If the electric cars and rockets thing doesn’t work out, maybe Elon Musk should consider a second (third? fourth?) career in real estate. Back in April, when he first listed several of his six Bel Air homes on Zillow as “for sale by owner,” few in the high-end property playground took him seriously. But, as it happened, all the ensuing free publicity brought at least one serious buyer to his doorstep.
As was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, records reveal that Musk has successfully unloaded the titanic house that’s served as his main residence in an all-cash deal. And the sale price of $29 million is barely 3% under the $30 million asking price and $12 million more than he paid for the property less than eight years ago, back in late 2012.
Walled, gated and assuredly protected by a state-of-the-art security system, the palatial residence measures in at more than 16,000 square feet, with seven bedrooms and 11 baths. Though the crop of decidedly unprofessional photos included with the Zillow listing leaves many aspects of the estate a mystery, it’s clear there are lush, expertly-maintained gardens, a swimming pool with inset spa, several alfresco dining patios, and garaging for at least four Teslas. The multi-story house, a towering but architecturally insipid structure, has A+ views that sweep over the Bel Air Country Club, summiting at the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island on the horizon.
Records also reveal the property’s buyer is “William” Ding Lei, a Chinese national and tech entrepreneur who remains largely unknown in the U.S. but was once ranked as the richest man in Mainland China. Today, he’s worth more than $25 billion, according to Forbes. Ding founded the NetEase leviathan group of companies that together comprise one of the largest online gaming empires in the world, second in China only to Tencent.
The transaction is all part of Musk’s highly-publicized plan to “own no house,” though he still has a long way to go before achieving that goal. As of early June, he still holds title to five other Bel Air estates, plus a 47-acre compound up in Northern California’s expensive Hillsborough community.
As for Ding, the former Musk estate is not his only California residence. Back in 2011, he paid $17.7 million for a mansard-roofed mansion in the exclusive Silicon Valley town of Atherton, Calif., where some of his nearest neighbors include the homes of billionaires like Meg Whitman, Jan Koum and the $31 million compound of Steph and Ayesha Curry.