Edited by Jodi Summersreal-estate-billionaire

Meet the world’s real estate billionaires. As this writing, there were 135 real estate billionaires on the planet – 15 more than last year – according to the 2014 Forbes Billionaires List.

The top 20 real estate moguls are predominantly men settled Asian-Pacific nations – 12 men and 2 women. Seven are from Hong Kong, four from China, two from Singapore, and one from Australia. Three men each from the U.S. and the U.K. round out the covey. The highest ranking Global-Performance-Aggregate-change-in-global-house-prices-Q1 2014woman is Beijing’ Chan Laiwa & family who comes in at 12, followed by countrywoman Yang Huiyan. Remarkably, three of the 20 richest people in real estate are brothers.

A look at the numbers helps explain where all this wealth is coming from. According to Knight Frank’s Global House Price Index, which tracks prices in 53 countries, more than 30 countries saw positive growth. Dubai, China, and Hong Kong had greatest annual rise in home prices, up 28.5%, 21.6% and 16.1% respectively. Given the numbers, it’s not surprising that Asian-Pacific countries are leading the world in terms of property fortunes, with 72 billionaires counting real estate as a major part of their fortunes.

Worldwide, as of Q3 2013, residential property was up 4% from its 2008 peak – and 12.7% higher from the abyss of the global financial crisis. Commercial properties are also faring better. Global office rents up by 3% overall in 2013 according to Cushman & Wakefield research, though the figures vary widely by country.

Country-by-country, the U.S. boasts 29 real estate billionaires, the greatest number of any individual nation. China has the second highest number of the property-rich at 21, followed closely by Hong Kong, with 18 real estate billionaires. As of this writing, the richest real estate tycoon on the Forbes Billionaires list is Lee Shau KeeHong Kong’s Lee Shau Kee, ranking No. 29 on the master list, with an estimated fortune of $22.4 billion. His Henderson Land Development has a stake in Hong Kong’s International Financial Center, and numerous projects on the mainland, including a waterfront area in Shanghai. Although still the wealthiest real estate billionaire, the Henderson head saw his fortune drop by $132.8 M | -0.6% in past year as the city’s real estate sector softened after a hike in property taxes.

The second-richest real estate billionaire is Donald Bren, an American from California. With a net worth of $15.8 billion, Bren’s fortune continues to grow thanks to rising estate prices in California, where he holds the majority of his vast portfolio. Bren’s Irvine Co. owns about Donald Bren50,000 apartments, 40 million square feet of office space, and 8 million square feet of retail in Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley, not to mention three golf clubs and five marinas. A noted philanthropist, Bren preserved half of the original 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch as permanent open space.

We’ll get into the California real estate billionaires in our next segment.

China’s wealthiest person, Wang Jianlin, is the third-richest person in real estate (No. 61 with a net worth of $15.8 billion). He owns 75 department stores, 85 shopping plazas, 51 five star hotels, and the United States’ AMC theater chain, which he purchased in 2012 and listed on the New York Wang JianlinStock Exchange in December. Wang is a man from humble beginnings. He entered the military and parlayed the government game to become chairman of China’s largest commercial real estate developer, Dalian Wanda Group.

Remarkably, three of the 20 richest people in real estate are brothers: Hongkongers Thomas, Raymond, and Walter Kwok. Their father, Sun Hung Kai Properties founded Kwok Tak-seng, was an early business partner of Lee Shau Kee, real estate’s richest person.

Here’s the list of real estate billionaires culled from Forbes 1,000 richest people.


Rank Name Net Worth Age Source Country of Citizenship
#29 Lee Shau Kee $22.4 B 86 diversified Hong Kong
#60 Donald Bren $15.8 B 82 real estate U.S.A.
#61 Wang Jianlin $15.8 B 59 real estate China
#73 Thomas & Raymond Kwok & family $14.9 B real estate Hong Kong
#75 Cheng Yu-tung $14.5 B 89 diversified Hong Kong
#90 Robert & Philip Ng $12.8 B real estate Singapore
#91 Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor & family $12.8 B 62 real estate United Kingdom
#108 David & Simon Reuben $11.3 B 71 investments, real estate United Kingdom
#145 Joseph Lau $9 B 63 real estate Hong Kong
#159 Peter Woo & family $8.4 B 68 real estate Hong Kong
#210 Charles Cadogan & family $6.9 B 77 real estate United Kingdom
#213 Chan Laiwa & family $6.7 B 73 real estate China
#217 Richard LeFrak & family $6.6 B 69 real estate U.S.A.
#229 Harry Triguboff $6.3 B 81 property Australia
#237 Hui Ka Yan $6.2 B 55 real estate China
#242 Walter Kwok $6.1 B 63 real estate Hong Kong
#254 Lin Yu-lin $6 B 78 real estate Taiwan
#256 Kwee brothers $5.9 B 69 real estate Singapore
#267 Stephen Ross $5.6 B 74 real estate U.S.A.
#271 Hui Wing Mau $5.6 B 64 real estate Hong Kong
#276 Yang Huiyan $5.5 B 32 real estate China
#306 Sam Zell $5.1 B 72 real estate, private equity U.S.A.
#328 John A. Sobrato & family $4.8 B 75 real estate U.S.A.
#346 Majid Al Futtaim $4.6 B real estate, retail United Arab Emirates
#356 Leonard Stern $4.5 B 76 real estate U.S.A.
#359 Lin Rong San $4.4 B 75 real estate Taiwan
#360 Frank Lowy $4.4 B 83 shopping malls Australia
#361 Ted Lerner $4.4 B 88 real estate U.S.A.
#383 Donald Trump $4.1 B 68 Television, Real Estate U.S.A.
#390 Akira Mori & family $4 B 78 real estate Japan
#403 Kushal Pal Singh $4 B 83 real estate India
#443 Edward Roski Jr $3.8 B 75 real estate U.S.A.
#463 Sheldon Solow $3.6 B 86 real estate U.S.A.
#465 Ian & Richard Livingstone $3.6 B real estate United Kingdom
#468 John Gandel $3.6 B 80 shopping malls Australia
#473 Jerry Speyer $3.6 B 74 real estate U.S.A.
#492 Fredrik Lundberg $3.4 B 63 real estate, investments Sweden
#502 Wu Yajun & family $3.4 B 50 real estate China
#517 Francis Choi $3.3 B 66 real estate Hong Kong
#534 Igor Olenicoff $3.2 B 71 real estate U.S.A.
#542 God Nisanov $3.2 B 42 real estate Russia
#542 Zarakh Iliev $3.2 B 47 real estate Russia
#562 Huang Rulun $3.1 B 62 real estate China
#578 Yitzhak Tshuva $3.1 B 66 real estate Israel
#591 Edward DeBartolo Jr $3 B 67 shopping centers U.S.A.
#595 Alfred Taubman $3 B 90 real estate U.S.A.
#602 Samuel Tak Lee $3 B 75 real estate Hong Kong
#621 Eddie & Sol Zakay $2.9 B 63 real estate United Kingdom
#626 Alexandra Schorghuber $2.9 B 56 real estate Germany
#661 Ty Warner $2.7 B 69 real estate, plush toys U.S.A.
#669 Tong Jinquan $2.7 B 59 real estate China
#670 Jeff Sutton $2.7 B 54 real estate U.S.A.
#692 Jeff Greene $2.6 B 59 real estate, investments U.S.A.
#713 Neil Bluhm $2.6 B 76 real estate U.S.A.
#722 John Whittaker $2.5 B 72 real estate United Kingdom
#737 Mortimer Zuckerman $2.5 B 77 real estate, media U.S.A.
#755 George Argyros $2.4 B 77 real estate, investments U.S.A.
#760 Raj Kumar & Kishin RK $2.4 B 60 real estate Singapore
#764 Edwin Leong $2.4 B 62 real estate Hong Kong
#774 Henry Fong Yun Wah $2.4 B 89 real estate Hong Kong
#775 Manuel Jove $2.4 B 73 real estate Spain
#785 Herbert Simon $2.3 B 79 real estate U.S.A.
#794 Wang Wenxue $2.3 B 47 real estate China
#812 Bahaa Hariri $2.3 B 48 real estate, investments, logistics Lebanon
#820 Richard Peery $2.2 B 75 real estate U.S.A.
#827 Jorge Perez $2.2 B 64 condos U.S.A.
#865 Mangal Prabhat Lodha $2.2 B 58 real estate India
#874 Brad Kelley $2.1 B 57 tobacco U.S.A.
#884 Cai Kui $2.1 B 51 real estate China
#897 Nadhmi Auchi $2.1 B 77 real estate United Kingdom
#898 Carlo Fidani $2.1 B 59 real estate Canada
#919 Chandru Raheja $2 B 73 real estate India
#927 Or Wai Sheun $2 B 63 real estate Hong Kong
#932 Huang Wei $2 B 54 real estate China
#938 Thongma Vijitpongpun $2 B 56 real estate Thailand
#960 John Arrillaga $1.9 B 76 real estate U.S.A.
#966 Zhang Li $1.9 B 61 real estate China
#980 Mitchell Goldhar $1.9 B 53 real estate Canada
#987 Li Sze Lim $1.9 B 57 real estate Hong Kong
#988 Miloud Chaabi $1.9 B 85 diversified Morocco
#993 Stanley Perron $1.9 B 91 property, retail Australia
#996 Donald Sterling $1.9 B 78 real estate U.S.A.

Billion Dr. Evil














Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Silicon Beach is one of the hottest markets in the country, in part because landlords are paying attention to what tech tenants want. CBRE managing director Pat McRoskey, who’s in charge of leasing at the Water Garden in Santa Monica, says transformative changes are underway at the venue. An interior modernization was recently launched, and a second phase focused on the exterior, including a reimagining of the lake, an expansive sustainable landscape and enhanced water conservation, begins this April. The Water Garden is proactively responding to what tenants in the tech/media market need regarding the environment in which they want to work.

    For example, they’re changing the property’s institutional feel by removing some of the stone and marble as well as the outdated brass, to create a more inspiring and engaging experience—think comfy furniture, area rugs, and art plus wireless Internet throughout the site. There’ll be amazing indoor and outdoor spaces where tenants’ employees will feel comfortable taking their laptops or holding meetings, and still be in the project. Both phases will be completed by spring 2016.

  2. The “secret” owner of Manhattan’s famed MetLife Building turns out to be a real estate titan from California. Billionaire Donald Bren’s Irvine Co. over the years has quietly bought its way to a 97.3% stake in the 58-story tower prominently straddling Grand Central Terminal in the heart of Midtown. Ongoing attempts to refinance the property’s debt place its value at about $3B. The refi led to the revelation that Irvine owns the lion’s share of the building. The remaining share is controlled by Tishman Speyer, which still manages the property it acquired in 2005 for $1.79B.


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About Jodi Summers

Jodi Summers
SoCal Investment Real Estate Group
Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty’s legacy dates back to 1744. Respected as one of the world’s oldest and largest fine art auctioneers, Sotheby’s has a longstanding tradition of bringing together buyers and sellers of fine property. Today, Sotheby’s International Realty boasts nearly 13,000 sales associates, located in more than 660 offices in 49 countries and territories. Broker Jodi Summers is the founder of the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group, a top producing team with Sotheby’s International Realty in the Los Angeles area.

With more than $140,000,000 in listed inventory, Jodi and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group know finance, rules, regulations, procedures and methods. We are accurate, knowledgeable, timely and aware of how government shapes the cities of Southern California, including Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.

A New York native, Jodi grew up working in the family business – marketing, Madison Avenue style. Childhood math quiz questions calculated demographic and psychographic percentages or analyzed the allocation of adverting dollars. Word games were for devising slogans.

“My marketing and communication skills have proven to be a true gift when it comes to promoting real estate,” observes Jodi. “And I am consistently able to get an exceptionally high price per square foot for my sellers.”

Discipline (Jodi holds a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do), organization, motivation, excellent communication skills and knowing & satisfying the needs of her clients have been her essentials for running a successful business. A passion for investment real estate explains her emphasis in asset-yielding properties.

The City of Santa Monica chose Jodi to be part of the prestigious 9-member Civic Working Group to analyze and offer feedback on the future of the 10.5-acre Santa Monica Civic Auditorium site. Additionally, Jodi is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Beverly Hills + Greater West Side Association of Realtors, Action Apartment Association of Westside income property owners, the Santa Monica Conservancy historic preservation society, the Friends of Sunset Park community group, the Real Estate Investors Club L.A., the American Solar Energy Society, Sierra Club, California Parks Association and the Culver City Rock & Mineral Club. She is currently the Communications Chair for the Ocean Park Association in Santa Monica, and a partner in Save the Civic – a community group involved with the City in the adaptive reuse of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and adjacent area.

An honors graduate from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jodi moved to California in the mid-’90s to achieve her goal of living by the beach with a hibiscus bush in her yard.

She has thrived as an entrepreneur in the entertainment, media and marketing industries. She has three books in publication with Allworth Press – The Interactive Music Handbook, Making and Marketing Music and Moving Up In the Music Business. Making and Marketing Music is in second edition. Check out her work on Amazon.com.

Find out more about Jodi Summers through her social networks –
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