Who are the people setting the agenda in the U.S. real estate market? As Bloomberg BusinessWeek found out, the answer is complicated and can be approached only from a range of perspectives. We spoke with industry experts about an array of functions—economists, government officials, heads of industry organizations, bankers, insurers, brokers, homebuilders, property managers, investors, and property owners—and selected 50 people we believe are leading the economic recovery or carry particular clout in shaping the landscape for homeownership.
This report focuses on the residential sector, but we could not avoid including some of the country's largest investors in commercial and retail properties who play an important role in overall real estate. As scale and influence go hand and hand, many of the people listed run some of the country’s largest companies; others manage millions of acres of land. Yet power does not come only from size; it also comes from thinking—noted economists and academics, for example, provide critical intelligence and advice to policymakers. Of course, the government has expanded its role in homeownership and officials have tremendous authority. Some individuals on the list have been on the job for little more than a few months, while others have done it for decades. Still, all currently hold positions in which their decisions and actions will affect homeowners and real estate professionals.