Forbes recently released their annual list ranking the world’s billionaires for 2015. The universe’s wealthiest human is still Bill (Gates, that is), with a fortune worth $79.2 billion at last count. In the overall under-40 crowd, Marc Zuckerberg topped the list with $35.1 billion, his fortune far outstripping the rest of the youngsters on the list. A look at the world’s top real estate billionaires—the list can be sorted by industry among other factors—gives us a peek at some interesting facts and figures about the world’s top property tycoons.
Related Companies’ Stephen Ross (r) with former Bloomberg LLP chief exec and former deputy mayor for economic development Dan Doctoroff (l). Photo courtesy of World Resources Institute via flickr.
Related Companies’ 2.8 million-square-foot Time Warner Center, part the $1.7 billion Columbus Circle redevelopment project, the company’s most notable.
One Madison, a recent Related project. The company rescued the 60-story “sliver” residential tower project from bankruptcy in the wake of the global financial collapse.
Of the top 20 real estate billionaires, only four are U.S.-based. Two of those call New York home (Stephen Ross, chairman of Related Companies, worth $6.5 billion, and Richard LeFrak, worth $6.4 billion). The other two Americans are California-based Donald Bren ($15.2 billion)–it was recently revealed that Bren owns a majority stake in NYC’s MetLife Building–and fellow West-Coaster Stanley Kroenke ($6.3 billion), who happens to be married to also-billionaire Wal-Mart heiress Ann Walton.
LeFrak Chairman Richard LeFrak (far right) tours the newly-created Newport Green park and development in Jersey City, N.J. with Governor Chris Christie and LeFrak Vice Chairman Harrison LeFrak. Photo: State of New Jersey Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen.
Twelve of the top 20 hail from Asian-Pacific countries (Singapore (7), China (3), Hong Kong (1) Taiwan (1)). Three are from the UK. One is from the United Arab Emirates. The world’s top real estate tycoon is Hong Kong’s Lee Shau Kee, who’s number 27 overall on the Forbes 2015 list and is worth an estimated $26 billion.
Oosten, in Williamsburg. Designed by Dutch architect Piet Boon, the 216-unit luxury condo development was built by XIN Development Group, the U.S. branch of Chinese developer Xinyuan Real Estate Company.
But that’s only the top 20. Though the Asia-Pacific region claims an impressive 96 out of the total 157 real estate billionaires, according to Forbes, “Country-by-country, the U.S. boasts the greatest number of real estate billionaires, with 33. China has the second-highest number of the property-rich at 30, followed closely by Hong Kong, with 24 real estate billionaires.”
Also, there are more real estate billionaires this year than last year: Twenty-three more people joined the Forbes billionaires list in 2015 due to real estate holdings, bringing the total number of real estate billionaires to 157 (those with diversified holdings that also include real estate are not included in this count.).The Asia-Pacific region is tops again when it comes to those new additions. Of the 23 new property billionaires, 18 are from Asia: Seven are from China, five from Hong Kong, The rest are from India, Australia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Taiwan.
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