The Forbes 400 list gives a very interesting insight into the rich and famous and while many have amassed their wealth in the world of business, real estate is becoming a more prominent part of the list. It is therefore no surprise to learn that Donald Bren, with a net worth estimated at $15.2 billion, is number 27 in the 2016 Forbes 400 list – an improvement on number 30 in 2015. So, how has Donald Bren amassed his massive wealth in the real estate market?
Who is Donald Bren?
The real estate magnate is a bachelor of arts/science from the University of Washington and is to all intents and purposes a self-made billionaire. He is chairman of the Irvine Company and despite being 84 years of age he is still active. Married with seven children he is a citizen of the USA and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the US real estate market.
It is believed that the Irvine Company owns more than 115,000,000 ft.² of real estate – the majority of which is located in Southern California. Several hotels, marinas, golf courses, 60,000 apartments, more than 40 shopping centres and 500 office buildings make up what is an enormous property portfolio. While Bren has been listed in the Forbes 400 he tries to keep his business affairs under the radar as much as possible. Indeed, it was only in 2015 that it was revealed he owns a 97% stake in Manhattan’s MetLife Building. Keeping his name out of the public eye is quite some feat in the modern day!
A real estate philanthropist
The story of Donald Bren is a real rags-to-riches affair as he started out helping his father with carpentry. In 1977 he acquired the Irvine Company with a group of investors, a 150 year old ranching operation, although he later went on to take full control of the business. When you bear in mind the cutthroat world of real estate it is refreshing to learn that his company has donated over 57,000 acres of property in Orange County for conservation. He is also pledged to plough $23 million back into the local community with a direct investment in education.
We can only imagine the value of the 57,000 acres which have been donated for conservation purposes. While some may suggest this is but “loose change” to a man worth in excess of $15 billion it is still a significant outlay. It will be interesting to see how his real estate portfolio performs in 2017 with many expecting it to be a good year for property investment. That is, if Donald Trump can pull himself away from problem after problem with his international policies!
Long-term real estate investment pays
There is one very strong characteristic flowing through the real estate magnates who break into the Forbes list, and that is a long-term investment strategy. It is all good and well banking short-term profits but with short-term profits come increased risks. The ability to create a long-term core to your property portfolio, while also taking advantage of any short-term opportunities, has paid dividends for many. Donald Bren may not be headline news outside of the real estate sector but he is a self-made billionaire who seems to be going from strength to strength.