Discover What these Billionaires are Buying in Hawaii. A substantial portion of Hawaii has been acquired by dozens of ultra-rich investors, including Larry Ellison and Oprah Winfrey. To illustrate the extent of their property ownership.


Here is a breakdown of who owns what.

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About a year ago, Oprah Winfrey purchased 850 acres on Maui for $6.4 million, expanding her existing 1,280-acre property on the island. Situated inland, her mainly contiguous land stretches across green hills into a forest preserve on the Haleakala volcano slopes. Winfrey, residing in Hawaii for approximately four months annually, first acquired a ranch on Maui two decades ago. Her land remained unaffected during wildfires in Maui last August, and she has been working to conserve the mostly undeveloped area where cattle graze.

However, a luxury real estate surge during the pandemic, leading to soaring housing prices, has heightened tensions between Hawaiians and wealthy out-of-state landowners. This tension prompted the introduction of a controversial bill last week, seeking to prohibit non-Americans from buying land in Hawaii. Despite her relief efforts after the fires, Winfrey faced criticism for filming and soliciting public funds, diverting attention away from Maui.

Forbes delved into property records across Hawaii’s six major islands to unravel the extent of America’s richest individuals owning land in the state. The findings revealed that just 37 billionaires possess a minimum of 218,000 acres, equivalent to 5.3% of the state’s total land and 11.1% of all non-government-owned land. It’s worth noting that these figures might be underestimated due to the efforts these Rich folks make to obscure their ownership. Essentially, this small group, constituting only 0.003% of the country’s population, owns 11% of its private land.

While some rich folks have deep community ties, such as Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, others like Meta co-founder Mark Zuckerberg appear more focused on privacy. Larry Ellison, Oracle co-founder, and Hawaii’s largest Rich landowner, aims to transform Lanai into a model for sustainability. Ellison purchased about 97% of Lanai for $300 million in 2012.

Other notable Rich folks landowners include AOL co-founder Steve Case, Malaysian tycoon Quek Leng Chan, health-and-wellness business founder Frank VanderSloot, real estate mogul Neil Bluhm, former cigarette entrepreneur William Foley, Meta co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Japan’s richest man, Tadashi Yanai.

These Rich folks collectively own 11% of the country’s private land, reflecting a growing trend of the country becoming a playground for the wealthy.


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