Taylor Swift’s rise to fame led to a $150M real estate fortune: from pop icon to property tycoon

Taylor Swift made her music debut at the age of 16 in 2006, with the release of her self-titled country album. Since then, the 12-time Grammy winner has developed her brand into a global force, selling over two million tickets for her upcoming “Eras Tour” in a single day and announced plans to helm an upcoming feature film.

She has matured into a shrewd entrepreneur who frequently uses her influence to shake up the music industry. Her recent move to rerecord her earlier albums in order to ensure that the revenue from those streams goes to her provoked a flurry of new rules from her label, Universal Music Group NV, to ensure that other artists did not follow suit.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that Ms. Swift has accumulated a real-estate empire in the process of becoming a music industry powerhouse. Despite her youth, the 33-year-old has acquired a real estate empire worth at least $150 million.

Using a number of trusts and limited liability corporations, Ms. Swift has acquired major properties in areas ranging from Nashville, Tenn., to Beverly Hills and Rhode Island. Because the majority of these homes were purchased prior to the Covid-induced real-estate boom, their value has skyrocketed during the country singer-turned-pop star’s ownership. Ms. Swift prefers to hold her properties for the long term, but she has sold a few homes along the road, often at a substantial profit.

Ms. Swift and Joe Alwyn in London in 2019

Joe Alwyn, an English actor who was up in north London, has been dating Ms. Swift for a number of years, and the two have been seen together around the neighborhood. (In the song “London Boy,” she talks of going to Camden Market and Highgate Market in London.)

Ms. Swift has rented properties in north London, including a home in Highgate at one point, according to Trevor Abrahmsohn of Glentree International. She was lately looking to buy a house in the Hampstead region, according to a person with knowledge of her actions, but it is uncertain whether she really done so.

According to Mr. Abrahmsohn, due to stamp duties, or transaction taxes, which may be as high as 17% for overseas buyers, many expats opt to rent rather than buy in England.

Here’s a closer look at her homes spread out around the country.

Ms. Swift owns a spread at the Adelicia, a luxury condominium in Nashville

Nashville, Tennessee.
Paid $2.377 million for a suite at the Adelicia condominium in 2009.

The current estimated value is between $4 and $6 million.

In 2011, the Northumberland Estate was purchased for $2.5 million.

The current estimate is $8 million.

Ms. Swift moved with her family from Pennsylvania to the Nashville region as a teenager to seek a career in country music. According to property records, after the popularity of her song “Fearless,” the 19-year-old made her first large real-estate purchase in 2009, spending $1.99 million through a trust for a nearly 4,000-square-foot, three-bedroom penthouse at the Adelicia condominium along Music Row. Later that year, she paid $387,000 for a roughly 1,000-square-foot, one-bedroom unit on the floor below via trust, according to property records.

Ms. Swift’s vividly decorated home, complete with a big heart-shaped kitchen backsplash, will be included in the 2020 documentary “Miss Americana.”

The Adelicia “was one of the first really, really nice, luxury condo buildings in Nashville,” says Lacey Newman, a real estate agent who has another penthouse in the building listed for $2.995 million. She claims that the Adelicia penthouses have their own private garage, providing owners with a kind of VIP entrance. “It’s very appealing to people who value privacy and discretion,” she explains. She also mentioned that the building’s penthouses have city vistas. She also said that the building is close to restaurants, pubs, and music studios in the city. “Because of its proximity to Music Row,” she believes, “it would appeal to musicians and artists.”

Ms. Swift has not approached Ms. Newman about possibly acquiring the unit she is advertising, according to Ms. Newman. “I really wish she’d do it!”

Ms. Swift’s Adelicia assets, according to local real estate agents, would likely sell for $4 million to $6 million today.

Ms. Swift paid $2.5 million in 2011 for an estate in the Forest Hills area

That, however, just makes up a part of Ms. Swift’s real estate holdings in Nashville. Public documents show that in 2011, she purchased the Northumberland Estate, a roughly 7,700 square foot house on around six acres, through a trust for $2.5 million. The Greek Revival property, which is situated in the prestigious Forest Hills neighborhood, was constructed about 1934, according to Steve Fridrich of Fridrich & Clark Realty, as a part of a sizable horse farm.

The property was formerly owned by Guilford Dudley Jr., a former US ambassador to Denmark, equestrian, and “old Nashville name,” in Mr. Fridrich’s words. He calculated that the home would probably sell for roughly $8 million if it were to be sold right now.

In a video uploaded to her YouTube account, Ms. Swift identified the Northumberland Estate as the residence of her mother, Andrea Swift.

Ms. Swift paid $4.8 million for a beachfront home in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod but sold it a few months later

Hyannis Port is located in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Paid $4.8 million for a seven-bedroom house in 2012

Sold for $5.675 million in 2013

Ms. Swift has avoided typical celebrity hotspots like the Hamptons and Malibu in favor of quaint New England coastal locations when it comes to beach homes.

According to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Robert Paul Properties’ Robert B. Kinlin, the singer went into contract in the summer of 2012 on a circa-1920s oceanfront home in the seaside community of Hyannis Port on Cape Cod. “It was very well-kept and charming,” Mr. Kinlin observed. According to Zillow, the mansion had been on the market for a while before Ms. Swift bought it, and it had previously been listed for $13.5 million. According to J. Randy Taraborrelli’s book “The Kennedy Heirs,” she was dating Conor Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy’s grandson, who lived nearby at the legendary Kennedy compound during the summer.

The pair parted up in September 2012, according to the book. According to property records, Ms. Swift purchased the seven-bedroom house through an LLC for $4.8 million and sold it a few months later for $5.675 million, which is much more than she spent. Mr. Kennedy did not reply to calls for comment.

Westerly, Rhode Island

Paid $17.75 million for a Colonial-style mansion in 2013

The current estimate is $30 million.

The upscale but peaceful Watch Hill neighborhood in Westerly, Rhode Island was the next place Ms. Swift went. She paid $17.75 million through an LLC for a house built in the 1930s on one of the highest points in the neighborhood, according to listing agent Jim Michalove of Seaboard Properties, property records, and the agent for the property.

The 11,700 square foot Colonial-style estate, once known as Holiday House, contains seven bedrooms and eight fireplaces. It has a swimming pool, 700 feet of sandy shoreline, and around 5.23 acres of land, according to a prior ad.

Mr. Michalove claims that because of its position and height, the house offers panoramic views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Little Narragansett Bay. The views are the nicest you’ll find anywhere in town, he claimed.

Before purchasing Watch Hill, Ms. Swift reportedly visited the former Katharine Hepburn mansion in Fenwick on the Connecticut shore, according to the property’s then-owner Frank Sciame. Listed for $24 million in 2010, Holiday House, also known as High Watch, wasn’t formally for sale when Ms. Swift bought it.

TRESPASSING IS NOT ALLOWED was posted on Ms. Swift’s home in reference to one of her songs, “I knew you were trouble when you walked in.”

Ms. Swift became well-known by throwing extravagant Fourth of July parties at her house, which stars like Ryan Reynolds and Gigi Hadid attended, and then posting pictures of the events on her Instagram account. The history of the house served as inspiration for one of her songs, “The Last Great American Dynasty,” which also featured former owner Rebekah Harkness.

Ms. Swift stated to Entertainment Weekly in 2020, “I bought the house when I was in my early twenties as a place for my family to congregate and be together,” adding that she became fascinated by tales about Ms. Harkness and the mansion’s past. Anyone who has been there previously is aware that I give “The Tour,” in quotations, during which I show everyone around the house. Because I have done so much study on this house and this woman, I also share various anecdotes with them about each room.

However, there haven’t been many reported sightings of Ms. Swift in Watch Hill lately, which has led to rumors that she might be ready to list the property. Mr. Michalove claimed that when he asked about purchasing the home for a customer in the past, he was denied.

If Holiday House were to be sold right now, it would probably be worth something in the neighborhood of $30 million, according to Lori Joyal of Lila Delman Compass. She declared, “It’s the most gorgeous house in Watch Hill.”

Ms. Swift paid $18 million to buy the townhouse next door to the Sugar Loaf building in Tribeca, where she owns the penthouse

New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood
Paid $19.95 million for two penthouse units in the Sugar Loaf building in 2014

Paid $18 million for a townhouse in 2017

Paid $9.75 million for a flat in 2017

Tribeca’s current estimated value is $45 million

By 2014, Ms. Swift’s transition into pop fame was already established. She began buying Manhattan real estate that year, around the time her song “Welcome to New York” appeared on her album “1989.” She paid $19.95 million for two penthouse units at the Sugar Loaf building in Tribeca from director Peter Jackson, combining them to form an 8,000-square-foot duplex, according to property records. According to local brokers, the structure, which was erected in the 1880s as a warehouse, has drawn numerous superstars over the years, including Orlando Bloom and Steven Soderbergh.

According to Manhattan real-estate agent Andrew Azoulay, Ms. Swift began looking for a private garage in New York in 2016 following the success of her fifth album “1989,” which had singles such as “Shake it Off” and “Blank Space.” According to Mr. Azoulay, Ms. Swift considered purchasing one of two Tribeca mansions with private garages at the time but opted against it because “she loved her apartment and didn’t want to leave.” Mr. Azoulay then recommended that she buy the townhouse next to the Sugar Loaf building, which had previously been utilized as a garage, as well as a condominium apartment on the second floor. The townhouse might then be used as a private garage, with access to the condo complex via the second level. He explained, “She wanted to go from the garage to her apartment without leaving the building.”

Ms. Swift then connected the townhouse with the second floor of the condo building in order to use it as a private garage

The singer used LLCs to purchase the three-story, 27-foot-wide townhouse for $18 million in 2017 and the approximately 3,540 square foot second-floor Sugar Loaf building spread for $9.75 million in an off-market deal. According to Mr. Azoulay’s estimation, the plan’s construction expenses would probably total more than $30 million.

“It’s probably the most expensive garage in the world,” he says. He estimated that her Tribeca holdings were worth around $45 million at the time.

“It wasn’t for real estate; it was for safety, security, and convenience,” he explained.

Beverly Hills, California

Paid $3.55 million for a four-bedroom house in 2011.

In 2018, it was sold for $4 million.

Paid $1.775 million for a four-bedroom house in 2012

In 2018, it was sold for $2.65 million.

In 2015, the Goldwyn estate was purchased for $25 million.

The current estimate is $70 million.

According to property records, Ms. Swift first purchased a home in Beverly Hills in 2011, paying $3.55 million through an LLC for a four-bedroom home on around 12 acres. The nearly 3,000-square-foot gated property, built about 1941, has an East Coast-style appeal that is relatively rare in the area, according to local brokers. It was also incredibly secluded, with a lengthy driveway and shrubs that shielded the house from street view. Ms. Swift used a trust to acquire a four-bedroom, mid-century modern property less than a mile away for $1.775 million, according to records and a person familiar with her real-estate dealings, which she used for guests but never lived in herself.

She added to her California assets in 2015, according to public documents, when she paid $25 million through an LLC to purchase a circa-1934, roughly 11,000-square-foot house on approximately two acres. The mansion was created by renowned Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn, who founded a company that subsequently became part of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio, according to a report by the City of Beverly Hills Cultural Heritage Commission. Ms. Swift bought it from the Goldwyn family, according to property records.

The Georgian Revival mansion was reportedly marketed for $39 million, complete with the original pool house and tennis court. “She got a great deal,” said real-estate agent Josh Flagg, pointing out that her home is directly across the street from the William Randolph Hearst estate, which recently sold for $63.1 million.

With only three houses on the block, he remarked that there was plenty of seclusion.

Ms. Swift refurbished the property, which retains original elements such as its screening room, according to architect Monique Schenk, who collaborated on the project. “It was very well preserved,” she explained. The house was classified as a historic landmark in 2017 after Ms. Swift’s LLC petitioned for it.

The Samuel Goldwyn estate, which Ms. Swift restored

“It was really nice to see something that wasn’t just torn down,” Ms. Schenk said.

If the estate were to be sold today, Mr. Flagg estimated that it would be worth around $70 million.

Michael Francis Taylor, the author of the biography “Taylor Swift: The Brightest Star,” claims that Ms. Swift furnished the house with both modern art and antique furniture. “Taylor loves traditional Americana interior design,” the source claims. She recorded the Grammy-winning album “Folklore” in the home in 2020 while working under Covid restrictions.

The larger house sold for $4 million in an off-market sale to Nicolas Bijan, the late designer Bijan Pakzad’s son, according to property records, and the smaller one went for $2.65 million. Ms. Swift sold her other two Beverly Hills residences in 2018 for each a respectable profit.

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