Elon Musk has hit out at a report that he’s secretly living in a $12 million estate in Austin, despite his claims that he lives in a barebones $50,000 rental home near his SpaceX’s site in Boca Chica, Texas.
The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX denied the report by The Wall Street Journal, telling Business Insider on Thursday: “The WSJ article is false. I don’t live there and am not looking to buy a house anywhere.”
The Journal wrote Wednesday that for the past year, Musk has been spending at least part of his time in the lavish waterfront estate owned by his fellow PayPal alum Ken Howery, who is also the former US ambassador to Sweden in the Trump administration.
The news comes after Musk famously declared last year that he would “own no house” and brashly went on to sell off his nine California mansions for a total of $144 million.
“My primary home is literally a ~50k house in Boca Chica/Starbase that I rent from SpaceX,” he wrote in a June tweet. Public records indeed show that Musk is registered to vote at a home built in 1971 that his spacecraft company SpaceX owns, according to The Journal.
But sources told The Journal that Musk and Howery have been friends for decades and Musk had been staying in Howery’s home for about a year while Howery travels the world and participates in “extreme-weather” events, like “chasing tornadoes.”
After the report was published, Howery told the Journal in a text message: “Elon does not live at my home, he lives in South Texas. He stayed at the house as my guest occasionally when traveling to Austin.”
Howery’s “house” spans 8,000 square feet in an exclusive Austin district near Mount Bonnell, a popular hiking destination for tourists and locals with breathtaking views of the city and Hill Country. The property has a pool, a jacuzzi, a private boat slip, and is gated, according to the report. It sold for $12 million in 2018.
Sources also told The Journal that Musk and his team have employed multiple real estate agents to find him a home and that the multi-billionaire had expressed interest in the home of the famed Texas jewelry designer Kendra Scott.
Scott was reportedly open to a deal but nothing materialized after Musk missed appointments to view the property, the outlet said.
In addition to declaring last year that he would “own no house,” Musk also said he was “selling almost all physical possessions.”
The bold statement has added to Musk’s allure. When the CEO was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year last week, the feature on him included the line: “the richest man in the world does not own a house.”