Sotheby’s International Realty Brand Grew Worldwide Network in 2012, Reporting a 30% Year-over-Year Increase in U.S. Closed Transaction Sides

PARSIPPANY, N.J. (Feb. 25, 2013) – Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC today announced that it grew the office count within its global network by more than 9 percent in 2012, ending the year with approximately 660 offices and 12,800 sales associates located in 47 countries and territories worldwide. The Sotheby’s International Realty® network also reported a 30 percent year-over-year increase in U.S. transaction sides closed by its affiliated brokers and agents in 2012.

The Sotheby’s International Realty brand also expanded its management team in Asia in 2012 as part of a comprehensive global servicing initiative to further develop the company’s network of real estate affiliates in the region. The brand won Franchise Business Review’s Best in Category for Real Estate Franchisee Satisfaction award for the fifth year in a row and came in second overall among the Top 50 Large Franchise Systems, which is a ranking of all franchise systems with more than 200 units across all categories.

“Last year was significant for the Sotheby’s International Realty brand as we saw 15 new companies join our luxury network from all over the world,” said Philip White, who was named the brand’s president and chief executive officer in 2012. “We also saw impressive organic growth among our existing affiliates. Overall, we expanded our market presence in key locations from Princeton, N.J., to Aspen, Colo., London and Australia. Our network has what we believe is one of the highest average sales prices of any national real estate system in the United States.”

The Sotheby’s International Realty brand added five new residential real estate brokerage firms to its network across the United States in the following markets: Fort Worth, Texas; Tarrytown, N.Y.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Leesburg, Va.; and Wellington, Fla. Outside of the United States the brand expanded its network to provide its real estate services in: Milan, Italy; Taipei, Taiwan; Barcelona, Spain; San Miguel, Mexico; Tel Aviv, Israel; Ibiza, Spain; Sydney, Australia; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Vilnius, Lithuania; and Da Nang, Vietnam.

From a marketing perspective, 2012 saw the launch of the Sotheby’s International RealtyiPad® application. Available for download from Apple’s App Store, the app’s features include 40 points of interest based on the property location, one-click-contact to a Sotheby’s International Realty broker or agent, the ability for consumers to save home search information for future use, a dynamic map feature displaying all available homes for sale or rent based on a user’s location or interested city/neighborhood and high-quality photography.

The Sotheby’s International Realty brand also launched a series of branded websites for specialty markets in 2012, beginning with Farm & Ranch, Waterfront and Ski, with additional websites planned for 2013, and its official Extraordinary Living blog on sothebysrealty.com, designed to provide insights into a range of real estate and lifestyle topics.

Home sales improve in Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties

Warren and Washington counties posted double-digit increases in home sales in 2012, reflecting what industry experts are calling a strong recovery in home prices and the number of sales.

Growing consumer confidence, general improvement of the economy and pent-up buyer demand are three factors industry experts see as contributing to the rebound from a lackluster 2011.

“Interest rates are historically low, and people are feeling better about the economy, too,” said Jim Ader, CEO of the Greater Capital Region Association of Realtors. “For so many years, there wasn’t a day that went by where we didn’t hear about how bad the economy was.”

Increases were reported statewide and in Saratoga County from the previous year in the number of home sales, although both of those were slightly more modest gains than in Warren and Washington counties.

“Looking at the year-end numbers we can confidently call the housing market in full recovery mode,” said Duncan MacKenzie, CEO of the New York State Association of Realtors. “The 2012 market featured four consecutive quarters of sales growth and inventory moved continually closer to a balanced market.”

Locally, increased confidence among home buyers and sellers is evident. Buyers are generally feeling better about their economic standing; while with value returning to the housing market, sellers are more confident about selling their homes for what they’re worth, said Tom VanAernem of VanAernem Realty.

VanAernem is president of the Warren County Board of Realtors.

Home prices have been reduced in past years in Warren and Washington counties, which could account for the spike in sales in the two counties in 2012, VanAernem said.

“A lot of houses have been reduced in price,” he said. “You get a lot of value for your buck around here.”

VanAernem Realty saw a steady increase in phone calls in 2012, and sales stayed strong through December, he said.

In early 2012, when real estate agents and industry experts looked back at 2011, the feedback was less positive. In 2011, home sales had dropped statewide and in Washington and Saratoga counties, while home sales in Warren County had increased by 6 percent from the previous year.

Washington County saw the largest increase in home sales in 2012, with a 17 percent rise, but Warren County wasn’t far behind with a 14 percent increase. Both counties reported year-over-year increases in December home sales, according to the statistics released recently by the New York State Association of Realtors.

Saratoga County home sales increased by 3 percent in 2012, while home sales statewide increased by 7 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Activity in the Capital Region housing market increased in 2012, and median and average home sale prices rose, marking a return to a market more balanced between buyers and sellers.

The median home sale price in the state was $215,000 in 2012, a 1.2 percent increase in value from the previous year.

Activity in the region stayed strong in January, Ader said.

“We do expect 2013 to be a good year — we’re optimistic,” he said.

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