How all the billionaires are moving to Miami… and why

How Jeff Bezos is the latest billionaire to move to the Sunshine State following a long line of super rich who have made tax-friendly Florida their home (with no estate, inheritance or state income tax)

  • Jeff Bezos is not the first, and will likely not be the last, mega wealthy person to swap a Democratic-led state for Florida

Jeff Bezos isn’t the first mega-wealthy person to announce their decision to announce a switch to the Sunshine State, for years, plenty of the rich-and-famous were descending on Florida, to enjoy the weather and the tax advantages. 

Last week, Bezos, 59, announced the move in a post on Instagram, citing various reasons including the growth of his space travel project and being closer to his parents. ‘As exciting as the move is, it’s an emotional decision for me. Seattle, you will always have a piece of my heart,’ the billionaire said. 

In his statement, Bezos cited the growth of his space exploration business Blue Origin, which is based in Florida, as well as wanting to be closer to his parents, who live in Miami. 

The billionaire did not cite taxes as a reason for the move however, it just so happens that Florida is one of seven states that does not tax capital gains.

Speaking about Bezos’ move, tax research Jared Walczak quipped to Marketwatch: ‘People move for a variety of reasons… When billionaires move for whatever reason, they usually land in low-tax states.’

Bezos will count among his new neighbors, Patriots legend Tom Brady, the former First Daughter Ivanka Trump as well as music legend David Guetta in Indian Creek, known locally as Billionaire Bunker. 

Bezos and Lauren Sanchez will count former First Daughter Ivanka Trump and seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady among his new illustrious neighbors in the Billionaire bunker

Jeff Bezos has purchased a $79 million Florida mansion in the exclusive Indian Creek Village

Bezos’ new purchase neighbors the $68 million three bedroom home he bought earlier this year, which cost a princely $79 million

Tom Brady eco-mansion is beginning to take shape on the $17 million plot of land which has a waterfront view of Biscayne Bay, near Miami, Florida

Ivanka Trump’s home is equipped with 26-foot domed ceilings, a grand double staircase, open entertaining areas, a large family and screening room, a wood-paneled office, large gym, and a huge master bedroom with two full bathrooms

In September, Guetta was reported to have been buying a 12-bedroom mansion on Indian Creek for the cool price of around $69 million, according to The Real Deal.  

Tech billionaire Eric Schmidt, who is among the 100 richest people in the world, is the latest to acquire collections of properties in Miami.

Along with his wife Wendy, the former Google CEO has bought up more than six homes on the Sunset Islands, spending more than $140 million. 

Indian Creek Island is referred to as ‘the world’s most exclusive municipality’, and with just 34 properties available across 300 acres – all of which have waterfront views of Biscayne Bay, near Miami, Florida – it’s also one of the most expensive.

Had Bezos stayed in Washington State, he would be subjected to the state’s new 7% capital gains tax, which for example would cost $70 million for a billion dollars of Amazon stock that he sold. 

Florida is among nine states in the country that does not have capital gains or state income tax. 

In late 2020, Goldman Sachs moved it asset management operation to Florida as did hedge fund Elliott Management. Just a few months later, the largest private equity firm, Blackstone, spent $230 million opening a new office in Miami. 

For years now, millionaires and billionaires are flocking to the Florida coast to escape high-tax and Democrat-run states of California and New York.

New York-born billionaire activist Carl Icahn left his hometown in 2020 due to tax reasons

After a year of rising crime and continued inflation, many Americans chose to exit the nation’s three biggest cities to head down south

Bezos also shared in the post a video of himself in Amazon’s first ‘office’ in Seattle, where he founded the company out of his garage in 1994 and grew it into one of the biggest retailers in the world.

The video was filmed by his adoptive father, Miguel, who married his mother Jackie when Bezos was a young child. Both parents are now in their late 70s.

‘My parents have always been my biggest supporters. They recently moved back to Miami, the place we lived when I was younger,’ wrote Bezos.

‘I want to be close to my parents, and Lauren and I love Miami,’ he said, referring to his fiancée Lauren Sánchez.

Also, Blue Origin’s operations are increasingly shifting to Cape Canaveral. For all that, I’m planning to return to Miami, leaving the Pacific Northwest.’

Bezos, who quit his job on Wall Street to found Amazon, selected the Seattle area to found the company the company specifically due to its abundance of technical talent, as the headquarters of Microsoft.

Amazon’s rapid growth transformed Seattle’s South Lake Union district, replacing warehouses and parking lots with offices towers, highly paid tech workers and expensive eateries. The growth contributed to an economic boom and rising rents.

In a video announcing his move, Bezos said that he and girlfriend Lauren Sanchez ‘love Miami’

Bezos’ main residence in Washington state has been a sprawling lakefront mansion in the affluent Seattle suburb of Medina 

Famously, ex-President Donald Trump announced that he was decamping to South Florida, to his estate, Mar-a-Lago located 70 miles north of Miami, following the end of his presidency in 2020. 

It was reported in October that the migration of the mega-wealthy to Florida were driving up the prices of real estate. 

The median sale price for single-family homes in Palm Beach hit $14 million in September 2023 – a 117 percent year-on-year increase, according to national real estate brokerage Redfin.

Palm Beach sits just north of Miami, where prices have risen by 7.7 percent over the past year to reach a median sale price of $599,000 for a family home.

This is markedly more than other more northerly Florida hotspots like Orlando, where the median price is $425,000 – a more modest increase of 1.9 percent over the past year, which is less than the 3.7 percent inflation rate in the 12 months to September.

Nikki Greenberg, the founder of consultancy Real Estate of the Future, told Insider in Miami that the city became a desirable destination for many involved in crypto but following the 2022 crypto crash, the city remains popular because of its ‘relaxed lifestyle and warm climate.’ 

The same Insider piece details that over the last ten years, the number of millionaires living in Miami has increased by 75 percent. In 2022, there 38,000 millionaires living in the city with 160 of those having assets of more than $100 million.

There were 12 billionaires living in Miami in 2022. 

The New York Times reported in February 2023 that Florida was the second most popular destination for those fleeing the high tax Big Apple. It was the most popular for those aged between 65 and 84. 

However in May, billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel said that he was not planning on moving his base from California to Florida due to rising real estate prices. 

‘If you buy a house in Miami today versus just three years ago, you’re paying four times as much for a monthly mortgage payment,’ Thiel told Bari Weiss in an interview.  

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