The U.S. has the highest number of billionaires in the world. With over 540 billionaires, at a combined net worth of $2.399 trillion, the country’s vast majority of ultra-rich individuals reside in three top global cities. Florida’s uber-wealthyresidents have a combined net worth of over $141.9 billion split among 40 billionaires, making the state the 3rd most popular state for the high net worth investors coming in after California, and New York. UBS listed New York City with the most number of billionaires at 103.
According to the Forbes 400, a list of wealth in America that profiles the net worth of the world’s billionaires, Florida’s richest person, with a net worth of $12.6 B, is Thomas Peterffy of Palm Beach, Fl, whose source of income is listed as a discount brokerage. According to Forbes, technology generated the majority of California’s wealth, New York billionaires earned their fortunes on Wall Street, and energy minted the billionaires of Texas, the city that was surpassed this year by Florida. Real Estate and investments are the top contributing sources of income for Florida’s high net-worth individuals.
Five years ago, Florida was home to just 29 billionaires on the Forbes 400, but South Florida’s recent domination of the Real Estate market has almost doubled that number as more billionaires flock to the tri-county area. Developer and investors Jorge Perez, Dirk Ziff, Igor Olenicoff, Jeff Greene, and George Lindemann round up the top 5billionaires who made their fortune in Real Estate. Billionaires have been eyeing the city for investments as well. Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega, best known in the U.S. for the Zara fashion chain, who’s estimated net worth is $67 billion, has made several real estate investments spending $370 million in 2015 for an entire block of Lincoln Road retail space on Miami Beach.
The safety of the Florida’s real estate market for wealthy national and international investors is one of main reasons the ultra-rich gravitate to the Sunshine state. Florida is now one of the most highly visible and attractive places to live and invest for many other billionaires, investors and entrepreneurs due to state’s lack of state income and estate and inheritance taxes as well as its favorable economic conditions and bankruptcy laws, which protect personal real estate from seizure, according to reports. In an article by Forbes, Aparna Mathur, a resident scholar of economic policy at the American Enterprise Institute, is quoted: “It has a lot more to do with general business conditions (in Florida) and the markets and cost considerations, and so on. I think taxes, too, play a role. As more billionaires move to Florida to enjoy the state’s economic climate and stability, as well as the perks of luxury lifestyle and yearly sunshine, it becomes a more attractive destination for more international ultra high net worth investors, looking to grow their business ventures and investments.
Males dominate the billionaire list, and of the 40 billionaires residing in Florida only two are women. Katherine Tanner, worth $1.8 billion, made her fortune via inheritance of Cargill, the largest private company in America; and Carol Jenkins Barnett, worth $1.7 billion, is heir to Publix Super Market, as the daughter of George Jenkins, founder of the grocery chain.