4 steps to becoming a real estate billionaire

A look at newly minted real estate billionaires for lessons

TRD New York /
Apr.April 18, 2015 12:00 PM

The Forbes Billionaires List added two U.S.-based real estate billionaires in 2015. So how’d they do it? Forbes offers four lessons for making it big in real estate.

1. “Go where the money is”

Both of the U.S.’s newly-minted real estate billionaires — Jay Paul (worth $1.5 billion) and Sanford Diller (worth $1.3 billion) — benefited from the Bay Area’s property values boom. The year before, New York investors Wharton Properties’ Jeff Sutton and Two Trees Management’s David Walentas made the list thanks to NYC’s soaring real estate prices.

“Whether the next wave of real estate wealth comes from New York, San Francisco or elsewhere, it will most likely benefit the investors who understand that capital always chases growth,” Forbes writes.

2. “Leapfrog to Where The Money Is Going”

Citing Walentas’ success in transforming Dumbo, Forbes argues that the next generation of real estate billionaires will be long-term investors with a sustained vision.

3. “You don’t need to understand technology or fashion”

Paul and Diller aren’t tech or fashion geeks. They simply identified a market trend that would increase demand for real estate.

4. “Find a niche”

Sutton succeeded because “he understood Manhattan’s allure for high-end retailers, and he introduced innovations in multi-floor retailing that significantly improved the profitability of his projects,” Forbes writes. [Forbes] Christopher Cameron


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