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When it comes to home purchases, celebrities are just like everyone else — with the possible exception of a slightly larger budget. But when privacy and luxury are musts, what’s a celeb to do? Purchase in one of the top five hot celebrity locales:

South Florida

Exterior

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is selling his West Miami house, which he and wife Janette purchased in 2005, for $675,000.

After a long movie shoot or world tour, celebrities love to channel their inner child playing in and near the water. And where better to do this than sunny South Florida. From water skiing on Miami’s Biscayne Bay to lounging on the pristine Palm Beach or yachting around Fort Lauderdale’s intricate canals — there are endless attractions for celebs on vacation. Paired with this waterfront fun are the conveniences of a major metropolitan area including fabulous food, major sporting venues, gaming, ports and hot nightlife. All this, and South Floridians don’t harass their famous neighbors because they’ve already seen it all.

Mottola_Back Exterior

Until last year, music icon Tommy Mottola regularly escaped to this 40-foot pool in Palm Beach. The former head of Sony Music Entertainment sold the lavish estate last July for $6.53 million.

Caribbean islands

Richard Branson's Necker Island

Richard Branson reportedly envisioned using the British Virgin Islands to put up rock stars for his record label when he laid eyes on the islands in 1978. He later purchased the uninhabited Necker Island (pictured above). Source: Business Insider

When East Coast celebrities want to get away from it all but still be relatively close to civilization, they set sail for the Caribbean. But many aren’t content owning land shared with someone else — especially when they can just buy the whole island. Billionaire Richard Branson not only bought Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, the entrepre-lebrity turned it in to an ultra-exclusive resort frequented by celebrities, royalty and anyone who can afford a $50,000 stay. Johnny Depp also has his own island, Little Hall’s Pond Cay in the Bahamas, allowing him to snorkel in peace far from the prying eyes of paparazzi.

Los Angeles

Aaron Paul's home

“Breaking Bad” actor Aaron Paul recently purchased this Hollywood hilltop estate. The Spanish-style villa was built in the 1930s and provides views of the Sunset Strip.

L.A. is hands down the mecca for celebrity-home purchases purely for its proximity to Hollywood. Celebrities can afford posh accommodations and important security features including existing hedges (new hedges are height-restricted to 6 feet), fences and elaborate home-security systems. Being minutes from downtown Los Angeles with world-class everything is also key.

Jessica Simpson is in escrow to buy the Osbourne family's former Hidden Hills mansion. The home will provide the growing Simpson family with 11,000 square feet and a private pool.

Jessica Simpson is in escrow to buy the Osbourne family’s former Hidden Hills mansion. The home will provide the growing Simpson family with 11,000 square feet and a private pool.

Hawaii

President Obama rented this Hawaiian getaway in 2011. He also spent part of his childhood living on the islands before moving to Chicago in 2005.

President Barack Obama rented this Hawaiian getaway in 2011. He also spent part of his childhood living on the islands .

Another great escape to quiet life for celebrities can be found in the Hawaiian islands, currently housing getaways for President Barack Obama, Jack Johnson (a Hawaii native) and Drew Barrymore. Last summer, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison purchased 98 percent of Lanai, which he plans to turn into a sustainable, eco-friendly paradise. Oprah Winfrey also owns several properties on the island of Maui, including a 60-acre ranch in Kula, providing plenty of room for all of her favorite things.

Manhattan

Anne Hathaway Manhattan Apartment

Anne Hathaway rented this Manhattan penthouse after breaking up with businessman Raffaello Follieri. With 11 rooms, including a formal living room, wet bar and chef’s kitchen, Hathaway had ample space to get over her ex.

While there’s not a particular neighborhood in Manhattan more popular than others for celebrities, there is one place they avoid at all cost: Midtown. Perhaps the proximity to touristy Times Square and the theater district scares celebs away to quieter neighborhoods full of resident New Yorkers, who don’t care if their neighbors are famous. Even Broadway regulars such as Jim Parsons, Brooke Shields, Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker stay safely out of Midtown’s range. As for the outer boroughs, Brooklyn is a popular celebrity hot spot, home to Anne Hathaway and Steve Buscemi.

When it comes to celebrity real estate, a winning location is based less on the finest amenities and more on privacy and relaxation. Whether in a high-rise hidden in a bustling metropolis or a vacation home in a secluded island paradise, celebs are happiest when they can momentarily escape the spotlight.

Related:

Samantha (Sam) DeBianchi is a Realtor and founder of DeBianchi Real Estate. Her expert real estate advice and straightforward approach can be seen and heard on FOX Business. Always keeping it REAL, you can follow Sam online on Twitter and Facebook.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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