America’s Richest Real Estate Billionaires 2023

America’s downtowns are struggling, with empty office buildings and shuttered retail weighing down property values in cities across the country. But not everyone is hurting. In fact, the nation’s richest landlords are actually wealthier now than they were in 2022. There are 25 billionaires on the 2023 Forbes 400 list who primarily owe their fortunes to real estate. These property tycoons are worth a collective $139 billion—about $5 billion more than the 24 in real estate were worth on the 2022 ranking.

Despite the doom and gloom in the office sector, apartments are still a hot commodity, with rents rising nearly 3% over the past year. One of the two newcomers to the list who made their money in real estate, Los Angeles-based developer Geoffrey Palmer, largely draws his wealth from residential properties in L.A. The other new entry, Annette Lerner, inherited her late husband Ted Lerner’s (d. February 2023) fortune, mostly made up of apartments in the Washington, D.C. area.

Still, it’s been a rough time for some of America’s real estate tycoons. The best-known of them, Donald Trump, dropped off The Forbes 400 for the second time in three years. Eight others’ net worths fell by a collective $4.6 billion. Many of these big losers, like Trump, have a sizable portion of their wealth tied up in debt-laden office buildings in hard-hit cities such as New York and San Francisco. Fellow New Yorkers Charles Cohen and Jerry Speyer, both of whom have several office towers in Manhattan, saw their fortunes fall by $700 million and $500 million, respectively. The second-richest real estate baron in America—Stephen Ross, founder of the Related Companies, which built the Hudson Yards development in New York—was the biggest real estate loser over the past year. His fortune shrank by an estimated $1.5 billion.

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