minimum per month. Courteney Cox and any of the rest would do well to go back to their places of birth and re-vitalize certain areas. They should hold on to the properties instead of flipping them.

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BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.

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