At Lakewood Church, Joel Osteen proclaims,"It's God's will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty." The pastor of the Houston megachurch and wife Victoria certainly practice what they preach.
The couple has moved to a $10.5 million mansion in River Oaks, while keeping their former Tanglewood residence, valued at $2.9 million.
They are, however, selling a vacant lot next to their former home. Asking price for the half-acre property at the corner of Doliver and Sherbrooke: $1.1 million. Martha Turner Properties has the listing.
The lot is marked by an ivy-covered wall that adjoins the 5,600-square-foot, four bedroom home. When the land is sold, the property will be divided.
In a sign that the Houston real estate market remains soft at the high end, the Tanglewood lot was first offered for sale at an asking price of $1.4 million last August. The price was dropped to $1.299 million in December and to $1.1 million last month.
Several months ago, the couple and their children moved to a 17,000-square-foot stone mansion in the Tall Timbers subdivision in River Oaks. The Osteens' new home is situated on 1.86 acres and surrounded by an ornamental fence. The 411: It has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, three elevators and five wood-burning fireplaces, with a one-bedroom guest house and pool house. The Harris County Appraisal District valued it at $10.5 million.
The Tanglewood house is owned by Joel and Victoria Osteen according to Harris County Appraisal District records. The River Oaks home is technically owned by the Covenant Trust, which means the Osteens do not qualify for a homestead exemption on it. They will pay around $260,000 in property taxes on the new home this year.
"The homestead exemption would reduce that amount, but they probably put the ownership in a trust for federal tax purposes that outweighs the benefits of the property tax exemption," surmised a home appraisal specialist who asked not to be identified.
According to reports, Osteen hasn't drawn a salary from the church since 2005. His income comes from best-selling books and related products, such as calendars, daybooks and inspirational pamphlets.