How was Fred Trump only worth a billion dollars

I just finished reading not only the book ‘too much and never enough’ about the Trump family by Donald Trump’s niece as well as the NYT article about the Trump families tax evasion which came out in 2018.

Both were extremely good, and Fred Trump (Donald Trump’s father) was supposedly worth about a billion dollars when he died. But how is his net worth only 1 billion?

I’ve heard Fred Trump’s company owned 14,000 apartment dwellings. Another site said 29,000, but that may have been the total built.

Trump’s was one of the largest apartment management companies in New York City. It owned and managed 37 apartment complexes, comprising a total of at least 14,000 rental units.

I’m sure he had a lot of other assets, but 14,000 rental units alone means the average apartment value would’ve been $71,428. An apartment in NYC should be worth a lot more than 71k, and I believe Fred Trump had other assets other than his apartments, and the number of apartments may have been higher than 14k.

Theres the possibility he had a lot of mortgage debt on his buildings, but from reading Mary Trumps book the implication was he liked to stay out of debt.

I’m confused how someone who owns 14k to 29k apartment buildings in NYC, as well as has a variety of other real estate and cash assets would only have a net worth of 1 billion.

Fred Trump died in 1999 and according to this article, the average price of a Queens home was $190,000 that year. So I can believe his apartments, which were in places like Queens and weren’t high-end, might be worth only about $71,000 each.

Yeah, this. Hard to imagine, but there was a time when developers like Fred Trump (and others, like Sam Lefrak) could make a whole bunch of money building housing for lower middle class people.

14,000 apartments were his assets, but what were his liabilities?