Real estate

Microsoft's Steve Ballmer sells modest island house

Aug. 23, 2013 at 5:58 PM ET

Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft CEO who announced Friday he would be retiring in a year, sold a parcel of land on Whidbey Island in Washington state in July.
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Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft CEO who announced Friday he would be retiring in a year, sold a parcel of land on Whidbey Island in Washington state in July.

As far as beach houses go, it’s rather ordinary. It’s not directly on the beach, but perched above, with views of Admiralty Bay captured between evergreens. Measuring just 1,144 square feet, it’s charming but not something expected to be owned by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, whose net worth spans nine digits. Ballmer announced Friday that he would retire from the tech giant in 12 months. 

Related: Microsoft's Steve Ballmer to retire in 12 months

This property, sold for $169,500, is one of 10 parcels the Ballmers owned.
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This property, sold for $169,500, is one of 10 parcels the Ballmers owned.

But if the house is just one of 10 view properties, it makes a little more sense. Ballmer and his wife, Connie Ballmer, began purchasing property on Whidbey Island, Wash. in 2005. Some of the parcels near Coupeville have houses on them, but the majority are empty — the biggest parcel measures around 10 acres.

Related: In the vista of Ballmer's Microsoft, famous failures but also solid success

All of the properties lie close together, creating a sizable compound on the bluff above the beach, except for the small, previously mentioned beach cabin, which is separated by another parcel from the Ballmer estate. Initially the Ballmers may have had plans for rehabbing or tearing down the small residence, but they have clearly gone in a different direction and decided instead to list the 1965-built home for $189,500. According to property records, the little house has already sold for $20,000 less than the asking price at $169,500. The home has 3 bedrooms, a rear, water-facing deck, a sizable front lawn and access to a community pool and tennis court.

Related: What Microsoft needs: A fresh perspective

Whidbey Island is one of the picturesque San Juan Islands in northern Washington state.
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Whidbey Island is known for being an artists' haven and for its dramatic views.

Ballmer’s compound was in the news earlier this spring, when an enormous landslide decimated part of the island, near his estate. Although his property wasn’t affected, the slide destroyed one home and damaged four others, and reports estimate it will be two years before the area is “back to normal.”

Whidbey Island is an hour and a half from Seattle and requires a ferry ride. Ballmer’s primary residence is a large home in Hunt’s Point, across Lake Washington from Seattle. The house has a estimated value of $10 million.

Erika Riggs, a real estate writer for Zillow Blog, covers celebrity real estate, unusual properties and home design trends. Read more of her work here

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