It’s not just a good time for residential brokerage Keller Williams Realty to help clients move.
It’s also been the perfect chance for the company itself to relocate one of its local branches.
Husband and wife Rick and Teri Brenkus took advantage in July of a still-depressed commercial real estate market — with its office vacancies still at more than 20 percent — to upgrade their northside Keller Williams location. The broker-owner couple have transferred their brokerage, one of two they own locally, into 8,500 square feet of Class A space at 10000 W. Charleston Blvd. It’s a big upgrade from the 5,000 square feet of Class B space the brokerage had on Buffalo Drive just north of Summerlin Parkway.
Rick Brenkus said the new space gives the brokerage a ground-floor suite with “tremendous signage” on Charleston, and business is already rolling in as a result: The office has had more walk-in queries in two months than it had in five years at its Buffalo location.
The new branch is primed to lure new brokers on board to help with surging business, Brenkus said. It has a training room to host 20 to 30 classes a month for sales agents from brokerages across the city. The Keller Williams economic model should also help. Rather than a commission split or flat fee on every transaction, the company’s agents keep 100 percent of their commission beyond a certain point. There’s also profit-sharing; Keller Williams distributed $55 million nationwide to its agents in 2012, Brenkus said.
“The economic model makes it a very aggressive company where you could start your career off and build equity,” Brenkus said.
Throw in new office extras such as private conference rooms for agents to meet with clients, and it should all help the location expand from 75 agents to more than 200 in the next 18 months, Brenkus said. The Brenkus team also has 120 agents in its Keller Williams office in Green Valley.
And thanks to the market, there’s plenty of work to go around. Business has been “unbelievable,” with listings fielding a dozen offers each and selling in a day, Brenkus said. Things are changing fast, though. Inventory for sale has doubled in the past 90 days. Plus, the median price is up more than 50 percent in the past 18 months, to $182,000. So 80 percent of Keller Williams’ active listings have equity, which helps sellers dodge foreclosure or short sale.
Still, the feeding frenzy can’t help but remind Brenkus a bit of the bubble’s peak in 2006, when buyers snapped up homes before properties even hit the Multiple Listing Service. There are some startling similarities, including soaring prices and heavy investor activity.
There are important differences, too. The median price in the boom was more than $300,000, and keeping homes relatively affordable meant adjustable, interest-only loans, option ARMs and other unconventional mortgage products. A lot of those nontraditional loans, which became unaffordable when their rates reset in the recession, make up today’s wave of foreclosures.
But today’s buyers are purchasing mostly with cash rather than high-interest loans. Cash buyers have made up more than half of local buyers for much of the last two years. So Southern Nevada should see fewer foreclosures down the road if the market takes another tumble, Brenkus said.
“The real downside is that there’s not as much economic growth happening as there was during the boom, and the unemployment rate still has a ways to go before full recovery,” he added.
■ Looking for a retail investment? Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services has listed the 65,979-square-foot 99¢ Only Stores Shopping Center at 1325 E. Flamingo Road. The retail and industrial center sits on more than four acres on Flamingo near Maryland Parkway, and sees nearly 100,000 cars a day pass by. The asking price is $3.9 million. That’s a big discount: Its current owner, a limited partnership based in Henderson, bought the property for $6.85 million in February 2004.
■ Colliers International handled several notable transactions in thepast few weeks.
Chris Connell represented landlord Sahara Rancho Office Center LLC in a 120-month lease to Nevada on behalf of its Administration Department, Hearings and Appeals Division and Victims of Crime. The $4.1 million lease is for 17,040 square feet of space at 2200 S. Rancho Drive in the Sahara Rancho Corporate Center.
Special Dispatch of California renewed its lease on 39,929 square feet of industrial space at 3755 E. Post Road, inside Arrowhead Commerce Center. The 64-month lease is valued at $1.28 million. Colliers International’s Gabe Telles and Dan Doherty, SIOR, represented Special Dispatch. Spencer Pinter, Jerry Doty and Chris Lane represented the landlord, KTR LV III LLC.
Advanced Wheel Sales signed a 64-month, $581,998 lease on 31,500 square feet of industrial space at 3030 N. Lamb Blvd., inside the Freeport West Distribution Center. Colliers’ Dean Willmore, SIOR, and Eric Molfetta represented landlord Natomas Creek Nevada LLC, while Zac Zaher of Voit Real Estate Services represented the tenant.
Scot Marker represented landlord Kimco Realty in its 60-month lease to G&D Home. The lease, for 11,626 square feet inside the Sahara Pavilion South shopping center at 2590 S. Decatur Blvd., is valued at $627,804. Pei Wilson of Nationwide Realty represented the tenant.
Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at email@example.com or 702-380-4512. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.