How Property Developers Are Richer Than The Average Rich Lister

Property developers have emerged as the wealthiest members of the 2015 BRW Young Rich List, with an average wealth of $191 million compared to $106 million for the list as a whole.

Ten property developers made the list, led by the highest debutant, Perth-based Paul Blackburne, who was the third richest member with a wealth of $536 million.

They are heavily skewed towards apartment developers and geographically, towards Melbourne and Perth

The BRW Rich List and others like it attract our attention every year and are endlessly fascinating but it is worth keeping in mind that that the wealth estimates are little more than guesses.apartment idea develop build city move plan city building inspect urban

Many of the figures are supplied by the subjects themselves and their public relations firms, and are impossible to verify.

This is especially the case with business people whose assets are privately held and whose debts are not publicly available.

Meanwhile, there are many wealthy people who should make the list but go out of their way to avoid inclusion.

These two factors explain how someone can suddenly “debut” with more than $500 million in wealth, even though the minimum for inclusion the previous year was just $19 million.

Below, we have ranked the property developers in descending order of estimated wealth for your convenience.

1. Paul Blackburne, 39, Perth

$536 million, debut,

Mr Blackburne is the owner of Blackburne Property Group, the largest apartment developer in Perth.

The group specialises in top end apartment blocks.

2. Jonathan Hallinan, 40, Melbourne

$441 million, last year $113 million

Hallinan made his money as an apartment builder in Melbourne and is now heading to Los Angeles.

His BPM Construction and Development Group is transitioning from boutique to larger scale development.

Hallinan also owns Queensland company CEC

3. Tim Gurner, 33, Melbourne

$431 million, last year $77 million

Gurner is a luxury apartment builder who started in Melbourne but is now re-weighting his development portfolio towards Brisbane.

In the year to June he launched projects with an estimated final value of $980 million.

4. Luke Hartman, 39, Melbourne

$168 million, last year $92 million

Hartman is CEO of Brisbane-based apartment developer Metro Property Development which he co-founded with property veterans David Devine and Ken Woodley.

Earlier this year he pulled the planned float of the company at the last minute after failing to win sufficient investor support.

5. Paul Fridman, 39, Melbourne

$90 million, last year $78 million

Fridmans’ Fridcorp is a Melbourne-based apartment developer which is moving into Sydney and Brisbane.

Fridman started Fridcorp in 1997 aged 20, and was later backed by Daniel Besen of the billionaire Besen family.

6. Ronnie Elhaj, 38, Perth

$73 million, last year $68 million

Cairo-born Elhaj is founder and director of developer Nicheliving.

He says that singing love songs is one way he deals with the stress of running a business empire and regularly performs publicly.

7. Nick Georgalis, 39, Canberra

$72 million, last year $27 million

Georgalis is the founder of apartment builder Geocon.

The group is currently building Canberra’s tallest residential building, Wayfarer at Belconnen.

Geocon also owns and sells commercial space in its developments.

8. Paul Fischmann, 40, Sydney

$43 million, last year $42 million

Fischmann is the founder and CEO of the 8Hotels Group and has made his money in the hotel management industry.

The company owns and operates boutique hotels around Australia and apartments in Paris.

Before 8Hotels, Fischmann owned a chain of backpacker hostels.

9. Marcus Gilmore, 40, Perth

$35 million, last year $35 million

Gilmore is a former property analyst for JLW Advisory who is now CEO of MLG Realty, which offers residential property sales, marketing and research.

Gilmore also owns the Newman Hotel in the Pilbara.

10. Allister Lewison, 38, Melbourne

$24 million, debut

Lewison founded Open Corp, which manages funds and specialises in syndications of residential, commercial and industrial property.

Want more of this type of information?

Adam Di Marco


This article was recently featured on Adam is also a director of Brisbane-based investment, management and development firm, Marquette Properties.

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