The Real Deal Miami

Florida jumps past Texas as third-most popular state among billionaires: Forbes

New Florida residents include Thomas Peterffy, No. 32 on Forbes' list, with $12.6B net worth

October 07, 2016 04:30PM

  • Print
A 2009 photo of downtown Miami (Credit: Marc Averette)

A 2009 photo of downtown Miami (Credit: Marc Averette)

Florida’s wealthiest residents have some new neighbors. An influx of the ultra-rich has boosted Florida to third place for popularity among billionaires in the Forbes 400 list.

Nine new billionaires from the Forbes 400 are calling Florida home this year, raising the state’s roster of the ultra-wealthy to 40. That’s also seven more billionaires on the list than Texas’s 33, the lowest number the state has seen since 2000, according to Forbes.

And as one might expect, many of Florida’s richest made their billions from real estate. By The Real Deal’s count, 19 of those billionaires in the state list their primary source of wealth from properties, financial markets or money management. Although he’s not on the Forbes 400, Starwood Capital founder Barry Sternlicht recently said he and several other executives were also switching addresses to Florida during the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference.

Among those who made the move last year: Interactive Brokers Group founder Thomas Peterffy, who became Florida’s richest resident last year when he left the ritzy enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut for Palm Beach. Forbes pegs his net worth at $12.6 billion, ranking him No. 32 on the list.

One of the main factors driving the wealthy to Florida — besides the tired tropes of sun, sand and palm trees — is the state’s lack of state income and estate taxes, Forbes reported. That perk alone saved Tom Golisano, who chairs payroll company Paychex, $5 million when he moved to Florida in 2009.

Apartna Mathur told Forbes that Florida’s attractiveness to the financially savvy can also be chalked up to favorable business conditions and bankruptcy laws, which protect personal personal real estate from seizure. [Forbes]Sean Stewart-Muniz