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Under Pressure

The following is a

Unique Homes Online Exclusive

During the mid-year height of the Covid-19 pandemic, real estate agents comment on how the market stood, and in some cases prevailed, under enormous pressure.

 

This past Fall, luxury real estate agents from across the country spoke on Unique Homes’ first Zoom panel to discuss topics from the recent article “Space: The New Currency,” from Unique Homes Magazine’s recent Fall issue, written by Camilla McLaughlin. On this exclusive virtual panel, agents were able to discuss how the real estate markets of America endured (and continue to endure) through the turbulence that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused. Throughout the discussion, these experienced panelists spoke on the changes their area(s) have undergone and the how the pandemic has affected the homebuying process. We’ve highlighted some of our distinguished panelists and their unique experiences below.

 

Mauricio Umansky, Founder/CEO of The Agency

Los Angeles, CA

In the beginning of “Space: The New Currency,” Mauricio Umansky, Founder and CEO of The Agency, notes that in the midst of the pandemic, consumers who were staying at home also found themselves asking impactful questions regarding their homes and their futures: where am I sequestering versus where am I at home? What do I want my home to look like? What do I want my second home to look like? 

As one of the opening speakers, Umansky adds that though many of these questions may not be answered right away, the pandemic proved to be a catalyst for many potential home buyers to start a dialogue with their local real estate agents. “Sequestering at home, stay in, shelter in place, whatever it is we want to call it, has caused a conversation that is equal amongst everybody, whether it’s politically driven, whether it’s answering ‘what do I want to do with my life?’ and understanding that we can now work and operate from anywhere.”

 

 

Courtney Hampson, Vice President of Marketing

Palmetto Bluff, SC

Palmetto Bluff is a community in coastal South Carolina that caters to a mix of primary and vacation homeowners. Courtney Hampson, Vice President of Marketing for Palmetto Bluff, says on the panel that at the beginning of the pandemic many residents were already staying in Palmetto Bluff due to Spring Break, and were mandated to stay due to the shutdown. Many stayed until May when the state began opening up again, and there were several instances where those who extended their stay ended up moving to Palmetto Bluff full time. About a particular couple from New York with young children, Hampson says “They literally walked down the street into our real estate office, went on our tour, looked at available homes, closed two days later, our fastest closing ever, and that was it. ‘This is where we are,’ they said, ‘This is the plan now.'”

During the panel Hampson also stated that the utilization of virual tours and showings became more widely utilized, so much that they had to include the option on their website right away on their website.” She also noted that in the midst of everything, they found that buyers were buying almost like they were suffering from FOMO, or a Fear of Missing Out. “[Clients] are booking their stay at the hotel first, and … they have almost a fear of missing out. They’re not waiting to get here to look at real estate — they’re doing that virtually, going under contract and seeing their property the first time they come to visit.” 

Carrie Wells, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate

Aspen, CO

Though located on the opposite side of the United States, Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate in Aspen, Colorado experienced similar situations as Hampson had in South Carolina. March is typically the latter part of the state’s skiing season, but due to the pandemic the season was cut short, and those visiting found themselves sequestering in Aspen — and staying. She remarked that you can see this reflected in the school district alone, where 175 new students were admitted and a weight list was created for the Aspen Country Day School, Aspen’s main private school. She also noted that with the help of Matterport virtual tour technology many sales were able to happen, as clients wanted to be able to visit openings safely. 

Wells remarked about her own experience with a New York family who stayed in Aspen until the summer. “He said, ‘I never realized that Aspen is so enjoyable in April and May,’ which are normally our off-season months. … People have experienced being here year-round, when they normally would not be here, and there’s so much to do other than downhill skiing that I think regardless of what happens with our winter, we’re still going to see our market continue to be strong.”

 

 

Frank Aazami

Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

Scottsdale, AZ

The title of the article “Space: The New Currency,” as well as the main point of discussion for the panel, was inspired by profound statement by Frank Aazami of Russ Lyon Sothebby’s International Realty. During the panel Aazami notes that when the pandemic began and people were sequestering, he noticed that areas that were previously difficult to sell beforehand, regions outside of Phoenix and Scottsdale such as Fountains Hills, Cave Creek, etc, were now like beacons that buyers were gravitating towards. Before there were no sales north of $3 million, but eventually there were closings reaching upwards of $4 and $6 million. The reasoning for this market change? Space!

In the article Aazami notes that from his region of Scottsdale, Arizona, his experience during the pandemic that no matter what buyers were generally looking for, a vacation home, relocation refuge, etc., the key point he saw was that consumers were looking for a safe haven, with plenty of space. Not only that, but consumers are also requesting specifics when it comes to this space in order to make their purchases personal and customized to their lifestyles, from multiple offices and indoor gyms to view decks and larger patios. 

 

 

Chris Bernier, Churchill Properties

Boston’s North Shore, MA

Located just 30 minutes outside of Boston, Chris Bernier of Churchill Properties notes during the Zoom panel that despite the usual trends of buyers looking for smaller, more minimalistic style homes, space really is the new currency. He affirms that many buyers in his market are flocking toward the larger homes. These market shifts are no doubt due to the pandemic shifting priorities, and continues to show 

“Our listing inventory is down 52 percent for single family homes in Massachusetts, so we’re running on half of what we were this time last year. And it’s just made a tremendously imbalanced seller’s market. Prices are up in Massachusetts, it’s just driving the market up.” With as much uncertainty, he adds that it’s also been hard to know exactly what the real estate cycle looks like, even though it’s always been a very predictable real estate cycle in Massachusetts. That all being said, he notes that from the pandemic to American politics at play, “with everything that’s going on, it’s been one of the best years in Massachusetts for residential real estate.” 

 

James Torrance, Keller Williams Luxury International

Palm Beach, FL

James Torrance from Palm Beach, Florida has much to say about the pandemic has shifted Florida into more than just a retirement or snowbird refuge, seen in these clips from the Zoom discussion. He notes further that in fact a large wave of buyers from California and more specifically Chicago brought interest to the area and helped close several sales, a rarity in his area. What was also interesting that he notices are the importance of the private schools and districts in South Florida, as he mentions that many buyers were shopping around different homes once they had found a school system they liked, then picking from available homes nearby.

This, alongside his points about the importance of homes with multi-functional spaces such as guesthouses and just the overall outlook on how the market has shifted, highlight just how much action Florida has seen in the past several months due to Covid-19’s effect on real estate.

 

 

Roxann Taylor, Engel & Völkers Dallas Forth Worth

Dallas, TX

As an real estate agent with 40-plus years of selling experience, Roxann Taylor of Engel & Völkers Dallas Forth Worth was a fountain of wisdom toward the end of the virtual panel. She highlighted much of which was similar to what the other panelists had noted, including buyers prioritizing homes with large space as opposed to downsizing, putting houses on the market through a near fully-virtual process, and much more. 

 

 

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What You Need to Know

Navigating Today’s Luxury Market

You’re invited to an exclusive Unique Homes online event on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at 1 pm Eastern. 

Our panel of experts will discuss the latest market dynamics for buyers and sellers as the world of real estate continually adjusts to a new norm.

We’ll talk about how common bidding wars are these days. Was there a COVID bump in sales? What has the pandemic done to the dynamics in your market? And much more! 

To Join: Please register here. You will receive a confirmation email with the details to participate.

Join:

  • Joyce Rey, executive director of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury in Beverly Hills, California
  • Sula Pearlman, associate broker with Coldwell Banker Realty in Westchester County, New York
  • Jeff Alexander, vice president with Compass in the Greater Boston area
  • Linda Martin with Coldwell Banker Realty in Chicago
  • Joanne Nemerovski, broker associate with Compass in Chicago
  • William and Phyllis Taylor of Taylor & Taylor, an award-winning architecture and interior design firm based in Miami, Florida
  • John Fair, managing director of The Strand, Turks and Caicos, a private residential community

Located in Spring Valley Village, this spacious estate sold due to the proprietary Accelerated Marketing Process of Supreme Auctions.

Supreme Auctions announced the recent closed sale of Westview Heights in West Houston, Texas. This luxury home is conveniently located within minutes of Memorial Park, as well as being a short 20-minute drive to Interstate 10, which will put you in the heart of downtown for business, the Galleria, City Center, and Memorial Shopping Center.

The results of Supreme Auctions’ accelerated marketing program for Westview Heights produced over 24,602 unique views to the website from 104 countries and 153 direct inquiries were made about the property. Supreme Auctions also received 11 registered bidders for the estate and the property sold on auction day.

“We are thrilled that the sale of Westview Heights represents our third successful transaction with John Daugherty Realtors in Houston this year,” stated Jennie Heal, President of Supreme Auctions.“With Supreme Auctions’ proprietary sales and marketing efforts, we garnered the attention of motivated buyers for this contemporary estate. In addition, our knowledge of the luxury market allowed for heightened interest and ultimate sale , which elated the seller as this home was on the market traditionally for over two years with little to no activity. The entire Supreme Auctions team is proud of having the highest success rate, at 96%, in the luxury real estate industry this year among all auction companies.” 

“We decided to use Supreme Auctions for our listing because we had heard so many good things about them and they had just finished two auctions within our company, which were very successful,” stated Judy Mousa of John Daugherty Realtors. “The experience with Supreme Auctions was superb, very professional and everything about it was over the top… the marketing, the details, the feedback, and just being able to understand how it all works was wonderful. As an agent, I would definitely recommend Supreme Auctions because we feel like through this experience, not only did we sell and please the seller, but we gained so much more knowledge. There are so many properties right now in our market; we are experiencing a soft market so the high-end luxury homes are sitting longer than we expected them to. With Supreme Auctions, we felt we could get the property sold quickly. If I could give sellers and agents some positive advice, it would be to use Supreme Auctions when you want your property listing sold.”

Photos courtesy of Supreme Auctions

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Stacy Gottula, one of the premier luxury real estate brokers with the Agency, a firm located in Beverly Hills, has officially redirected her career toward working with the Eklund and Gomes team associated with Douglas Elliman.

This is just three months after the Eklund-Gomes team expanded into Los Angeles, where Frederik Eklund, the long-time star of the hit TV series “Million Dollar Listing New York,” moved in order to dominate the West Coast.

“I’ve been chasing her and we’ve been talking for a long time,” he said of Gottula to The Real Deal.  “What she’s bringing, which is something I really need at this point is the experience pitching big, big listings.”

Photo courtesy of Tigran Tovmasyan, One Sixty Studios

Gottula credits her decision to transfer onto the Eklund-Gomes to wanting to work in a team atmosphere again. At the Agency, she worked solo on most projects — and she told The Real Deal that after seeing the team at Douglas Elliman, “it felt right.”

This is another big hit for the Agency, as Stacy Gottula brings the firms’ lost brokers to a count of 45 in Los Angeles.

Inman News names Joyce Rey, a Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist affiliated with the Beverly Hills South office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, to the inaugural Golden I Hall of Fame, the highest honor in luxury real estate presented to the top luxury agents and brokers in the United States.

“I am so honored to join the Golden I Hall of Fame,” said Rey. “I have an energetic spirit and am always committed to excellence in everything I do. I could not have achieved this honor without my wonderful clientele, fabulous staff and colleagues, and sensational friends and family.”

Over her more than four-decade career, Rey has amassed more than $4 billion in career sales. With a dazzling list of accolades, awards and sales records, she is known, most of all, for her incomparable knowledge of the luxury marketplace, her acute ability to negotiate even the most complex transactions and her particular talent for putting clients at ease.

No stranger to success, Rey is designated one of “The Los Angeles 500 Most Influential People” by the Los Angeles Business Journal, named the “First Lady of Luxury Real Estate” by the Chinese media, described as the “Billionaire’s Broker” by Luxury Real Estate and called the “Grand Dame of Real Estate” by the Los Angeles Times. She is also ranked in the Top 20 Luxury Brokers in L.A. County by “The Real Deal” Los Angeles. Passionate about helping others, she serves on the Southern California Executive Board for UNICEF, the Los Angeles Library Foundation Advisory Board and the Coldwell Banker Community Foundation Board. She has also is a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization and served on the Board of the Blue Ribbon Support Group for the Music Center.



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