Kanye West has reportedly purchased a 9,000-acre ranch located way, way out in the middle of nowhere, near Cody, WY.
The property is called Monster Lake Ranch, since, according to the listing by J.P. King Auction Company, the property is overflowing with freshwater lakes full of huge “monster trout.” The ranch has two homes, eight cabins, as well as a restaurant, events center, and several barns and horse corrals.
It was most recently on the market for $14 million. However, sources say the hip-hop star did not pay full price. Exactly how much he did pay is unclear.
A representative of J.P. King told realtor.com by email: “Unfortunately, we do not comment on our clients, or on the purchasers of the properties we represent.”
Sources also say that West is currently at the ranch, wrapping up his new album “Jesus Is King,” which is set for release on Sept. 27.
The Wyoming ranch is the latest property purchase for West and his wife, Kim Kardashian, and the pair appear to be steadily amassing a real estate empire. West has also said he’s designing low-income “Star Wars”-style housing units as a solution for homelessness. Is this where he plans to establish his new utopian community?
We asked some real estate experts what they think about this property and whether it was a smart investment—or a puzzling one.
Kanye West’s new ranch may be ‘the last property you’d want to buy’
For starters: Since no one knows exactly what West paid for the property, whether Monster Ranch is a good investment is “tough to determine,” says Ryan Paliukaitis of Real Estate Solution Providers.
Suffice it to say that the original asking price of $14 million seems high. Benjamin Ross of Mission Real Estate Group thinks the sellers set the price this way “to negotiate down, if needed.”
To determine the return on investment for the ranch, “We would need to know how much revenue the ranch generates, what the expenses are, and how much was paid for it,” Ross says.
Still, in terms of location, Ross thinks that if West and Kardashian are truly planning an empire, this ranch “would be the last property you would want to buy.”
The reason? Monster Lake Ranch is very remote. The town of Cody, known as the “Rodeo Capital of the World,” has a population of about 10,000.
If West plans to further develop the property, this could pose a few problems. For instance, it could be tough to get contractors and subcontractors out to work and to get building materials delivered .
“He may have trouble trying to find [people] willing to travel to the ranch,” Paliukaitis says.
Adding infrastructure to the property could also be costly. Exactly how much is needed would depend on the types of power, such as solar or wind, and the sewage systems already available.
The cost of upkeep is another challenge of owning such a large property, especially since it houses lakes and livestock, Ross says.
However, the connections West and Kardashian have and their ready access to capital—lots of it—would “make things easier than [for] the average person” to develop the ranch, Paliukaitis says.
Of course, the inaccessibility of the place will remain an issue, even after any construction is complete.
“There is a whole lot of nothing, except for a couple of lakes in the area,” Ross adds. He hopes that West sees the purchase as a long-haul investment, since he could struggle to sell it down the road, due to the locale and the burden of maintaining it.
“Maybe if there are apocalyptic events occurring at the time, he will find it easier.”
‘If society has driven you mad, this is the place to go’
On the upside, one major benefit for West is that Wyoming is “a top-tier tax-friendly state for landownership and business,” according to the ranch’s listing. Wyoming has no state income tax, personal property tax, estate tax, real estate sales tax, capital gains tax, or out-of-state retirement income tax.
Plus, the ranch’s location could offer a secluded haven for the celebrity couple.
“I am sure we can agree that Kanye didn’t have the word ‘luxury’ on his mind when he decided to make an offer,” Ross says. “If I had to guess, the words ‘escape’ or ‘privacy’ would be closer to his thoughts. If society has driven you mad, this is the place to go.”