Republican megadonor Peter Thiel says he will keep his business in California, citing excessive home prices in Miami as the reason he won’t move his operations to Florida.
Home prices have sharply increased over the past year as a lack of inventory spurs steep prices and mortgages grow increasingly more expensive to acquire. California is well known for its housing high prices, but Miami housing prices are steep enough to scare even billionaire PayPal co-founder Thiel away from moving there.
In addition, mortgages are among the consumer borrowing costs that have soared since the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates last year. On Wednesday, the Fed raised rates by a quarter point, the 10th straight increase. Despite speculation that this may be the last increase for a while, the new rates will continue to restrain borrowing.
Thiel, a partner at Founders Fund, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that has funded companies such as SpaceX and Airbnb, was among Donald Trump’s earliest major backers in 2016. But he has said he will support Ron DeSantis if the Florida governor wins the GOP nomination. Trump remains the top contender in most polls, and DeSantis has not yet announced a presidential campaign. But he is widely expected to be a top challenger against the former president in the 2024 primaries.
Newsweek reached out to Founders Fund by phone for comment.
If DeSantis runs for president and wins the Republican nomination, Thiel—estimated to have a net worth of more than $8 billion, according to Bloomberg—may have to provide his support from the West Coast.
“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 said during an episode of the podcast Honestly With Bari Weiss, which was released Wednesday.
Miami housing costs do appear to be rising, Bloomberg reports, with the number of million-dollar ZIP codes doubling over the past several years.
During the home price surge in 2022, Florida ranked second on a list of 11 states that saw home prices increase by more than 20 percent in the first quarter of 2022, according to Moody’s Analytics. Florida placed second, behind Arizona and ahead of Georgia. Other states on the list were Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, Tennessee and Washington but not California.
Thiel has said that he wouldn’t donate during the 2024 presidential campaign because of the GOP’s focus on “hot-button U.S. cultural issues.”
DeSantis is not exempt from Thiel’s criticism that Republicans are giving too much attention to “woke” issues. In fact, the governor has made cultural issues a key component in his administration, supporting Florida’s ban on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity in K-12 classrooms as well as waging a lengthy feud with Disney that arose after the company criticized the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law.