It might surprise you that the richest people in real estate aren’t New Yorkers. But, if upon reading the first sentence of this blog you immediately thought of Asia, you would be correct.
Speyers, Trumps, Goldmans—they’re billionaires alright, but in the world of real estate’s richest they’re not even close to the top of the heap. In fact, the wealthiest American developer known for New York holdings is Related Companies’ Stephen Ross, whose $7.6 billion places him as the 191st richest man in the world, according to Forbes’ 2019 ranking of billionaires.
The five highest ranking real estate moguls have at least one thing in common: they all hail from either China or Hong Kong. At number 22 and with a net worth of more than $36 billion, Evergrande Group’s Hui Ka Yan looms largest. And developer Dalian Wanda’s chairman, Wang Jianlin, ranks 36th, with a net worth pegged at $22.6 billion.
The richest American property mogul is Donald Bren, the Southern California investor behind Irvine Company, which owns hundreds of commercial properties and more than 60,000 apartments. He’s worth some $16.4 billion and ranks 68th richest in the world, per Forbes.
Apart from Ross, all the major New York real estate billionaires fall outside of the top 200. They include Richard Lefrak (272), Sheldon Solow (337), Leonard Stern (339), Jeff Sutton (452), The We Company’s Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey (478 and 775), Ben Ashkenazy (504-tied), Jerry Speyer (504-tied), Charles Cohen (645) Allan, Amy and Jane Goldman (667), David Walentas (962), David Lichtenstein (1,281), and Steven Roth (1,941).
President Trump also made the list, ranking 715th with a net worth pegged at $3.1 billion.