Soaring property values create 15 new billionaires

There are 135 “property tycoons” on the latest Forbes “Billionaires List” — 15 more than last year, thanks to rising residential and commercial real estate values.

The Knight Frank Global House Price Index shows residential property values in 53 countries tracked are now up 4 percent from their previous 2008 peak, Forbes reports. Many markets have seen double-digit price growth in the last year alone, including Dubai (28.5 percenet), China (21.6 percent) and Hong Kong (16.1 percent).

While the U.S. still has more real estate billionaires than any other nation (29), the Asian-Pacific region now has 72 billionaire property moguls, including 21 in China and 18 in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Lee Shau Kee is one of the wealthiest real estate investors on the Forbes Billionaires List — his estimated net worth of $19.6 billion ranks him 35th.

The U.S. has two newly minted real estate billionaires — David Walentas ($1.7 billion), a developer of Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, and Manhattan retail landlord Jeff Sutton ($2.7 billion). Source: