Bill Gates is the richest man in the world, with a net worth of more than $78 billion. It’s an incomprehensible number — we all know that’s a lot of money, but it’s hard to fathom just how much wealth it represents.
A report from real estate brokerage Redfin helps put Gates’s billions, and the riches of others in the Forbes 400, in some perspective. Gates, for example, could buy every single-family home, condo and townhouse in Boston — and still have a billion or two left over.
As folks in Boston would say: "that's a wicked lot of money."
There’s no reason to suggest that the billionaires listed would actually consider purchasing this much real estate, but immense wealth can often be hard to frame and these figures also help illustrate just what the yawning wealth gap in the U.S. means.
“In this fictional real estate investment, the 30 billionaires on our list, with a combined fortune of $582 billion, could afford to own a staggering 6 percent of the total U.S. home equity,” said Nela Richardson, Redfin’s chief economist, in a press release.
The list below has a few examples of the city real estate – including single-family homes, condos and townhouses - that known billionaires could purchase.
- The Walton family: Seattle and Fort Worth
With an estimated value of $154.8 billion, the family behind the Walmart retailing empire could purchase all of the homes in Seattle ($111.5 billion) and Fort Worth ($42.9 billion) combined.
- Bill Gates: Boston or the Bronx and Jamaica, Queens
If Gates would rather own New York real estate than Boston’s, he could combine to own a large chunk of New York City between the Bronx ($27.9 billion) and Jamaica, Queens ($40.3 billion).
- Warren Buffett: Charlotte, N.C.
The Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway may be known as the Oracle of Omaha, but if he wanted to set his eyes on another city, he could scoop up all 280,214 homes in Charlotte, N.C. for $56.1 billion. He’d still have about $10 billion in other assets.
- Michael Bloomberg: Anaheim, Calif.
The former New York City Mayor could purchase Anaheim, Calif. and its 69,167 homes for a price tag of $31.4 billion.
- Jeff Bezos: Napa, Calif.
With a net worth of $30.5 billion, Amazon’s CEO could afford the 57,923 homes in Napa, Calif. for a total of $29.5 billion.
If any single billionaire had even bigger aspirations, they’re out of luck. New York is out of the question, and it would take a team of people from Forbes’ list to cover the near-$257 billion cost of buying up Los Angeles.
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