Posts on Facebook showing an aerial photo of a large house with a pool and extensive grounds have the following caption: “The salary of a U.S. Senator is $174,000 per year. This is Joe Biden’s house… seems legit.” The posts imply that the Democratic presidential nominee and former senator purchased an opulent home on a senator’s salary. These claims are missing key context. Though Biden did once own the property in the photo, he bought the run-down property over three decades ago for less than $200,000, and sold it for $1.2 million in 1996.
Examples of posts making this claim can be found here , here , and here .
The claim seems to have originated on Oct. 17, when Eric Trump, the second son of President Donald Trump, shared it on Twitter ( here ).
The image in the posts shows the 10,000-square-foot mansion, originally built by the prominent Du Pont family ( here ), that Biden owned for more than 20 years ( here ). As reported in 2008 by the New York Times ( here ), Biden bought the Greenville, Delaware home for $185,000 in 1975 after learning it was slated for demolition and renovated it extensively.
A Feb. 2020 article in the Wall Street Journal ( here ) with the headline “In His Own Words, Joe Biden Was ‘Seduced by Real Estate’” describes how the former vice president “spent decades buying ever-larger houses, frequently stretching his personal finances.” As stated by the Journal, Biden, was a “32-year-old widower and father of two commuting daily to Washington for his job as a U.S. senator” when he bought the Du Pont mansion.
While the posts’ claim that the current salary of a U.S. senator is $174,000 (see page 1 here ), Biden’s salary when he purchased the mansion in the mid-1970s would have been $44,600 a year ( here ).
As noted by the Wall Street Journal, “financial advisers often suggest buyers shouldn’t pay more than 2½ times their annual income for a home, though many Americans do.” ( here ) The price of the Du Pont mansion would have been more than four times Biden’s salary when he purchased it.
Biden would dub the house “The Station,” making it his “political hub” for the next two decades. As reported by the Journal, “his aides saw him pump cash and time into keeping up the home and its grounds.” In 1996, by then remarried to Jill Biden and father to a teenage daughter Ashley ( here ), he sold the home for the asking price of $1.2 million to the then-vice chairman of the credit-card company MBNA ( here , here ).
Adjusting for inflation, Biden bought the Du Pont home in 1975 for $895,014.87 in 2020 dollars and sold it in 1996 for $1,990,669.22 in 2020 dollars ( www.usinflationcalculator.com/ ), more than doubling the property value during his two decades of owning the home.
The Reuters Fact Check team has debunked claims on social media that Biden owns the biggest home in his state ( here ).
Joe and Jill Biden own homes in Wilmington, Delaware ( here ) and Rehoboth Beach, Del. ( here ). Neither is the largest in the state of Delaware. The Bidens also rent a home in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of the nation’s capital ( here ). According to the Washington Post, the Bidens have been renting the house since 2007.
Following his role as vice president, Joe Biden and his wife received other sources of income. The Center for Responsive Politics, an independent research group that tracks the impact of money and lobbying on elections and public policy, estimates Biden’s minimum net worth to be $2,137,033 and maximum net worth to be $7,924,998 as of this article’s publication( here ). The Democratic candidate’s most recent financial disclosure report is available here . Having not held public office since January 2017, Biden’s recent sources of income include book tour events, speaking engagements, and an academic post at the University of Pennsylvania. As reported here by the Wall Street Journal, Biden earned $15.6 million in the two years after leaving the office of vice president.
Missing context. While the aerial photo in the photos does show a Delaware home formerly owned by Biden, he has not owned the property in 24 years. As a young senator in the 1970s, Biden bought the house, slated for demolition, for $185,000.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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