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Partly false claim: Joe Biden lives in the biggest mansion in his state; Bernie Sanders has four houses; Barack Obama just got his third mansion

Shared over 1,000 times as of March 10, 2020, a photo posted on Facebook here claims that Joe Biden lives in the biggest mansion in his state and just bought another mansion in Washington, D.C., that Bernie Sanders has four houses, and that Barack Obama just got his third mansion.

BIDEN

Some posts claim the photograph shows the home of Democratic White House hopeful and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden. This is not a photo of either of Biden’s homes in Delaware, where he spent much of his childhood, raised his children and was the state’s longest serving U.S. senator (1973-2009) (see here). The house in the photo actually belongs to the family of former President Barack Obama and is located in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C. According to the Washington Post (see here), the Obamas purchased the home in 2017. 

According to the online real estate database company Zillow, Joe and Jill Biden own a home (here) in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens also have a vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware (see here). Neither of these homes is the largest in the state of Delaware (Joe Biden was born in Pennsylvania, but spent most of his life and political career in Delaware). According to Zillow (here), the Bidens’ Wilmington house is 6,850 square feet. As reported here by the Washington Post, the Bidens’ Rehoboth home is 4,800 square feet. Zillow lists several properties in Delaware with higher square footage, including 900 Old Kennett Rd in Wilmington, which is 21,000 square feet (here ) and 10 Pyles Ford Road in Wilmington, which is 17,588 square feet (here). Reuters could find no other reports or records indicating that the Bidens owned properties other than these two.

Reuters could not corroborate the claim that the Bidens owns a home in Washington, D.C., but they do rent one in McLean, Virginia, a suburb of the nation’s capital (here). According to the Washington Post, the Bidens have been renting the house, “purchased for $4.25 million in June 2016 by Mark Ein, a wealthy venture capitalist who lives next door,” since 2007. The claim that Joe Biden “just bought another mansion in D.C.” is unsubstantiated.

SANDERS

Reuters could corroborate Senator Bernie Sanders' ownership of three homes, two in Vermont and one in Washington, D.C., rather than four as claimed. As reported here by Forbes, Sanders has “a one bedroom brick townhouse in Washington, D.C.” as well as “a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom house" in Burlington, Vermont. A form filed with the Federal Election Commission on February 19, 2019 (see here) confirms Sanders' address in Burlington (221 Van Patten Parkway). In addition, as reported here by Politico, Sanders bought a lakefront property in North Hero, Vermont in 2016, bringing his property count up to three. Reuters could not confirm Sanders’ ownership of properties other than these three.

OBAMA

On May 31, 2017, the New York Times reported here that the Obamas bought a home in Washington, D.C. (pictured in the Facebook post), and that they would not be selling their house in Chicago. As seen here on Zillow, their Chicago home was purchased in 2005 and is not currently on the market. 

It is true that the Obamas just bought their third house, a property on Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts, according to Forbes (here). On December 8, 2019, Forbes reported that the Obamas purchased the home the week before Thanksgiving that year.

VERDICT

Partly false: Joe Biden’s house is not pictured in the post and he does not live in the biggest home in Delaware. The Obamas did just purchase their third house, and other claims in the post could not be substantiated

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