Investing in real estate is one of the best ways to build wealth in the long term. With it, you can generate passive income for years. However, it takes a lot of hard work and knowledge to succeed in a competitive industry. The following investors below have exhibited that, and became billionaires!
Top 10 Wealthiest Real Estate Investors:
1. Donald Bren – $17.4 Billion
Donald Bren is currently the richest real investor in the world but he didn’t build his empire overnight! He earned the majority of his wealth from The Irvine Company, a property giant he oversees.
He started his career building houses with the Bren Company. Donald also helped develop Mission Viejo, a city in California. He saved up enough money to acquire The Irvine Company.
Bren is in charge of a real estate empire that covers southern California, with the most of it in Orange County. With this, Donald has accumulated an estimated net worth of $17.4 billion.
2. Stephen Ross – $11.6 Billion
Popularly known for developing the Time Warner Center, Stephen Ross is the renowned majority owner of the real estate firm, The Related Companies. Stephen first worked as a tax attorney.
He was fired from the job, and started The Related Companies to build affordable housing. It evolved into a behemoth that now owns over $60 billion in real estate. Apart from the property business, Ross is the owner of the Miami Dolphins in the NFL and holds a net worth of $11.6 billion.
3. Leonard Stern – $7.6 Billion
Leonard Stern is the CEO and chairman of Hartz Mountain Industries. Under it is another company he heads, Hartz Group, and it focuses on the property industry. His father was an influential figure on Yeshiva University’s board of trustees. After he died, Leonard inherited his wealth, which he used to finance Hartz Mountain Industries.
The company’s warehouse portfolio, which is mostly industrial and focuses on suburban regions, has done well over the years. Their other commercial buildings have also helped Stern reach a $7.6 billion fortune.
4. Jeff Greene – $7.2 Billion
Democrat Jeff Greene is a property magnate who made his fortune buying condos and apartments. He also has an extensive number of offices, land, and retail buildings.
Jeff started his career as a busboy at the Breakers Hotel. During the housing collapse of 2007 and 2008, he made a fortune by purchasing credit default swaps on substandard mortgage-backed bonds. Greene hasn’t yet found success in politics, but continues to flourish in his business pursuits. Greene’s net worth is reported to be around $7.2 billion.
5. Igor Olenicoff – $6.9 Billion
Next on the list is Igor Olenicoff. He is the head of Olen Properties, which has a whopping 6.4 million square feet of office space. Olen Properties also owns about 12,000 residential properties in various states.
Prior to being an affluent figure, Olenicoff was a consultant and later became a business executive. With the funds he raised, Igor established Olen Properties. However, has been involved in shady deals. He pleaded guilty to a federal tax felony in 2007 and paid a $52 million fine, but he’s still left with $6.9 billion.
6. John A. Sobrato – $6.4 Billion
Many of Silicon Valley’s residential and commercial properties were built by John A. Sobrato through his company, the Sobrato Organization. He has worked with companies including Netflix and Google.
Sobrato began selling homes in Palo Alto as a youngster while attending university. When he launched the Sobrato Organization, he worked closely with his family to grow the business. His son, John Michael Sobrato took over the family business and he left to pursue philanthropy. Even so, Sobrato’s wealth is still an impressive $6.4 billion.
7. Edward Roski, Jr. – $6.3 Billion
Edward Roski, Jr. is a business park developer, and serves as the President of the real estate company Majestic Realty. He also handles retail, industrial, and residential properties.
Before becoming a businessman, Edward spent time in the US Marine Corps. After his service, he joined Majestic Realty. He continued to grow his wealth by buying shares in professional sports teams.
Roski became a minority owner of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers. This, and his thriving company, has helped Roski accumulate a fortune worth $6.3 billion.
8. Ted Lerner – $6 Billion
Ted Lerner was one of the oldest real estate tycoons until his death in February 2023. He is the founder of Lerner Enterprises, the largest private landowner in the National Capital Region.
Lerner sold houses on weekends while studying in law school. This pushed Ted to start a company of his own by borrowing money from his wife. He started off by selling houses to developers.
Although Lerner Enterprises is a huge success, it suffered big losses during the pandemic as they own a lot of commercial real estate. Fortunately, Ted’s fortune persevered at $6 billion.
9. Neil Bluhm – $5.9 Billion
Neil Bluhm made most of his money from casino properties. He is a big-time shareholder in Midwest Gaming & Entertainment, a company that runs a number of casino sites. Bluhm started out as a lawyer and later co-founded a private equity firm, Walton Street Capital before transitioning to gaming.
Bluhm currently owns a sports betting company and online casino called Rush Street Interactive. He also has stakes in the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and the MLB’s Chicago White Sox. Neil’s wealth stands at $5.9 billion.
10. Sam Zell – $5.3 Billion
The legendary Sam Zell is regarded as the forefather of contemporary real estate investment trusts. He has numerous investments, but his share in Equity LifeStyle is perhaps his most valuable asset.
Sam created a business that provides student apartments to affluent students during his undergraduate days. He slowly improved his skills and portfolio to establish his first company, Equity Group Investment.
Now, he also owns a global equity firm called Equity International, which has considerable investments in Argentina and Colombia. This is why Zell is worth $5.3 billion. Sadly, Zell passed away in May 2023.