Many of the world’s wealthiest individuals are heavily involved in real estate and real estate development. As populations start to increase significantly, the demand for land has created a market that is booming and will continue to boom as long as the demand is there. For hundreds of years, real estate ownership has always been noted as a strong driver of wealth and that isn’t changing anytime soon.
Many of the world’s wealthiest have earned their money in other industries but one common thread you’ll see among them is that they usually have substantial interests in real estate. Some choose to start off in the residential housing development sector and will build suburban homes and apartment buildings for families in major cities. Others have chosen to build in and develop in the industrial or commercial sectors.
Either way, we decided to look at 20 of the world’s wealthiest real estate tycoons (with a particular emphasis on real estate being a large part of their wealth).
20. Pan Sutong
Pan Sutong is a Chinese real estate tycoon and is worth a reported $5.2 billion. He is a real estate investor and is also involved in a variety of other ventures. He currently serves as Chairman of Goldin Real Estate Financial Holdings Limited or Goldin Group. He relocated to the United States in the 1970s but later moved back to China. His first large business was Matsunichi Color Display Monitor Company. In addition to acquiring technology companies, he also has a vast interest in real estate and real estate development.
19. Richard LeFrak
Richard LeFrak is an American real estate tycoon who is worth a reported $5.2 billion. He has a New York-based real estate investment and development company called LeFrak and is famous for owning New York based “Lefrak City” which is a large residential development. He has built many office buildings and resorts in Beverly Hills, California as well, has luxury hotels in Miami, Florida, and real estate ventures in New York including owing the hotel formerly know as the Gansevoort. He is also in the process of building 1 Hotel Hommes which is an eco-friendly based luxury hotel in Miami.
18. Mikhail Gutsuriev
Mikhail Gutsuriev is a Russian real estate tycoon worth a reported $5.2 billion. He is best known for his British company GCM Global Energy. He is also extensively involved in the mining of Russian coal. He currently owns seven different radio stations and has real estate investments all over the United Kingdom, Russia, and Europe. He is also the owner of the National Hotel chain. He has also developed a number of shopping centers and retail outlets.
17. Walter Kwok
Walter Kwok is a Chinese real estate tycoon worth a reported $6.2 billion. He is currently China’s biggest real estate developer and chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties which is based in Hong Kong. He is known for being kidnapped and was held prisoner for a huge ransom in the early 1990s. His freedom was successfully negotiated by his wife Wendy. After his return, he temporarily turned over control of his businesses to his brother before getting back into it for himself.
16. Peter Woo
Peter Woo is a Chinese real estate tycoon that is based out of Hong Kong and is worth a reported $6.6 billion. He is the chairman of the Wheelock Company and also the chairman of Wharf Companies Holding. He became involved in his father in law’s shipping company, Worldwide Shipping Group, in 1973. He served as chairman of the board and later became interested in real estate and development. He now owns several prominent hotels and investment properties in Hong Kong and Malaysia.
15. Robert and Philip Ng
Robert and Philip Ng are real estate tycoons from China who are are worth a reported $7.6 billion dollars. Robert is chairman for Sino Group, an international investment and property development group. He and his brother are known as the “property siblings.” Robert also serves as a board member of seven different investment and real estate companies.
14. Stan Kroenke
Stan Kroenke is an American real estate tycoon worth a reported $7.7 billion. He is best known for his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises which owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. The Kroenke Group is a real estate investment company that was founded in 1983. The company builds shopping centers and apartment buildings all over the United States. He also married a member of the Walmart Walton family which enabled him to be a part of the development of the plazas surrounding Walmart locations around the country. He is also the chairman of another real estate development company call THF. THF specializes in suburban real estate development.
13. Ofer Eyal
Ofer Eyal is an Israeli real estate tycoon worth a reported $8.4 billion. He is mostly know for his shipping industry enterprises but his companies Ofer Global and Global Holdings also invest heavily in real estate and real estate development. Zodiac Maritime Ldt. is one of the biggest shipping companies in the world. Ofer Eyal is also widely known for his philanthropy and charitable donations.
12. Hui Ka Yan
Hui Ka Yan is a Chinese real estate tycoon is worth an estimated $8.6 billion. He made the majority of his money with The Evergrande Group. Yan is the owner of a large amount of property in Hong Kong and is well know for have one of the best debt ratios in China. He has recently acquired a large amount of property from New World Development in Hong Kong.
11. Andrew Beal
Andrew Beal is an American real estate tycoon worth a reported $9.4 billion. He is best known for founding Beal Banking. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, he is now a prominent Dallas, Texas real estate developer and investor. He also is an amateur mathematician and a prolific poker player. He is also associated with the Science and Engineering Fair and has offered substantial prize money for proving or disproving Fermat’s Last Theorem.
10. Robert Kuok
Robert Kuok is a Malaysian Chinese investor worth a reported $10 billion. He is currently Malaysia’s richest person and is largely known for his real estate development and investments. His wealth mostly comes from his company Wilmar International which sells palm oil. In addition to Wilmar International he owns sugar refineries, real estate and real estate development, trade, and publishing interests.
9. Stephen Ross
Stephen Ross is an American real estate tycoon that is worth a reported $12 billion. He is a well known philanthropist and is most notable for his business The Related Companies. He has owned The Related Companies since 1972 and the company is best known for developing the Time Warner Center. Another famous project that Related Companies is also known for is the Hudon Yards Redevelopment Project.
8. Thomas and Raymond Kwok
Thomas and Raymond Kwok are real estate tycoons from China who are worth a reported $13 billion. The two inherited Sun Hung Kai Properties when their father died. Thomas was sentenced to five years in prison for illegal activities leaving his brother Raymond as the sole chairman of Sun Hun Kai Properties. He currently owns the International Commerce Center, and the International Finance Center located in Hong Kong, China. The International Commerce Center is Hong Kong’s tallest skyscraper.
7. Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor
Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor is a British real estate tycoon that is also the 6th Duke of Westminster. He is worth a reported $13 billion. He owns Grosvenor Holdings and he is the largest land owner in the United Kingdom with property in Central London stretching all the way across the countryside. He also owns property in Scotland. He is the second-richest man in the United Kingdom. He recently lost a billion dollars due to Brexit.
6. Joseph Lau
Joseph Lau is a Chinese real estate tycoon and is worth a reported $13.1 billion. He owns a controlling interest in the company Chinese Estate Holdings. He is involved in numerous real estate ventures in China and abroad. He recently set two records for the highest dollar real estate investment deals in a twenty-four hour period of time. He is also the owner of the Mass Mutual building in Hong Kong. He got started in real estate early in his life and has been prospering ever since. He is also an avid collector of precious gems and famous artwork.
5. Simon and David Reuben
Simon and David Reuben are British businessmen and philanthropists that are worth a reported $14.4 billion. Simon got his start in the scrap metal business and David in carpeting. They acquired the UK’s oldest carpet business and amassed enough money to start investing in real estate. They began building in several prominent locations in the UK and were also heavily involved in the metal industry.
4. Donald Bren
Donald Bren is an American real estate tycoon and is worth a reported $15.1 billion. He is the sole owner of the American Irvine Company. Bren began building houses in California in 1958. After several business acquisitions like International Paper, he bought the Irvine Company which had been in business for one hundred and forty-six years. Bren is known for both his commercial and residential endeavors. He is one of the world’s richest and most prolific investors. His insight into the real estate market allows him to make wise choices that have netted him billions of dollars in profit.
3. Michael Otto
Michael Otto is from Germany and is the third richest real estate tycoon in the world. He has several commercial real estate investments along with his family throughout Canada and The United States. He is worth a reported $15.4 billion. He is best known for his company ECE Group, He also owns Shopping centers and department stores. He owns the parent company of Eddie Bauer, Spiegle. He also owns the parent company of the retail home goods store Crate and Barrel. He has investment properties located throughout Germany and Europe, as well as in the United Kingdom.
2. Lee Shau Kee
Hong Kong’s Lee Shau Kee is a Chinese real estate tycoon worth a reported $21.5 billion. He is best known for his company Henderson Land Development. He is known for his interest in properties, restaurants, shopping plazas, and internet services. At one point he was considered the fourth richest man in the world. He is currently China’s second wealthiest man and is considered a man of many trades in addition to his real estate success.
Wang Jianlin is on the top of our list. He is a Chinese real estate tycoon that is worth approximately $28.7 billion. He is most prominently known for his Dalian Wanda Group, This company is the parent company of Wanda Commercial Properties. He is also the owner of Wanda Cinemas located throughout China. He recently acquired AMC Entertainment Holdings. AMC is a huge name in The United States with ventures in movies and cinemas. He also paid over $3 billion to acquire Legendary Entertainment.