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Aspen’s 50 Wealthiest Residents

There are now more than 1,600 billionaires in the world, and at least fifty of them have stakes in the Aspen area—primarily through their ownership of real estate in Pitkin County.

Aspen’s billionaires came to their fortunes in many ways. They are tech wizards, oil and gas tycoons, real estate moguls, financiers, and producers of everyday stuff. Their collective net worth totals more than $335 billion, and the value of their real estate in the Aspen area is at least $750 million.

And many of them have grown substantially richer of late. Aspen’s wealthiest men and the world’s sixth richest, brothers Charles and David Koch, for example, are worth $6 billion more than they were a year ago—and a mind-boggling $17 billion more than in 2012. Each of their fortunes, at $41.6 billion, is greater than the GDP of more than half of the world’s countries.

Presented by Aspen Sojourner

While many fly well below the local radar, most of these billionaires do have an impact on Aspen, through their investments in luxury estates and their often-generous donations to local nonprofits.

On the other hand, the second-home industry and escalating property values have replaced once vibrant Aspen neighborhoods with blocks of large, lifeless houses; marred once-pristine landscapes; exacerbated traffic, congestion, and pollution; and driven many locals down or out of the valley.

Moneyed power is often blamed for Aspen’s growth struggles, and some locals feel that wealth culture has become the dominant culture in Aspen. But whether welcomed or shunned, at least fifty of the world’s überwealthy are indeed members of the Aspen community.

Presented by Aspen Sojourner

Here, then, are the Aspen 50: the fifty wealthiest people in the world with property in Pitkin County—and there are almost certainly more than those who appear on our list. All but three are on the 2014 Forbes World’s Billionaires list. Two are listed as billionaires by the Los Angeles Business Journal, but not by Forbes. And we’ve included the Crown family, owners of the Aspen Skiing Company and multiple local homes, who recently made Forbes’s inaugural list of America’s Richest Families.

Using those lists as a starting point, Aspen Journalism, an investigative journalism nonprofit that produced this story for Aspen Sojourner, then used public property records—and old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting—to verify the billionaires’ stakes in the Aspen community. (Links to public records are at

Property values listed are from the county assessor’s most recent valuation period, which reflects the market as of June 30, 2012, and formed the basis for property tax bills for 2013 and 2014. The billionaires’ net worths, which Forbes now tracks daily, are listed as estimated by Forbes on June 9, 2014, and in May 2014 by the Los Angeles Business Journal. 

0714 charles koch ho7h8g

Name: Charles Koch
Net worth: $41.6 billion
Age: 78
Primary residence: Wichita, Kansas
Forbes 400 ranking: 4
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 6
Source of wealth: Diversified, including energy, agricultural materials, and pulp and paper
Stake in Aspen: $5.9 million West End home
Notes: Liz Koch, Charles Koch’s wife, described skiing with her husband as “flying down mountains, staring at the back of his head, feeling terrified,” according to a 2012 Wichita Eagle article. 

THE POWER TRIO: The Koch Brothers

Although the Koch brothers are collectively known for their conservative politics, each has a somewhat different relationship to Aspen. Charles, who is CEO of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the country, with sales of $115 billion, was an avid skier until his knees gave out. David, who used to throw elaborate holiday parties at his Aspen home, is a trustee of the Aspen Institute, where a building bears his name. Bill is perhaps the most high profile locally. He has made headlines for being a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the city of Aspen over its desire to use Castle and Maroon Creek water for hydropower; for buying—and now trying to sell, for $90 million—the former Elk Mountain Lodge in the upper Castle Creek Valley, a 32,500-square-foot compound used for weddings and corporate events that he converted into a 15-bedroom single-family home; and for suing his interior designer for not properly decorating the home in a western theme. Perhaps Bill is retreating to his Paonia ranch, where he re-created an Old West town.

But Aspen is not simply a vacation retreat for the Kochs. Charles and David, who hold twice-yearly meetings for like-minded, ultra-wealthy investors who are politically active in the brothers’ conservative agenda, hosted one such gathering at the St. Regis in 2010. Attendees included fellow Aspen billionaires Ken Griffin and Richard DeVos. 

0714 david koch dc7ud0

Name: David Koch
Net worth: $41.6 billion
Age: 74
Primary residence: New York City, New York
Forbes 400 ranking: 4
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 6
Source of wealth: Diversified, including energy, agricultural materials, and pulp and paper
Stake in Aspen: Two West End homes together worth $12.8 million
Notes: Koch, with his brother Charles, has tried to reshape the political landscape of America by giving millions to conservative and libertarian causes and candidates through various business and political networks.

0714 jeff bezos b9dnq4

Name: Jeff Bezos
Net worth: $30.2 billion
Age: 50
Primary residence: Seattle, Washington
Forbes 400 ranking: 12
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 20
Source of wealth:
Stake in Aspen: His parents’ $16.5 million home in Pitkin Green
Notes: Bezos’s parents, Jackie and Miguel, own a 10,600-square-foot home where their close-knit family gathers. They also sponsor the Bezos Scholars Program at the Aspen Institute. 

0714 michael dell jbqsl3

Name: Michael Dell
Net worth: $18.5 billion
Age: 49
Primary residence: Austin, Texas
Forbes 400 ranking: 25
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 46
Source of wealth: Dell, Inc.
Stake in Aspen: His father’s $9.5 million Red Mountain home
Notes: Dell, like Jeff Bezos, doesn’t actually own an Aspen home; his father does. But his local stake includes, through his MSD Capital investment firm, an interest in the Related Companies, which has extensive holdings in Snowmass Village. 

0714 john paulson y9osyu

Name: John Paulson
Net worth: $13.5 billion
Age: 58
Primary residence: New York City, New York
Forbes 400 ranking: 36
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 84
Source of wealth: Hedge funds
Stake in Aspen: $52.6 million Starwood estate
Notes: Paulson vacationed in Aspen for 25 years before buying a home here, according to his spokesman, who added that Paulson plans to “reduce the scale of” the 56,000-square-foot main house on the Starwood estate he bought in 2012. 

0714 richard kinder lfrkvs

Name: Richard Kinder
Net worth: $9.8 billion
Age: 69
Primary residence: Houston, Texas
Forbes 400 ranking: 39
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 133
Source of wealth: Energy, pipelines
Stake in Aspen: $10.8 million riverfront home in Woody Creek
Notes: Kinder Morgan, which services the Roaring Fork Valley with natural gas, claims to be the fourth-largest North American energy company, with 82,000 miles of pipelines. Richard Kinder was once president of Enron, under the late Ken Lay, another prominent local homeowner. 

0714 roman abramovich ezkyq8

Name: Roman Abramovich
Net worth: $9.5 billion
Age: 47
Primary residence: Moscow
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 139
Source of wealth: Steel, investments
Stake in Aspen: Two Snowmass homes together worth $29.2 million
Notes: The once-wealthiest man in Russia (now 14th) also has homes in London, St. Barts, Sardinia, France, and New York (a $75 million Fifth Avenue mansion), plus the world’s largest yacht, a Boeing 767, the Chelsea soccer team—and seven children. 

0714 hasso plattner l6xyy6

Name: Hasso Plattner
Net worth: $8.5 billion
Age: 70
Primary residence: Heidelberg, Germany
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 162
Source of wealth: Software
Stake in Aspen: Two homes on Red Mountain valued at $19.3 million
Notes: Plattner is a sports enthusiast who, according to Forbes, likes to ski and snowboard. He’s also pledged to give away half his fortune to philanthropic causes. 

PURE CLASS: The Lauders

Aspen has long been a retreat for the heirs of cosmetics queen Estée Lauder—a stylish and well-liked family that has been part of Aspen society and philanthropic circles since the 1970s. Son Leonard Lauder, 81, has owned a family compound in the West End for years. After Leonard’s wife, Evelyn, died in November 2012, the family made a substantial gift to Aspen Valley Hospital, where the new Evelyn H. Lauder Patient Care Pavilion, with sixteen private patient rooms, is named for her. (Evelyn’s photos of the Aspen area are also on display at the hospital.) Leonard’s son Gary, a venture capitalist who also owns a home here, co-created the Aspen Institute’s Socrates Society, and Gary’s wife, Laura, sits on the Aspen Institute board, a role formerly occupied by Leonard (who was recently made a lifetime trustee). Leonard’s niece Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer—a newcomer to the Forbes World’s Billionaires list—bought her own Aspen pad in 2009, a 5,500-square-foot home in Mountain Valley, where, according to Vogue, she likes to lounge about in Sorel boots and men’s flannel shirts. “We love to grab pastries from the most amazing place called Paradise Bakery,” she told the magazine in 2011.

0714 leonard lauder zexcce

Name: Leonard Lauder
Net worth: $8.4 billion
Age: 81
Primary residence: New York City, New York
Forbes 400 ranking: 56
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 164
Source of wealth: Estée Lauder
Stake in Aspen: Four West End properties collectively worth $19.8 million
Notes: Lauder, who last year donated his $1 billion Cubism collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, also collects vintage skiing posters. In 2011, he lectured at the Aspen Institute (he is a trustee) on the art of the poster to launch his exhibit there.

0714 richard devos o65jti

Name: Richard DeVos
Net worth: $7.3 billion
Age: 88
Primary residence: Holland, Michigan
Forbes 400 ranking: 60
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 188
Source of wealth: Amway/Alticor
Stake in Aspen: Ski-in, ski-out home worth $4.4 million in Snowmass Village
Notes: DeVos, who cofounded Amway in high school, and his wife, Helen, are donors to the Aspen Music Festival and School, as well as conservative think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation. 

0714 crown family bxbfa6

Name: Crown family
Net worth: $7.3 billion
Age: N/A
Primary residence: Chicago, Illinois
Forbes 400 ranking: not currently ranked
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: not currently ranked
Source of wealth: Inherited, investments
Stake in Aspen: Aspen Skiing Company, multiple properties
Notes: Besides the four Aspen/Snowmass ski areas, the Crown family’s investments include defense contractor General Dynamics, the New York Yankees, Chicago Bulls, and Rockefeller Center. 


Chicago’s Lester Crown fell off Forbes’s rich lists because he spread his wealth among his seven children. Yet the Crown family recently made Forbes’s inaugural list of America’s Richest Families, placing 35th with a fortune of $7.3 billion. The owners of the Aspen Skiing Company have a huge local impact—employing 3,600 people at the height of the ski season, running the Little Nell and Limelight hotels, and providing support to many nonprofits. Henry Crown (1886–1990), Lester’s father and the son of a sweatshop worker, built the family fortune with a sand and gravel company and is the namesake of the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellowship, a leadership-building program. Several Crown family members own homes in the Aspen area, including Lester and his wife, Renee, Jim (Aspen SkiCo managing partner and Aspen Institute vice chairman), his wife, Paula, and Steve and Susan. But their politics sometimes differ sharply. Lester was an early Obama supporter, and Jim and Paula were big fundraisers for the presidential candidate in 2008 and have also hosted Michelle Obama at their slopeside Buttermilk home. Susan Crown, on the other hand, supported Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential bid, heading up his Illinois finance committee.

0714 graeme hart kxpclh

 Graeme Hart
Net worth: $7 billion
Age: 58
Primary residence: Auckland, New Zealand
Forbes 400 ranking:
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 197
Source of wealth: Packaging (including Reynolds Wrap)
Stake in Aspen: McLain Flats mansion worth $16.4 million
Notes: The richest New Zealander, who dropped out of school at 16 and once drove a tow truck, “snaffled” (got a great deal on) his Aspen home, according to New Zealand’s National Business Review. He bought it in February 2011 for $16 million; it was once listed for $32 million. 

0714 jeffery hildebrand 13 ar0jvc

Name: Jeffery Hildebrand
Net worth: $6.3 billion
Age: 55
Primary residence: Houston, Texas
Forbes 400 ranking: 77
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 233
Source of wealth: Oil and gas
Stake in Aspen: Multiple properties in downtown Aspen and Old Snowmass collectively worth $20.6 million
Notes: Hildebrand built a polo field on his Snowmass Creek estate, telling Pitkin County it was a just very level hay field. He bought the late John Denver’s Windstar property for $8.5 million in 2013, which some Denver fans saw as the final nail in the coffin for the environment-loving crooner’s legacy.

0714 leslie wexner 14 ndpiu0

Name:  Leslie Wexner
Net worth: $5.8 billion
Age: 76
Primary residence: New Albany, Ohio
Forbes 400 ranking: 73
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 256
Source of wealth: Retail (including Victoria’s Secret)
Stake in Aspen: $28.5 million Red Mountain estate
Notes: The “bra billionaire” stirred up heated debate around a federal land swap to privatize land around his 3,900-acre estate near Mount Sopris in exchange for making public other holdings that have recreational value. The BLM approved the deal in June.

0714 stanley kroenke 15 x2gwvg

 Stanley Kroenke
Net worth: $5.7 billion
Age: 66
Primary residence: Columbia, Missouri
Forbes 400 ranking: 84
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 265
Source of wealth: Sports, real estate
Stake in Aspen: Adjoining Red Mountain properties, an Aspen Mountain townhome, and a commercial building on Galena Street—total value of $28.7 million
Notes: Kroenke, who made the most expensive Aspen real estate purchase of 2011, got rich partially by developing shopping centers anchored by Walmarts—after marrying Walmart heiress Ann Walton. He’s also America’s eighth-largest private landowner, according to Forbes.


Aspen has been home to some big moments in digital history, including Bill Joy (who is noticeably absent from Forbes’s rich lists) working on the Java programming language in Aspen and talking about it in the gondola with John Doerr, a venture capitalist investor in internet companies who also has a home here. One of Joy’s partners at Sun Microsystems, Andreas von Bechtolsheim, bought Joy’s home on Red Mountain in 1999. Also on Red Mountain is Germany’s Hasso Plattner, cofounder of the third-largest software company in the world, SAP.

0714 stephen ross 16 l7riwg

Name: Stephen Ross
Net worth: $5.7 billion
Age: 74
Primary residence: New York City, New York
Forbes 400 ranking: 94
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 267
Source of wealth: Real estate
Stake in Aspen: Base Village and other Snowmass properties
Notes: Ross, founder and head of New York’s Related Companies, got his start as a tax attorney. His knowledge of tax law helped him build his fortune by developing federally subsidized affordable housing.

0714 ken griffin 17 udo9nl

Name: Ken Griffin
Net worth: $5.2 billion
Age: 45
Primary residence: Chicago, Illinois
Forbes 400 ranking: 103
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 295
Source of wealth: Citadel hedge funds
Stake in Aspen: Home at base of Tiehack worth $8.5 million
Notes: Griffin, who gets invited to the Crown family’s Aspen parties, is politically fickle. In 2008, he raised an estimated $200,000 for Obama’s presidential campaign; four years later, he backed a Karl Rove super PAC.


While Stephen Ross doesn’t appear to have any personal holdings here, his $15 billion Related Companies, which most notably developed the Time Warner Center, came to town in 2007 to develop Base Village and other Snowmass Village properties. Just as Related lost control of Base Village through foreclosure during the economic downtown, Ross became 95 percent owner of the Miami Dolphins in 2009 in a $1.1 billion deal. A subsidiary of Related bought back Base Village in 2012 and is expected to soon begin the land-use process to determine how to complete it. Other billionaires with Aspen ties who made it rich through real estate include John Sobrato, Mortimer Zuckerman, Herbert Simon, and Neil Bluhm.

0714 ann walton kroenke 18 wiauv3

Name: Ann Walton Kroenke
Net worth: $5 billion
Age: 65
Primary residence: Columbia, Missouri
Forbes 400 ranking: 95
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 307
Source of wealth: Walmart
Stake in Aspen: Four properties worth $28.7 million (see Stanley Kroenke, no. 15)
Notes: In a perfect billionaire love story, Ann Walton met her husband, Stan Kroenke, on a ski trip to Aspen. Sometimes she’s worth more than he is; currently, Ann’s net worth is $700 million less.

0714 bruce halle 19 pvrjix

Name: Bruce Halle
Net worth: $4.9 billion
Age: 84
Primary residence: Paradise Valley, Arizona
Forbes 400 ranking: 103
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 315
Source of wealth: Discount Tire
Stake in Aspen: 600-acre Wildcat ranch valued at $31.6 million
Notes: Bruce and Diane Halle have supported local nonprofits, including the Aspen Institute (endowing the Halle Scholarship program with $400,000), the Aspen Art Museum, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and the now defunct Aspen Valley (Medical) Foundation. 

0714 daniel ziff 20 k4bkgh

Name: Daniel Ziff
Net worth: $4.8 billion
Age: 42
Primary residence: New York City, New York
Forbes 400 ranking: 98
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 330
Source of wealth: Investments, inheritance (Ziff-Davis publishing)
Stake in Aspen: A $44 million collection of local property, including four homes in Starwood
Notes: Daniel is the youngest of the three Ziff brothers, heirs of a family publishing empire and investors with ties to fellow Aspen residents and hedge funders Daniel Och and Edward Lampert.


As the hedge fund industry has grown, so has that sector’s stake in Aspen. One of the highest-profile of the lot, John Paulson is a former Bear Stearns executive who struck out on his own and became a billionaire by betting against the subprime mortgage sector in 2007. During the downturn, even as his net worth took a $3 billion hit, Paulson made a splash when he bought a $24.5 million house on McLain Flats—but then he doubled down and bought Prince Bandar’s massive estate for $49 million, making worldwide news. Others who have invested in Aspen have made less of a splash: Ken Griffin, Paul Singer, the Ziff brothers, Daniel Och, and Edward Lampert.

0714 dirk ziff 20 zbv4y2

Name: Dirk Ziff
Net worth: $4.8 billion
Age: 50
Primary residence: North Palm Beach, Florida
Forbes 400 ranking: 98
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 330
Source of wealth: Investments, inheritance (Ziff-Davis publishing)
Stake in Aspen: A $44 million collection of local property, including four homes in Starwood
Notes: The eldest Ziff brother, Dirk is married to a former Forbes reporter. In striking out on his own (the brothers split up their hedge fund), he is reportedly backing a sports agency founded by Roger Federer.

0714 robert ziff 20 tqnctl

Name: Robert Ziff
Net worth: $4.8 billion
Age: 47
Primary residence: New York City, New York
Forbes 400 ranking: 98
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 330
Source of wealth: Investments, inheritance (Ziff-Davis publishing)
Stake in Aspen: A $44 million collection of local property, including four homes in Starwood
Notes: Robert Ziff, the middle brother, has contributed to Republican legislators supportive of gay marriage.

0714 john a sobrato 23 lq7ae1

Name: John A. Sobrato
Net worth: $4.7 billion
Age: 75
Primary residence: Atherton, California
Forbes 400 ranking: 110
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 336
Source of wealth: Real estate
Stake in Aspen: Seven Timbers Club units worth $11.6 million
Notes: Sobrato’s Silicon Valley real estate firm owns 7.5 million square feet of commercial space, with tenants including Apple and Yahoo.  The Sobrato family recently took the Giving Pledge—currently signed by more than 120 billionaires—promising to give most of their fortunes to charity.

0714 william koch 24 uvzyud

Name: William Koch
Net worth: $4 billion
Age: 74
Primary residence: Palm Beach, Florida
Forbes 400 ranking: 122
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 386
Source of wealth: Oil, investments
Stake in Aspen: Four properties in upper Castle Creek Valley, including former Elk Mountain Lodge, worth $36.6 million
Notes: David Koch’s less wealthy twin owns a coal mine near Paonia, two hours from Aspen, as well as an energy company that is a significant player in the region’s natural gas industry. While a major employer in Paonia, he has angered some there by proposing a federal land swap that locals claim will block access to public lands.


It’s only logical that the Sports Leadership Institute has held its Global Sports Summit in Aspen for the past four years, as several major sports franchise owners have homes here. Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, whose refusal to change the name of the team continues to stir up controversy, spends a lot of his summers in Aspen, as do his mother and sister, according to a 2006 Washingtonian magazine profile. Stanley Kroenke oversees a diverse sports empire—St. Louis Rams (football), Colorado Avalanche (hockey), Denver Nuggets (basketball), and Colorado Rapids (soccer), and is majority shareholder of the Arsenal Football Club (soccer) in England. Other Aspen-homeowning billionaire sports team owners/investors include Richard DeVos (Orlando Magic), Stephen Ross (Miami Dolphins), Herbert Simon (Indiana Pacers), Hasso Plattner (San Jose Sharks), Roman Abramovich (Chelsea Football Club), the Crown family (New York Yankees and Chicago Bulls), and Gustavo Cisneros (Leones del Caracas baseball team).

0714 gustavo cisneros 25 mgqzjl

Name: Gustavo Cisneros and family
Net worth: $4 billion
Age: 69
Primary residence: La Romana, Dominican Republic
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 402
Source of wealth: Media
Stake in Aspen: $13.7 million compound at base of Shadow Mountain
Notes: One of Latin America’s most powerful businessmen, Cisneros sold Univision—a small portion of his media and entertainment empire—to a private equity consortium led by Haim Saban, a fellow Aspen 50 homeowner (see no. 30), for $13.7 billion in 1997.

0714 andreas von bechtolsheim 26 j7ebvw

Name: Andreas Von Bechtolsheim
Net worth: $4 billion
Age: 58
Primary residence: Germany
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 406
Source of wealth: Google
Stake in Aspen: Two homes on Red Mountain together worth $14.5 million
Notes: An early Google investor whose shares are now worth $2 billion, von Bechtolsheim developed the SUN Workstation and cofounded Sun Microsystems with Bill Joy, whose Aspen home he bought in 1999.

0714 daniel och 27 flhbe5

Name: Daniel Och
Net worth: $3.8 billion
Age: 53
Primary residence: Scarsdale, New York
Forbes 400 ranking: 157
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 435
Source of wealth: Hedge funds
Stake in Aspen: $16 million home on lower Red Mountain
Notes: The CEO of Och-Ziff Capital Management, one of the world’s only publicly traded hedge fund firms, with assets of over $41 billion, got his start at Goldman Sachs with fellow Aspen homeowner Edward Lampert, then struck out on his own with a reported $100 million in seed money from the Ziff brothers (see nos. 20).

0714 j christopher reyes 28 eewtxo

Name: J. Christopher Reyes
Net worth: $3.8 billion
Age: 60
Primary residence: Lake Forest, Illinois
Forbes 400 ranking: 134
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 439
Source of wealth: Food and beer distribution
Stake in Aspen: $21.6 million home near Buttermilk
Notes: Reyes’s $22 billion distribution company moves more beer than any other distributor in the country. A Chicagoan, he attended Lester Crown’s Fourth of July party on Aspen Mountain last year.

0714 stewart lynda resnick 29 bskz3p

Name: Stewart and Lynda Resnick
Net worth: $3.5 billion
Age: Both over 70
Primary residence: Beverly Hills, California
Forbes 400 ranking: 134
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 482
Source of wealth: Agriculture, Pom, Fiji water
Stake in Aspen: $15.5 million home east of Aspen
Notes: The Resnicks made headlines when the Aspen Institute proposed—but public outcry quashed—putting their name on Paepcke Auditorium after the family’s donation to renovate the landmark building. Aspen Valley Hospital will name a new emergency department for the Resnicks after a recent gift.

0714 haim saban 30 kwy5bx

Name: Haim Saban
Net worth: $3.4 billion
Age: 69
Primary residence: Beverly Hills, California
Forbes 400 ranking: 143
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 500
Source of wealth: Television
Stake in Aspen: $6.4 million home near the Aspen Club
Notes: Owner of the fifth largest U.S. television network—Univision—Saban’s first hit was the children’s show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He also has the Paul Frank brand, whose cartoon Julius the Monkey adorns clothing, accessories, and other products.

0714 john doerr 31 fzv27x

Name: John Doerr
Net worth: $3.3 billion
Age: 62
Primary residence: Woodside, California
Forbes 400 ranking: 184
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 513
Source of wealth: Venture capital
Stake in Aspen: $11.6 million home on Hunter Creek
Notes: An investor in Google, Facebook, and others, the Aspen Institute trustee was a founding funder of Aspen nonprofit For the Forest, which targeted beetle-infested lodgepole pines on Smuggler Mountain—Doerr’s backyard.

0714 edward lampert 32 vrrids

Name: Edward Lampert
Net worth: $3.2 billion
Age: 51
Primary residence: Miami Beach, Florida
Forbes 400 ranking: 184
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 524
Source of wealth: Hedge funds
Stake in Aspen: $14.5 million Starwood home
Notes: Chummy with fellow Aspen homeowners and finance men Daniel Och and the Ziff brothers, Lampert’s highest-profile investments were Kmart and Sears (He is CEO of the latter, which used to have an outlet in Aspen.)


Aspen has a fair share of billionaire homeowners who have struck it rich from energy interests. Richard Kinder’s baby, Kinder Morgan, is the fourth-largest energy company in North America, worth nearly $34 billion. It’s made multi-billion-dollar acquisitions in recent years, banking on future shale development to create massive demand for its pipelines. Houston oil magnate Jeffrey Hildebrand struck it big in 2011 with a $100 million investment into Texas oil shale that resulted in a $3.5 billion sale to Marathon Oil. His company, Hilcorp, one of the world’s biggest privately owned oil companies, has been investing big in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, the Utica shale of Ohio, and the Gulf Coast region. The Wilks brothers, Farris and Dan, founded Frac Tech, which provides hydraulic fracturing services for large oil and gas companies. They hit it big when they sold the firm for $3.5 billion in 2011, showing up on the Forbes 400 list and buying their Aspen-area homes around the same time. Other Aspen homeowners in the oil and gas business include Fort Worth resident Ed Bass, who with his four brothers turned a modest inheritance into a major oil fortune, and the Koch brothers, whose rise to mega-wealth all started with oil refining.

0714 thomas pritzker 33 way2wt

Name: Thomas Pritzker
Net worth: $3.1 billion
Age: 64
Primary residence: Chicago, Illinois
Forbes 400 ranking: 201
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 552
Source of wealth: Hyatt hotels, investments
Stake in Aspen: $11.4 million Maroon Creek home
Notes: One of 11 members of the Pritzker family on the Forbes billionaires list, the cousin of Penny Pritzker (see no. 38) is in an ongoing feud with a neighbor who wants to build a home squarely in an avalanche path—and blocking Pritzker’s views. His wife, Margot, is an Aspen Institute trustee.

0714 david bonderman 34 v8xdix

Name: David Bonderman
Net worth: $2.7 billion
Age: 71
Primary residence: Fort Worth, Texas
Forbes 400 ranking: 209
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 679
Source of wealth: Private equity
Stake in Aspen: Wildcat estate and nearby land together worth $30.4 million
Notes: “Bondo,” a major Democratic donor, flies his Aspen pals to Las Vegas for milestone birthdays—he hired the Rolling Stones to play his 60th birthday party there and Paul McCartney for his 70th.

0714 neil bluhm 35 ff9b51

Name: Neil Bluhm
Net worth: $2.6 billion
Age: 76
Primary residence: Chicago, Illinois
Forbes 400 ranking: 222
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 694
Source of wealth: Real estate, casinos
Stake in Aspen: $21.5 million Red Mountain mansion
Notes: The Chicago lawyer turned real estate investor and casino owner hosted President Obama’s 49th birthday and has funded several Democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton.

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Name: William Wrigley Jr.
Net worth: $2.5 billion
Age: 50
Primary residence: North Palm Beach, Florida
Forbes 400 ranking: 235
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 740
Source of wealth: Chewing gum
Stake in Aspen: Luxury compound overlooking Rio Grande Trail worth $34.2 million
Notes: The fourth-generation gum manufacturer, who left the family firm in 2011 “to pursue philanthropic interests,” according to Forbes, got married in Aspen in 2007 to his second wife, Heather Ann Rosbeck.

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Name: Mortimer Zuckerman
Net worth: $2.5 billion
Age: 77
Primary residence: New York City
Forbes 400 ranking: 243
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 745
Source of wealth: Real estate, media
Stake in Aspen: Red Mountain home worth $5.6 million
Notes: The owner and publisher of New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report (and editor of the latter), Zuckerman is one of several Aspen residents who was ripped off by Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. He also, according to Wikipedia, enjoys spelunking and hunting for buried treasure.


Best friends and business partners from Russia, Roman Abramovich and Evgeny Shvidler are also both Snowmass Village residents. Abramovich paid $36.3 million for his Wildcat estate in 2008, the second-highest amount ever paid for an Aspen-
area home. A few months later, Shvidler paid $14.5 million for a home that caught his eye in Two Creeks—it wasn’t for sale, but the homeowner was persuaded to sell for double what he had paid for it. Abramovich and Shvidler have been in business together since the early 1990s. They founded an oil-trading firm and then took over major Russian oil producer Sibneft during the era of privatization of Soviet state assets, later selling their stakes for billions. It eventually came to light that Abramovich had secured the business through bribes, according to the Times of London. Abramovich, who owns multiple homes and toys, gave Shvidler—who has a chateau and vineyard in France, among other properties—a 370-foot yacht. In Aspen, they’ve been low-key, but recently attended the groundbreaking of Chabad Jewish Community Center on Main Street. 

0714 penny pritzker 38 lftbly

Name: Penny Pritzker
Net worth: $2.4 billion
Age: 55
Primary residence: Chicago, Illinois
Forbes 400 ranking: 252
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 761
Source of wealth: Hotels, investments
Stake in Aspen: Paid $9.5 million for a Castle Creek property
Notes: Commerce Secretary Pritzker, currently the highest-ranked political appointee on our list, is finishing a new home on her Castle Creek property. She was national finance chairwoman for Obama’s 2008 campaign and a key fundraiser in his reelection.

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Name: Edward Bass
Net worth: $2.2 billion
Age: 69
Primary residence: Fort Worth, Texas
Forbes 400 ranking: 260
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 835
Source of wealth: Oil and gas, investments
Stake in Aspen: A home east of Aspen and an Aspen Club condo, together worth $5.7 million
Notes: Bass backed the self-contained living experiment Biosphere 2 with $200 million and is devoted to using native grasses on his ranches. In Aspen, he won approval to dredge a portion of the Roaring Fork River fronting his home in order to improve trout habitat and help stem erosion.

0714 herbert simon 40 dprtep

Name: Herbert Simon
Net worth: $2.1 billion
Age: 79
Primary residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
Forbes 400 ranking: 293
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 850
Source of wealth: Real estate
Stake in Aspen: $5.9 million Mountain Queen condo
Notes: The owner of Simon Property Group, the largest publicly traded real estate investment trust in the country, owns a relatively modest home—by Aspen standards: a 3,000-square-foot condo that he bought for $1 million in 1997.

0714 howard schultz 41 ourkb4

Name: Howard Schultz
Net worth: $2.1 billion
Age: 60
Primary residence: Seattle, Washington
Forbes 400 ranking: 273
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 865
Source of wealth: Starbucks
Stake in Aspen: $17.2 million home on lower Smuggler Mountain
Notes: Raised in Brooklyn housing projects, the man who took Starbucks public paid $20 million for his Aspen house in 2011. The progressive executive also has investments in Lululemon, eBay, and Groupon.  

0714 dan wilks 42 nofjpx

Name: Dan Wilks
Net worth: $1.5 billion
Age: 58
Primary residence: Cisco, Texas
Forbes 400 ranking: 352
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 1,171
Source of wealth: Natural gas
Stake in Aspen: Two Aspen homes, total value of $11.1 million
Notes: The son of a man who once housed the family in a goat shed, Dan and his brother Farris (see no. 44) did well with the family masonry business before turning to fracking. He bought his two Aspen homes around the time the brothers set off on a real estate buying spree that includes massive ranches across the west.

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Name: Paul Singer
Net worth: $1.5 billion
Age: 69
Primary residence: New York City
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 1,172
Source of wealth: Hedge funds/distressed debt investing
Stake in Aspen: Two homes in Two Creeks, Snowmass Village, together worth $12.7 million
Notes: A major Republican donor, Singer backed Mitt Romney to the tune of at least $1 million in 2011 and hosted a meeting of Republican funders in Aspen this past winter. He was also a major sponsor of the 2011 National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village.


Women make up approximately 10 percent of the Forbes 400 and Forbes World’s Billionaires lists, but Aspen billionaire women are even fewer. Just four of the fifty billionaires on this list—8 percent—are women. And all either inherited their wealth or built it with a husband. It’s a small but interesting group: a highly ranked government official—Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker—marketing innovator Lynda Resnick, Walmart heiress Ann Walton Kroenke, and style maven Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer, who is literally making a name for herself with her Aerin brand of beauty products, fashion accessories, and home décor.

0714 farris wilks 44 e1rfad

Name: Farris Wilks
Net worth: $1.5 billion
Age: 62
Primary residence: Cisco, Texas
Forbes 400 ranking: 352
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 1,178
Source of wealth: Natural gas
Stake in Aspen: $12.2 million home in The Pines, Snowmass Village
Notes: Wilks bought the priciest ski-accessible home in Snowmass Village just one month after he and brother Dan sold their combined interest in their fracking company, Frac Tech, for $3.5 billion. Still the pastor of his hometown church, Wilks needs a big home—he has 11 children.

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Name: Michael Eisner
Net Worth: $1.5 billion
Age: 72
Primary residence: Beverly Hills, California
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Source of wealth: Entertainment
Stake in Aspen: Owns a $10 million estate on Snowmass Creek
Notes: The former chief of Disney had a lengthy, high-profile entertainment career before founding his investment company, Tornante, in 2005. The name, inspired by a cycling trip in the Italian mountains, means hairpin turn. An Aspen Institute trustee, Eisner is, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, one of the 50 wealthiest Angelenos. Oddly, he isn’t ranked on the Forbes rich lists.

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Name: Christopher “Kit” Goldsbury
Net worth: $1.4 billion
Age: 71
Primary residence: San Antonio, Texas
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 1,271
Source of wealth: Salsa
Stake in Aspen: $14.9 million lower Castle Creek property
Notes: The Pace salsa king was a plaintiff in a lawsuit aimed at blocking a City of Aspen hydropower plant that would have diverted water from the creek that runs past his property, where Goldsbury has water rights. He once spent $20 million to tear down just-built condos overlooking his property.

0714 aerin lauder zinterhofer 47 b11ijt

Name: Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer
Net worth: $1.3 billion
Age: 44
Primary residence: New York
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 1,388
Source of wealth: Inherited, cosmetics
Stake in Aspen: $4.36 million Mountain Valley home
Notes: The niece of Leonard Lauder (see no. 9), Zinterhofer, who launched her own eponymous lifestyle brand in 2012, apparently wanted a simple Aspen home. “She chose to avoid the billionaire neighborhoods like Red Mountain and go for something more local and low-key,” her interior designer told Vogue.

0714 dan snyder 48 phpqml

Name: Dan Snyder
Net worth: $1.2 billion
Age: 49
Primary residence: Potomac, Maryland
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 1,444
Source of wealth: Marketing, private equity, Washington Redskins
Stake in Aspen: $14.42 million home near Buttermilk
Notes: A college dropout who made his first million at age 20 marketing to college students, Snyder’s private jet can be easily identified at Aspen/Pitkin County Airport—it sports the controversial logo of the Washington Redskins, the third most valuable NFL team, which Snyder bought in 1999.

0714 marc nathanson 49 qhw7zx

Name: Marc Nathanson
Net worth: $1.18 billion
Age: 69
Primary residence: Holmby Hills, California
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: N/A
Source of wealth: Communications, real estate, art
Stake in Aspen: Owns a $7.6 million home in Aspen
Notes: Nathanson, like Michael Eisner, doesn’t appear on Forbes’ s rich lists, but is one of L.A.’s wealthiest citizens, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal. The former cable company executive is an Aspen Institute trustee and his board bio notes that “he and his wife, Jane, reside in Los Angeles and Aspen.”

0714 evgeny shvidler 50 ruqsx5

Name: Evgeny (Eugene) Shvidler
Net worth: $1.1 billion
Age: 50
Primary residence: London
Forbes 400 ranking: N/A
Forbes World’s Billionaires ranking: 1,493
Source of wealth: Oil and gas, investments
Stake in Aspen: $6.8 million Two Creeks home
Notes: Russian-born Shvidler became a U.S. citizen in 1994 before returning to Russia to go into business with best buddy Roman Abramovich (see no. 7). Both bought homes in Snowmass in 2008, but Shvidler’s primary residence is now in England.

Existing-Home Sales at Highest Pace in 9 Years

Existing-Home Sales at Highest Pace in 9 Years
Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, June 22, 2016
All major U.S. regions except the Midwest saw an uptick in existing-home sales last month, the National Association of REALTORS® reported Wednesday. As tight inventories continue to plague many markets, the median sales price for all housing types climbed to an all-time high of $239,700 in May — up 4.7 percent from a year earlier — as buyer demand outweighs housing supply.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions for single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops, increased 1.8 percent month-over-month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.53 million in May. Sales are now up 4.5 percent from a year ago and are at the highest annual pace since February 2007. This is the third consecutive month for gains in existing-home sales.

“This spring’s sustained period of ultra-low mortgage rates has certainly been a worthy incentive to buy a home, but the primary driver in the increase in sales is more home owners realizing the equity they’ve accumulated in recent years and finally deciding to trade up or downsize,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “With first-time buyers still struggling to enter the market, repeat buyers using the proceeds from the sale of their previous home as their down payment are making up the bulk of home purchases right now.”

Yun says sales likely will maintain their current pace throughout the summer, assuming there are no further decreases in job growth that could prompt a pause among repeat buyers.

Here’s a closer look at how existing-home sales performed in May, according to NAR’s latest housing report:
•Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types was $239,700 in May, up 4.7 percent from a year ago. That also surpasses the previous peak in median sales prices of $236,300, set last June.
•Days on the market: Properties spent less time on the market in May, selling, on average, after 32 days. That’s below the average time on market a year ago (40 days) and the shortest time since NAR began tracking such data in May 2011. Forty-nine percent of homes sold in May were on the market for less than a month, also the highest percentage since May 2011. Short sales were on the market the longest, at a median of 103 days in May, while foreclosures sold in 51 days. Non-distressed homes took 30 days.
•Housing inventories: Total housing inventory at the end of May increased 1.4 percent month-over-month to 2.15 million existing homes for sale. That is 5.7 percent lower than a year ago. At the current sales pace, unsold inventory represents a 4.7-month supply.

“Existing inventory remains subdued throughout much of the country and continues to lag even last year’s deficient amount,” says Yun. “While new-home construction has thankfully crept higher so far this year, there’s still a glaring need for even more, to help alleviate the supply pressures that are severely limiting choices and pushing prices out of reach for plenty of prospective first-time buyers.”
•All-cash sales: Buyers paying in cash accounted for 22 percent of all transactions in May, down from 24 percent a year ago. Individual investors account for the biggest bulk of all-cash sales. Investors purchased 13 percent of homes in May, down from 14 percent a year ago.
•Distressed sales: Foreclosures and short sales dropped to 6 percent of all sales last month, down from 10 percent a year ago. Foreclosures comprised 5 percent of sales in May while short sales represented 1 percent of sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 12 percent below market value while short sales were discounted 11 percent.

Regional Snapshot

Here’s how existing-home sales fared across the country in May:
•Northeast: existing-home sales rose 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 770,000, and are now 11.6 percent above a year ago. Median price: $268,600, which is 0.1 percent below May 2015.
•Midwest: existing-home sales fell 6.5 percent to an annual rate of 1.3 million in May but are still 3.2 percent higher than a year ago. Median price: $190,000, up 4.8 percent from a year ago.
•South: existing-home sales rose 4.6 percent to an annual rate of 2.28 million in May and are now 6.5 percent above a year ago. Median price: $211,500, up 5.9 percent from a year ago.
•West: existing-home sales climbed 5.4 percent to an annual rate of 1.18 million in May but are still 1.7 percent lower than a year ago. Median price: $346,900, which is 7.7 percent above a year ago.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Talk real estate today with Ruth Kruger at 970-404-4000 or email at

5 Solid Property Investments This Year

5 Solid Property Investments This Year

Daily Real Estate News | Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Which property types are holding the most promise for investors this year? Experts from research firms Situs RERC, Reis Inc., Green Street Advisors, and Real Capital Analytics share with the National Real Estate Investor the property types that could prove to be the most profitable.

Investment Allure: Get Buyers on the Gravy Train

1. Senior housing: An aging population is making senior housing a good bet for investors. “Senior housing is experiencing upward demand, but with this property type, you can’t increase rent as rapidly as you can with multifamily,” notes Barbara Byrne Denham, a Reis economist.

2. Student housing: The pre-tax yield for student housing properties was 7.6 percent during the first quarter of this year, according to data from Situs RERC. “Student housing operations are generally in line with the long-term trend, and the sector’s defensive attributes have not gone unnoticed by investors,” says Andy McCulloch, managing director and head of real estate analytics at Green Street Advisors. He notes that student housing is the best performing sector year-to-date in the REIT space.

3. Warehouses: Big-box flex warehouse space is one of the healthiest industrial sub-sectors, which has been getting a lift from e-commerce tenants. “Against a backdrop of healthy demand boosted by e-commerce, market rent growth has been stronger than expected,” McCulloch told the National Real Estate Investor. “While new supply and obsolescence are always concerns for industrial, the sector’s future growth prospects look better than past performance would suggest.”

4. Neighborhood community centers: Situs RERC calls the neighborhood community center the second-best investment at the moment, right behind industrial warehouses. “Strip center tenants are generally healthier than mall tenants today, especially when putting department stores into the mix,” McCulloch notes. “While retailer bankruptcies are a continued nuisance in the strip sector, the lack of ground-up development points toward a continued improvement in operating fundamentals.”

5. Self-storage: The price appreciation within the self-storage industry has risen 16 percent over the past year, according to data from Green Street Advisors. “Storage continues to become more accepted as an institutional asset class, and operating fundamentals have been phenomenal,” says McCulloch. “Higher cap rates, solid NOI [net operating income] growth, and low cap-ex make self-storage a great business.”

Source: “Seven Property Types to Invest in This Year,” National Real Estate Investor (May 26, 2016)

Call Ruth Kruger today to discuss your real estate investments 970.404.4000 or

FIABCI President Ruth Kruger

President’s Message
Connecting for a Better World

Dear Friends,

“Connecting Development for a Better World” is theme of the 67th FIABCI World Congress in Panama. Connecting with you and our FIABCI colleagues around the world has been the highlight of my Presidency and why I joined FIABCI. I know the work we did and the connections we made – at the UN in New York, at the 66th World Congress in Malaysia, in Singapore, in Hawaii, in Dubai and in Nice – all contributed to growing FIABCI and our business opportunities.

I am ready to pass the President’s Gavel to Maire Rosol in Panama and focus on getting entries for this year’s Grand Prix Awards Competition. The Awards Gala will be in Aspen along with our Leadership Retreat this year. Over the last few years, I have been able to bring international recognition to four outstanding Aspen projects. The Grand Prix program is the easiest way for you to leverage your FIABCI membership. There is a deserving project in your home town. Raise your profile and secure an entry by August 31st. Click here for the entry form.

Thank you for your support over this past year, especially those who have served as leaders on the local, national and international levels. There is still more work to do and more connections to make. Now it’s your turn!


Ruth Kurger
2015-2016 President

What the Fed’s Decision Means for Housing

Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has kept a zero-interest rate policy in place. But on Wednesday, in a largely anticipated move, they voted to bring an end to that era and increased its benchmark short-term interest rate by 25 basis points from near zero.

The Fed made clear that it’s going to issue a gradual tightening cycle over the coming months. That likely means mortgage rates will inch slowly upward, though most economists are predicting that it shouldn’t unnerve the housing recovery.

“The interest rate is still low compared to historical standards,” Kevin Young, an analyst at IBISWorld in Los Angeles, told The New York Times.

The Fed controls the federal funds rate – also known as the short-term interest rate – that banks use to borrow money. That rate inadvertently ends up being passed on to consumers.

So what does the Fed’s latest move mean for the housing market?

Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, says that an uptick in short-term rates shouldn’t have a big effect on those looking to borrow in 2016. With rates going up by such a small amount, the Fed’s move actually could serve as a stimulant to the economy, he says.

“The raising of short-term rates could be more of a confidence play to the market — it provides a signal that the economy is strengthening, and to the degree that the Federal Reserve is providing [that signal] and the lenders believe that, it may actually provide more lending opportunity for the banks,” Yun says. “As a borrower, even for the short-term borrower, what difference does it really make whether one is borrowing at 0.1% or 0.2%, when the Fed Funds Rate is historically at 3.3% or 3.5%?”’

Read moreREITS and Rates: The Investor Landscape

Some economists are predicting the Fed to raise short-term rates incrementally about four times by the end of next year.

“But we don’t expect mortgage rates to track the short-term policy rates directly,” writes Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at®. “In fact, we’re likely to see mortgage rates increase by only half or two-thirds as much.” Mortgage rates tend to track trends in long-term bonds.

According to®’s 2016 forecast, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will likely average 4.65 percent by the end of next year. Last week, it averaged 3.93 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Still, Smoke says rates will likely be volatile day-to-day and week-to-week in the year ahead as the financial markets try to anticipate the timing of the Fed’s policy changes.

“On the positive side, the massive amount of news coverage on the Fed’s move will finally hit consumers to realize that we are at the end of the low-rate era and that rates are now on the move up,” Smoke writes. “We think this will influence fence-sitting buyers – and, more important, fence-sitting sellers who intend to buy as well – to act before rates get much higher.”

Source: “The Fed Finally Makes Its Move, Cautiously,”® (Dec. 16, 2015); “What the Fed Rate Hike Means for Mortgages,” National Mortgage News (Dec. 16, 2015); and “Housing Starts Rebound and Building Permits Hit 5-Month High,” The New York Times (Dec. 16, 2015)

To talk to real estate professional Ruth Kruger call directly at 970.404.4000 or email

FIABCI-USA Presents the Asia Pacific Real Estate Congress

Contact: Bill Endsley, Secretary General


September 1, 2015, Washington, DC

FIABCI-USA Presents the Asia Pacific Real Estate Congress

FIABCI-USA, the International Real Estate Federation – U.S. Chapter will host more than 100 high level international delegates from twelve Pacific Rim countries in Honolulu, HI, from September 10-12. With the theme “Success across the Pacific – New Development Concepts”, the FIABCI Asia Pacific Real Estate Congress (APREC) will examine key issues for the real estate profession and the planet including the need to focus new real estate development around active transportation hubs. Expert panels will discuss smart, sustainable and profitable urban planning and environmentally friendly luxury resort development. APREC will culminate in the Asia Pacific Panorama where professionals from Australia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and the US will provide cross border investment market updates.
Ma Ry Kim, Principal and Design Director at Group 70 International, an award winning design firm based in Honolulu, will present global trends in tropical resort development and FIABCI-USA President Ruth Kruger will introduce environmental innovations in Aspen ski resorts. “From the slopes to the surf, we’re taking a look at how luxury developers and operators can take the lead in reducing the environmental impact of their projects and educating the consumer on the need to rethink the way we work, play and live,” noted Ms. Kruger.
Additional content will include the Key Note Speech on investment trends in the region sponsored by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, the Asia Pacific Transit Oriented Development Summit sponsored by Pacific Resource Partnership and Allied Builders System and expert panels sponsored by Alain Pinel Realtors and D.R. Horton Home Builders that will include architects, attorneys, developers, government transportation officials as well as real estate brokers, valuers and managers.
Social highlights include a Welcome Reception sponsored by the Honolulu Board of Realtors, the FIABCI-USA Grand Prix of Real Estate Awards dinner sponsored by The Wall Street Journal, a networking lunch sponsored by Hard Rock Hotels, the Signature International Reception co-hosted with the Hawaii International Real Estate Council and the Aloha Dinner sponsored by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.
FIABCI-USA, the International Real Estate Federation – US Chapter provides access and opportunity for real estate professionals interested in gaining knowledge, sharing information and conducting international business. With members in 65 countries, including 100 Professional Associations, 65 Academic Institutions and 3,000 individual members from all professions of the real estate sector, FIABCI is the most representative organization of the real estate industry in the world and holds special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. For more information about FIABCI-USA use the contact above or visit

Ruth Kruger is attending the conference. For more information call 970.404.4000 or email

U.S. Home Prices Increase in 93% of Markets









U.S. home prices increased in about 93% of markets in the second quarter, according to the latest quarterly report from the National Association of Realtors.

The median price for an existing single-family home in the second quarter was up 8.2% from the second quarter of 2014.

The median price during the first quarter of this year increased 7.1% from a year earlier.

NAR says increasing home prices means many homeowners will see increasing equity in their properties, which, in turn, should spur more homeowners to sell. This, in turn, will help put more homes on the market, thus addressing the problem of low inventory that has been plaguing the housing market for more than a year.

Call Ruth Kruger today at 970.404.4000 or email at for all of your Real Estate needs.

9 Markets With the Highest Share of Equity

     Markets With the Highest Share of Equity

As home prices rise, more home owners in some parts of the country are seeing gains in equity.

Read more: Many Owners May Underestimate Their Equity

Nearly 20 percent of all properties with a mortgage are considered “equity rich,” according to RealtyTrac’s second quarter U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report. The number of equity-rich home owners with a mortgage has risen by 1 million compared to a year ago.

“Some are leveraging that equity into a higher LTV refinance or a move-up purchase, some may be downsizing into an all-cash purchase and some may be cashing out of home ownership altogether,” says Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s vice president.

Not surprisingly, the highest equity places tend to be in areas that have seen the largest increases in home prices. RealtyTrac reported the following major metro areas had the highest percentage of equity-rich properties:

  1. San Jose, Calif.: 43.8%
  2. San Francisco, Calif.: 38.3%
  3. Honolulu, Hawaii: 36.7%
  4. Los Angeles, Calif.: 32%
  5. New York: 30.7%
  6. Pittsburgh, Pa.: 29.4%
  7. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: 28%
  8. Oxnard, Calif.: 27.5%
  9. San Diego, Calif.: 26.9%

Source: “Shares of Seriously Underwater Foreclosure Properties Drops to New Low in Q2 2015,” RealtyTrac (July 29, 2015)

Buy or list your home today with Ruth Kruger call now 970.404.4000 or email

20 Hottest Housing Markets









The 20 Hottest Housing Markets Right Now

The U.S. housing market may be finding more balance, according to a new report from®. For the first three weeks in July, the median list price rose to $234,000 nationwide, up 7 percent year-over-year, while inventories of for-sale homes rose and the median days on the market increased to 69 days.

NAR’s latest housing report:Home Prices Reach an All-Time High
“This year we’re seeing inventory continue to grow in July, albeit at a slower pace than this spring,” says Jonathan Smoke,®’s chief economist. “And while demand overall is strong, the trend in median days on market is suggesting that the market is finding more of a balance, which bodes well for more moderate price appreciation in the months ahead.”

However, some housing markets continue to see rapid growth.® found that 20 markets receive 1.5 to three times the number of views per listing compared with the rest of the nation. Inventory in those markets is moving 24 to 41 days quicker than the national average.

“These hottest markets are the best in the country from both a supply and demand perspective,” Smoke says. “Sellers are seeing listings move much more quickly than the rest of the country and at an accelerating pace from just last month. Meanwhile, these markets are clearly attractive to buyers as the listings in these markets are viewed as much as three times more often than the national average.”

Here is®’s list for hottest housing markets in July:

1. San Francisco, Calif.
2. Denver, Colo.
3. Dallas, Texas
4. Vallejo, Calif.
5. Santa Rosa, Calif.
6. San Jose, Calif.
7. Midland, Texas
8. San Diego, Calif.
9. Ann Arbor, Mich.
10. Santa Cruz, Calif.
11. Detroit, Mich.
12. Sacramento, Calif.
13. Stockton, Calif.
14. Yuba City, Calif.
15. Columbus, Ohio
16. Austin, Texas
17. Los Angeles, Calif.
18. Oxnard, Calif.
19. San Antonio, Texas
20. Fort Wayne, Ind.
Source: “The 20 Hottest Real Estate Markets in July 2015,”® (Aug. 3, 2015)

Talk Real Estate with Ruth Kruger today 970.404.4000 or


Globalization of Real Estate

Speech delivered by Prakash Loungani
Advisor, Research Department at the IMF
2015 Global Real Estate Summit in Washington DC
July 8, 2015

Good afternoon. I am grateful to Professor Ko Wang of Johns Hopkins University for putting together this plenary session. And I welcome the many real estate associations—including the Global Chinese Real Estate Congress—that have come together to make this a truly unique event.

My remarks will focus on one aspect of the globalization of real estate markets, namely the role of foreign investors. We see frequent discussions of this in the media. For example, here is a recent column by Zoe Williams of The Guardian (Slide 2).

  • She complains that UK house prices—in London but also elsewhere—are “far beyond what people can afford” and that this is partly because houses are “going straight to mainly Asian investors”.


  • She worries that “when anybody from anywhere can buy a flat in your city, sooner or later the people who live and work in it won’t be able to afford to” and proposes the simple solution that the UK “ban the ownership of housing by foreign non-residents”.

What do we know about the role that foreign investors are playing in real estate markets? Anecdotally, there is indeed an increased role of foreign investors. It appears to be driven by three factors.

  • First, there has been an immense increase in wealth, particularly in emerging market economies.
  • Second, interest rates area at historical lows around much of the world, prompting a search for yield among other investments.
  • Third, in a few cases, increased geo-political risks are leading to safe haven flows to particular property markets. For instance, some research shows that has house price increases in London are correlated with increased political risk, which the authors argue drives capital inflows into real estate markets.

For the United States, we have a fair bit of survey evidence from the National Association of Realtors on the extent of foreign investments in real estate. These surveys reveal the following:

  • Foreign buyers accounted for over $100 billion of existing home sales, which is about 8 percent of the dollar volume of existing home sales and about 4 percent of the number of existing home sales. Of course, this means that foreign buyers are a more upscale group than domestic buyers: they buy houses with an average value of $500,000—twice the average value of a home sold to a domestic buyer.
  • Four U.S. states accounted for half of the sales to foreign buyers: Florida, California, Texas, and Arizona. About half of the foreign buyers came from five countries: Canada, China, Mexico, India, and the United Kingdom (Slide 3).

Just over half of the purchases by foreign buyers are all-cash purchases. Nationally, about 25 percent of existing home sales are all-cash purchases, with the remainder involving some form of mortgage financing. In contrast, about 55 percent of reported transactions with foreign buyers were all-cash sales (Slide 4).

While I have focused on the United States, there is also data available for a few other countries, such as Australia (Slide 5), which are the major destinations for foreign real estate investment.

The increases in foreign real estate investment present both opportunities and challenges. Housing has often been regarded as a prime example of a ‘non-traded’ good. As economists, we should welcome the increased opportunities for trade in housing, much as we would welcome any other form of international trade.

However, we also know from experience that the benefits of trade come with some short-run challenges. Let me mention a couple. The first is that, as in other forms of international trade, there are winners and losers from the increased trade in housing. In this case, the losers are often domestic buyers who could be getting shut out of particular property markets which are attractive to foreign buyers. Certainly we see many media reports of this kind as I noted at the outset of my remarks with the example from The Guardian. In some cases, the negative perceptions about foreign buyers are reinforced by allegations of fraudulent behavior. For instance, in Australia, foreign buyers are only permitted to buy new rather than existing residential property. But allegations of foreign buyers circumventing this rule have led the Australian government are to increase monitoring of foreign investment—including increased fines for those found to be in non-compliance—and an increase in application fees for foreign acquisitions to fund the additional monitoring.

We should take concerns about the possible short-run adverse effects of the globalization of real seriously. This is both the fair and pragmatic thing to do. At the same time, we should remind people of the long-term benefits from increased trade, and indeed even the short-run benefits. Consider the case of Spain. As is well-known, an over-investment in real estate was a source of the crisis in that country. But there may have been an over-correction as well, leading to a housing market that was too depressed relative to potential. But now, reports suggest that foreign investors are helping to drive a welcome recovery of Spain’s housing market.

The second challenge that foreign buyers can pose is to the conduct of macroprudential policy. In many countries, macroprudential tools have been used to contain housing booms. The most common tools are limits on loan-to-value (LTV) ratios and debt-to-income (DTI) ratios. Evidence thus far suggests that these measures are somewhat effective in cooling off both house prices and credit growth in the short run. However, as I noted earlier, many foreign purchases are cash-only transactions. Hence the limits on LTV and DTI ratios may not be effective against housing booms driven by increased housing demand from foreign cash inflows that bypass domestic credit intermediation. In such cases, other tools are needed. For instance, stamp duty has been imposed to cool down rising house prices in Hong Kong SAR and Singapore. Evidence shows that this fiscal tool did reduce demand from foreigners who were outside of the LTV and DTI regulatory perimeters. We may also need to consider what spillovers are generated from the presence of foreign investors and how to design macroprudential policies to deal with such spillovers (see Slide 6 for the general guidance given to IMF staff).

Global Housing Watch

Let me conclude with some remarks on recent developments in global housing markets and, given the interests of this audience, tell you a bit about the IMF’s views on housing markets in China.

Our Global House Price Index has been inching up for over two years now (Slide 8). After a brief correction at the onset of the Great Recession, many countries have seen robust growth in house prices over the past eight years (Slide 9-11). These include advanced economies—such as Australia, Canada and Norway—and many emerging economies in Asia and Latin America.

Now this does not mean that house prices are over-valued in these countries. Detecting over-valuation in housing markets requires detailed analysis and judgment. As part of their annual economic analysis of each economy, the IMF staff often does an assessment of the housing sectors as well.

Many in this audience may be interested in our view of China’s housing market. Given the size of the country, we of course have to take a more granular look in this case, using city-level and provincial data. Our country team has provided a comprehensive analysis in a working paper released just a few months ago. They find that prices have been moderating at both the national level and across all city tiers. On average, Tier II and Tier III/IV cities have performed the weakest; across geographical areas, the industrial Northeast and the Coast are experiencing the weakest price development (Slide 12).

The softening in prices reflects overbuilding across many cities. Inventory indicators point to a risk that construction has run ahead of demand in some regions. Based on historical data, higher excess supply is usually associated with lower real GDP growth across provinces (Slide 13). The transmission channel is likely through a slowdown in real estate investment, which was a key driver of growth as excess supply built up.

An orderly unwinding of this excess supply would be welcome. It will free up resources that can be used more efficiently in other parts of the economy, helping China moving towards its goal of a new and sustainable growth model. The key will be to allow this adjustment to take place, while avoiding a too sharp of an economic slowdown.

Let me summarize:

  • The global housing market has mounted a slow recovery overall. But the situation varies tremendously by country and calls for detailed country-level assessments. The IMF, as part of its annual economic reviews—our so-called Article IV consultations—has increasingly been carrying out such assessments. I provided an example of our analysis for China. Just this year alone, we have carried out assessments of housing markets in about 20 countries. I would recommend these reviews to you as a source of information and also to seek your feedback on how we can do better.
  • The panel discussion today focuses appropriately on an important development, the growing globalization of real estate markets. Like other forms of trade, this will confer long-term benefits. But, as I have argued, we need to be attentive to the short-run costs, particularly those imposed on some domestic buyers, and on the increased challenges for macroprudential policies.
  • Call Ruth Kruger today at 970.404.4000 or email to chat about globalization of real estate.