Bill Gates Could Buy All 114,212 Homes in Boston, but Couldn’t Afford Seattle; the Walton Family of Wal-Mart Could Buy All of Seattle, Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas or Washington, D.C.
Just how rich is Bill Gates? According to Forbes, he’s the world’s richest person and is worth $77.5 billion. But that kind of wealth is hard to wrap your head around, so let’s put it another way: Gates could buy every single home in the entire city of Boston. That’s 114,212 single-family homes, condos and townhouses, at a total purchase price of $76.6 billion.
Given that the average American struggles to afford a home, we wanted to illustrate just how many homes the wealthiest among us could buy. Here’s a table of some of the billionaires on the Forbes’ 400 Wealthiest list, each paired with a city that billionaire could hypothetically buy. For the sake of this illustration, we assumed that wealthy families, such as the Waltons of Wal-Mart and the Koch brothers, would pool their money if they were going to purchase an entire city.
Wealth Source /
# of Homes /
Cost of All Homes
|Boca Raton, FL|
|Saint Paul, MN|
|Falls Church, VA|
|Laguna Hills, CA|
|S. Truett Cathy|
Television, real Estate
|Commerce City, CO|
|H. Ross Perot Sr|
|Sun City West, AZ|
|Lake Wales, FL|
Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson puts this wealth in perspective:
“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.”
While Bill Gates is the richest single person, several of the Waltons are among the superrich. The family could choose from any of a number of large cities in which to buy up every home, including these 10:
|With a $154.8 billion net worth,|
the Walton Family (Wal-Mart) could buy…
|Las Vegas, NV||$86.5B||462,751|
|San Antonio, TX||$85.8B||506,094|
These home value numbers are estimates, and these are just hypothetical scenarios, but they do highlight how far a billion dollars can go. If you were a billionaire, or if you are currently, which city would you buy? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook.
The billionaire’s wealth was pulled from the Forbes list on May 15, 2014. We calculated the value of all homes in a city or town by first taking all MLS sales between April 1, 2013 and April 1, 2014. We used those sales as a representative sample of all homes in a city. If 10 percent of homes sold in a city for $1 billion, then we’d estimate the values of all homes in the city are $10 billion. Only single-family homes, condos and townhomes were included. In Texas, home prices were estimated by looking at the list price of homes rather than sale prices.