Into the top half of the list, the power only gets stronger among this group.
Wholly controlled by Sean Mulryan and his family, Ballymore remains one of Europe’s most respected residential developers and it owns some of the most exciting sites around. It is due to deliver more than 3,000 units at Royal Wharf in east London, 1,750 homes at Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms and 800 homes at Goodluck Hope, near Canary Wharf.
Thanks to an impressive development pipeline, Mulryan has steered the group towards financial stability. Late last year, the firm exited Nama after paying back €3.2bn in gross debt, a huge achievement for which Mulryan deserves a lot of credit.
As chief executive of M&G Real Estate, Alex Jeffrey is responsible for a global property portfolio worth more than £26bn. He has helped grow the business from around £15bn in assets under management in the five years since joining from MGPA, where he was global investment officer.
Over the past year, M&G has invested heavily in continental Europe through its growing open-ended fund and a long-income fund launched last year. In the UK, the fund manager has also been active across a range of sectors, including BTR, where since launching into the sector in 2013, it has committed more than £500m of equity.
A true political heavyweight. Sir Edward Lister moved from City Hall to Whitehall last year, becoming chair of the HCA. The move has given the organisation more clout than it has had in recent memory: it is no coincidence that since his appointment the HCA has become central to the government’s solution to the housing crisis, commissioning homes and underwriting development.
Lister is a veteran of the industry but has shown he is not afraid of innovation - indeed, his dedication to modular housing, SME builders and new types of partnerships with developers may well prove to be a lifesaver for the government.
Alistair Elliott oversaw a 5% rise in global revenue at Knight Frank for the year to the end of March 2017 and continues to seek expansion opportunities throughout the UK and beyond. The firm benefited from the Deloitte Real Estate fallout, snapping up its 50-strong asset and property management team, led by Julian Stocks. Elliott has also led Knight Frank’s investment in improving technology and IT.
Investment priorities include extending the capital markets team in Asia and expanding the breadth of the business in Europe. In the UK, the firm is focusing on lettings, consultancy and specialist sectors.
The former senior vice-president of Jones Lang LaSalle joined VTS in 2013. Back then, few people in the UK had heard of the asset management software firm, but that all changed towards the end of 2016 when VTS merged with rival Hightower in one of the most talked-about deals of the year.
The new entity, which took on the VTS name and is headed by Ryan Masiello, Brandon Weber and Nick Romito, is thought to be worth in excess of $300bn and has a customer base managing north of 5bn sq ft of commercial property globally.
The firm’s software gives landlords and owners real-time analytics about their portfolios.
Miguel McKelvey co-founded global workspace provider WeWork in 2010 with chief executive Adam Neumann. Since then, it has become one of the UK’s fastest-growing occupiers, sealing deals on more than 1.2m sq ft of office space in London alone since it signed for its first office in the capital in 2014. Globally, it has snapped up more than 10m sq ft of space.
The company currently operates from 14 locations in the capital with six further buildings in the pipeline and it recently announced its first UK office outside London where it has pre-let a 60,000 sq ft at Allied London’s No.1 Spinningfields in Manchester.
David Partridge was appointed joint chief executive in 2006 and managing partner of the new Argent LLP in 2012. He is also joint chief executive of the recently established Argent Related Partnership.
Argent’s reinvention of King’s Cross has already achieved legendary status and last month, after several false starts, Google submitted plans for its enormous King’s Cross campus
The last year has also seen Barnet council sign an agreement with development partners Argent Related, Hammerson and Standard Life Investments for the huge Brent Cross Cricklewood scheme. The deal means the project, which includes 7,500 homes and a train station, can at long last proceed.
Although profits were down last year, Ireland oversaw strong revenue growth at JLL. Revenue in the UK operations of the global business rocketed 28.1% to £765m.
This year, the group has also been involved in some of the UK’s biggest deals, including Brookfield’s £410m sale of 20 Canada Square in Canary Wharf
to Chinese firm Cheung Kei Group.
On the residential side, JLL advised St Modwen and Vinci on the sale of their 1,900-home site in Nine Elms to Wanda Commercial Properties for £470m.
Ireland has also been outspoken on issues such as conflicts of interest.
The mayor of London has earned mixed reviews on his first year in the job.
While he and his team have been praised for offering to fast-track development where developers agree to build 35% affordable housing, he has been criticised for his failure to directly engage with the development sector - in stark contrast to his deputy mayor in charge of housing, James Murray.
He has also been questioned on his leadership, delivery on election promises, proactivity in releasing land and ability to galvanise local authorities into action. He has much to prove with The London Plan, which is due later this year.
The fact that the brothers sit atop of The Sunday Times Rich List is partly due to their success in the property investment arena. The wealth of the Indian-born brothers is put at £16.2bn, up £3.2bn from last year.
Among their substantial property holdings is the Old War Office in Westminster, which the brothers acquired alongside Obrascón Huarte Lain in December 2014. Just last month, it was revealed Raffles Hotels & Resorts will operate the luxury hotel. The brothers made their fortune from the oil and gas, automotive, IT, energy, media, banking, property and healthcare sectors.
The brothers are two of the key backers behind data centre giant Global Switch and have had a busy year to date.
Just last month, Global Switch raised £871m from two bond issues. In January, the brothers - whose combined wealth is estimated at around £14bn - also agreed to provide the necessary financing to take London’s landmark hotel Grosvenor House out of administration.
In London, the brothers own a whole host of real estate assets, including Millbank Tower in Westminster, John Lewis’s head office in Victoria Street and the Piccadilly Estate, including the In and Out Club at 94 Piccadilly, which it was recently revealed they plan to restore as a five-star hotel.
Alison Nimmo’s background is in major development projects. In previous roles, she worked on the regeneration of Manchester city centre following the IRA bombing in 1996 and more recently, before becoming chief executive of The Crown Estate in 2012, she oversaw the planning and development of the Olympic Park.
As chief executive of The Crown Estate, she has put her experience to good work, driving the completion of the largest development pipeline in the business’s history. This has helped deliver some impressive financial results. In 2016-17, The Crown Estate notched up a total return of 8.1%, well ahead of the IPD/MSCI benchmark return of 4.4%.
Rob Tincknell landed the biggest deal of 2016 when Battersea Power Station Development Company signed up US tech giant Apple to the famous Boiler House at the development.
The 500,000 sq ft deal, which will see 1,400 Apple employees based at the scheme when it opens in 2021, is not only huge in square footage terms, it is also huge for the future of the scheme going forward.
Tincknell will be hoping to maintain the positive momentum the deal has given the scheme - especially after the backlash that followed its decision to cut the affordable housing from 636 to 386 homes.
Since his appointment in 2009, David Atkins has overseen a transformational period for Hammerson that has seen the landlord exit offices to concentrate purely on retail; undergo a major rebrand; and up sticks from Grosvenor Street to a modern base in King’s Cross.
Last year, Hammerson opened the £165m Victoria Gate shopping centre in Leeds, bringing a John Lewis department store to the city for the first time, and acquired Birmingham’s Grand Central for £335m.
Next, it will embark on the redevelopment of Brent Cross and the planned Westfield shopping centre in Croydon, each of which have a GDV of £1.4bn.
Mark Ridley consolidated Savills’ position among the top agencies with a 3.2% rise in revenue to £578.3m in the UK last year.
Unlike some of its rivals, Savills also grew UK profits despite the slowdown in the investment market. The company has been involved in some of the largest investment deals over the course of the past 12 months, including Great Portland Estates’ £435m sale of Rathbone Square.
And in a year when the industrial sector took centre stage, Savills scooped the Industrial Agency of the Year awardat the Property Awards.
It has been a stellar year for CBRE, as it strengthened its position as number one in Property Week’s Agency Survey. Ciaran Bird helped steer the firm to a whopping 41.1% leap in revenue to £1.4bn in the UK.
CBRE has made no secret of its determination to lead the industry when it comes to proptech, not least with the launch of its online deal platformDeal Flow.
Its dominance of many of London’s biggest West End investment deals also continued, not least when it joined Savills in advising on the sale of Rathbone Square by Great Portland Estates to Deka and WestInvest.
Having joined Greystar from Grainger in 2015, Michela Hancock has focused on transferring the US multi-family model to the UK.
She is a leading voice in the BTR sector and in the past year has targeted a pipeline of projects in London, including Sailmakers in Canary Wharf and Greenford in Ealing - the first residential scheme in the UK to be designed as a multi-family development from the outset.
Through her work on the BPF BTR committee and board of the UK Apartment Association, she is seeking to raise the profile of the sector in both the property industry and in local and national government.
The public sector is notoriously slow to agree deals, but the GPU has somewhat bucked the trend.
In its effort to drive savings across government land and property, the organisation, under the watchful eye of Sherin Aminossehe, has secured some of the most high-profile office deals of the past year, including a 560,000 sq ft letting in Canary Wharf and 300,000 sq ft letting in Cardiff. It is also closing in on a near-400,000 sq ft deal in Leeds.
As the GPU remodels itself with a new team to focus on asset management, Aminossehe’s leadership will only become more important.
Mike Prew’s bearish views and willingness to challenge consensus set him apart from other real estate analysts. His ‘Punctuated Equilibrium’ investor note calling the top of the market in August 2015 was dismissed by many as premature.
However, a lot of his predictions turned out to be spot on. Shareholders who heeded his ‘sell’ calls in 2015 got out just as property company share prices peaked - they began to tumble towards the end of that year. And helped by the unexpected outcome of the EU referendum, capital values dipped by about 1% in 2016 - exactly as he had predicted.
Charged with representing the interests of property to both government and the general public, Melanie Leech has one of the most important roles in the industry.
A notable success came in March this year, when a campaign by the BPF successfully persuaded the government to make revisions to legislation on tax relief for interest costs that helped to address potentially damaging and unintended consequences for property developers and investors.
Under Leech’s leadership, the BPF has also campaigned on what the industry needs from Brexit and played a key role in supporting the rise of the BTR sector.