Bordeaux goes to Beverly Hills.
Each year the owners of the most successful real estate agencies around the world meet together to discuss bet practice, the luxury real estate market, trends and how we can better serve our clients.
The Christies International Real Estate global conference this year was held in at the end of March 2015 the Beverly Wilshire hotel in the heart of some of the most exclusive luxury real estate anywhere in the world.
Over 5 days we assembled over seminars, working groups, tours and dinners.
Since Christies International Real Estate is a wholly owned part of Christie’s we were also treated to some fascinating presentations from the auction house specialists including watches, fine art and jewellery. We even had some fun with a mock auction where we had to guess the final selling price of items that had actually sold in auction and then bid up to those prices against our fellow property professionals in the room.
Each owner comes with their agenda and key country offices that they want to speak to during the time there. Since there are 48 countries represented and a total of 139 affiliate offices one has to be strategic since it is impossible to see everyone. The affiliation is really impressive and, being “invitation only,” there is a certain pride amongst those who are part of the Christie’s team which underwrites each owner’s confidence in those that they meet there. We focused on some key luxury markets that we know are important for the sale of luxury property in Bordeaux, Dordogne and Cognac regions that we are responsible for. Our focus therefore was on London, South Africa, Australia, Paris, Cote d’Azur, New York, Hong Kong, Italy, Brazil and of course the auction house itself who were well represented throughout the conference.
The Christie’s Auction house has about 400 auctions per year generating sales of over $8 billion. It also has an enviable private client list of 1.5 million of the wealthiest clients around the world, some of whom have purchased through Christie’s for many generations. Whilst it is no secret that Christie’s is the most successful auction house in the world by any metric one cares to use, less known is that the Christies International Real Estate division of the company did $113.5 billion in sales in 2014 – a volume 60% greater than Sotheby’s who is often considered the main competition. We believe that this has a lot to do with the way that Christie’s International Real Estate is structured as a direct affiliation with the parent company as opposed to Sotheby’s which is a franchise owned by a US listed company called Realogy.
One of the most interesting presentations was the review of the global luxury market. Even defining what the term luxury means was a lengthy process since in many respects it is different in each local market region. As a general rule CIRE uses the threshold of $1 million as a guide for the meaning of luxury and then breaks the subsections down by property use. For example our region covering luxury properties in Bordeaux, Dordogne and Cognac, as well as our specialist team overseeing
Bordeaux vineyards for sale would form part of what Christie’s define as “lifestyle” properties. We were interested to learn that in 2014 lifestyle properties took about 300 days on average to sell. By contrast a “Global Hub” such as New York or London for example took an average of about 150 days. Lifestyle properties saw an increase in the volume of sales by 19% across all markets as an average and the average price reduction between offering sale price and price paid was -12%. It was no surprise that across the whole Christie’s network, the highest foreign buyer sales sector was the one the lifestyle market which we at Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes can affirm is our experience too.