LOS ANGELES ( TheStreet) -- Homes that make it into movies and onto your television screen are stars in their own right, but don't require a celebrity paycheck if you're looking to buy one.In this housing market, nothing's quite as costly as it once was. The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city monthly index found that housing prices in major metro areas have sunk to their lowest point since 2002 and have fallen more quickly since the bubble burst in 2006 than they did during the Great Depression. Average prices are down 3.5% over the past year and 7% since last summer. The National Association of Realtors doesn't have much better news to share, as existing home sales fell 0.05% from March to April and 12% since April 2010. Median existing home prices also fell 5% over the past year as distressed homes sold at a discount of 20% or less accounted for 37% of all April home sales. Meanwhile, Freddie Mac's rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage sits at 4.55%, its lowest point since December. Still think you can't just watch a movie and shop for that house you liked in it? Still think the house in the credits of your favorite TV show is out of your reach? With a little help from the folks at Zillow, TheStreet took a look at 10 of the most famous properties in television and film and found out what they'd really cost. While there's some star-quality sticker shock in this group, there were a few famous properties with audience-friendly asking prices:
The walls don't bleed and the only time you'll hear "Get out" is if the new owners catch horror fans creeping around the yard looking for souvenirs, but the house that inspired The Amityville Horror, the 1977 book by Jay Anson, 1979 film of the same name, film series that followed and 2005 remake certainly has its charms. This 3,600-square foot, five-bedroom, three-bathroom Dutch colonial with central air gained notoriety after George and Kathy Lutz and their three children moved into the place in December 1975. The previous owner, Ronald DeFeo Jr., killed his father, mother, two brothers and two sisters in the house, and the Lutz family claimed paranormal activity drove them from the house less than a month after they moved in. The house that hit the market for $1.15 million last October isn't quite the famous freakshow audiences remember from the film. That house, which was recreated for the films in Toms River, N.J., because of Amityville's reluctant affiliation with the franchise, has since had its address changed from 122 Ocean Ave. to ward off visitors, had its eye-shaped, quarter-round windows removed and has been painted a cream color much softer than its original stark shades. That hasn't kept fans away, however, as hundreds turned up to the old owner's moving sale last August and were locked out of the basement and upper rooms "haunted" in the film version. The new owners, Caroline and David D'Antonio, told Newsday last year that they love the house but dread it around Halloween. "It's my dream house -- our dream house," David D'Antonio said. "There's nothing the matter with it other than the outside people."
At this asking price, the new owners may want to invest in a little more security than swinging paint cans, rigged blowtorches and icy stairs. The house's owners, John and Cynthia Abenshein, owned the home during the six months director John Hughes filmed his 1990 holiday blockbuster there. Their daughter, who befriended star Macaulay Culkin during the filming, is grown and out of the house, convincing the Abensheins to consider downsizing. The new owners will get a little more than some Hollywood notoriety for their investment. The five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom Georgian home has a wood-burning fireplace, sunroom, attic bedroom and detached garage. It's just a few blocks from Lake Michigan and 20 miles from Chicago, but even by Winnetka's lofty standards -- the median home value hovers around $780,000 -- that asking price could have a buyer slapping him- or herself in the face and screaming into the bathroom mirror for months afterward.
The Sleepless in Seattle boathouse Location: Southern Lake Union, Seattle Price: $2.5 million (asking)
If you're going to put a recently widowed character played by Tom Hanks in a home with his only son, it's hard to ask for greater comforts than those offered by this four bedroom, one-and-three-quarter-bathroom houseboat with a 360-degree view of Lake Union. Granted, it won't protect you from the snooping eyes of pixie-cut-sporting, romantically unsatisfied reporters from the East Coast who hear your children call into a late-night radio show for the lovelorn, but it does have certain advantages. It has docking space for sailboat or powerboat, no neighbors to the south and an open floor plan if a new owner isn't into the 1993-vintage look of Sam Baldwin's home. The 2,700-square-foot floating lot is also the biggest on the lake and sits farther out than its neighbors, giving it some peace and privacy despite a first floor that's almost all windows. It's also a great spot for watching the Fourth of July fireworks and the boat races. The downside is that those windows had best be drawn during tourist season, when boatloads of cinephiles go drifting past your place looking for a glimpse of young Jonah sabotaging his father's relationship with a woman who laughs like a hyena and cultivating a relationship with a girl who speaks in acronyms. Oh, and you may be asked at some point to fly out to New York to spend Valentine's Day at the top of the Empire State building aping a scene from An Affair To Remember.
The Goonies house Location: 368 38th St., Astoria, Ore. Price: $236,158 (assessed)
It's been 26 years since Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman and company went on their search for One-Eyed Willie's treasure, but this house has likely seen more than its share of gelatinous tourists recreating the Truffle Shuffle at its front gate. The house itself gets very little screen time -- though the Goonies find the map to One-Eyed Willie's treasure in the attic -- but fans with designs on owning the place should realize it's changed quite a bit since Feldman's Mouth tried to scare Mikey and Brand's new housekeeper with his Spanish skills. The attic full of treasures and antiquities has been gutted and refurbished, but the view of the town and the ocean remain spectacular. The problem is that even with its notoriety, the house hasn't seen much of a bump in value for its troubles. According to Zillow, similar properties in the area sell for between $174,000 and $344,000 and don't have a sonically unpleasant Cyndi Lauper song attached to their legacy. Nor do they have to post signs in the driveway shooing away cars but noting that "Goonies on foot are welcome." Astoria may not have the loftiest home prices in America, but the town of fewer than 10,000 people gets its homeowners an almost disproportionate amount of Hollywood's attention for their money. Since Goonies filmed there, the Astoria cliffs have served as a setting for Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, The Ring Two and Into The Wild. The price of a piece of that spotlight's falling, too, as The Goonies house was on the market for $240,000 last fall before its price dropped to $230,000. It's currently unlisted, but a marble bag full of One Eyed Willie's treasure or a portion of the Fratelli gang's ill-gotten goods might make the owners remember that Goonies never say die.
It has to be tough to sell even the most iconic of houses when the last image Americans have of it is a vintage Ferrari going through one of the garage's plate glass windows in reverse and the supporting character responsible facing a serious domestic disturbance once his father returns to survey the damage. The house from John Hughes' 1987 teen comedy doesn't come with a roughly used 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California in the garage. It also doesn't give the buyer a get-out-of-school free card entitling the recipient to a day at the Chicago Art Institute, Sears Tower, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Wrigley Field or the Von Steuben Day Parade with a karaoke float awaiting his or her arrival. What you will get is a 1953 cantilivered steel-and-glass house designed by James Speyer and David Haid with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and 5,300 square feet of living space on a one-acre lot. Chances are you'll get it at a discount as well. Cameron's bad luck has extended to the home's seller, who put the home on the market for $2.3 million in 2009, dropped the price to $1.8 million last year and put it back on the market for $1.65 million in January. The house is once again off the market, but Zillow's guessing the homeowners still have room for a little more pain than even a plucky, charmed, Matthew Broderick-portrayed friend can dish out. Even if the price drops again, the owners may still have trouble letting their Cameron go.
This house is as blue-collar as the Connor family that called it (or at least a photo of it) home during the run of Roseanne from the late '80s through the late '90s. Much like the Connors, it's also seen more than its share of hard times. Compared with Roseanne Barr's lead losing her gigs at Wellman Plastics or Rodbell's department store, John Goodman's Dan losing the bike shop or the entire show losing George Clooney after only a few seasons, original house owner Anne Noble's struggles selling the house seem like a pretty average Roseanne plot point. Noble's father built the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in 1923 and, when it came time to sell in 2004, Noble decided to put the house up for auction. Perhaps most of the bidders were busy looking for the house's fictional location in Lanford, Ill., because those who showed up could muster only $55,000 for the highest bid, well below the $75,000 Noble had hoped for. The next seller had just a bit more luck, originally listing the house for $79,900 in 2008 before taking it off and remodeling the detached two-car garage and adding new carpet, paint, ceramic flooring, kitchen cabinets, counters, sinks, lighting, doors, plumbing, furnace and a hot water heater and listing it again for $50,000 more in 2009. It sold for $124,000 later that year. As Roseanne learned when it replaced daughter Becky Conner's alter ego Lecy Goranson with future Scrubs star Sarah Chalke: Upgrades are often welcome, if initially unappreciated.
Want to play a fun game with tourists in New York? Point to a brownstone apartment on any shady street in the city and say it's the house from NBC's ( GE) The Cosby Show. Your success rate should be at least 50%. Could a OB/GYN and an attorney afford a $4.06 million place in the West Village while raising four to five children (depending on the season), sending them to college and occasionally housing in-laws? Perhaps, but that task would likely be a whole lot easier in the house's fictional location in Brooklyn Heights, where a 3,300-plus-square-foot, five-bedroom house sells for roughly half the price. That extra cash would go a long way toward spinning off a troublesome daughter to A Different World at Spellman College and toward making people forget about your youngest daughter when a cuter, more precocious granddaughter comes into the picture. In the real world, however, that much space in a single family so close to the shops and restaurants on Hudson Street and the cabs along Seventh Avenue is tough to pass up. Sadly, drop-ins from cool grandparents, the occasional jazz musician or supermodel don't come as part of the package.
How do you justify a price tag $8 million larger than the area's median home price? Just remind Gen X buyers that this is where Donna Martin lost her virginity to David Silver and let the bidding war begin. Before summer rentals on television consisted of drunken orange people inflicting violence or "smushing" upon one another at various oceanfront locations, they were home to the parties, fights and melodramatic romances of scripted teens such as Donna (Tori Spelling), David (Brian Austin Green) and Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth), who shared this house (or at least its exterior shots) during the '90s. It wasn't a bad place to spend a summer away from West Beverly High School, as the 2,868-square-foot home has a two-bedroom, two-bathroom bungalow with a laundry room, kitchen and enclosed patio. There are also two guest suites, one with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and another with two bedrooms and one bathroom. All have private terraces with views of the ocean, but the first-floor bungalow also gets a yard surrounded by a white picket fence. Buyers may as well be on Fox's ( NEWS) Beverly Hills, 90210 considering the number of people with a view of their private life. The Hermosa Beach boardwalk is right out back and two other beachfront estates are flush to either side. Oh, and fans of the show from the '90s still pop by every once in a while to see if anyone's reenacting an awkward TV moment that's now 14 years old. Before signing the mortgage on this one, consider that Donna Martin's romantic farewell to her virginity happened with same guy who "jiggity-jacked the miggity-mack" the first time he tried to drop rhymes on screen and forced his classmates to line dance as he spat lyrics. Perhaps Donna Martin didn't deserve to graduate after all.
The Family Matters house in Chicago Location: 1516 W. Wrightwood Ave., Chicago Price: $712,000 (assessed)
As long as a high-trousered, Hubble lens-bespectacled, catch-phrase-spouting neighbor kid doesn't show up, the house used as the exterior shot of the Winslow family home on ABC's ( DIS) TGIF staple Family Matters should be a solid buy. This 2,800-square-foot multibedroom, two-bathroom house graced the opening credits of Family Matters for nine seasons from 1989 through 1998. That $712,000 price tag's a little lofty for a Chicago cop, his factotum wife, his live-in mother and two children -- technically three, though Judy Winslow disappears after season four -- but that kind of space and a detached two-car garage doesn't come along very often. It's also no guarantee that all will turn out well. The family house, for instance, is now crowded in by a large, multistory condo building to the left -- nearly as depressing as Judy Winslow actress Jaimee Foxworth resurfacing as a porn star named Crave. As for Jaleel "Urkel" White, he was last seen in last year's Mega Shark Versus Crocasaurus and in a bit role on the Ice Cube-produced TBS show Are We There Yet?
There are so many things wrong with this house that the full eight-season run of Full House wouldn't be enough to explain it. First off, there's no way a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house of 2,500 square feet fits Danny Tanner, his three daughters, their wacky comedian "uncle" from Canada and their real sometimes Beach Boy uncle as depicted without some serious structural changes. We're not talking about "the uncles live in the basement" changes; we mean "somebody's living in the garage and possibly the attic" changes. Secondly, there's no way the Olsen twins live under those conditions when they were already producing video games and straight-to-video movies by the show's end. Third, why are we forced to believe that this house is somehow one of San Francisco's "Painted Ladies" depicted in the show's opening credits? It would be tough enough for a sportscaster/talk show host, a comedian and a session musician to cover the $9,000-a-month mortgage on this place, never mind some of the most sought-after real estate in the city. If your house is somewhat less than full, though, the first-story garage, proximity to Golden Gate Park and $1.85 million it sold for when it last changed hands in 2006 make the Full House a far more worthwhile investment than the 30 minutes you'd spend watching an episode. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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