They tend to be male, older than 65 and make their home in the United States. But there is one thing all the real estate tycoons on this year’s 500-plus-long Forbes list have in common: a billion dollars behind their name.
Each year, Forbes.com compiles a list of the richest individual businessmen and women in the world. This year, 37 of 587 billionaires came from the real estate industry. Almost all those individuals are involved with commercial real estate holdings; a few are residential.
Topping the real estate list are three brothers, Walter, Thomas and Raymond Kwok, who inherited $11.4 billion in real estate holdings in Hong Kong from their father. Ranking 22 overall on the billionaire’s list, they’ve also invested beyond real estate into cellular phone service and bus operations.
One of only two UK-based real estate individuals on the billionaire’s list is Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the sixth Duke of Westminster and the richest man in that country. Grosvenor saw his high-end property prices soften in London after several years of steady growth, but his net worth has remained strong, at $8.7 billion, due to the scale of his real estate empire, which reaches from Hong Kong to Washington, D.C.
The other UK real estate owner on the list is Charles Gerald John Cadogan, who is worth $2.4 billion. The country’s second-richest landowner is converting an old English church into a 900-seat concert hall.
The top American real estate magnate on the list is Donald Bren, a self-made billionaire with a net worth of $4 billion. Bren is America’s “richest landlord,” according to Forbes, who owns the profitable Irvine Apartment Communities.
The youngest real estate professional on the list is Stefan Schörghuber. At 42, he inherited much of his $2.9 billion net worth and now owns the Schörghuber Unternehmensgruppe conglomerate, which includes Bayerische Immobilien, a real estate corporation in Germany, the Arabella-Sheraton hotel chain, breweries, a regional airline, golf resorts and parking garages.
Perhaps the most well-known person on the list is Donald Trump. At 58, with a net worth of $2.5 billion, he has more than 18 million square feet of office and residential space in downtown Manhattan. His biggest new development now under construction: the 80-acre West Side rail yard development.
One of only two women on the list, 84-year-old Leona Helmsley married into much of her $2.2 billion with true grit and only a high school diploma at her side.
Real estate success for Ng Teng Fong came from prime real estate holdings in expensive Hong Kong. Today the Sino Group is one of the five largest real estate developers in Hong Kong. His Far East Organization has one of the largest landholdings in Singapore.
One of the few developers in residential real estate holdings, Harry Triguboff found success in Australia by investing in low-cost, class B neighborhoods by building low-cost, class B housing.
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