Rumors of Obama home purchase in Rancho Mirage persist

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Buckle your real estate safety belts, because with President Barak Obama's eight-year residency in the White House about to come to an end, conjecture and rumor about where he and the First Lady will settle permanently have once again kicked in to high gear. Earlier this year it was widely reported the Obamas plan to set up temporary house in a rented a nine-bedroom mansion in the affluent, embassy-filled Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, D.C. while their youngest daughter finishes high school. But where will they go from there?

They continue to own a large house in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago and his presidential library will be built there but few seem to think they have any desire to return to on a full-time basis. Over the summer of 2015 there was a wee bit of wholly unsubstantiated chatter they might like to move to New York City and there were also scads of unconfirmed reports before that they might be the ultimate beneficiary of an ocean front home in Hawaii that was purchased for $8.7 million via a corporate concern controlled by financier Marty Nesbitt, a frequent golf buddy of the outgoing president. For the record, Mister Nesbitt confirmed his purchase but said that he "did not have any partners or co-investors" and the White House denied any connection between the president and the property, which was featured in the 1980s television series "Magnum P.I."

Over the summer of 2014, after they spent a long weekend there, rumors began to circulate and then went hog wild the First Couple was on the hunt for a getaway in the affluent and golf-centric California desert community of Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs. Unsubstantiated rumors have persisted since and today comes word courtesy of unidentified "sources" in the New York Post that their long speculated about potential desert home purchase is now "a done deal." It should be noted not a single detail of the home they allegedly bought was provided and Coachella Valley real estate agents and community leaders contacted by the local paper, The Desert Sun, expressed skepticism about the veracity of the latest post-presidential desert home purchase rumors.

PHOTOS: Obama at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, California

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FILE - In this June 8, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif. President Barack Obama will turn the posh 200-acre California desert estate into a center of international diplomacy Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, when he welcomes Southeast Asian leaders for a two-day summit. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
A golf cart awaits passengers at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, Calif., where President Barack Obama is playing golf according to White House officials, on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014.With two stays in less than a year at the sprawling Sunnylands estate in Southern California, President Barack Obama is helping to fulfill the dream of the late philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg, who hoped the property they used as a winter home would become the Camp David of the West. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Golf carts await passengers at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, Calif., where President Barack Obama is playing golf according to White House officials, on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. With two stays in less than a year at the sprawling Sunnylands estate in Southern California, President Barack Obama is helping to fulfill the dream of the late philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg, who hoped the property they used as a winter home would become the Camp David of the West.(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama leaves Palm Springs aboard Air Force One at Palm Springs International Airport, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. Obama traveled to Rancho Mirage, Calif., to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan at Sunnylands estate in South California. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Pena)
The view from inside the Sunnylands Center & Gardens at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, Calif., where President Barack Obama is playing golf according to White House officials, on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. With two stays in less than a year at the sprawling Sunnylands estate in Southern California, President Barack Obama is helping to fulfill the dream of the late philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg, who hoped the property they used as a winter home would become the Camp David of the West. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
President Barack Obama walks with leaders of ASEAN, the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, for a group photo, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif. . (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., site of ASEAN, the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. President Barack Obama is hosting the ASEAN leaders, it is the first meeting of its kind on U.S. soil, as he looks to deepen ties with the region's fast-growing economies. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
The U.S. flag flies at half-staff, in honor of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who died this weekend, outside one of the entrances to the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., site of today's meeting of ASEAN, the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. President Barack Obama is hosting the ASEAN leaders, it is the first meeting of its kind on U.S. soil, as he looks to deepen ties with the region's fast-growing economies. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
FILE - In this Saturday, June 8, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama, right, walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Weekend revelations that an American whistleblower holed up in Hong Kong has given an early test to the new working relationship the presidents of the U.S. and China tried to forge just a day earlier. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
President Barack Obama, right, walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands on Saturday, June 8, 2013, in Rancho Mirage, Calif. While saying it is critical that the U.S. and China reach a "firm understanding" on cyber issues, Obama told reporters his meetings with Xi have been "terrific." (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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The Post went on to report that the Obamas are "also said to have bought a holiday getaway" in his native state of Hawaii — again with no specifics about the home — and that "Folks in the know believe" the soon to be former first couple will engage the expensive decorating and design services of Michael S. Smith to overhaul both homes. There doesn't seem to be anything in the way of actual evidence of a property purchase yet but if the Obamas were to buy a house in Rancho Mirage and/or Hawaii and/or anywhere else it wouldn't be such a stretch they'd hire Mister Smith to do them up. Not only did the celebrated decorator, known for his approachably luxurious style, spruce up the Oval Office for the president, he and his longtime domestic partner, James Costos, the Obama-appointed ambassador to Spain and Andorra, are personal friends of the Obamas and own a huge home in the guard-gated Thunderbird Heights enclave in Rancho Mirage where both the President and the First Lady have visited on several occasions.

Rancho Mirage may or may not be the future permanent home or wintertime getaway of Barak and Michelle Obama but either way the hot as Hades desert community is certainly no stranger to presidential power or former White House residents. Sunnylands, a 200-acre estate custom-built by media tycoon and diplomat Walter Annenberg and often referred to as the Camp David of the West, has over the years hosted a veritable army world leaders — Obama has several times met with international power brokers there — and former president Gerald Ford retired to a 6,300-square-foot custom-built home inside the guarded gates of the Thunderbird Country Club.

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