Peter Thiel cites soaring housing costs in hesitancy over South Florida move

Billionaire says he will support Gov. Ron DeSantis if he is Republican presidential nominee next year

Peter Thiel and Gov. Ron DeSantis
Peter Thiel and Gov. Ron DeSantis (Getty; Illustration by The Real Deal)

Billionaire Peter Thiel is hesitant to bid adieu to Silicon Valley and move his business operations to South Florida, citing the tri-county region’s soaring housing costs. 

The tech investor, who co-founded PayPal and venture capital firm Founders Fund, made his comments during the Honestly with Bari Weiss podcast, Bloomberg reported. Thiel also doubled down on his support for Gov. Ron DeSantis, saying he will support the Republican if he is the presidential nominee in next year’s election. Yet, he also urged the governor to ramp up efforts to target the economic inequity plaguing the Sunshine State. 

Thiel’s revelation that he is hesitant to make an outright move to South Florida comes in stark contrast to the storyline that emerged over the past two years of the region experiencing an influx of out-of-state firms.

Companies and their executives homed in on Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, Miami Beach and downtown West Palm Beach, leasing offices for expansion or relocation. 

The influx supercharged the housing market, pushing up the median home price in the Miami metro area to over $605,000, according to the CoreLogic January 2023 U.S. Home Price Insights report

The sales flurry has cooled in recent months amid interest rate hikes, but the region still is experiencing record residential sale prices. 

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Founders Fund isn’t shunning South Florida altogether. The firm, along with Jack Abraham’s VC Atomic, leased space in 2021 at The Annex office building at 215 Northwest 24th Street in Wynwood. At the time, tech e-commerce firm OpenStore, backed by Founders Fund and Atomic, also took part in the lease. OpenStore later moved to its own space at the Gateway at Wynwood building at 2916 North Miami Avenue in Wynwood.

In 2020, Thiel also paid $18 million for a pair of waterfront Miami Beach mansions at 445 to 441 East Rivo Alto Drive on the Venetian Islands. 

Thiel, a Republican mega donor, said during the podcast that DeSantis would make a “terrific president,” but added that the governor should focus less on issues such as gender identity and race. 

“The focus on identity politics and the woke is probably a distraction from stagnation,” Thiel said, according to Bloomberg. “I understand why DeSantis doesn’t talk about that, but it surely is a bigger problem.”

–– Lidia Dinkova