Famous Real Estate Moguls

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The property market is often an indication of the health of a national economy. Since 2008, the cost of housing in the western world has dropped considerably with several false starts on recovery promised and then failed to materialise. However, it is economic downturns such as this one where the following people have made their fortunes where they have bought up property at rock bottom prices and renovated only to sell on for a profit.

1. Sir Alan Sugar

Sir Alan Sugar
Sir Alan Sugar

Alan Sugar has had a diverse business career. He started as a young entrepreneur but made his name when he founded Amstrad ‘ one of the electronics companies that brought computers into our homes in the 1980s. He sold Amstrad in 2007 to BSKyB for £125m and now focuses on two interests. He hosts the UK version of the business competition show The Apprentice. The bulk of his business interests now lie in real estate through his company Amsprop. It owns a portfolio of properties in and around London.

2. Sam Zell

Sam Zell
Sam Zell

The Chicago native is today best known for owning several US newspapers but it is in real estate that he made his fortune and at a very young age. He started working for a local Chicago landlord and began building his empire by buying up run-down properties, doing them up and renting them to local students. He put a lot of effort into researching so-called ‘distressed properties’ in order to continue to increase his portfolio. His businesses grew through the 1970s until in the 1980s, a housing price crash allowed him to buy up a lot of property at rock bottom prices.

3. Sarah Beeny

Sarah Beeny
Sarah Beeny

One of the youngest moguls on our list, at just 41 she already has an extensive portfolio throughout the UK and is best known for property television shows such as Property Ladder and Britain’s Best Homes. She was born into property as the daughter of an architect working for Bovis homes (one of the UKs largest property construction companies) and so grew up around the industry. She is a columnist for a national newspaper and has written many books about property development.

4. Mark Paskin

Mark Paskin
Mark Paskin

Though having been a real estate mogul for many years, he rose to fame in the US version of the reality show Secret Millionaire where he lived on $10 a day and helped out at a homeless shelter. Nobody knew who he was. His generosity knew no ends as he donated over $125,000 to the people he helped, including allowing one woman to stay free of charge in an apartment he owned. He continues to give away many charitable donations.

5. Nicholas Cowell

Nicholas Cowell
Nicholas Cowell

Brother of music mogul Simon Cowell, famous for The X-Factor and American Idol, the lesser known brother is one of the UK’s biggest real estate moguls. Music was in the family blood but Nicholas chose to go into property speculation, setting up a business known as The Estate Office he is now the owner of several luxury hotels, particularly the Hotel Verta in Battersea, London. He does like to keep a toe in the family media business and has had some acting roles over the years.

6. Nasser Khalili

Nasser Khalili
Nasser Khalili

An Iranian born mogul with British citizenship, Khalili is a known collector and philanthropist of many causes. Outside of his business interests, he is known as the ‘Cultural Ambassador of Islam’ by Middle East leaders. He has the stewardship of six of the world’s greatest art collections and has endowed many Arab archaeology collections throughout the United Kingdom. His extensive portfolio includes properties in Mayfair and his company is in the process of building an energy efficient office block in London.

7. Richard Goldthorpe

Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I

Widely recognised as one of history’s most notable real estate traders, he died in 1557 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I leaving an estate valued at £2460, a phenomenal sum in those days. He made his fortune during the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, buying up as much monastic land as possible along with many other wealthy men who saw the opportunity to gain from the land seizures. He lived in York, and was during his life a famous haberdasher and politician including Lord Mayor in his home city of York.

8. Jack Dellal

Jack Dellal
Jack Dellal

Known as ‘Black Jack’ during his life due to his love of gambling (he died in 2012), Dellal was reportedly worth £480m at his death ‘ approximately half of his estimated fortune in 2005. Born in Manchester, England to Iraqi Jews, he had nine children during his two marriages and several of his grandchildren have gone on to make notable names for themselves in other areas of British society ‘ one as a curator and the other as a fashion designer.

9. John Gandel

John Gandel
John Gandel

One of the biggest names in Australian real estate, he made his name developing commercial property, particularly shopping centres in Melbourne. He was not a self-made man though having been born to wealthy Polish immigrants in 1935; when he was of age he took over his parents’ clothing business and expanded into real estate. He persistently finds himself within the top 10 wealthiest Australians list. He bought his first shopping centre in 1983 and from there moved into retail real estate.

10. Kar Po Law

Kar Po Law
Kar Po Law

Though his background in Hong Kong was in accessories and clothing, Kar Po Law made his fortune in hotels and real estate. His strategy ‘ like any other businessman ‘ was to buy as low as possible and to sell at as high a price as he could get away with. Between 2012 and 2013, it was reported that his personal wealth grew by over $1 billion. His family are also on their way to emulating their success. His son runs a hotel arm of his business and his daughter owns a chain of department stores in Knightsbridge.

Conclusion

At a time when there is economic downturn or other financial crises, it is inevitable that the price of property will drop. It is often during these times that the names above and others like them are able to spy a bargain, turn around its fortunes and make their own fortune.

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