January 11, 2023
 min read

My Mom's 100x Return on Real Estate

100x. One hundred times more is what my mom’s house just sold for in comparison to what she paid for it 50 years ago.


One hundred times more is what my mom’s house just sold for in comparison to what she paid for it 50 years ago. The house didn’t double or triple in value… it went up 100x from its original value.

To be clear, our home was bought for $32,500 in the late 1960’s and we sold it for $3,250,000 just a couple of years ago. Two more zeroes


My family immigrated to the States when I was four years old and we began our life here living in apartments.  After seven years living frugally, our dream of homeownership was finally realized in the form of a 1,500 square foot, 2-bed, 1-bath home built way back in the 1920’s. But it wasn’t the age of the house, dated appliances, or curling wallpaper I remember most - it was the backyard. A patch of green that was our very own! No more playing in an alley or on a busy street where the only green you saw was in the cracks on the sidewalk. This space was ours.

As luck would have it, the house was located in Santa Monica on the western edge of Los Angeles. Now no one at the time could have anticipated this, but within a few years the home prices in our beach town skyrocketed and continued to do so in the decades that followed.

Buying a house provided our family with physical security, and in the end also gave my mom financial security.

Needless to say, 100x is an incredible investment return! And though not all places will become the next hip place to live, it does showcase how real estate can potentially appreciate consistently and considerably over time.

Now you may think how lucky we got, or that this could never happen again in today’s economy; that there is no way a house or any other piece of real estate could go up in value that much again. But I’m here to show you that this big win isn’t as out of reach as it may seem.

Two more zeros, hmmm.  I wondered to myself, what annual rate of return would it take to grow anything 100x in 50 years? I went ahead and did the math, and the answer is a 9.25% (with monthly compounding) or 9.65% (annual compounding).

You can try the Elevate Money dividend calculator and see this for yourself (set initial investment to $32,500, the dividend yield to 9.25%, and turn on Dividend Reinvestment). Then view the return over 50 years.


Honestly, given that the appreciation on my parents' house was so huge, I would have thought the annualized returns would need to be much higher to capture 100x in 50 years.  What’s even more interesting is that this annual return was realized solely from capital appreciation.

Real estate ownership typically has two components of investment return: income (rental profits) plus capital appreciation (increase in value).  My mom’s house was only the latter, meaning the 100x return was not supplemented by someone renting the house from her. She lived in that house for all 50 years.

When you factor in both income and capital appreciation, and when you consider the magnifying effect of mortgage financing, achieving a 9.25% - 9.65% annual return on a real estate investment is really not that crazy.

With some research you can find that the annual inflation rate is around 3.5%¹ and dividends for real estate investments historically have been around 6.5%² within a diversified portfolio. This 10% total annual return makes the 100x return more believable, even with today’s real estate prices being much higher than they were 50 years ago!

And while not everyone can afford an entire property at this moment, through crowdfunding you can let your money potentially work for you in this same way.

At Elevate Money, our mission is to provide all investors access to real estate investing by breaking the barriers to entry and giving you your power back, one investment at a time, starting with as little as $100. Sign-up here.

Important: The projections or other information discussed in this article and generated by the calculator regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are for educational purposes only, are hypothetical in nature, and are not guarantees of future results. (WorldData.info  From 1979 to 2020 the average inflation rate was 3.5% per year. Millionacres.com Diversified REIT Annualized Total Return from 1994-2020 is 6.8%)

Harold Hofer is a Co-Founder and CEO of Elevate Money.

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