Friday , December 14, 2018

Significant Sales

The Charlotte area housing market is showing signs of improvement. September 2014 sales in the whole Carolinas Multiple Listing Service (MLS) increased 15 percent over the previous year. And average sale prices were up 3.2 percent in the same period.


Improving numbers aren’t the only encouraging sign. In January 2014, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty officially opened in Charlotte, indicating confidence in the area’s high-end market.


Their SouthPark office is the first in Charlotte for the Naples, Florida-based company which already has a strong presence in the luxury real estate market along Florida’s Gulf Coast.


In 2013, the company recorded sales volume of $2.8 billion in more than 3,660 closed sales, an increase of 22 percent and 20 percent year over year, respectively.


With 24 locations throughout Florida’s Gulf Coast and the Carolinas and more than $2.8 billion in sales volume in 2013, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty ranks 37th among the 500 largest brokers, according to the annual Real Trends 500 survey of top U.S. residential sellers.


Premier Sotheby’s International Realty is the largest U.S. affiliate of the Sotheby’s International Realty brand which has a global network of more than 750 offices in 52 countries.


The company’s association with the reputation and heritage of a brand like Sotheby’s is a definer for their business says Judy Green, president and CEO.


“Just as Sotheby’s Auction House is known globally as a source for the world’s most valuable possessions and for the impeccable service it provides to its clients, Sotheby’s International Realty is known for the unique and distinctive properties it represents and the exceptional service it provides to its clients,” says Green. “Premier Sotheby’s International Realty continues that tradition of extraordinary service in Charlotte.


Charlotte is such a dynamic, growing city, the Sotheby’s brand needed to be here.”


A Forceful Presence


Judy Green, president and CEO of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, has been a force in the luxury real estate market for decades. Starting with a family construction and real estate business she began with her husband, Green has worked for over 30 years with realty firms, often in key executive positions.


She previously ran the Sotheby’s International Realty franchise for the Sarasota-Manatee, Fla., area. In January, in the Swanepoel Power 200 List, Green was named number 133 of the 200 most powerful people in residential real estate in America.


“Following our vision, we have become the market leaders in the markets we serve,” says Green.


According to Green, the company’s expansion into Charlotte was a strategic one. Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s parent company, The Lutgert Companies, developed Linville Ridge, a residential golfing community outside of Blowing Rock, in the 1980s.


The mountain community, represented by Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, is a short drive from Charlotte. This makes Charlotte an ideal feeder market for Linville Ridge and for many of Premier’s Florida clients who split their year between the two regions, spending winters in Florida and summers in Charlotte.


Opening in Charlotte was attractive for other reasons as well. “We’re seeing news about companies expanding or coming into the Charlotte area,” says Green. “This has always been a big banking center, but now it’s become a major energy center too.


“The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce is doing an extraordinary job of selling the area to U.S. companies and also internationally. We have so many international companies in the region and that’s growing each day.


“Our company does a relocation tour for businesses looking at the area, telling them about the quality of life Charlotte has to offer—the arts, the plays, the botanical gardens and easy drives to the mountains or the beaches.


“And people are responding. The theme I hear is that Charlotte is very inviting. And since the Sotheby’s International Realty is a brand recognized all over the world, clients new to the area trust that they will receive exceptional service with us here in Charlotte.”


Green has an understanding of housing needs across all income spectrums that influences and enhances her business philosophy at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. “It would be safe to say that the majority of properties we represent are high end,” explains Green. “Probably the median sales price of a property represented by this office is $700,000, but we represent properties less than that too.


“Right now, we have a one bedroom loft in Elizabeth with an asking price of $175,000 and several homes in excess of $2 million in the Charlotte market. The difference with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty is the extraordinary service.


“When you walk into Tiffany & Co. you can buy a $150 charm or a $50,000 bracelet, but with either purchase, Tiffany will give you the prestigious packaging and exceptional service synonymous with the brand. That’s what Premier Sotheby’s International Realty is about. We’re inviting to everyone, so whether it’s a $200,000 home or a $7 million home, we give everyone the extraordinary service that’s part of our brand.”


Premier Sotheby’s International Realty and the Sotheby’s International Realty global network are also an acknowledged source for some of the most distinctive properties available anywhere.


Recent notable sales for the Sotheby’s International Realty network include a $44 million sale in Aspen, Colo., a $31.25 million sale in Taipei, Taiwan, and a $30 million sale in Naples, Fla. (a Premier Sotheby’s sale).


Global and Unique


Locally, Premier’s Charlotte office represents homes in many of the Charlotte region’s most desirable neighborhoods and even a few homes with historic significance. Fairfield Estate, a Georgian mansion circa 1774 on 283 acres in Winnsboro, S.C., is a current listing. Premier also represents the historic James A. Blakeney House in south Charlotte which was recently picked up by Architectural Digest and The New York Times.


Historic properties is considered a lifestyle category for Sotheby’s International Realty and their affiliates. In addition to price range and location, the company’s website allows clients to search for properties under lifestyle categories including: waterfront, skiing, equestrian, ranch and farm, golf and country club, and vineyards and wineries.


The Sotheby’s website is a popular one. With 90 million property views annually—1 million in July 2014 alone—the website can be viewed in 15 languages and 40 currencies. User viewing averages a focused 12 minutes.


“The lifestyle search is unique,” says Green. “So if you are looking for a waterfront property in the $2-3 million price range, you could see a property on Lake Norman or Lake Wylie come up, or one in Naples, Fla., or one in Spain or Australia. We’re all over the world. That’s our biggest differentiator—our reach. We’re a global brand known all around the world.”


But the company didn’t rely on their widespread recognition alone when entering the Charlotte market. “We set up an advertising campaign prior to our launch in different types of media,” says Green. “We also formed the Premier Community Foundation this year. We held our first local event at Rusty Wallace’s jet hangar this past June.


“The concept of The Premier Community Foundation relates directly to what we do as a company,” she explains. “We work relentlessly to help our customers achieve their real estate goals. By comparison, the foundation will help build stronger communities for children and families in our markets through the most effective use of funding dollars, because we know that home is where the heart is.


“The projects that The Premier Community Foundation selects for funding won’t always focus on raising money,” notes Green. “Some will focus on raising awareness around important causes. But in every case, foundation-funded projects will ultimately be about supporting and bolstering children and families in communities throughout our footprint.”


The Premier Community Foundation allows our broker associates to support whatever local charity they find important. The foundation invites community groups and tax-exempt entities to apply for various forms of support depending on their need.


“Throughout our respective histories, our company has made giving back to our communities a priority,” Green avers. “Today, as a successful and larger organization, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty further embraces our responsibility to leave situations better than we found them. By forming The Premier Community Foundation, we have solidified the ability to leverage our knowledge and resources to ensure healthy, vibrant communities for years to come.”


“So whether it’s Levine Children’s Hospital or Second Harvest Food Bank or A Child’s Place, all the money we raise here will stay in this community. Our first event was a great one. We’re going to make it an annual one.”


Penetrating the Marketplace


Premier Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased with the welcome they’ve received in Charlotte. “Even after just a few months, people know we are here,” says Green. “I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly we’ve penetrated the market.”


The positive response has led to plans for growth. The SouthPark office has 30 associates currently but Green expects them to double the number by year end 2015. The SouthPark office serves communities in Charlotte, Gaston and Union counties as well as the South Carolina communities of Lake Wylie, Fort Mill and Rock Hill.


To serve areas North, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Lake Norman office opens this month off Exit 28 on I-77. That office will initially be staffed by seven broker associates.


And beyond that? “Look for us to keep expanding,” says Green.


Green admits that outside forces are a major factor in the health of the real estate market. “Mortgage rates are a huge indicator,” she explains. “And they’re still at an all-time low. But even when rates go back up, people are still going to buy real estate. Home ownership is a long-term wealth builder and I don’t think that will ever change. Real estate remains a smart investment.”


Right now Green says they’re seeing property on the market capture full asking price and more. She’s also noticed that more people want a home that’s move-in ready, a trend she thinks will grow as more millennials enter the market.


“Millennials want it now,” says Green. “They also want to live close to work. Uptown, Plaza-Midwood and NoDa would all be wise areas for investment.”


Green says out-of-area investors have also shaped the Charlotte market. “We’ve seen hedge funds coming into the market,” Green explains. “Some are buying properties at certain price points but with certain very specific parameters like a price range of $150,000 to $250,000 and only with a particular number of bedrooms and baths and a certain capacity garage.


“They’re buying properties that fit those parameters sight unseen as cash deals that close quickly. We’re also seeing individuals who are buying homes as an investment and using them as property management.


“There will always be people relocating or moving up or downsizing,” Green continues. “That’s always been the case. But when the market corrected a few years back, some people found their homes had greatly devalued. Now that those values are coming back, some people have decided that now is the time to sell.”


Along with improvements in the market in general, the luxury market has also improved. “In 2012, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty had 57 homes under contract valued at over $500,000,” Green says. “In 2014, we had 110 in the immediate Charlotte market.”


A well-respected global brand and a market comeback certainly contribute to success in a new market but Green sums it up simply. “It comes down to listening to what people want, learning to serve the needs of our customer and giving back to the community we serve,” Green explains, “and to always exceed our customer’s expectations.”


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