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Inside Larry Ellison’s $1 Billion Real Estate Portfolio

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Larry Ellison

Serial trophy home buyer Larry Ellison has added another prize to his vast real estate collection after purchasing an $80 million mansion in North Palm Beach this week, the third largest oceanfront home in the posh Florida county. The six-acre property—inside a gated community—boasts more than 500 feet of ocean frontage in a neighborhood that includes fellow billionaires Robert Smith, David Tepper and Steve Wynn. The 15,514-square-foot Tuscan home has seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a theater, wine room, and a lawn big enough to accommodate a helicopter.

Ellison, 76, became the world’s sixth $100 billion person this week. The majority of his fortune is tied to enterprise software giant Oracle, which he cofounded in 1977 and still chairs. He also holds a stake in Tesla worth more than $10 billion. 

Ellison has steadily plowed his riches into real estate, amassing a portfolio worth well above $1 billion, Forbes estimates. The crown jewel of his empire: owning 98% of Hawaii’s sixth-largest island, Lanai, which he bought from Dole Food chairman David Murdock in 2012 for $300 million.

Lanai, which is accessible only by a small plane or a ferry ride from Maui, has become Ellison’s personal laboratory of sorts. He has various projects underway geared toward wellness, sustainable energy and reimagining the planet’s food systems—all through a capitalist lens. “Philanthropy is the definition of not sustainable,” Ellison told Forbes last April. “Business is the definition of sustainable.” 

These are big dreams for the Bronx-born son of a single mother. Ellison never graduated college, and by his early twenties he worked as a river guide and rock-climbing instructor in California. Eventually he took a series of jobs at tech startups—his projects included helping build databases for the CIA—and by 1977 he decided to team up with programmers Robert Miner and Edward Oates to launch an outfit of their own. 

Today Oracle is worth more than $200 billion, and Ellison’s lucrative real estate portfolio stretches from Malibu to Japan. Here are some of the places he calls home.

Newport, Rhode Island

Ellison owns multiple properties in this ultra-luxury seaside enclave. His main asset, the Beechwood Mansion on Bellevue Avenue, was once occupied by the Astor family. Constructed in 1851, the Astors acquired it 30 years later. Ellison bought the home in 2010 for a reported $10.5 million and is said to have spent more than $100 million to convert it into a museum. Legend says the house is haunted.


Lake Tahoe

Ellison owns multiple properties in Tahoe, which has also been home to Warren Buffett, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, and NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers. In 2018 he also bought the famed Cal Neva Lodge in Tahoe out of bankruptcy for $35.8 million, according to local reports; the resort and casino was once co-owned by Sinatra. In 2014 Ellison sold one of his homes here for more than $20 million. It featured two piers and six bedrooms, but he settled on a bigger pad to the north.


Lanai

Ellison’s portion of this 141-square-mile oasis includes a $3,000-a-night spa called Sensei Retreat and a solar-powered hydroponic greenhouse. There’s also a Nobu outpost—embedded on one of the island’s two Four Seasons resorts—for those who can’t get away without indulging in a $195 omakase sushi menu. One of the resorts also boasts a world class golf course where Bill Gates got married on the 12th hole. All told, Ellison has sunk roughly $500 million into his Lanai investment.


Carbon Beach

Ellison commands a huge chunk of the shoreline here, where he reportedly bought a 10th home for $48 million in 2017. That estate spans 7,700 square feet, and includes a tennis court and a pool. The previous owners, Lisette and Norman Ackerberg, caused a fracas by erecting walls to keep public beachgoers away; after Norman died, Lisette ultimately settled with the California Coastal Commission and took the walls down.


Woodside

Inspired by Japanese imperial design, this estate sits on 23 acres and features an 8,000 square-foot home. Ellison reportedly sunk $200 million to upgrade the property, perhaps to advance his vision of creating a network of ultra-luxury home museums around the world. “I’m going to start these art museums that are basically converted homes,” he told CNBC in 2012. The Woodside property includes 10 buildings, a lake, tea house and koi pond. 


San Francisco

At 10,000 square feet, this five-bedroom home has been part of Ellison’s portfolio for decades. Built in 1958 and designed by William Wurster, property assessments value the property at more than $20 million. It also features big-name neighbors on Billionaire’s Row, reportedly including Mark Pincus (Zynga) and Jony Ive (Apple).


Porcupine Creek

Ellison plans to convert part of his 246-acre massive estate into a “six-star” resort for the ultra-rich. He bought the property for $43 million in 2011. It includes an amphitheater, 18-hole golf course and an 18,430 square-foot home. (Notably, Ellison doesn’t play golf.)


Palm Beach

Ellison’s latest acquisition comes thanks to Gabe Hoffman, who founded investment firm Accipiter Capital Management. According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the sale, Hoffman purchased the property in 2012 for $17.5 million. Ellison’s deal is far from the largest in Palm Beach this year. In February a new mansion on North County Road went for more than $120 million, setting a record for the region and likely the state, according to the Palm Beach Daily News.

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A Monument To Catalan Modernism Asks $5.9 Million In Barcelona

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Palau de la Musica

The distinct architecture of Barcelona, with its curved shapes, floral motifs and ornamentation, is defined by its Catalan Modernism. The aesthetically pleasing style was a major force in the larger Modernisme movement, which also permeated art, theater and literature at the end of the 19th century.

This recently refurbished Modernist house is located in the area of Tibidabo Mountain, the tallest hill in Collserola Natural Park, an expansive green space within Barcelona, the capital city of Catalonia.

Villa Paula, as it is known, was designed in 1912 by Spanish architect Jerome Granell Manresa. He is known for creating the stained-glass windows of Barcelona’s famed concert hall, Palau de la Música Catalana. Other examples of the stained-glass maker’s work can be found locally in the landmark Navàs House and the Hospital of the Holy Cross and Saint Paul.

Manresa’s use of sgraffito on stucco exteriors—to create contrasting color designs by scratching through the facade to reveal the layer below—remains in evidence on select residential buildings today.

The more than 8,200-square-foot home retains such original and restored Modernist features as the facade, the mosaic tilework, the high ceilings with moldings, the stained-glass windows and the Arabic-style roof crowned with green tiles. The four floors are accessed by a marble staircase and an elevator. The watchtower can serve as a guest house, an office or a studio.

The light-filled rooms have hardwood, marble or mosaic-tile floors, air-conditioning and in-floor heating. There are eight bedrooms, a conservatory, a home theater, a gym, a wine cellar and eight bathrooms.

The 10 acres of grounds contain gardens, terraces and mature trees. A gently curved staircase off the house leads to a terracotta veranda surrounding an infinity pool. A wooden deck below the pool level creates another outdoor lounging space. Views take in Barcelona and the coastline along the Mediterranean Sea. 

A two-car garage and a workshop complete the gated property.

Cristina Martinez of Immobiliaria Rimontgo is the listing agent for the estate, priced at approximately $5.93 million (EUR 4.95 million).

Villa Paula is located about five kilometers, or three miles, from Barcelona’s city center. International flights are available from Barcelona–El Prat Airport, about a 20-minute drive away.


Immobiliaria Rimontgo is a founding member of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.

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Here’s Where Property Taxes Are The Highest And Lowest

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Mansion in San Francisco

Buying a home is exciting, but it’s also a huge commitment. And one of the responsibilities of homeownership is paying real estate taxes. How much you will end up paying can vary significantly depending on a variety of factors — from how much your home is worth to where you live.

To illustrate just how much variance there is in the amount of property taxes people pay, LendingTree looked at the median amount of real estate taxes paid in each of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. In doing so, the online lending marketplace found that homeowners in some metros can expect to pay thousands of dollars more per year than homeowners in other parts of the country.

“Different county and state governments assess property value in different ways, which can contribute to why tax amounts vary so significantly across the country,” says Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree, explaining that individual areas also have different tax rates and offer different tax breaks to homeowners, which can also affect how much people are paying in real estate taxes.

Revenue generated from property taxes is generally used to fund local projects and services such as fire departments, law enforcement, local public recreation, education, street maintenance and sanitation.

The median real estate tax amount in Las Vegas — where homeowners pay the least in property taxes — is about $7,700 cheaper than in New York, where real estate taxes are highest.

Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama are the only two metros where median real estate taxes amount to less than $1,000 a year. The median property tax amount paid by homeowners is $696 in Las Vegas and $892 in Birmingham.

Besides New York, homeowners pay the most in property taxes in expensive cities like San Jose, California and San Francisco. The median amount paid is $8,400 in New York, $7,051 in San Jose and $6,181 in San Francisco.

“Despite these regional differences, how much homes are selling for in a given area is usually the most important factor in determining an individual home’s value, regardless of where you live,” says Kapfidze. “As a result, places where home prices are higher like New York and San Francisco are more likely to pay higher real estate taxes than other parts of the country, even adjusting for variations in tax rate or appraisal practices.”

Real estate taxes are an average of $641 lower on homes without mortgages. Because property taxes are based in large part on home value and homes without mortgages tend to be worth less than those with mortgages, it makes sense why this is the case. Nonetheless, real estate taxes on homes without a mortgage can still be pricey, especially in areas like Salt Lake City and Seattle.

“I think it’s fair to say that knowing how much you’ll pay in property taxes is about as important as knowing how much your mortgage payment will be,” says Kapfidze. “After all, both are things you have to pay in order to keep your home, and both can be significant expenses.”

Many lenders will roll your property taxes into your monthly mortgage payments, and then use that money to pay your tax bill for you when it’s due to the government.

“As a result, while you should always double check to be sure you’re paying what you owe in taxes, you might only need to keep track of one payment a month,” explains Kapfidze. “If you’ve paid off your mortgage, then you definitely have to keep a closer eye on property taxes as you’ll likely no longer be able to count on your lender to keep track of them for you.”

Here’s the LendingTree report, including the methodology, and full list of cities where real estate taxes are highest and lowest.

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How Digital Technology Changed The Face Of The Mortgage Industry

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Focused man and woman using laptop, checking financial documents

The rise of digital technology ushered in a new era for the mortgage application process as borrowers took advantage of historically low interest rates and lenders embraced digital mortgages more than ever before.

A new survey on borrowing and lending by ICE Mortgage Technology finds that the pandemic has permanently changed the way consumers utilize technology, and those looking to buy or refinance a home are seeking lenders who offer online tools to complete their mortgage loans from home.

The overwhelming majority (90%) of lenders believe that technology can help improve the mortgage application process, citing benefits that include simplifying the entire process (74%), reducing time to close (70%) and minimizing data entry (67%).

“Last year brought our industry a perfect storm,” said Joe Tyrrell, president of ICE Mortgage Technology. “You not only had COVID, which required lenders to shift to virtual workforces, but you also had to continue to conduct business in a safe and socially distanced way with borrowers, all happening at the same time that we were experiencing a historical increase in loan volume.” 

He added, “This caused many lenders to re-evaluate their technology partners, how they were leveraging technology, the systems that they employed, and the tools that they relied on. We heard many stories from our lenders across the country that had to completely and permanently shift the way they served borrowers.”

According to the survey, the importance of lenders offering digital solutions such as online applications during the lending process increased for borrowers in 2020, with 58% saying it would likely affect their lender decision (up from 50% in 2018). While still important, the offering of a mobile app specifically was less likely to influence borrowers’ lender selection, with 47% saying availability of one would factor into their decision in 2020 (compared to 40% in 2018).

Homeowners who used an online application appreciated the simpler application process (55%), reduced time to close (53%) and resulted in fewer in-person interactions (49%).

Not surprisingly, decreased in-person interactions grew in importance in 2020, as just 37% of consumers in 2018 cited “no need to meet in person” as something they liked about their online application process. Whether they had been through the mortgage loan process or not, 64% of consumers surveyed believe that an online mortgage process would make buying a home or refinancing easier than an in-person process.

“From a borrower’s perspective, the pandemic has accelerated the demand for a consistent, digital first borrowing experience,” said Tyrrell. “Signing documents electronically is quickly becoming the minimum, and borrowers expect a seamless experience from start to finish. In 2020, many lenders cobbled together different solutions to meet borrower demands, but that often led to a more confusing, fragmented process. Covid highlighted the need for a single consistent digital experience for consumers.”

Currently, online applications and online portals are the digital tools most offered among lenders, with more than nine in 10 offering both options to borrowers (91%). Of lenders who offer online applications, 64% said more than half of all loan applications are submitted online, while 38% said more than 80% of their applications were completed online in 2020. However, traditional loan application methods may be more common at larger organizations. Half of large institutional lenders, or those with 200 or more employees, indicated that less than 50% of their loan applications were submitted online.

Borrower respondents who were offered online and/or mobile options by their lenders took advantage of those tools during the mortgage loan process. Sixty-one percent of borrowers used an online application in 2020, slightly up from 58% in 2018. Sixty-one percent also used an online portal for electronically signing and notarizing documents, compared to 56% in 2018.

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