Call it the American dream, tech edition.

Call it the American dream, tech edition.

Call it the American dream, tech edition.


Nvidias Jensen Huang spent some of his formative years living at a Kentucky boarding school. As a young tech worker, he bought a starter home in San Jose, Calif. And then, as his fortunes rose, he added larger homes in the Bay Area and beyond.

Today, the 61-year president and CEO is one of the world’s richest people with a portfolio of homes in California and Hawaii.

Nvidia’s stunning rise has made Huang—who co-founded the chip maker in 1993 and today owns approximately 3.51% of its shares—worth more than $69 billion as of Feb. 26, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That is $25.7 billion more than at the start of the year, but then Nvidia stock skyrocketed and the company’s market capitalization briefly topped $2 trillion.

Huang lives primarily on the West Coast near Nvidia’s Santa Clara headquarters. He and his wife, Lori Huang, own homes in Los Altos Hills and San Francisco, as well as Hawaii. He’s spent around $55 million on real estate since the late 1980s. Worth noting: Nvidia pays for Jensen’s personal security, including security personnel at his house. Residential security cost the company $565,305 in fiscal year 2023, according to Nvidia’s most recent proxy filing. Nvidia declined to comment.

The Journey to Nvidia

Jensen Huang was born in Taiwan and lived there and in Thailand until his parents sent him and his brother to live in the U.S. They enrolled him in Oneida Baptist Institute in Kentucky, thinking it was a private school, when it was in fact a religious reform school. “The kids were really tough,” Huang said in a 2012 episode of NPR’s “All Tech Considered.”

Because Oneida was only a high school at the time, Huang walked across a swinging bridge over a river every day to attend the local elementary school. At Oneida, his roommate got him into weight lifting. He cleaned bathrooms during the summer, and sometimes he ate apples from a tree outside his dorm room window, he recalled during a commencement speech for Oneida students in 2020. A few years ago, the Huangs donated $2 million to help build “Jen-Hsun Huang Hall,” a new dormitory with classrooms.

Huang’s parents ultimately moved to Oregon where he attended high school. At 16, he enrolled at Oregon State University where he studied electrical engineering, graduating in 1984. “I was a shy kid,” he said in the 2020 Oneida commencement speech. At Oregon State, Huang met his future wife, an Oregon native, who was his lab partner. After graduation, both worked as microchip designers. Lori actually earned more before leaving the workforce to raise their children, Jensen told the New Yorker in 2022.

In 2022, the Huangs donated $50 million to the school to help build a research and education center that will be named the Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex. “We discovered our love for computer science and engineering at OSU,” they said in a statement at the time.

Huang’s Homes

San Jose, Calif., Starter Homes
House 1: Paid unknown, sold $185,000 in 1988
House 2: Paid $338,000 in 1988, sold $500,000 in 2002

After graduating from Oregon State, Jensen and Lori moved to San Jose, where Jensen bought a starter house measuring about 1,500 square feet with three bedrooms. He sold it for $185,000 in 1988, upgrading to a larger home nearby the same year that cost $338,000, according to records. That house is 2,300 square feet with four bedrooms.

Jensen was living in San Jose while working early jobs at 

 and LSI Logic. He got his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University in 1992, and a year later, he co-founded Nvidia in a booth at a local Denny’s.

“Building Nvidia turned out to have been a million times harder than I expected,” he said recently. In 1999, Nvidia went public and the Huangs sold their house for $500,000 in 2002. (They have two children who both work for Nvidia, the company disclosed in its proxy statement.)

San Jose is still a hotbed for tech-industry housing. After a major slowdown during Covid, San Jose’s real-estate market has picked up and in January 2024, the median sale price was $1.3 million, up 12.1% compared with January 2023, according to real-estate brokerage Redfin. On average, homes in the area receive seven offers and sell in around 25 days, Redfin data show.

Los Altos Hills House
Paid: $6.9 million in 2003

After San Jose, the Huangs moved to Los Altos Hills, an affluent town in Santa Clara County. In 2003, they paid $6.9 million for a newly-built home spanning more than 7,000 square feet with six bedrooms, records show.

Located about 15 miles west of Nvidia’s headquarters, Los Altos Hills was once an agricultural community and the town takes pains to maintain a semirural atmosphere. Its zoning ordinance requires a minimum lot size of about an acre or more for new residential construction and two-story homes aren’t permitted on hilltops and ridges.

In recent years, Los Altos Hills has become home to large Silicon Valley estates. In 2011, investor Yuri Milner purchased a chateau-style mansion in Los Altos Hills for $100 million.

Local real-estate agent Ryan Gowdy of the Agency said that deal is something of an outlier and that, in general, luxury homes in Los Altos Hills are less expensive than in areas like Atherton. Buyers are attracted to large lot sizes and the area’s rural feeling, proximity to tech companies and excellent public schools. “It’s a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley,” he said.

In January, the median home sale price in Los Altos Hills was $6 million, up 8% from January 2023, according to Redfin. “Inventory is constrained by sellers not wanting to give up low interest rates,” Gowdy said.

Hawaii Home
Paid: $7.5 million in 2004

The Huangs bought a sprawling home on the south side of Maui in 2004. Located within the Wailea Resort, the property is one of about 14 homes in a gated community spanning 10.5 acres on the ocean, according to the developer’s website. Completed around 2008, the contemporary house is nearly 8,000 square feet with seven bedrooms, records show.

Local real-estate agent Josh Jerman of Hawai’i Life said the home is one of the biggest in Wailea, a master-planned community with several golf courses, hotels and shopping. Jerman said Wailea is one of two luxury resort areas in South Maui, along with Makena, where properties tend to have more acreage and a rural feel.

Overall, Hawaii’s luxury market experienced a surge during Covid that has since tapered. In August 2023, Maui experienced deadly wildfires, causing severe damage in Lahaina, on the western side of the island. The Huangs “donated significantly to local relief efforts” a Nvidia spokesperson said at the time.

Not surprisingly, the number of home sales on Maui in 2023 was down 28.8% from 2022, data from Hawai’i Life show. But the median single-family home price was $1.2 million in 2023, up 8.6% from 2022.

Gold Coast Mansion
Paid: $38 million in 2017

The Huangs are also tied to a mansion on San Francisco’s Gold Coast that sold for $38 million in 2017, public records show. The buyer was an entity, Riva LLC, managed by Michael A. Chojnacki, a tax lawyer who manages the finances for the Jen-Hsun & Lori Huang Foundation.

The modern house is in the Pacific Heights neighborhood and spans about 11,400 square feet with a curved roofline and views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Construction of the limestone house took almost four years, developer Bill Campbell of Marble Management previously told The Wall Street Journal. Completed in 2017, it was listed that year for $40 million. At the time, it was configured with seven bedrooms, two wine rooms, an outdoor kitchen, elevator, theater and gym.

Homes on San Francisco’s Gold Coast tend to command the highest prices in the city, said real-estate agent Max Armour of Compass, who is currently marketing a Gilded Age mansion for $32 million. “There’s nothing better, finer, more expensive than the Gold Coast,” he said. A house on the 2900 block of Broadway Street that sold for $43.5 million in 2021 currently holds the city’s sales record, he said. In general, the luxury market is picking up after a lull. “I do think there will be some pretty impressive sales this year,” he said.

Write to E.B. Solomont at [email protected]

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