Unlike previous years when over-the-top architecture, islands and fortresses-for-sale ruled the scene, 2013′s news was dominated by tech billionaires, pop songstresses and Hollywood royalty whose homes — whether bought or sold — provided a peek into their private lives.
Here are the celebrity homes that attracted the most interest from realtor.com® visitors in 2013:
Taylor Swift’s Childhood Home
Taylor Swift made one of the biggest celebrity purchases of the year when she paid $17 million cash for a waterfront mansion in Rhode Island; but it was a home linked to the “I Knew You Were Trouble” singer’s early beginnings that produced the greatest buzz. Every pop icon’s path to stardom has to start somewhere, and fans got a glimpse of Swift’s when her childhood home hit the market in Wyomissing, Pa. in July.
Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s Ranch
Notorious real estate addicts and amateur interior designers Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi were at it again, making real estate moves across the board. The celebrity couple scored a big purchase in May, buying a $26.5 million Montecito estate. However, it was a dreamy 26-acre property designed by Ellen herself that proved to be their biggest draw. Originally shopped for as much as $16.5 million, DeGeneres and de Rossi eventually pocketed $10.85 million for their Hidden Valley wonderland. Luxuries that include a yoga pavilion, a “romantic barn” and a tree house pretty much ensure the new owner will live a charmed life.
Bill Gates’ Waterfront Equestrian Estate
Microsoft nerd and second richest man in the world Bill Gates saddled up in a big way in June when he shelled out $8.7 million for a waterfront equestrian estate in Florida. Gates’ purchase in the affluent village of Wellington came after he and his family rented the property last year. Apparently, the tech magnate took a shine to the estate, which boasts horse-friendly amenities aplenty and nearly 7,300 square feet. Still, it’s a far cry from his modern, 50,000-square-foot behemoth of a mansion on Lake Washington near Seattle.
Frank Sinatra’s Mountain Retreat With Helipad
The biggest stars often need time away from the spotlight and a place to escape, and Frank Sinatra was no exception. Hitting the market in April was the Mountain Center, Calif., retreat of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself. Looking to stay cool in the summertime, Sinatra apparently chose a granite mountain plateau above Palm Springs as the ideal locale for his hideout, complete with its own helipad, which was completed in 1967. Besides acting as his own personal sanctuary, the chalet was said to have been used by Sinatra to wine and dine the Rat Pack, various dignitaries and a host of social elite.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s Country Royal Farm
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill delivered a little country to our A-list of real-estate stars. The country music power couple were the talk of the town in July when they listed a 753-acre parcel in Franklin, Tenn. Adding intrigue to the listing was the fact that the stately plantation-style home, which hit the market for a whopping $20 million, was previously linked to country music royalty. It’s previous owner? Hank Williams Sr.
Katy Perry Wheels and Deals in Hollywood
Katy Perry’s Twitter presence eclipsed stars such as Justin Beiber in 2013, and her real estate dealings proved no different. In April, the pop songstress changed her tune on a Hollywood Hills residence that once served as her love nest with then-husband Russell Brand, listing the Spanish-style home for $6.925 million. She followed up on that listing in May with a fireworks display of multimillion-dollar purchases, including the home of Bruce Springsteen drummer and former Conan O’Brien bandleader Max Weinberg. The total on Perry’s spending spree? A cool $11.2 million.
Jim Carrey’s Malibu Move
It cost a whole lot more than what you’d make selling a dead bird to a blind kid, but the No.4 celebrity story of 2013 proved to be totally redeeming. Jim Carrey finally found a buyer for his oh-so “Hmmm, California! Beautiful!” home in Malibu. The Hollywood funnyman dropped the price of his oceanfront bungalow to $13.95 million in 2012 and ultimately sold the Malibu Colony property for $13.4 million in June. He was later seen peeling out of the home’s driveway in a 1984 Sheepdog van.
Ronald Reagan’s General Electric Showcase
Ronald Reagan hosted television’s General Electric Theater program from 1953 to 1962 (and toured ceaselessly as the public face of the company during that time) so it’s not all that surprising to learn that he owned one of the earliest energy-efficient homes ever conceived — which just happened to be built by GE. The retro green home with presidential pedigree lit a wave of energy-saving excitement in January, when it came to market in Pacific Palisades for $4.999 million. It eventually sold in February at $210,000 more than its asking price.
Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler Go Suburban
The Windy City suburbs caught a case of baby fever in August when news broke that newlyweds and new parents Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari had hung up their party hats for a suburban lifestyle. The Chicago Bears quarterback and MTV reality star ditched their downtown Chicago condo for a posh new mansion in the ritzy suburb of Winnetka, Ill. Celebrity renters all the way, Chi-town’s hottest couple is reportedly paying $10,000 a month for their 6,178-square-foot mansion.
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn’s Big Sale
Don’t tell Kurt Russell or Goldie Hawn they are washed up. In July the veteran Hollywood A-listers proved they still have plenty of star power when they pitched their picturesque Malibu home, stirring up the hottest celebrity real estate story of 2013. The couple previously asked a wallet-busting $14.79 million for the bohemian abode redesigned by starchitect Gus Duffy. The home, rich in organic light-filled living spaces, ultimately went for $9.5 million.