Just how many compounds, mansions, and luxury condos does a billionaire need?

Jeff Bezos owns multiple expensive properties:

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

When Jeff Bezos isn’t launching himself into space, he’s on the hunt for another trophy property to add to his already-impressive real estate portfolio. Earlier this year, the Amazon founder reportedly acquired a 14-acre compound in Hawaii for a whopping $78 million in a mysterious deal (more on that later) which brought the value of his real estate holdings to an astronomical $578 million, if not more. The billionaire has picked up several properties in his home state of Washington, a number of New York City apartments, a few sprawling estates in California, a ranch in Texas, and a number of places in Washington, D.C. Below, we’ve rounded up all of the homes the entrepreneur owns in the U.S.—so far…

Several years after Bezos founded Amazon, he put down $10 million for what has largely been his primary residence over the past few decades. It comprises two homes measuring 20,600 square feet and 8,300 square feet, respectively, situated on about 5.3 acres in the exclusive Medina neighborhood of Seattle (Bill Gates also owns a home there). In 2010, the Albuquerque native invested $28 million to renovate the property. That same year, Bezos reportedly bought the property next door, a 24,000-square-foot house that came with an additional five acres. The Tudor–style home was listed for $53 million at the time, but it is unclear what the billionaire ended up paying for the purchase. Bezos still owns this massive compound…

Bezos made a big move to Washington, D.C. in late 2016, snapping up two sprawling mansions measuring a combined 27,000 square feet for $23 million. Built in 1914, one of the massive homes was previously the site of the Textile Museum and was recorded as one of the largest houses in all of D.C. According to The Washington Post, which Bezos owns, the billionaire purchased the property with plans to convert the two adjacent structures into one single family home so that the Bezos family could use it during their visits to the city. It is located in the Kalorama neighborhood, which has also been home to the Obamas, Ivanka Trump, and Jared Kushner. In 2018, it was reported that Bezos was planning a $12-million renovation on the place, including the addition of a garden room to one of the two structures…

The next year, Bezos expanded his Beverly Hills compound with the purchase of the $12.9-million home next door to the Spanish-style mansion he’d bought in 2007. While details of the house are scant, the Los Angeles Times reports that the structure measures 4,586 square feet, with four bedrooms and six full bathrooms. The property features a gated semi-circular drive and a picturesque swimming pool shaded by mature trees…

In April, Bezos bought a fourth unit in the luxe Madison Square Park apartment building where he’d snapped up three homes the previous summer, dropping $16 million for a three-bedroom unit adjacent to the two lower-level units from the original purchase. Although it was unclear at the time what Bezos’s plans were for combining all four units, building permits were submitted in fall 2019, so it’s likely the fourth acquisition was meant to be an addendum to the already-grand Manhattan mega-mansion.

Real estate can serve multiple purposes for the wealthy. They need multiple places, homes near work, in important cities, and in getaway locations, to keep their wealthy lifestyle going and to keep their daily activity out of the public eye. These properties can be investments as the number of such units is limited. Finally, these holdings are status symbols in themselves as they require money, staff, and attention that few individuals could provide.

The implication here is that Bezos has spent a lot on all of his properties. Given his wealth, maybe not. What I would be more interested in is how his holdings compare to other billionaires. What is the average number of expensive properties? Are mansions, urban luxury locations, resort properties, or rural holdings more common? How do these big actors affect real estate activity in different locations? Deeper study of the real estate activity of the most wealthy could help us better understand how wealth translates into real estate capital.

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