I got access to the richest zip code in the US, an island off Miami where the average income is $2.2 million, the beaches have sand imported from the Bahamas, and the preferred mode of transportation is golf carts. Here's what it looks like.
Katie Warren/Business Insider
- The richest zip code in the US is Fisher Island, a 216-acre members-only island off the coast of Miami.
- The average income of the island's residents is $2.2 million.
- About 700 families live in almost 30 luxury condominium buildings on the man-made island, where the median home value is about $3.2 million.
- To become a member, you must pay a $250,000 initial fee and $22,256 in annual dues - and that's on top of purchasing a multimillion-dollar condo.
- I took a private shuttle boat to the exclusive island, and I was amazed by how pristine everything was, from the perfectly manicured landscapes to the private beaches with imported sand from the Bahamas.
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Fisher Island, a man-made island off the coast of Miami, is the richest zip code in the US, according to Bloomberg.The average income of the island's residents is a whopping $2.2 million. Advertisement
To become a member of the elite Fisher Island Club, you must pay a one-time $250,000 equity contribution and $22,256 in annual dues. And that's after residents have bought one of the condos on the island, which cost an average of $3.2 million. About 700 families live on Fisher Island in almost 30 luxury condominium buildings.
Dora Puig, the top-ranked real estate broker in Miami-Dade County by sales volume in 2018, who sells some of the most luxurious condos on Fisher Island, told me people move there for three main reasons: privacy, security, and the amenities.Residents of the island include real-estate developers, high-power litigation attorneys, CEOs, people in the finance industry, and some who are simply "old money," Puig said.
Tech CEOs and hedge-fund managers from New York, Silicon Valley, and other high-tax areas are moving to Miami in droves, and highly amenitized Fisher Island is one of their top picks.Read more: NYC hedge-fund managers and Silicon Valley CEOs are flocking to Miami as 'tax refugees,' and it's sparking record, ultra-luxury real-estate sales in the areaMembers of the Fisher Island Club get access to private beaches with sand imported from the Bahamas, a beach club, eight restaurants, a golf course, two deep-water marinas, a spa, 18 tennis courts, and more. The marina's boat slips are "highly coveted" and will cost you a minimum of $125,000 and potentially well into the millions, publicist Lauren Marks told me. Advertisement
The island also has its own fire and rescue station, medical facility, bank, mail facility, dog park, and even an independent day school with students from age 2 through seventh grade. About 600 employees work on the island. And because only about 30% of residents live there year-round, that means there are often more employees on the island than residents, Marks said.
I got the chance to take a tour of Fisher Island on a recent afternoon. Here's a look inside the super-exclusive community.
Fisher Island, a 216-acre members-only island off the coast of Miami, is the richest zip code in the US.
My journey started at the Miami Beach Marina, where a small private shuttle boat was waiting to take me to the island.Advertisement
The boat was small yet luxurious, with 11 leather seats in an enclosed interior.
As we sped out of the marina, I got an up-close view of some massive yachts.Advertisement
As we arrived at Fisher Island, I got my first look at the island's Mediterranean-style residential buildings.
The island has two deep-water marinas that can accommodate luxury yachts up to 250 feet.Advertisement
I was picked up in a golf cart, which is the preferred mode of transportation on the island.
As I was driven around the island, I was struck by how perfectly landscaped it was. In some places, the grass almost looked fake, and there didn't seem to be a single palm leaf or flowering shrub out of place.Advertisement
About 700 families live on Fisher Island, although only about 30% of those are year-round residents.
The island's centerpiece is the historic Vanderbilt Mansion, built in the 1930s by William Vanderbilt, who acquired Fisher Island by trading his 250-yacht to Carl Fisher.Advertisement
The Mediterranean-style mansion, which can be rented out as a wedding venue, includes a 2,250-square-foot ballroom and a 6,800-square-foot terrace.
Residents can choose to dine at eight restaurants on the island, including the Garwood Lounge within the Vanderbilt Mansion, a fine-dining establishment that serves grass-fed burgers, steaks, and fresh seafood in an oak-paneled dining room.Advertisement
Right next to the mansion is the poolside Beach Club, a collection of outdoor pavilions clustered around a swimming pool. There's a cocktail bar and a sushi bar.
Fisher Island's professional tennis courts have been ranked No. 1 in the East Coast region of the US by Tennis Magazine.Advertisement
Fisher Island has its own full-service spa and wellness center for residents called "Spa Internazionale."
As there are no bridges between the mainland and Fisher Island, residents who want to bring their cars onto the island must do so via a 24-hour vehicle ferry that takes about seven minutes and leaves every 15 minutes.Advertisement
Fisher Island has some of the most secluded beaches in Miami, with sand imported from the Bahamas.
Although only about 30% of Fisher Island's residents live there year-round, the island has its own independent day school with students ranging from age 2 to seventh grade.Advertisement
The island even has its own private aviary full of exotic birds.
In fact, beyond the aviary, I was surprised to find that I saw more wildlife than people on my tour of the island.Advertisement
Most impressive were the free-roaming peacocks, whose calls could be heard echoing across the island.
More than 600 employees work on Fisher Island, including the Club workers and employees of the homeowner association and property management employees.Advertisement
As I got back on my private shuttle boat back to the Miami Beach Marina, I tried to imagine what it would be like to live on Fisher Island.
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