Despite what Elon Musk — and many Elon Musk fans — like to say, Elon Musk isn’t actually living in that $50,000 prefab tiny home in southern Texas. He’s actually living in the Austin, Texas mansion of a friend named Ken Howery, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Yes. A rich man is living in a mansion, not a tiny home, despite claiming he’s a man of simplicity. We’re all shocked.
In the glowing Time article about Musk in the edition that named him Person of the Year, Musk is depicted as a spartan man that begins, “The richest man in the world does not own a house.” It repeats Musk’s claims that he sold almost all of his physical possessions and moved into a $50,000 home in southern Texas near the Boca Chica SpaceX launch facility, which he said he rents.
Well, after all that hype, an investigation by WSJ’s Rob Copeland revealed that Musk is in fact living in Texas, but he’s physically residing in a waterfront property in Austin that, when it was sold a few years ago, was the most expensive property in Austin with a sale price of $12 million.
The report notes that it’s almost 8,000 square feet inside, and it’s located on a peninsula at the foot of Mount Bonnell that butts out into the Colorado River. If you’re familiar with Austin, you’ll know that that’s the part of town where the celebrities live. If you know nothing about Austin, foot-of-the-mountain waterside property is generally always expensive.
WSJ also reports that Musk has been touring multi-million-dollar houses around the Austin area, including a custom-built mansion designed by Kendra Scott. His search for a mansion, though, has been kept extremely quiet, with Musk often being known as nothing but a mystery buyer.
That’s a little bit different than the narrative he’s built, the one where he rents a home owned by SpaceX. It’s also not the prefab home he claims to own but is instead a small home on one-fifth of an acre that was built in 1971. That home is the location where Musk is registered to vote.
As someone who has been trying to buy a home around the Austin area for the past few years, there’s a particular bitter irony to Musk’s claims that he doesn’t live in the state capital and instead lives a monastic life near the Mexico border. The home I’d found was a fixer-upper on the outskirts of Austin — and before I could get my pre-mortgage approval, the new Tesla factory was announced. The home listing jumped $100,000 in price overnight.
Since then, the real estate market overall has gone absolutely mad as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and sales prices have jumped 24.7 percent year-over-year. Those prohibitive costs have priced out much of Austin’s famed down-to-earth culture — making it all the more ironic that Musk is claiming to live a quiet life in rural Texas while actually residing in the most expensive house in Austin.