Whenever we think of making an investment, one of the top options that come to our mind is buying a piece of land. It is regarded as a safe investment because land is limited in supply, and its price continue to appreciate. Our planet has about 36.8 billion acres of inhabitable land, and a large amount of this is owned by a few wealthy groups. If you ever wondered who owns the most land globally, then detailed below are the 10 biggest private landowners.
10 Biggest Private Landowners
Our list of the 10 biggest private landowners is based on the 2020 U.S. Land Report 100 and other sources. Following are the 10 biggest private landowners:
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MacLachlan family (5 million hectares)
The Jumbuck Pastoral Company, which was founded by patriarch H P MacLachlan in 1888, owns all this land. It is an Australian farming business, which is also the country's chief supplier of wool. The company owns more than five million hectares of land in the form of 11 properties. Also, the company operates several cattle and sheep stations in South and Western Australia, as well as the Northern Territory.
Handbury Group (5.28 million hectares)
This eponymous family group is headed by Paddy Handbury, who is the nephew of media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Handbury Group owns Western Australia's The Rises, and Arcoona Cattle Station and Wagyu cattle property Swinging Shovel in South Australia. Paddy Handbury’s father, who was one of Australia’s greatest philanthropist, died in 2019.
North Australian Pastoral Company (6 million hectares)
Founded in 1877, it is among the biggest cattle companies. Also, it is one of Australia's oldest cattle companies, as well as a leading national beef producer. The company has millions of hectares of land in Queensland and the Northern Territory. Also, it has a 1.6 million-hectare farm in Alexandria, which has around 55,000 head of cattle. It is popular for developing Alexandria and Kynuna cattle composites.
Joe Lewis & various shareholders (6.4 million hectares)
Lewis is a British businessman and investor. He owns the Tavistock Group and has more than 200 assets across 10 countries. Lewis also owns London Premiere League soccer team Tottenham Hotspur and also has a stake in Mitchells & Butlers, a UK pub operator. His other investments are luxury club resort Albany, restaurants, hotels, as well as an Australian agriculture firm. As per Forbes, he has a net worth of more than $5.2 billion.
Zhongding Dairy Farming & Severny Bur shareholders (9.1 million hectares)
Located in China, it is the world's largest farm. This farm is jointly owned by Russia's Severny Bur and China's Zhongding Dairy Farming. It is the size of Portugal and is home to about 100,000 cows, giving it the ability to supply about 800 million liters of milk a year. This farm also supplies to Russia.
Inuvialuit of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (9.1 million hectares)
Following the Western Arctic (Inuvialuit) Claims Settlement Act signed in 1984, the Inuvialuit living in Canada’s western Arctic hold title to this land. This region is abbreviated as ISR, and includes several regions, such as the northern portion of Yukon, the northwest portion of the Northwest Territories, Beaufort Sea, and Mackenzie River delta. The logo of the region is a gyrfalcon, which is the biggest falcon in the world.
Gina Rinehart (9.7 million hectares)
Rinehart is Australia's wealthiest person, who built her wealth on iron ore. She is the daughter of high profile iron-ore explorer Lang Hancock. Rinehart’s properties are spread across the country. In 2016, Rinehart partnered with China's Shanghai CRED Pastoral to acquire a significant share of S. Kidman & Co. The mining magnate is also Australia's third-largest cattle producer. As per Forbes, her net worth is more than $17 billion.
The Inuit people of Nunavut (35.3 million hectares)
This land was given by the Canadian Government under the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement in 1993. Nunavut was created in 1999 out of the eastern portion of the Northwest Territories. It comprises the traditional lands of the Inuit, who are the indigenous peoples of Arctic Canada. Nunavut is comprised of two physiographic regions – the Canadian Shield and the Arctic Archipelago in the north.
The Catholic Church (71.6 million hectares)
As per a report from The New Statesman, the Catholic Church’s real estate portfolio is larger than the area of France. The Catholic Church owns vast swathes of land in countries such as Germany and India. Also, the land owned is not just agricultural land, but also expensive locations in London, Paris and New York.
Queen Elizabeth II ($2.7 billion hectares)
Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the British Commonwealth. The total amount of land she owns is about a sixth of the earth’s land surface. A point to note is that most of this land falls under the Crown, which operates as a real estate business. As per a report from The Independent, the profits of the Crown Estate go to UK’s Treasury, but the queen does get 15% of those profits.