At Haute Residence’s second annual New York Luxury Real Estate Summit, which took place November 18 in The Oak Room of The Plaza Hotel, New York’s real estate experts discussed current luxury real estate trends, success stories, and what’s next for The Empire State’s booming real estate market.
The summit featured three panels, the second of which was the “New York Real Estate Power Players,” moderated by Seth Semilof, co-founder and publisher of luxury publications Haute Living, Haute Residence, and Haute Time. The first and third panels were the “East Coast Titan Developers” and the “Next Generation of Power.”
In the second panel, veteran brokers and agents Beth Fisher, Stephen Kliegerman, Dolly Lenz, Shlomi Reuveni, Neal Sroka, and Leonard Steinberg spoke about how to source and service international buyers, modern marketing strategies, and market predictions for the upcoming year.
Seth Semilof: How do you source and service buyers from other countries? Talk about how you advertise to them.
Shlomi Reuveni: “I find that going after them in their hometown is not efficient and not practical and way too expensive… We cater to brokers that offer their services and have a database of international clients. So, the red carpet treatment that we put out there is really to the brokerage community, and through them, we pull in buyers.”
Stephen Kliegerman: “The only other way that we’ve really been able to accomplish the draw to the international buyer is obviously making sure that all of your social media, all of your online advertising, your Websites, are also able to be converted and translated into local languages.”
Leonard Steinberg: “I think ultimately the best buyers who are most focused and will have a third party understanding of what it is your selling will be the buyer who comes with a local broker. But I do believe that localized selling should be the focus on international buyers. At the same time, I think different strategies have to be applied to different price points and different styles of buildings in different parts of the city. And I believe that brand awareness of a specific type of building or property has great value to the local broker so that in their hometown––whether it’s Beijing or Sydney or London––there’s some awareness of the brand of the building that it is your marketing.”
Neil Sroka: “The whole investment strategy of real estate has changed over the years. One of the things that I always said was that here in the United States, unless you’re a Native American, we’re all foreign buyers––it’s just a matter of when we came over… In this business right now, we have to be focused on where we can best spend our time… But the truth is that we can’t overlook the buyers that are in New Jersey or Connecticut or Ohio––they all want to be in New York.”
Semilof: What do you predict for market conditions in the next year? What do you foresee as the next hot market for luxury real estate buyers?
Steinberg: “I have great belief in the American economy and I have great belief in a national buyer, but I think what we have to start maybe reconsidering is the concept of national and international and local and actually start thinking about this asset class of people, who are a global community… We have a lot of people who would love to invest in New York City––to get cash out of their country, to own a piece of New York City because of our inflation rate––so I think the traditional structures and classifications that used to exist and were comfortable are shifting.”
Kliegerman: “We have developments in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, and it’s a different international buyer and a different class of national and international buyer that buys in each of those market places as well, so when you say where are you focused, it’s really where you’re focusing for that particular product class, not necessarily only broad markets. Certainly the Asian marketplace is still some place where we’re seeing a lot of cash flow come in. We’ve seen a lot of South American money come in lately. I believe that the continued and heightened instability in the Middle East is going to push more Middle Eastern money to the states, and I think that will also trickle through to Europe.”
Dolly Lenz: “We travel frequently to the West Coast and we do a lot of sourcing there and they do sourcing here with us, and we find knowing that market and knowing the buildings going up in San Francisco, knowing what’s going on, knowing what the price points are, knowing the return on investment on one of their rentals… it really works for us.”
Beth Fisher: “It’s a simple idea: Fish where the fish are. So, if you’re seeing people from a certain area gravitating, go deeper into that. Understand that better; relate to those brokers better. You can’t go on wild goose chases in this business––it’s very expensive.”
Semilof: Talk about the marketing strategies that you’re implementing today that are different than what you were doing, say, 10 years ago.
Fisher: “Speaking from the new development side, I think the bar is much higher in terms of customer experience… People are looking to be engaged and entertained… That is the trick––it’s how you create a three-dimensional experience that is compelling for a buyer.”
Lenz: “But I think it can be very negative… We have used 3-D, and then people didn’t have to bother coming to the property… And I couldn’t get them to come because they say, I already saw it.”
Kliegerman: “I think PR is used now much more than it ever was in the past. You need to have the right PR, and you need to have crisis management as well… Social media is being used much more, but again, I think it depends on what your price point is.”