How Covid Helped Boost The Value Of Joe Biden’s Beach House By $700,000

In 2017 Joe Biden bought a $2.7 million vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Real estate values in the area were improving before the pandemic, but like a lot of vacation spots around the country, they surged since the country entered lockdown.

Just a 10-minute walk from the Atlantic Ocean, nestled on a quiet, wooded street in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sits a four-story escape that blends in with the other multimillion-dollar properties in the neighborhood. There is one thing that makes the property distinctive, however: It’s owned by the president of the United States.

Joe and Jill Biden bought the place in 2017, using part of the $11 million they earned that year, mostly from book earnings and speaking engagements, to plunk down $2.7 million for the 4,800 square-foot, 6-bedroom home. The property was likely the couple’s largest investment in years, even if it wasn’t a very calculated one: “I had no idea what the hell it cost!” Joe Biden said on a campaign stop last year.

It turned out to be a smart buy anyway. Real estate values in the area were improving before the pandemic, but like a lot of vacation spots around the country, they surged since the country entered lockdown. In the last four months, houses in Rehoboth Beach have sold for roughly 15% more than their pre-Covid rates. Forbes estimates that the Bidens’ house is now worth roughly $3.4 million, up about $700,000 from what they paid four years ago.

President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden take a bike ride through Cape Henlopen State Park on November 14, 2020, which is near his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

“I’ve never seen anything like this—not in 2005, or 2006, or 2007,” says Lee Ann Wilkinson, a realtor and CEO of local Rehoboth agency, the Lee Ann Wilkinson Group. Another local realtor, Sharon Slevin, says: “Because of Covid, people were anxious to have a vacation home—or home away from home—where they could work, and their kids could have more space to roam.”

If the Bidens, whose net worth Forbes pegged at $9 million in 2019, wanted to cash in on their investment, they probably wouldn’t have much trouble. Houses in Rehoboth Beach are now selling about twice as fast as they did before Covid. And the first couple’s neighborhood—outfitted with tennis courts, a marina, security services and a private beach—is something of a pandemic paradise.

There’s no reason to think the Bidens are eager to offload their new home, however. Biden, who wrote in his 2007 memoir that he has long been “seduced by real estate,” tends to hang onto properties for a long time. In 1975, early in his Senate career, he bought a neglected, 10,000-square-foot du Pont mansion in Wilmington, Delaware for $185,000. He kept the place until 1996, when he sold it for $1.2 million, reaping a 9% annual return over 21 years. He then paid $350,000 for the land that currently hosts his primary home. Local agents estimate that property could now sell for at least $1.5 million.

Staff writer at Forbes. Email me at mtindera@forbes.com and follow me on Twitter @mtindera07.

 

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