It's not uncommon for celebrities to buy the properties next to their homes to ensure privacy, but usually when they do this, the neighboring homes are already on the market. But when you're Mark Zuckerberg and worth $19 billion, you can usually find a price that your neighbors would be willing to sell for. According to property records, the Facebook CEO recently spent $30 million to buy four of his neighbors' homes.
Zuckerberg isn't taking over the properties, however. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the 29-year-old tech titan wants to be able to control how the properties surrounding his home (pictured above and below) are marketed and who they are sold to. He first began buying the homes in December 2012 after learning of a developer's plans to capitalize on Zuckerberg's residence in the area. "The developer was going to build a huge house and market the property as being next door to Mark Zuckerberg," a source told the Mercury News.
Rather than risk a media firestorm, Zuckerberg spent the better part of the year buying three homes behind him and one next door. He is leasing the homes back to the former homeowners. The latest sale closed just this week, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported.
According to Santa Clara County property records, one homeowner sold to Zuckerberg for $14 million. The home in question is just 2,600 square feet -- half the size of Zuckerberg's residence -- and valued at $3.171 million. By comparison, Zuckerberg paid $7 million for his 5,000-square-foot home in May 2011.
The price tag isn't all that surprising, says Silicon Valley real estate agent Eric Boyenga of Intero Real Estate. He confirms that Palo Alto homes are always priced high, especially larger parcels.
"Larger parcels go at a premium," he said. "It's really supply and demand and how few of these parcels there are. The owners don't want to let them go at just any price."
Zuckerberg's home currently is a smaller lot, and although he is purchasing the surrounding homes as a privacy investment, down the road, he may be able to expand his lot line -– and that in a limited market like Silicon Valley, is well worth $30 million.
"I think people look at it like oh that's crazy, but for Zuckerberg to get to those parcels, to actually own them, it's worth it," said Boyenga.