While most Americans struggle to afford housing, some of the world's richest billionaires have enough money to buy whole cities, according to online real estate broker Redfin. In a special report released Thursday, the firm paired various billionaires with cities that each billionaire could hypothetically buy.From the report: Just how rich is Bill Gates? According to Forbes, he’s the world’s richest person and is worth $77.5 billion. But that kind of wealth is hard to wrap your head around, so let’s put it another way: Gates could buy every single home in the entire city of Boston. That’s 114,212 single-family homes, condos and townhouses, at a total purchase price of $76.6 billion.For instance, the Walton family, of Walmart fame, could theoretically buy all of the 241,450 homes in Seattle, for a total price tag of $111.5 billion, while the Koch brothers could buy Atlanta's 286,629 homes at the bargain price of $78.1 billion. To put that in perspective, the median household net worth in the United States is at a 43-year low of $68,828 (including home equity), according to the U.S. Census Bureau—barely enough to buy just one home (with a mortgage) in any of these cities.
Ethan Corey is a writer and researcher based in New York. His work has appeared in The Nation, Rolling Stone and MEL magazine.