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Redfin Report Shows Which American Cities Billionaires Could Afford to Buy and Which Would Break the Bank

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 Redfin (www.redfin.com), the customer-first real estate brokerage, crunched the numbers and put it in our terms: Gates could buy every single home in the entire city of Boston. That’s 114,717 single-family homes, condos and townhouses, at a total purchase price of $76.6 billion. In its Billionaire Report, released today, Redfin paired up billionaires on the Forbes' 400 Wealthiest list with a city each billionaire could hypothetically buy.

Given that the average American struggles to afford a home, Redfin wanted to illustrate just how many homes the wealthiest among us could buy. For the sake of this illustration, Redfin 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. So, while Bill Gates is the world’s richest person, he doesn’t have enough money to purchase every home in Seattle, while the Waltons combined have nearly twice his wealth, with $154.8 billion, and could easily afford Seattle’s 241,450 homes at a combined purchase price of $111.5 billion.

Methodology

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.

To read the full report, with a complete list of cities and the billionaires who could buy them, please visit: http://www.redfin.com/research/reports/special-reports/2014/us-cities-that-billionaires-could-buy.html.

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About Redfin

Redfin (www.redfin.com) is a customer-first real estate brokerage that represents people buying and selling homes. Founded and run by technologists, Redfin has a team of experienced, full-service real estate agents who are advocates, not salespeople, earning customer-satisfaction bonuses, not commissions. Redfin.com features all the broker-listed homes for sale, as well as for-sale-by-owner properties that don't pay brokers a commission. Redfin also offers online tools that make the entire process of buying or selling a home easier and more fun. The company serves major markets across the U.S. and has closed more than $13 billion in home sales. In 2012, Redfin was named one of The DIGITAL 100: World's Most Valuable Private Tech Companies by Business Insider.

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