Economy Watch: Bren Tops Real Estate Billionaire List, Trump in Top 10 Too

Many of Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans are in the real estate industry.

Real estate’s a game of numbers, and it’s always interesting to see who’s amassed the highest numbers for themselves while playing the game. Every year, Forbes makes that easy by publishing a fully searchable list of the 400 wealthiest Americans, something the magazine did again this week. Altogether, Forbes reports that 29 of the 400 had fortunes tied mainly to real estate, though some of them are relative late-comers to the industry, such as Ty Warner (No 293). Best known as a plush toy tycoon, beginning in 2000 he began to put his money into hotel holdings (and more recently has managed to stay out of prison for tax evasion).

Once again, Donald Bren, chairman of Irvine Co., tops the list of real estate billionaires, coming in at No. 30 overall, with a net worth of $15.2 billion. The main basis of his vast wealth is a diverse 110 million square-foot portfolio concentrated in Southern California, though he’s been expanding further into Silicon Valley, and recently he was revealed to own almost all of the Met Life Building in New York. Related Cos. founder Stephen Ross came in second among real estate players as the highest-ranked New York-based mogul. His net worth of $6.7 billion places him 71st on the overall list.

Other names on the top 10 among real estate billionaires include Richard LeFrak, Ted Lerner, John Sobrato, Sam Zell, Leonard Stern, Donald Trump, Jerry Speyer and Edward Roski. None of the people on the list of real estate billionaires are women, though arguably some belong there. Tamara Gustavson (No. 124), for instance, is the largest single shareholder of Public Storage, the publicly traded self-storage giant. According to Forbes, at least, that doesn’t count as a real estate fortune. Other female billionaires with large real estate holdings include the daughters of Sam Walton.

Perhaps the list’s most watched calculation involves the net worth of real estate mogul and high-octane presidential candidate Donald Trump. Not long ago, Trump has filed statements asserting that he’s worth at least $10 billion or, as he put in a press release, TEN BILLION DOLLARS (his capitalization). Forbes begs to differ, putting the figure at still not-so-measly $4.5 billion, putting Citizen Trump at No. 121. Apparently this kind of mismatched estimates is nothing new for The Donald, and not entirely a function of his political aspirations. On Fortune’s first list of the 400 richest Americans in 1982, Trump, along with his father Fred, were reported to have a combined net worth of $100 million each. The magazine also reported that the younger Trump “claimed $500 million.”