Mark Zuckerberg Drops $30 Million on 4 Neighboring Homes to Ensure Privacy

Mark Zuckerberg bought this home in 2011, and has been buying the houses around him this past year.

Mark Zuckerberg bought this home in 2011 and has been buying the houses around his property for the past year.

Source: IMDb

Source: IMDb

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 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.

Zuckerberg purchased three homes behind him, and the one next door.

Zuckerberg purchased three homes behind him and the one next door.

Silicon Valley real estate doesn’t ever come cheap: The median home value in Palo Alto is $1.788 million (up 21.1 percent year-over-year), and in Zuckerberg’s neighborhood of Crescent Park, the median home value is even higher at $3.062 million (up 23.7 percent year-over-year). However, Zuckerberg spent far more than the estimated value of many of his neighbors’ residences.

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.

Zuckerberg’s 5,617-square-foot home is about a 10-minute drive from Facebook’s new campus in Menlo Park. The home offers 5 bedroom and 5.5 baths and includes an outdoor gazebo with wood-burning fireplace, saltwater swimming pool, spa and carport. The home is set back from the street, covered partially by greenery.

back porch

living room

Closed back porch

backyard and pool

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Erika Riggsa real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here.