20 U.S. real estate tycoons or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg?

  • Donald Bren, the 88-year-old owner of Orange County-based real estate giant Irvine Co., has a net worth of $ 15.3 billion, according to Forbes – also the richest single real estate owner in the country.

  • The fifth wealthiest US real estate owner was Edward Roski Jr., 82. His Forbes estimate of $ 5.5 billion comes from Majestic Realty, a Los Angeles-based developer.

  • Rick Caruso, 62, has $ 4.2 billion net worth from his Los Angeles mall development company, according to Forbes. It is the No. 9 individual US real estate asset. (J. Emilio Flores / The New York Times)

  • The 13th richest US real estate owner was Donald Sterling, 86, whose $ 3.8 billion worth came from owning residential buildings in Los Angeles. (AP Photo / Danny Moloshok)

“Bubble Watch” deals with trends that may indicate economic and / or real estate problems.

Buzz: The richest real estate owners in the country have avoided a pandemic bullet, but they look relatively poor overall compared to, for example, a Silicon Valley icon.

Source: My trusted table’s report of Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s billionaires.

The tendency

If you’re looking for a commercial real estate bubble to burst, first think about the wealth of the 20 richest real estate tycoons in the country.

Together they are worth $ 97 billion. If you think that’s a lot of money, it’s not in the math of the rich these days.

A hot stock market, especially for technology investments, means those 20 fortunes combined only tie up Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for the world’s fifth largest single asset on Forbes balance sheet. Yes, bound!

The dissection

Commercial real estate – where most of real estate assets reside – appear to have avoided a violent pandemic wallop.

Various government grants, cheap financing, and a little patience gave smart property owners enough flexibility to get out of the coronavirus economy with just a few bruises.

Think of these 20 real estate tycoons as a kind of index of commercial real estate. Her assets include everything from office parks to skyscrapers. Housing for the working class and the rich; and shopping malls from strip centers to famous shopping malls.

The combined net worth of the 20 tycoons of $ 97 billion has actually increased by $ 13 billion, or 16%, since the spring of 2020 when coronavirus-induced lockdowns slowed the economy.

It’s an impressive feat when you look back at the time the pandemic first brewed and remember that most landlords and property owners feared the worst – from problems filling units to collecting rents to collapses in the financial and credit markets.

Those fears were why the top 20 real estate wealth slumped from $ 100 billion to $ 84 billion in the year that ended in Spring 2020 – a 15% decline.

There remains a $ 97 billion question: who is too rich?

Yes, Zuckerberg’s fortune – tied to the market value of his company – was in a similar dire straits a year ago. Since stock investors had no experience of a pandemic, “sell” was the reaction of most traders.

Just like the real estate industry, Zuckerberg’s net worth fell: a drop of $ 7 billion – or 12% – in the year that ended when the pandemic began.

But stocks, especially in tech niches, didn’t last long.

Last year, the Facebook CEO’s net worth rose 77% – that’s $ 42 billion if you count – to bind the worth of real estate tycoons’ 20 collective riches.

That stock surge put Zuckerberg in fifth place among the richest in the world behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos ($ 177 billion). Tesla’s Elon Musk ($ 151 billion); Bernard Arnault of LVMH Retail Assets of France ($ 150 billion); and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ($ 124 billion).

How bubbly?

On a scale from zero bubbles (no bubble here) to five bubbles (five-alarm warning) … TWO BUBBLES for commercial real estate and FIVE BUBBLES for technology stocks.

Think about the size of those seemingly flamboyant tech market premiums to make only the greatest individual fortune in US real estate, for example.

Donald Bren, the 88-year-old owner of real estate giant Irvine Co., is once again ranked the richest single real estate owner in the country by Forbes. Bren’s $ 15.3 billion Newport Beach empire was ranked the sixth largest real estate asset in the world and ranked 132nd overall on Forbes’ list of global billionaires, or 127 places behind Zuckerberg.

But according to Forbes’ calculations, Bren had stagnated for two years. His net worth fell 1% last year after falling 5% in the past 12 months.

Pile of sugar? In the past year alone, the exchange essentially added nearly three Bren-sized fortunes to its net worth. Jonathan Lansner is a business columnist for the Southern California News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]