How Much Would It Cost to Buy Manhattan? (AMZN, FB)

Each year, Forbes releases a list of the wealthiest people in the world, and individuals both in and outside of the financial world follow the progress of a handful of ultra-rich. In any given year, there may be new entries to the list entirely, or individuals may shift in the rankings thanks to the addition or subtraction of what amounts to a huge amount of money from their swollen pockets. But it can be difficult to conceptualize what the difference between, say, $50 billion and $60 billion is, when to most of the world either is an indescribable amount of money. Now, thanks to a report by Property Shark, one can find an indication of how that money could be put to use buying up property in New York City.

Buying All of the Property on Manhattan

Property Shark took a look at the entirety of the residential property in Manhattan, widely recognized as one of the most expensive property markets in the world. According to their estimates, it would take the combined wealth of just the top 12 billionaires on Forbes’ list to buy up all of the residences on the island. In total, they would need to spend about $578 billion to complete their purchase of every home in Manhattan. That amount of money is slightly higher than the GDP of Argentina and could buy nearly 5 million Aston Martin V8 Vantages, the iconic James Bond vehicle, or just shy of a billion of the latest iPhone models, or enough Big Macs to give every person in the United States more than 400 hamburgers. (See also, 6 Investing Mistakes That the Ultra Wealthy Don't Make)

What About the Rest of New York City?

The billionaires on Forbes’ list would have an easier time buying up property in the other boroughs of New York City. Queens, for instance, with residential property totaling about $192.5 billion according to Property Shark’s estimate, would be covered by the fortunes of just three individuals: Bill Gates, Amancio Ortega, and Warren Buffett. Brooklyn, on the other hand, could be purchased by the next six billionaires among the top 10 wealthiest on Forbes’ list. Carlos Slim Helu, Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison, Michael Bloomberg, and Charles Koch could pool their fortunes to buy up all of the residential property in Manhattan’s neighbor to the southeast. (See also, Bill Gates: Success Story)

While this vast amount of money is something that nearly everyone else in the world will not experience, putting the fortunes of the ultra-wealthy into terms that everyday people encounter with greater frequency helps to put into perspective just how much money the richest individuals in the world really have. It turns out that the answer is even more than many readers of Forbes’ list might have expected!