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Australia’s Property Billionaires Dominate the Rich list

Australia’s Property Billionaires Dominate the Rich list

December 9, 2020

Proving that property can be a lucrative career for those with savvy business skills, Australia’s property billionaires are again dominating the Australian Financial Review’s Rich List.

Property billionaires have been created through development and investment and are amongst the biggest names on the AFR Rich List for 2020.

Four of the top 10 richest Australian billionaires made their wealth in the property industry. In fact, almost a quarter of the richest 200 people on the list built their empires in the property sector.

Property has traditionally been “one of the backbones of the list,” Rich List co-editor Michael Bailey said. The global pandemic this year has weakened the sector a little, but property development and investment has proven over the years to be one of the key wealth creating industries in Australia.  This is especially impressive considering it was during global crisis.  “It has not been such a good year because of what happened with the property market generally … they are not a patch on where they were last year.”

“I think it (property) will continue to be a wealth-generating tool for years to come,” Mr. Bailey said.

The AFR Rich List (formerly known as the BRW Rich 200) is a list of Australia’s two hundred wealthiest individuals and families, ranked by personal net worth. It’s a list which is published annually. This year, among Australia’s richest 200 people, 48 made their money through property, compared to 11 in iron ore mining, 21 in technology and 11 in agriculture.

The Top Property Billionaires include:

  • 4th      Shimao Property Holdings chairman Hui Wing Mau ranked fourth overall, valued at $18.06 billion, after the Hong Kong-based Australian citizen made his fortune in property development.
  • 7th      Meriton founder and prolific apartment developer Harry Triguboff took seventh place with a $14.42 billion fortune.
  • 9th     Westfield shopping centre empire Frank Lowy was ninth, at $8.3 billion.
  • 10th  Kerry Stokes, the better known as Seven chairman, has significant stakes in building materials company Boral and aged care group Estia Health. He ranked 10th at $6.26 billion.

Billionaire Property Investment

Many rich listers from other industries have also accumulated substantial property portfolios holdings, with their trophy homes and investment properties.

  • Iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart topped this year’s Rich List. Ms Rinehart is a significant investor in property both in Perth and other Australian cities.
  • Another iron ore baron Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, chairman of Fortescue Metals Group, ranked second and bought a historic Cottesloe homefor $16 million in 2015 and used it to house five refugee families. He more recently snapped up a waterfront residence in Sydney’s Point Piper for more than $16 million.
  • Tech titan Mike Cannon-Brookes rose to fifth spot on the billionaire’s list. The Atlassian co-chief executive is known for amassing possibly the country’s largest collection of private homes, weekenders and farms, spending almost $250 million on real estate over the past decade.

Buying a prestige trophy home is a a classic move for someone who has amassed substantial wealth, Mr Bailey said. “The perfect example is Mike Cannon-Brookes who just seems to be buying properties up left, right and centre,” he said.

Considering a career in property?

When it comes to a degree specialising in property development, asset management, valuation and commercial real estate – a degree such as the ICMS Bachelor of Property (Development, Investment and Valuation) is a great place to start building your industry knowledge, skills and contacts.

The ICMS Bachelor of Property (Development, Investment and Valuation) has been designed by property professionals. The ICMS property degree is reviewed and refined so that we continue to meet the demands of this dynamic industry.  Click to view subjects offered in a Bachelor of Property Management (Development, Investment and Valuation)

View the AFR Rich List here