Canadian sensation Celine Dion led a trend of celebrities leaving wealthy areas, and now Mark Wahlberg and Dean Cain are following suit. High-profile celebrities are migrating from well-known affluent areas like Malibu, California, to more budget-friendly communities across the United States. The driving force behind this movement? Financial considerations seem to be at the forefront.

Mark Wahlberg recently made headlines when he sold his Beverly Park mansion, boasting 20 bedrooms, for a staggering US$55 million. Opting out of California’s endless sunshine, Wahlberg moved his family to the exclusive Summit Club in Summerlin, Nevada. Here, he acquired a luxury townhome and a 2.5-acre lot, potentially earmarking it for a future production studio. This relocation netted Wahlberg a profit exceeding US$30 million, marking him as one among several celebrities finding financial benefit in such moves.

Dean Cain, known for his iconic role in the 1990s ABC series Lois & Clark, also joined the trend. In June of 2023, Cain invested nearly US$4 million in a two-story home in Henderson, Nevada, a serene locale nestled between Boulder City and Las Vegas. This purchase came on the heels of selling his Malibu mansion for US$6.25 million in May of 2023.

While there’s no singular data point to confirm a mass exodus, various sources, including Internal Revenue Service data and industry reports, suggest a pattern of the affluent and famous leaving the Sunset Strip for the allure of affordable luxury closer to Las Vegas.

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The Appeal of Las Vegas and Beyond

Las Vegas has seen a surge in luxury real estate transactions, recording an unprecedented number of US$1 million-plus sales in the first quarter of 2023 alone. The median home sale price hovered around US$415,000 during this period, a notable decrease from the peak of US$482,000 in 2022. In contrast, Los Angeles’ median home sale price was approximately US$980,000 in 2023.

Melissa Tomastik, a Las Vegas realtor, highlighted the financial advantages of relocating to Nevada in a Hollywood Reporter interview. “The value of the dollar stretches considerably farther in Las Vegas,” Tomastik observed, noting that several clients have remarked on how their real estate investments in Las Vegas compare favorably to what they would have spent on taxes elsewhere.

Celebrities like Oscar De La Hoya and Celine Dion have also made Las Vegas their home. De La Hoya purchased a mansion in Henderson for US$14.5 million in 2022 and Dion sold her Summit Club estate for US$30 million while retaining a US$5 million home in Lake Las Vegas.

Beyond Las Vegas, wealthy Americans are exploring other states for relocation, including Florida, Texas, and New Jersey, according to a 2023 study by financial advisory firm SmartAsset. These destinations offer a blend of tax savings, better business environments, and lower cost of living, enticing not just celebrities but affluent individuals seeking more for their dollar.

Why the Shift?

Several factors contribute to this shift from traditional high-net-worth strongholds to emerging luxury communities:

  • Tax Efficiency: States like Nevada, Florida, and Texas do not levy income tax, presenting significant savings compared to California’s 13.3% state income tax for high earners.
  • Business Opportunities: Nevada ranks in the top 10 for its business-friendly tax climate, offering a conducive environment for entrepreneurs like Wahlberg.
  • Cost of Living Considerations: With the rising cost of living, wealthy individuals are mindful of their expenditures, seeking states where their wealth affords them a higher quality of life without the exorbitant costs associated with places like California and New York.

As celebrities and the affluent recalibrate their living arrangements for financial prudence, their moves underscore a broader trend: the quest for luxurious living that doesn’t compromise on financial wisdom. While the allure of places like Malibu remains, the practical benefits of states like Nevada are drawing in those looking to maximize their investments, enjoy tax benefits, and still live in the lap of luxury.