Surfing for a luxury home? Well if you want to know where to find the best properties you will have to consult with the young, rich, and fab real estate agents making BIG names for themselves. We can credit this trend to reality television and the obsession with finding ultra luxury properties all caught on TV.
Photo credit Noah Rabinowitz for The Wall Street Journal
Oren Alexander, 25, is part of a growing group of well-connected, youthful brokers finding success in the world of high-end real estate. He is a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman in New York.
According to WSJ in August, broker Oren Alexander shattered real-estate records when he sold the most expensive home on record in Miami, a $47 million estate in Indian Creek. Just a month earlier, he celebrated his 25th birthday. Now, he’s marketing two adjacent estates in Alpine, N.J., with a total price tag of $95 million.
Mr. Alexander is part of a growing group of well-connected, youthful brokers finding success in the world of high-end real estate. Selling houses has grown more attractive as more traditional options—such as finance and law—have grown more difficult with the downturn. In addition, reality-television shows about real-estate brokers have glamorized the profession, drawing more young, ambitious college grads who see it as a lifelong career rather than a side gig.
Last year, broker Kyle Blackmon, 34, sold former Citigroup Chairman Sanford Weill’s penthouse on Central Park to 20-something Russian heiress Ekaterina Rybolovleva for $88 million—the largest residential transactions on record in Manhattan. Also in New York, 29-year-old Caroline Bass found fashion personality Tim Gunn a penthouse duplex on Upper West Side. In 2010, Soly Halabi, a 29-year-old agent who is a junior-college dropout, brokered a deal for Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to buy a 20,000-square-foot mansion across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art for $44 million. And this month, Josh Flagg, a 27-year-old broker in Los Angeles who stars on Bravo’s reality show “Million Dollar Listing,” got the listing for Hollywood producer Gavin Polone’s $15.9 million house in Beverly Hills, having just sold a house a few doors down for $6.3 million.
The National Association of Realtors’ Young Professionals Network—primarily a group for younger brokers—has seen its membership swell in recent years to 29,000 today, compared with 18,000 members in 2009. And Ms. Herman says the number of brokers under 30 in her Manhattan office has doubled.
Buyers and sellers say that younger brokers can also bring a drive and determination that a more seasoned agent might lack. In 2009, Mr. Alexander brokered a deal for trial lawyer Jim Ferraro to pay $8.2 million for a penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Park Imperial building. Three years later, Mr. Alexander helped Mr. Ferraro purchase the adjacent penthouse for $7.8 million—a deal that is closing this month.
Mimi Assanti, who is selling her house in a gated community north of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, for $8.8 million, also chose a younger broker when she and her husband decided to list her 8,400-square-foot home last month. They asked Mr. Flagg, who went to middle and high school with their son, to take on the listing.
Do we have a new trend in the luxury real estate market?