Although the deal actually closed last summer, it’s only now become clear that the mystery buyers who paid $14.5 million for a teardown house on Manhattan Beach’s coveted oceanfront Strand were Snapchat cofounder Bobby Murphy and his wife Kelsey Bateman. The off-market transfer was the city’s second-priciest deal inked in 2020, behind only a $17.8 million transaction that closed in November.
Of course, it’s probably no surprise that Murphy — a noted luxury real estate aficionado — would be in the mood to grow his property portfolio. The remarkable resurgence of Snap Inc. is the talk of the tech world, not to mention the broader stock market in general, with shares up about 500% year over year on the back of huge ad revenue and user growth. Snap’s current market cap tops $92 billion, and several other high-level Snapchat execs have upgraded their real estate circumstances over their past year. Chief business officer Jeremi Gorman recently bought a $15.8 million mansion in Hermosa Beach, while the CEO’s strategic advisor Jared Grusd dropped $18 million above Beverly Hills.
As for Murphy, Forbes says the 32-year-old Stanford grad’s net worth now stands at $12.3 billion, up an unfathomable $10 billion from just a year ago. By his own admission, the Snap chief technology officer (CTO) generally prefers working behind the scenes, taking a public backseat to his CEO and cofounder, the more brash and outgoing Evan Spiegel.
Still, Murphy packs a big punch on the real estate front. Over the last few years, he’s assembled an enviable portfolio of at least nine multimillion-dollar properties in the coastal L.A. communities of Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Venice, and now Manhattan Beach — all of which collectively cost him north of $60 million.
As for his latest purchase, the Manhattan Beach house isn’t really a “home” at all. It’s actually a dated duplex with less than 2,000 square feet of total living space. The architecturally featureless, yellowish structure was built in the 1950s, and is “ideal for custom new construction,” according to a former listing, which made no secret that the place is a likely teardown.
The real value here is in the land, where “oceanfront living at its absolute finest, with nothing but glistening sand between you and the sparkling Pacific Ocean, and stunning 180 degree views from Malibu to Palos Verdes to Catalina,” per digital marketing materials. As they are, the two existing units are mirror images of each other, each with two bedrooms and two baths in about 900 square feet of living space.
It’s not yet publicly known what Murphy envisions for the prime site, though the existing structure could also provide substantial rental income. Some of Murphy’s other homes include a $30 million estate in Pacific Palisades, where he’s currently building a new mansion; a $6 million modernist estate elsewhere in the Palisades, a $5 million Venice, Calif. shack tucked behind the trendy Abbott Kinney shopping lane, a $2.3 million bungalow deep in inland Venice, a $2.1 million contemporary condo near Venice Beach, and a $2.1 million house in Santa Monica.