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Why Beyoncé, Adele and the rich and famous embrace mortgages

Just because Chrissy Teigen and Kim Kardashian have big net worths, doesn't mean they buy their houses outright

Coins and a house on a scale against a yellow background
Barbara George
Freelance Journalist
29 February 2024
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In the world of luxury real estate, it's not uncommon to hear of celebrities opting for mortgages on their high-end properties rather than purchasing them outright.

One of Hollywood's wealthiest celebrity couples; Jay Z and Beyoncé were reported to have taken out a $52 million mortgage on their sprawling $88 million Bel Air mansion. Chrissy Teigen and John Legend have also admitted that they make payments on their California home, as well as Adele and the Kardashians, but why?

It might seem counterintuitive. Celebrities, with their seemingly endless streams of income, opting for mortgages instead of simply buying their dream homes outright. However, just because someone can afford to buy a home in cash, doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to. Despite their hefty bank accounts and estimated net worth, many of the rich and famous choose to take on debt, especially when it comes to housing and here is why:

1. Liquidity is King

While celebrities may have significant wealth, a large portion might be tied up in investments, businesses, or royalties. Paying cash for a property would deplete their readily available funds, limiting their ability to invest in projects or seize unexpected opportunities. Mortgages allow them to keep their money readily available.

Adele and Rich Paul confirm posing for a photo outside their home© Instagram
Adele shared a rare peek at her home with Rich in 2022

Agencies like Dolce Vita Luxury Real Estate, led by Hanane Dawson, have a property portfolio ranging from £500k to £150 million, with many exclusive properties remaining off-market and advertised only through referrals. Hanane says, "These types of people, they have a financial advisor. They do have the money. We know they have the money, but it's more about how are they going to invest properly so that they can make more money. So the rich are getting richer."

2. Investment Opportunities

By taking out a mortgage, celebrities can free up their money to invest in stocks, real estate ventures, or their own businesses. If these investments outperform the mortgage interest rate, they come out ahead financially. This strategy allows them to diversify their wealth and potentially build long-term financial security.

Female manager selling cryptocurrencies through mobile phone app. Stock market, investment and cryptocurrencies concept© Getty
Some want to keep money free to invest in stocks and other business ventures

Hanane also added: "Instead of spending like £30 million right now they will be spending less with their mortgage upfront, and they can spend their cash on other things such as more properties, investing in other companies, or startups that will make money later. So it's better to take a mortgage, and not spend too much right now. And then resell the property later in about 10 years at a higher price."

3. Tax Advantages

In some countries, mortgage interest payments are tax-deductible, offering a significant tax advantage. This essentially reduces the cost of the loan, making it even more attractive for celebrities in high tax brackets. 

4. Managing Cash Flow

Mortgage rates© Puttachat Kumkrong/Shutterstock
Mortgages provide a predictable monthly payment

Even for celebrities, income can be sporadic. Movies might take years to film, albums might have unpredictable sales, and endorsement deals can come and go. Mortgages provide a predictable monthly payment, allowing celebrities to manage their cash flow effectively and avoid the stress of fluctuating income. This predictability is crucial for budgeting and ensuring they can meet their financial obligations consistently.

She said: "Unlike the UK, where mortgages typically offer fixed rates for 2-5 years, other countries like France and the US provide fixed rates for the entire 25-30 year period. This level of security and predictability is appealing to celebrities and wealthy individuals alike."

5. Leverage and Asset Appreciation

Real estate is generally considered a good long-term investment, with property values appreciating over time. By taking out a mortgage, celebrities leverage a smaller down payment to gain ownership of an asset that can potentially increase in value. This allows them to benefit from appreciation without tying up all their capital upfront. 

With property owners, "they have to think 5 to 10 years." Hanane said that most of the time when you buy a property "you want to resell within 5 years but if you can wait ten years that is excellent because when you go to resell you will be making money." 

6. Business Ventures

A mortgage broker having a meeting© iStock
Hanana said mortgages can be a strategic rather than a financial choice

Mortgages can also be used to fund business ventures. Celebrities might leverage the equity in their property to secure loans for starting their own businesses, investing in startups, or expanding existing ventures. This allows them to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities without depleting their liquid assets.

The decision by celebrities to take out mortgages on their luxury properties "is not just a financial choice; it's a strategic one", Hanane said. By leveraging long-term fixed interest rates and capitalising on market timing, they can maximise their returns and secure valuable investments. 

"This trend is not only shaping the luxury real estate market but also providing insights into the financial strategies of high-profile individuals." Ultimately, it's a testament to the fact that even the rich and famous understand the value of sound financial planning and making their money work for them.

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