Industry News

Billionaires make real estate look easy

Part 3: The riches of the 10-year real estate run-up

Editor's note: The 10-year run up in real estate values has been one of the most remarkable wealth creators in history. Everyone seems in on the action: first-time home buyers, Realtors, mortgage brokers, office builders, small investors and large corporations. This three-part series focuses on who's taking a piece of the nation's real estate riches. (See Part 1: Agents, homeowners capitalize on home-price gains and Part 2: Builders, mortgage lenders at top of housing wealth chain.) As with the Gold Rush or the dot-com boom, there have always been those in real estate who got in early and built their fortunes with skilled planning or lucky guesses. Their stories are heard the most: rags to riches, newcomer to insider, entrepreneur to profiteer. Everyone who bought a home 25 years ago, a decade ago or even a few years ago in now-sizzling real estate markets may appear today to be financial geniuses. The nationwide median price of new single-family homes jumped from $24,700 in 1968...