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Inside Bill Gates' real estate portfolio, from a Seattle mansion to houses at some of the US's most exclusive clubs

Madeline Berg   

Inside Bill Gates' real estate portfolio, from a Seattle mansion to houses at some of the US's most exclusive clubs
Bill Gates' first major real estate property was an expansive property on Lake Washington. He's since spent more than $100 million on homes across the country.Getty Images
  • Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates is one of the US's top landowners, with 275,000 acres across the US.
  • While most of that is farmland, he owns homes in Washington, California, Florida, and Montana.

Ten years ago, in an interview with The Telegraph, Bill Gates discussed his goal of giving away his fortune — which was worth $65 billion then and sits at $129 billion today.

"I'm certainly well taken care of in terms of food and clothes," he said. "Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point."

He didn't mention, though, the proverbial roof over his head. Or, in Gates' case, roofs.

As one of the richest people in the world for decades, the Microsoft cofounder has built up an impressive real estate portfolio. With 275,000 acres across the United States, he's the country's 42nd biggest landowner, according to the Land Report.

The vast majority of that — about 242,00 acres — is farmland, with the most acreage in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona, per the Land Report.

"I have invested in these farms to make them more productive and create more jobs," Gates said in a Reddit Ask Me Anything last year. "There isn't some grand scheme involved — in fact, all these decisions are made by a professional investment team."

But he also owns dozens of properties across Washington, California, Florida, and Montana that are for his personal use.

Over three decades, he and his ex-wife, Melinda French Gates, spent more than $150 million on their current real estate portfolio. Following their 2021 divorce, a number of the properties were transferred from one trust to another — so it's hard to discern who owns exactly what, as all of their trusts are linked to the same Seattle bank.

Here's a look at Gates' many homes, along with details about transfers around the Gates divorce. Neither Gates nor French Gates responded to requests for comment from Business Insider.

Xanadu 2.0, Medina, Washington

Xanadu 2.0, Medina, Washington
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates own 10.5 acres of lakefront property in a tony Seattle suburb.      Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

Known as Xanadu 2.0 — a name inspired by "Citizen Kane" — Gates' home base is Medina, Washington, a wealthy suburb of Seattle that's home to many tech titans. Gates owns at least 12 parcels of land there, totaling about 10.5 acres.

Purchased for about $34 million between 1988 and 2009, the current combined assessed value of the Lake Washington-adjacent properties is $183.5 million.

Built into a hillside and accessible via a driveway that feels "like arriving at Jurassic Park," according to a former Microsoft intern, the estate, which took a reported seven years and $60 million to build, is home to a 2,100-square-foot library (with one of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks on the shelves), a 60-foot-long swimming pool with an underwater sound system, and a room with a built-in trampoline. The primary residence has seven bedrooms and 18.75 baths, according to public filings, and there's reportedly a 20-car garage for his Porsche collection.

It was also built to be energy-efficient and technologically advanced, with a heating and cooling system that automatically adjusts to guests' liking and lights that turn on and off automatically as people go from room to room.

"My house is being designed and constructed so that it's a bit ahead of its time," Gates wrote in his 1995 book "The Road Ahead." It is made of wood, stone, glass, concrete, and "silicon and software."

"I'll warn you, though," he added. "When I describe the plans, people sometimes give me a look that says, 'You're sure you really want to do this?"

One of those people could have been his then-wife, Melinda French Gates, whom he married after he had already begun work on the house. While she changed his plans for the kitchen and added her own office space, she may have never warmed up to the house.

"We won't have that house forever," she told The New York Times in 2019. "I'm actually really looking forward to the day that Bill and I live in a 1,500-square-foot house."

Vintage Club home, Indian Wells, California

Vintage Club home, Indian Wells, California
The Vintage Club, where Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates purchased a home in 1999.      TrevorFairbank

Many of Gates' homes are situated on or near the grounds of a golf course.

"Bill got into golf in the same addictive way he gets into anything else," Steve Ballmer, his Harvard classmate and former Microsoft CEO, told Time in 1997. "It gets his competitive juice flowing."

In 1999, he purchased a $12.5 million home on the grounds of Indian Wells' exclusive Vintage Club, known for its Tom Fazio-designed golf courses. The six-bedroom home is now valued closer to $15 million.

The Vintage Club, whose membership reportedly includes billionaires Charles Koch and Dennis Washington, costs $300,000 to join and charges another $45,000 in annual dues.

Gates was spotted at the club in 2021, following his divorce from French Gates, and was more recently seen at the Indian Wells Open.

Del Mar Country Club home, San Diego

Del Mar Country Club home,  San Diego
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates' first San Diego property is on the grounds of the Del Mar Country Club.      EarthExplorer

Gates amassed a small real estate empire in San Diego County, and it started with a property in Rancho Santa Fe.

Purchased in 2008 for $3.1 million, the home is 4,300 square feet, and at the time of sale, it featured a 500-bottle wine cellar, saltwater swimming pool, and outdoor bar. It's part of the guarded and gated community on the grounds of the Del Mar Country Club, which reportedly costs six figures to join.

Like some of the other properties in the Gates portfolio, the Del Mar Country Club house was transferred "due to the dissolution of a marriage" in 2021 — the same year Bill and Melinda divorced — according to property records. It is likely now solely owned by one of the two Gates, though it isn't evident which one.

Rancho Paseana, San Diego

Rancho Paseana, San Diego
An aerial view of Rancho Paseana, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates' 220-plus acre property that is used as an equestrian center.      EarthExplorer

Six years later, Gates purchased the nearby Rancho Paseana for $18 million. Stretching 228 acres over 4 parcels, the property was originally a horse farm — which makes sense, given Gates' daughter Jennifer Gates Nassar's equestrian career.

At the time he purchased it, Rancho Paseana featured a racetrack, guesthouse, office, veterinarian's suite, olive orchard, and five barns with living quarters attached. It was previously owned by Jenny Craig, the weight loss personality, and was developed by thoroughbred racer Gene Klein and his trainer Wayne Lucas, according to a listing.

Like the rest of the San Diego Country properties, Rancho Paseana was transferred between trusts in 2021, around the time of Bill and Melinda's divorce.

Santaluz Club home, San Diego

Santaluz Club home, San Diego
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates purchased another San Diego county home in 2014, this one on the grounds of the Santaluz Club, pictured here.      Courtesy of Rees Jones, Inc.

The Gates purchased another house about 10 minutes from Rancho Panseana a couple of weeks later in 2014 for $3.2 million.

The 5,780-square-foot home has ocean views and an infinity pool. Like the Gates' first home in San Diego county in Rancho Santa Fe — all of 15 minutes away — this one sits on the grounds of a country club. The Santaluz Club features Rees Jones-designed golf course, hiking, and a spa.

Like the other San Diego homes, it was transferred between trusts in 2021 — and 5% is owned by the French Family Trust, Steven French, and Kristin French — likely relatives of Melinda. That could imply she is the current owner.

Del Mar beach house, San Diego

Del Mar beach house, San Diego
The Del Mar coast, where Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates purchased a fourth San Diego property.      Art Wager/Getty Images

Gates and then-wife Melinda purchased their fourth San Diego property, this 5,800-square-foot beach house, for $43 million in Del Mar, California, in 2020. A year later, when they divorced, it was moved into another trust.

The property's most expensive feature is likely its 120 feet of Pacific coastline, but the move-in-ready mansion was listed as "one of the most prominent coastal contemporary beach homes" and boasted a 10-person jacuzzi and a two-bedroom guesthouse.

That doesn't seem to have stopped whichever Gates owns the property from doing major construction, with local outlets reporting noise and construction following the purchase.

Yellowstone Club lodge, Montana

Yellowstone Club lodge, Montana
One of the lodges at the Yellowstone Club, where Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates own a property.      Yellowstone Club

Bill Gates has long been reported to be a member of the exclusive Yellowstone Club — a ski and golf club tucked away in Big Sky Montana.

Montana is a nondisclosure state when it comes to real estate, and the Yellowstone Club is very private in what it releases about its owners, but a 2009 county resolution helped point to which home belonged to the Gates.

The lot, which sits on 2.76 acres, has the same tax address as Gates' many other properties and was linked to his lawyer and family office. Its assessed market value is $29.4 million — up from $5.8 million in the 2009 county record.

There are no photos available of the home online, but property records indicate the main house is 6,993 square feet, with eight full baths, eight bedrooms, two half baths, a sauna, and a home theater. It's almost guaranteed to match the surrounding homes, which heavily feature timber and stone.

The house sits in the Andesite Ridge neighborhood, which is described as "a tree-topped hillside where luxury homes wind along the mountain offering a secluded alpine sanctuary" on the club's website. Its homes are largely ski-in, ski-out.

The club's annual dues were $41,500 in 2018, the most recent year for which data are publicly available, plus another $12,000 for the property owners' association. That buys access to the club's 15,200 acres, more than 100 ski trails, 18-hole golf course, and spa.

The home switched hands in 2021 — the same year Bill and Melinda divorced. A trust connected to a Seattle bank used by both of the Gates is the property's new owner, and it was never listed for sale. All signs point to one of the two still owning it.

Wellington equestrian compound, Florida

Wellington equestrian compound, Florida
Jennifer Gates Nassar, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates' daughter pictured here, uses the Wellington property for horseback riding. The town is home to many equestrian centers, including the one pictured here.      Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Gates' Wellington, Florida, estate in tony Palm Beach County is the main home of Jennifer Gates Nassar's horseback riding facilities.

Gates purchased the properties over three years for about $35 million, and together, the estate stretches a total of 20 acres. Most of the land is exclusively for riding. It's part of Gates Nassar's Evergate Stables, a collection of training facilities she and her husband, Nayel Nassar, run throughout the country and in Belgium.

There are at least two mansions, one 6,668 square feet, and the other 5,716 square feet, on the property, according to records. He's added a basketball court and pond to one, and both have pools.

The equestrian center was originally even larger, but Gates sold 5.5 acres for $26 million in 2022, reaping a $5 million profit.

He's one of many billionaires with properties in the horse-loving community. Michael Bloomberg and Laurene Powell Jobs have homes nearby — and daughters who ride.

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