Like many of us, presidential candidates are heading home for the holidays—retreating to their primary residences, where they already rule. And as the saying goes, a man (or woman's) home is his castle. With multiple multimillionaires in the presidential race, some of the candidates' homes are ritzy indeed. To get a price check on what their houses cost, we tapped real estate comparison sites like Cyberhomes.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.com. What we found: with the exception of Mike Huckabee, the Republicans generally live more handsomely than those in the rival party. Still, the leading Democrats aren't exactly slumming it. Which candidate can best relate to the "common man"? You decide.
When the Clintons moved out of the White House in 1999, they paid $1.7 million to move into a five-bedroom, four-bathroom circa 1889 house in Chappaqua, N.Y., a woodsy Westchester suburb. (Although their post-Monica debts forced the Clintons to ask Democratic fund raiser Terry McAuliffe to guarantee their original loan, lucrative speaking engagements and Hillary's book deal enabled the couple to buy a second home in D.C. 16 months later for $2.85 million.) How does the Clintons' Chappaqua home compare to those of their neighbors? It's not the priciest in the 10514 ZIP code. Nearby homes are up for sale at $2 million or more, while a typical house in the area goes for $1.2 million.
In 2005 Obama and his wife Michelle, an administrator at the University of Chicago Hospitals, spent almost as much as the Clintons, $1.65 million, on a Georgian-revival home surrounded by a wrought-iron fence in Kenwood, a landmark district on Chicago's South Side. But the Obamas' ZIP code, 60615, is more modest than Hillary and Bill's, with about half as many online listings in the $2 million-plus range. Local average: $328,000. Obama's biggest brand-name supporter, Oprah, lives on the pricier North Side.
The Edwardses handsomely outdo both their neighbors and Democratic rivals. In January the family moved into a $6 million 102-acre estate in Chapel Hill, N.C. The spread includes an indoor recreation area with a swimming pool as well as basketball and squash courts. The area (ZIP code 27516) is relatively inexpensive, though, with an average home price tag of just $366,000.
About five years ago Rudy and Judith Giuliani paid $5.25 million for a nine-room prewar co-op on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (ZIP code 10021), where home values average $1.5 million. Add in their $3 million Hamptons escape, and Rudy's real estate holdings beat out the Edwardses. The Giulianis also have more high-profile neighbors. New York City's current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch own apartments nearby.
The multimillionaire has plenty of relaxation spots to choose from. He owns a ski lodge near Park City, Utah, and a $10 million estate in rural New Hampshire boasting a boat, a stable that's been transformed into a guest house and a contemporary six-bedroom house overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. But his primary residence is in Belmont, the Boston suburb where he moved with his wife, Ann, in 1971. Their ZIP code, 02478, boasts an average home value of $681,000. The Romneys' six-bedroom colonial is, however, worth nearly three times the area average, at $1.8 million.
The candidate's wife Cindy, heir to the Hensley beer fortune, paid $4.6 million last year for two units they combined into a single 7,000-square-foot apartment in a new 12-story luxury tower near Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix (ZIP code 85016). Among the amenities offered at the new McCain residence: a zero-edge rooftop pool, an in-house spa and 24-hour concierge service. Nearby homes average $427,000.
Compared to those of the other Republicans in the race, the Huckabees' real estate holdings are less luxurious. After selling their lake house last year, they moved to the upscale Shady Valley neighborhood of North Little Rock, Ark. (ZIP code 72116). With an estimated value of $540,200, their five-bedroom home isn't pricey by coastal-state standards, but it's still fancy for their ZIP code, where homes are valued at around $176,000.