William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

10 Black Real Estate Moguls That You Need To Know

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

William Huston, AIF®, AIFA®

10 Black Real Estate Moguls That You Need To Know

The real estate industry is one of the most lucrative and competitive fields, and for a long time, it has been largely White dominated. However, there are several Black real estate moguls who have broken barriers to achieve remarkable success in this industry.

These individuals have overcome obstacles such as racial discrimination and lack of access to resources to build successful businesses and create a path for other Black professionals to follow. In this blog, we will highlight the stories of some of the most successful Black real estate moguls, discussing their backgrounds, the challenges they faced and the strategies they used to become industry leaders.

Black real estate moguls
Key Takeaways
  • Owning a home or property in general, is considered a huge part of "The American Dream" by many
  • The market size of the real estate sales brokerage industry in the U.S. in 2023 is $222.3 billion
  • 10 Black Real Estate Moguls in the real estate industry are: Ila Corcoran, Anderson Hunt (A.H.) Brown, Biddy Mason, Don Peebles, Ernestine Johnson and Johnetta G. Paye, Kenneth H. Fearn, Lisa Phillips, Quintin Primo, Robert L. Johnson and Tenisha Williams

The contents of this article are for educational purposes only. They are not intended to be a source of professional financial advice. You will find experts on financial planning and financial management here. More on disclaimers here.

The American Dream

Owning a home or property in general, is considered a huge part of "The American Dream" by many.

In 2023, it is reported that the market size of the real estate sales brokerage industry in the U.S. is $222.3 billion.

Historically, the real estate industry has predominantly been led by White men. According to a 2017 study by Bella Research Group and the Knight Foundation, more than 75% of senior executive jobs in the U.S. commercial real estate industry were held by White men, while only 1.3% were held by Black men. In addition to that, White women held 14.1%, while women of color held fewer than 1% of senior executive-level jobs.

Alongside the real estate boom, things have shifted and Black excellence is on the rise. Here are 10 Black real estate moguls that you should know about.

Ila Corcoran

Ila Corcoran

Ila Corcoran is the SVP, Real Estate Operations at Bay Street Capital Holdings and a licensed Realtor who ventured into the real estate industry after her family experienced foreclosure. As a result of this, she opted to become an investment advisor who focused on real estate transactions, at a pretty young age. She began her journey as a real estate agent with a sharp focus on helping BIPOC families secure housing.

Over time, her career path has taken many forms. She started out in apartment management and leasing and then later transitioned to become a residential real estate agent. She wanted to develop career capital that would propel her into the opportunities systematically unavailable to her community.

With a desire to be at the forefront of innovative solutions to a traditional industry, Ila’s career developed substantially during her work with a start-up focused on a modern approach to buying, selling, and financing real estate. She worked as a key stakeholder in developing a platform of over 70,000 real estate professionals, helping them and their clients maximize their investments.

Driven by the need to help people create security through housing and home ownership, Ila worked with 9 of the leading home builders in Southern California for a year, facilitating the purchase and sale of newly constructed housing and starting a real estate portfolio of her own. For 2 years she’s worked closely with homeowners and real estate professionals to help them maximize their investments, and avoid the threats of discount buyers and/or foreclosure. In 2021 alone, she led a team to close more than $80m in transaction volume across numerous states.

She is now taking new clients in 2023 who are interested in working on their real estate needs and or financial goals. She is of the belief that financial/ housing security is a right that all people deserve. To get in touch with Ila, contact her here. If you're among the many first time investors entering the real estate market this year, she'll help you identify commercially viable properties and more..

During her free time, she enjoys serving apartment communities across Los Angeles that are dedicated to helping those experiencing homelessness.

Anderson Hunt (A.H.) Brown

Anderson Hunt (A.H.) Brown

Born in 1880, Mr. Brown built his real estate empire out of the frustration for lack of affordable housing for Black families.

Together with other African American developers, they committed themselves to catering to the needs of the underserved communities. At the time, there were other developers doing the same work but would exploit Black clients who had very few rights or options of where to live.

Like other distinct Black developers, Mr. Brown had created his wealth from providing good quality housing to people who had been living in conditions that are similar to those in slum areas. This model enabled Black realtors like Philip A. Payton Jr. in Harlem and Jesse Binga in Chicago, to thrive and build their holdings in the early 20th Century.

Mr. Brown developed residential properties, commercial properties and leased office space. These spaces were designed for his fellow Black entrepreneurs in Charleston. He ended up creating one of the earliest Black-owned shared work spaces.

By the time of his death in 1974 at the age of 94, Mr. Brown had owned and managed roughly 100 properties.

Biddy Mason

Biddy Mason

Bridget Biddy Mason is considered an American Hero.

Born enslaved in 1818 in Georgia, she became a real estate mogul in Los Angeles even before the term was coined. She became one of the first well known Black citizens to become a land owner in the 1850s and 1860s. She was also the founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles in 1872.

By the time she passed away in 1891, she had amassed wealth that was worth $300,000 at the time. She owned multiple properties in what is now the heart of Los Angeles.

Mason's life and her journey to becoming one of the early Black real estate moguls is an incredible one that more people should know of.

Don Peebles

Don Peebles

Don Peebles is considered as one of the most successful African American real estate moguls. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of The Peebles Corporation.

The company is a privately held national real estate investment and development company. Its specialty lies in residential, hospitality, retail and mixed-use commercial properties. The company's corporate offices are located in New York City, Miami, and Washington D.C.

Mr. Peebles has managed to build a successful empire as a result of his dedication to providing quality real estate services to the African American demographic. The company is keen to develop projects that transform communities.

The Peebles Corporation boasts of a portfolio of active and completed developments which total to 10+ million square feet and $8 billion in the gateway cities of New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

For over 35 years, the company has developed high profile assets guided by the principles of Affirmative Development™ to help empower women and the African American community at large create generational wealth and close the wealth gap.

Mr. Peebles is very passionate and advocates for mentoring programs that expose youth to the value and importance of entrepreneurship.

Ernestine Johnson and Johnetta G. Paye

Ernestine Johnson and Johnetta G. Paye

Ernestine Johnson and Johnetta G. Paye are the two Black women in real estate who play the main role in Tulsa Real Estate Fund (TREF). TREF is the first African American-Owned real estate crowdfunding platform. Johnson is the co-founder and chief communications officer while Paye acts as lead counsel and VP of business affairs.

TREF was founded to help individuals in low-income neighborhoods tackle gentrification by making real estate investments at as low as $500. This would enable communities in these neighborhoods to have access to affordable housing.

To get her start in real estate, Johnson began by investing in run-down homes in Atlanta. Among the challenges that she faced in her career was people telling her that she couldn't achieve what she wanted to. However, she quickly learned how to create her own doors and create a path for others. She works by identifying gaps in the market and then she comes up with a way to fill them.

She co-founded the Tulsa Real Estate Fund together with her husband in order to educate people in underserved and working-class communities on financial empowerment and financial literacy. Out of the need to change her life as a person brought up in a low-income, high-rise housing complex, she has now become one of the successful women in the real estate business.

Kenneth H. Fearn

Kenneth H. Fearn

Kenneth is the founder and managing partner at Integrated Capital. The company is a is a hotel-focused private real estate advisory and investment firm based in Los Angeles, California.

The private equity real estate firm mainly operates within the hospitality industry. So far, it has acquired more than $500 million in hospitality assets in primary and secondary markets across the United States. Some of the brands include: Residence Inn, Courtyard, Marriott, Doubletree, Sheraton, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn.

Fearn sits on the board of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

Lisa Phillips

Lisa Phillips

Lisa Phillips is the founder of Affordable Real Estate Investments. She works with Black professionals with middle-income jobs understand how to buy and rent out homes whose value has sunk to under $30,000, typically in majority Black and brown neighborhoods.

She got into real estate investing is after she experienced foreclosure in Las Vegas, NV. Lisa was left with no job but she had a 35k condo and just enough money to renovate the place herself to stretch her unemployment cheque.

This experience helped her have have a proper foundation and know the costs associated with repairing and maintaining a home. She also came to the realization that you can actually own affordable real estate that costs you 35k or less and also how you can make money from it.

It is with this knowledge that she continues to help African American Professionals build profitable rental property portfolios. Her aim is to tech people how they can get into real estate investing affordably for high profits and cash flow. She encourages her clients to put back money into their communities as this creates value for everyone.

Quintin Primo

Quintin Primo

Quintin Primo is the founder Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Capri Investment Group. The firm is one of the largest Black-owned real estate investment management firms in the U.S.

The company manages approximately $3.7 billion in in assets. Capri actively invests in major property sectors and markets throughout the U.S., and is seeking to provide investment solutions for its institutional clients. The company is currently expanding overseas in the emerging markets of Africa, India and the Middle East.

Together with his wife Diane, they support the Primo Center for Women and Children a transitional homeless shelter on Chicago’s west side founded by Quintin’s father. They both sit on the All Chicago boards.

Robert L. Johnson

Robert L. Johnson

Robert L. Johnson is the Founder and Chairman of RLJ Lodging Trust, a real estate investment trust company, LLC. Before he established the firm, he was the founder and Chairman of BET (Black Entertainment Television), the first Black-owned cable television network in the U.S. In 2001, Johnson sold BET to Viacom for roughly $3 billion.

As an innovative business man, Johnson owns or holds interests in businesses operating in hotel real estate, private equity, 401k fintech services, automobile dealerships, content streaming, gaming and sports betting.

In 2011, RLJ Lodging Trust, a hotel real estate investment trust (REIT) went public.

In July 2007, Johnson was named, by USA Today, one of "The 25 Most Influential Business Leaders of the Past 25 Years."

Tenisha Williams

Tenisha Williams

Tenisha Williams is the founder and CEO of Elite Realty Partners Inc, the largest Black-owned, woman-owned real estate brokerage firm in South Florida.

In just two years, she has managed to create a team of over 150real estate agents who collectively have sold over $130 million in sales.

Her clientele is made up of people from diverse backgrounds with an emphasis on technology, finance, medicine, law, business and real estate. She attributes the growth of her business to referrals from her happy clients who have in turn introduced their friends and family.

As a company, their aim is to deliver excellent results to their clients, as well as accord them an enjoyable experience.

As a recent awardee of the Top 20 Under 40 with the Miami Association of Realtors® Young Professionals Network, it is a privilege and honor to impact my generation for the greater good.

Outside of real estate, her family is her number one priority. She is very motivated to build and leave a legacy.

Bay Street Capital Holdings

Logo - Bay Street Capital Holdings

Bay Street Capital Holdings is an independent investment advisory, wealth management, and financial planning firm headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. Founded by William Huston founded Bay Street after 13 years of supporting the United States' largest retirement plan ($650B) Thrift Savings Plan, the firm specializes in managing portfolios with the goal of maintaining and increasing total assets and income with a high priority on managing total risk and volatility.

In Scottsdale Arizona, Ekenna Anya-Gafu CFP, AAMS is recognized among the Best Financial Advisors for his responsiveness, friendliness, helpfulness, and detail. Bay Street was founded to advocate for diverse and emerging fund managers and entrepreneurs.









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