Why Stars Are Renting Out Their Homes for Dirt Cheap - Kanebridge News
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Why Stars Are Renting Out Their Homes for Dirt Cheap

A-listers are becoming short-term rental hosts. But you might have to sign an NDA or stay in a celeb’s sneaker closet.

By ASHLEY WONG
Tue, Nov 28, 2023 11:28amGrey Clock 3 min

Martha Stewart’s 150-plus-acre property in Bedford, N.Y., includes a farm with horse stables and a chicken coop, a fruit orchard, a peacock pen and seven stately houses.

One of the abodes opened for a night’s stay this month.

The domestic goddess is among the A-listers, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Mariah Carey, putting their estates or penthouses up for short-term stays on rental sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com for nominal fees or no cost at all.

“It is a very pleasant weekend in the country,” Stewart said in an interview.

Why would a celebrity invite strangers to traipse through their home? Rental companies can use the attention to reach new audiences and distract from public criticism over hassles such as rising fees. Luminaries can promote their own brands, and guests get to briefly live like a star, in a highly orchestrated way.

Stewart said she had never used Booking.com or Airbnb for her own travel, and was intrigued by what the experience would be like as the homeowner. She recently announced that one of her farmhouse’s residences—her “tenant house”—in Bedford, would be bookable for two guests for one night starting Nov. 18. The Thanksgiving-themed overnight (Thanksgiving is among her favourite holidays) included a guided tour of the farm, a wreath-making class and a brunch with Stewart herself.

In keeping with the holiday vibe, the getaway was priced at $11.23, as in Nov. 23, this year’s Thanksgiving date.

The two-bedroom cottage where her guests stayed is always prepared for visitors, she said. (Of course it is.) That meant she didn’t have to worry about removing personal items, and she was unfazed about opening her home to people she didn’t know.

But don’t expect to post all over Facebook about your stay at Martha’s. Booking.com said celebrities can ask their guests to sign nondisclosure agreements, something Stewart required for hers. What exactly it is like to spend a night in any of these VIP homes will likely remain rarefied knowledge.

Celebrities are compensated for the home stays; Leslie Cafferty, Booking.com’s chief communications officer, declined to disclose how much.

People have long had a voyeuristic fascination with the lifestyles of the rich and famous. In Los Angeles, companies compete to offer celebrity-home tours, where passengers crane to see mansions behind gates and humongous hedges while sitting in faraway buses. Dwellings with even a patina of historic relevance draw fans. “George Washington slept here!” says a title for one Virginia farmhouse on Airbnb. (Wrote one reviewer: “This is a beautiful old home with wonderfully scenic views. There are horses, donkeys, and the oddest assortment of charismatic dogs.”)

Some can even be enthralled to sleep in a dorm room—if it once housed American royalty-turned-U. S.-president. At Harvard University, visiting politicians and notable figures including actor Alec Baldwin have stayed overnight at John F. Kennedy’s senior-year dorm suite, though it hasn’t been available for personal use for several years.

Companies such as Airbnb have faced scrutiny over soaring cleaning fees and host demands. In September, New York City began cracking down on short-term rentals by requiring hosts to register with the city and meet multiple requirements, such as not renting out an entire property. During a recent travel-industry event, Airbnb’s CEO Brian Chesky acknowledged seeing thousands of complaints on social media about rising rental costs.

The inexpensive and publicity-drawing celebrity home stays are one of several ways short-term rental companies are marketing to new hosts and guests.

Earlier this year, Paltrow invited guests to spend the night at her Montecito, Calif., home free of charge through Airbnb. The sunny, white-marbled rental featured a bathroom filled with products from Goop, Paltrow’s lifestyle company, and activities such as transcendental meditation. Through Airbnb, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis opened up their Santa Barbara beach house. The stars greeted their guests personally, and Kutcher documented part of their stay on his Instagram. Airbnb declined to comment.

Those who walk through the doors of a celebrity-anointed home might wonder: Should they expect to see family photos, or Paltrow’s personal trinkets hanging on the walls? And do they really get the run of the whole house?

That is up to the stars, Cafferty said. The entirety of Stewart’s guesthouse is available for the duration of the guests’ stay. Carey, the queen of Christmas, opened both her New York City penthouse and her rental home in Beverly Hills, Calif., to fans via Booking.com—yet Carey’s penthouse was only available for a cocktail hour; her guests stayed overnight at The Plaza Hotel.

Producer DJ Khaled opened only one room of his Miami house for Airbnb—his sneaker closet. To be fair, his sneaker closet doesn’t look like your sneaker closet. His is the size of a small dorm room, large enough for a bed for two, a shoeshine station and floor-to-ceiling sneakers (which guests weren’t allowed to touch). This was bookable last year for $11.

One of the guests who spent the night with DJ Khaled’s shoes wrote that the stay came with a free sneaker-shopping trip and chauffeurs, deeming it “an experience from start to finish.” No word on how the sneaker closet smelled, though the reviewer called it “immaculate.”

Sarah Jessica Parker invited two guests to her Hamptons home via Booking.com. It came with access to a crystal-blue private beach, a free pair of heels from Parker’s shoe line and reservations at some of her favorite local restaurants (though no appearance from Parker herself). Her rental went up for $19.98—priced for the year “Sex and the City” premiered.



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These stocks are getting hit for a reason. Instead, focus on stocks that show ‘relative strength.’ Here’s how.

By KEN SHREVE
Wed, Jun 12, 2024 4 min

A lot of investors get stock-picking wrong before they even get started: Instead of targeting the top-performing stocks in the market, they focus on the laggards—widely known companies that look as if they are on sale after a period of stock-price weakness.

But these weak performers usually are going down for good reasons, such as for deteriorating sales and earnings, market-share losses or mutual-fund managers who are unwinding positions.

Decades of Investor’s Business Daily research shows these aren’t the stocks that tend to become stock-market leaders. The stocks that reward investors with handsome gains for months or years are more often  already  the strongest price performers, usually because of outstanding earnings and sales growth and increasing fund ownership.

Of course, many investors already chase performance and pour money into winning stocks. So how can a discerning investor find the winning stocks that have more room to run?

Enter “relative strength”—the notion that strength begets more strength. Relative strength measures stocks’ recent performance relative to the overall market. Investing in stocks with high relative strength means going with the winners, rather than picking stocks in hopes of a rebound. Why bet on a last-place team when you can wager on the leader?

One of the easiest ways to identify the strongest price performers is with IBD’s Relative Strength Rating. Ranked on a scale of 1-99, a stock with an RS rating of 99 has outperformed 99% of all stocks based on 12-month price performance.

How to use the metric

To capitalise on relative strength, an investor’s search should be focused on stocks with RS ratings of at least 80.

But beware: While the goal is to buy stocks that are performing better than the overall market, stocks with the highest RS ratings aren’t  always  the best to buy. No doubt, some stocks extend rallies for years. But others will be too far into their price run-up and ready to start a longer-term price decline.

Thus, there is a limit to chasing performance. To avoid this pitfall, investors should focus on stocks that have strong relative strength but have seen a moderate price decline and are just coming out of weeks or months of trading within a limited range. This range will vary by stock, but IBD research shows that most good trading patterns can show declines of up to one-third.

Here, a relative strength line on a chart may be helpful for confirming an RS rating’s buy signal. Offered on some stock-charting tools, including IBD’s, the line is a way to visualise relative strength by comparing a stock’s price performance relative to the movement of the S&P 500 or other benchmark.

When the line is sloping upward, it means the stock is outperforming the benchmark. When it is sloping downward, the stock is lagging behind the benchmark. One reason the RS line is helpful is that the line can rise even when a stock price is falling, meaning its value is falling at a slower pace than the benchmark.

A case study

The value of relative strength could be seen in Google parent Alphabet in January 2020, when its RS rating was 89 before it started a 10-month run when the stock rose 64%. Meta Platforms ’ RS rating was 96 before the Facebook parent hit new highs in March 2023 and ran up 65% in four months. Abercrombie & Fitch , one of 2023’s best-performing stocks, had a 94 rating before it soared 342% in nine months starting in June 2023.

Those stocks weren’t flukes. In a study of the biggest stock-market winners from the early 1950s through 2008, the average RS rating of the best performers before they began their major price runs was 87.

To see relative strength in action, consider Nvidia . The chip stock was an established leader, having shot up 365% from its October 2022 low to its high of $504.48 in late August 2023.

But then it spent the next four months rangebound—giving up some ground, then gaining some back. Through this period, shares held between $392.30 and the August peak, declining no more than 22% from top to bottom.

On Jan. 8, Nvidia broke out of its trading range to new highs. The previous session, Nvidia’s RS rating was 97. And that week, the stock’s relative strength line hit new highs. The catalyst: Investors cheered the company’s update on its latest advancements in artificial intelligence.

Nvidia then rose 16% on Feb. 22 after the company said earnings for the January-ended quarter soared 486% year over year to $5.16 a share. Revenue more than tripled to $22.1 billion. It also significantly raised its earnings and revenue guidance for the quarter that was to end in April. In all, Nvidia climbed 89% from Jan. 5 to its March 7 close.

And the stock has continued to run up, surging past $1,000 a share in late May after the company exceeded that guidance for the April-ended quarter and delivered record revenue of $26 billion and record net profit of $14.88 billion.

Ken Shreve  is a senior markets writer at Investor’s Business Daily. Follow him on X  @IBD_KShreve  for more stock-market analysis and insights, or contact him at  ken.shreve@investors.com .