BHHS retains top spot as the No. 1 luxury brokerage

Updated May 3, 2023 - 10:58 pm

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has retained the top spot as the No. 1 luxury brokerage in Las Vegas, but was surpassed by Realty One Group as the leader in dollar volume of all property types.

Las Vegas real estate brokerages took a hit in 2022 as rising interest rates that started in the spring took a toll on transactions and the dollar volumes that were traded compared to 2021, according to research firm BrokerMetrics, which tracks Realtor transactions on the Multiple Listing Service of Las Vegas Realtor association brokerage members.

The luxury side of the business whose transactions of $1 million and higher fared much better than the lower-level transactions that were more affected by rising interest rates.

BrokerMetrics reported 1,563 luxury sales with a total volume of $2.95 billion in 2022. That contrasts with 1,667 luxury sales with $3.19 billion in volume in 2021. Some of the strength in 2022 is due to rising prices pushing more homes above the $1 million mark.

In the overall market, there were 38,131 sales transactions with a volume of $18.6 billion in 2022 compared to 51,997 sales transactions in 2021 valued at $22.2 billion. The average sales price of all transactions was $490,378, up from $427,308 in 2021. In the luxury category, the average transaction was $1,892,373 in 2022, down about $800 from $1,893,162 in 2021.

Berkshire Hathaway lost its top luxury agent and his team in October when Ivan Sher opened IS Luxury brokerage in Summerlin, but that didn’t keep the brokerage from the top spot.

Berkshire handled $843.8 million in luxury transactions when you combined representing sellers and buyers. That’s down from $1.14 billion in 2021.

Berkshire was followed by Simply Vegas that retained No. 2 with $556.3 million in transactions on both sides of the ledger. Headed by broker/owner Gavin Ernstone, it had $529.8 million in transactions in 2021, making a rare increase in the luxury sector.

Realty One Group moved up from No. 4 in 2021 to No. 3 in 2022 with $301.4 million. It handled $325.9 million in 2021.

Claiming the No. 4 spot was Corcoran Global Living, which opened a franchise in Las Vegas in the summer of 2021 and attracted top luxury agents. It made a rapid ascent from No. 23 in limited time in 2021 before shuttering its doors on Dec. 31 amid some controversy. It handled $224.9 million in transactions, up from $55.1 million in 2021.

Reports surfaced in late 2022 that the California-based brokerage was facing lawsuits over allegations of delayed commission payments.

Don Kuhl, former managing broker at Corcoran who has since become managing broker at Douglas Elliman Las Vegas, said many Corcoran Realtors joined him at the luxury agency that opened its office in Las Vegas in spring 2022 and has more than 75 agents, including 60 from Corcoran.

Calling it disappointing, Kuhl said the failures were at the franchisee level and had nothing to do with those in the Las Vegas office, which was “quite profitable” as evident by the 2022 numbers. There were some instances of agents not getting commissions promptly, but the Las Vegas office took steps to keep that from happening again, Kuhl said.

“The benefit was to Douglas Elliman because the vast majority took a hard look at the marketplace and where we wanted to be,” Kuhl said. “With their strength of new development and project opportunities, they seemed like a good fit for us. It has worked out well. This was our best choice, and we like how they handle themselves and the strength of their business, especially in New York and Florida. They have that key hold in the Southern California market. You’re going to be seeing a lot of us this next year.”

Other top luxury brokerages

Urban Nest Realty retained the No. 5 spot with $211.4 million in transactions, down from $209.1 million in 2021.

Huntington & Ellis moved up to No. 6 in 2022 after being ranked ninth in 2021. It had $192.8 million in transactions, up from $129.7 million in 2021.

Las Vegas Sotheby’s International fell to No. 7 in 2022 after ranking third in 2021. It had $181.6 million in transactions, down from $340.5 million. The brokerage volume was impacted by the loss of Kristen Routh- Silberman, the No. 1 individual agent in Las Vegas in transaction volume in 2021, who left in 2021 to work for Corcoran. She has since relocated to Douglas Elliman with Corcoran’s departure from the market.

“Absolutely. She definitely is a producer,” said Las Vegas Sotheby’s International President Randy Char as to why luxury numbers declined for the company.

At No. 8 is eXp Realty with $142.1 million in transactions. It was seventh in 2021 with $159.3 million.

Coldwell Banker Premier, which was outside the top 10 in 2021, came in at No. 9 with $121 million.

Rounding out the top 10 was Platinum R.E. with $113.8 million.

The Agency, which launched in 2021 out of Beverly Hills, came in No. 11 with $107.5 million.

Luxury Homes of Las Vegas was an existing brokerage to fall out of the top 10. It was No. 12 with $106 million, down from $177.5 million in 2021.

Among the top luxury brokerages, Corcoran had the highest average sales price at $2.88 million. That was followed by $2.75 million at The Agency; $2.64 million at Platinum R.E.; $2.32 million at Las Vegas Sotheby’s; $2.31 million at Simply Vegas and $2.1 million at Berkshire Hathaway.

Berkshire Hathaway handled the most luxury sales transactions with 199 followed by Simply Vegas with 117 and Realty One Group with 84. Berkshire had 395 total luxury transactions including buyers. Simply Vegas was next with 240 followed by Realty One Group with 186.

In the overall market category, Realty One Group took the top spot by handing $2.64 billion in buyer and seller transactions. It handled $3.3 billion in 2021. That was followed by Berkshire Hathaway with $2.57, down from $3.6 billion in 2021.

Those two were followed by Simply Vegas, $1.87 billion; eXp, $1.25 billion; Urban Nest Realty, $1.19 billion; Signature Real Estate, $1.04 billion; Coldwell Banker Premier, $935.6 million; Huntington & Ellis, $805.7 million; Platinum R.E., $685.1 million; and Keller Williams Market, $661.4 million.

BrokerMetrics reported eXp and Urban Nest Realty swapped spots from 2021. Platinum R.E. fell from eighth in 2021 to ninth in 2022.

Brokerage reaction

Kuba Jewgieniew​, CEO and founder of Realty ONE Group, which for years has battled with Berkshire Hathway as the top two brokerages, said it’s exciting to be the No. 1 brokerage after starting from scratch in 2005 in Las Vegas.

The son of Polish refugees, Jewgieniew’s brokerage is in more than 400 locations in 49 states and in 14 countries. In the U.S. in 2022, he said they did nearly $50 billion in transactions with more than 100,000 transactions.

“It all started in Vegas in 2005 in a 10-by-10 executive suite room that I rented for $1,000 a month in the northwest,” the 46-year-old Jewgieniew said.

Nothing happens automatically, and Jewgieniew said they’re widening the gap. They’ve remodeled offices and enhanced the value proposition to all of the real estate professionals.

“More notably, the reason we feel like the gap will widen is two years ago we tripled down on business coaching. That has moved the needle and attracted more full-time long- game Realtors,” Jewgieniew said.

Jewgieniew said rising interest rates and lack of inventory have hurt sales but he sees the market improving in 2023 and 2024 during a presidential election year with lower interest rates. He said 2023 will be better than 2022 while next year will revert back to 2021.

“I think 2024 is going to be an incredible year,” Jewgieniew said. “We’re bullish on Vegas.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties CEO Troy Reierson said 2022 was a year to see the “highest of the highs” before a pivot with higher interest rates and “some of the lowest of the lows.”

Reierson said he’s not shocked his company lost its volume leadership because they have 40 percent fewer agents than Realty One.

The biggest issue facing the Las Vegas housing market is a lack of inventory and Reierson said he remains confident that homebuilders will construct new homes. It will take builders 10 years of construction, however, to meet the demand, he added.

“There’s a lot of folks sitting on the sidelines and asking what’s next,” Reierson said. “I’m looking forward to this year. It’s been rocky. We’ve seen things increase and then slow down again. I personally believe we’re going to start seeing a flattening out in the third quarter and those charts turning back up.”

Ernstone said their stronger showing in 2022 volume was part of increasing agent’s minimum sales prices. There’s a lot of agents attracted to Simply Vegas who want to specialize in luxury, he said.

“It’s not a surprise that it is up because that’s where our focus is as a company,” Ernstone said. “We’re always adding agents. We’re about 600 agents as a company, and that’s gone up 10 percent in the last 12 months, and we have a lot of (tools) in our company to help increase agent production. We have digital production studios in all of our offices. We believe in social media and have our own print shop. There’s a lot to promote our agents and get them selling more expensive houses.”

As for luxury, Jewgieniew said those prospects for Las Vegas remain bright given that it’s an entertainment and sports capital of the world. People are buying multiple homes because there’s so much new wealth, he said.

Sher said the luxury market was quiet for his new brokerage last fall, but it’s picking up in 2023. The first quarter will be among one of his best and that will continue into the second quarter, he added. He expects his volume to total $150 million during the first quarter.

“We have hit the ground running with a lot of momentum and more to come,” Sher said.

Late in 2022, Las Vegas Sotheby’s opened a flagship office at the upscale Uncommons in southwest Las Vegas with nearly 13,000 square feet of office space. Char, who assumed the position last summer, said the opening is part of a transition for the franchise that will continue to rebuild in 2023. It hosts a formal grand opening on April 24.

“We’re reestablishing the presence of this brand,” Char said. “It’s almost like a relaunch. Strategically, we wanted to create the right foundation for the future and build it with a strong culture to strengthen the brand. That’s why we made such a huge investment. We feel we’re going to thrive in this space because we’re delivering a full-service experience for our customers.”

Darin Marques, broker CEO of startup Virtue Luxury Real Estate that launched in February, moved from Huntington & Ellis where he was for three years and with the Ivan Sher Group at Berkshire Hathaway Group for 11 years prior to that.

“I started my team three years ago and have been growing it,” Marques said. “I just had a different vision, which is typical of most entrepreneurs. I learned a lot, but there are other things I want to do with my brokerage and visions that I have. I felt the way to do that was to start my own.”

Marques said his team has gone from $19 million his first year with Huntington & Ellis to just under $76 million in 2022. He works luxury while his team with 12 members works at all price points.

“I got my license in 2008 and everybody thought I was crazy then, too,” Marques said of starting his own brokerage during a slowdown. “I said there’s no better time to start than at the bottom and work my way up. Learning through that difficult time in 2008 is what made me strong and built me where I’m at today. What we have seen in the last six months is nothing.”

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