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IS Luxury ranks No. 1 luxury brokerage

There’s a change at the top of the luxury brokerage rankings in Las Vegas with newcomer IS Luxury overtaking Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to close out the 2023 standings that saw a 17 percent drop in the value of those higher-end transactions.

The $5.32 billion in luxury transaction volume in 2023 fell from $6.38 billion in 2022 as elevated mortgage rates impacted all segments of the housing market, including the lower end of luxury, which starts at $1 million. That has started to turn around in late 2023 and early 2024 with luxury sales picking up.

There were 2,790 luxury transactions (each representing listings and buyers for homes, condos and town homes) in 2023, down from 3,374 in 2022. There were 1,395 sales, down from 1,687 in 2022. The average sales price in 2023 was $1.9 million, up from $1.89 million in 2022.

Brokerage owners said luxury market sales were impacted at the $1 million to $3 million level by higher interest rates and a lack of inventory at those and higher levels.

IS Luxury, which is headed by luxury Realtor Ivan Sher, who broke away from Berkshire Hathaway in fall 2022, recorded $533.1 million in luxury transactions.

That’s 10 percent of the luxury market share with 142 transactions and a leading average sales price of $3.75 million, according to statistics compiled by BrokerMetrics, which tracks transactions on the Multiple Listing Service of Las Vegas Realtor association brokerage members.

■ That contrasts to Berkshire Hathaway that saw its luxury market share decline to 7.3 percent in 2023 from 17.9 percent in 2022 when Sher was part of the firm for most of the year. It handled $391.5 million in luxury volume, down from $1.14 billion in 2022. It handled 218 transactions with an average price of $1.78 million. In 2022, it handled 515 transactions with an average price of $2.21 million.

■ Simply Vegas came in at third with $372.4 million in luxury volume, down from $529.8 million in 2022. It handled 202 transactions with an average price of $1.84 million. It handled 262 transactions in 2022.

■ The Agency was fourth with $347.9 million in volume and 120 transactions. The Elliott Realty group, which is part of The Agency that opened in late 2021, had $224.9 million in volume. It handled 76 transactions with an average price of $2.9 million, the second highest in the valley.

■ Realty One Group was fifth, handling $313.8 million in volume, down from $325.9 million in 2022. It did 172 transactions with an average price of $1.82 million.

■ Next was Douglas Elliman of Nevada with $224.9 million, marking its first full year after opening in April 2022. When including residential land sales, its total was $256.5 million with a combined 84 transactions and average price of $2.89 million.

■ Urban Nest Realty was seventh with $217.6 million in volume, up from $209.1 million in 2022. It handled 132 transactions with an average price of $1.64 million. It handled 115 transactions in 2022.

■ Huntington &Ellis was eighth with $204 million in volume, up from $129.7 million in 2022. It handled 130 transactions with an average price of $1.56 million.

■ Las Vegas Synergy Sotheby’s International was ninth with $201.2 million in volume, down from $340.5 million. It handled 94 transactions with an average price of $2.1 million.

■ Luxury Estates was 10th with $133.2 million in volume, down from $142.3 million in 2022. It handled 49 transactions with an average price of $ 2.7 million.

■ Just below them was eXp Realty in the 11th spot with $125.1 million in volume, down from $159.3 million in 2022. It handled 80 transactions with an average price of $1.56 million.

■ Luxury Homes of Las Vegas and Windermere Prestige fell out of the top 10 from the 2023 list.

In the overall market category covering all price segments, Realty One Group again took the top spot by handing $2.19 billion in buyer and seller transactions. It handled $2.64 billion in 2022.

That was followed by Berkshire Hathaway with $1.79 billion, down from $2.57 billion in 2022. Others in the top 10 were Simply Vegas, $1.58 billion; Urban Nest Realty, $1.18 billion; eXp Realty, $1.1 billion; Keller Williams Market, $1 billion; Huntington &Ellis, $1 billion; Signature Real Estate, $991.7 million; and Coldwell Banker Premier, $721.8 million. IS Luxury was 11th when combining all price points at $598.2 million.

The overall sales volume combining all price segments was $31.5 billion in 2023 on 31,561 sales. That’s down 15.5 percent from $37.3 billion in 2022 on 38,131 sales.

Reaction to numbers, market

In his first full year on his own, Sher said his team recorded an increase from 2022, which he said was much slower because of concerns over rising interest rates and a crashing economy that kept people on the sidelines until 2023.

He said he did tens of millions of dollars in higher intransactions in 2023 than reported because it didn’t include some off-market deals where it represented both buyers and sellers.

“It’s simple for me,” Sher said of his first-ever top ranking. “I surround myself with the best people, the best agents and best support staff. It’s a cumulative effort to help find our clients the best home or sell their home. I’m proud to be part of the organization. We all love what we do.”

Sher said 2024 is already off to a strong start and expects the first quarter to end with just under $150 million in volume, a record surpassing the $140 million in the first quarter of 2021. It was $138 million in the first quarter of 2023, he said.

“We had a phenomenal first quarter which is a great indicator of what’s to come,” Sher said. “We’re optimistic with the influx of buyers coming from out of state. It feels like we are just getting started. We have these incredible sports teams and more to come. We have incredible high-rise development opening up all over the city.”

Troy Reierson, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada, California and Arizona Properties, said he couldn’t be more proud of what Sher has accomplished forming his own agency.

“From our top luxury team to one of the top companies in Las Vegas,” Reierson added.

Reierson is optimistic about 2024, saying the luxury marketplace remains strong and is well-positioned in Las Vegas since homes are priced well compared to other cities on the West Coast.

Kuba Jewgieniew​, CEO and founder of Realty ONE Group, praised Sher and his company for rising to the top of the luxury brokerages. He said he’s proud his company retained its No. 1 overall for combined price segments.

“We’re pulling away because Ivan was Berkshire’s top producer,” Jewgieniew said. “Also, every year we are getting better at being a business coaching organization. We attract and retain the long-game and full-service experienced Realtors who create this as a career.”

Realty One Group, which has branched outside Nevada since its founding in 2005, has 20,000 agents in 49 states doing 88,000 transactions and just under $40 billion in sales.

Jewgieniew said he expects 2024 to be even better than 2023 in terms of volume in Las Vegas as they continue to attract full-time agents to the firm. He added 2025 will equal what they did in 2021 in a strong market year following the pandemic.

“We have been in a two-year (housing) recession,” Jewgieniew said. “The Federal Reserve says they anticipate cutting rates at least three times this year, and that’s going to accelerate next year.”

Once mortgage rates get below 6 percent, Jewginiew said sales will pick up dramatically. The 30-year fixed rate was just under 7 percent this past week.

As for luxury, Jewgieniew said “there’s more wealth out there than ever before.” People have a lot of cash, and the stock market is at an all-time high. Once there’s a correction, the rotation of money out of the market will flow into real estate, he said.

“Not only will they be buying second homes but fourth and fifth homes, especially in Vegas to get away from taxes,” Jewgieniew said. “There’s so much cash out there with the rich getting richer, and so for a lot of those folks when they are buying $10 million, $15 million or $20 million homes, especially in The Summit Club, Summerlin and MacDonald Highlands, they aren’t looking for loans. They are looking to park that money.”

Gavin Ernstone, broker owner of Simply Vegas, said the 2023 luxury market was down due to a lack of inventory because there were plenty of buyers. Many people simply didn’t want to sell their homes, he added.

“That continued to an extent going into 2024,” Ernstone said. “I have more buyers than sellers, and I’m continuing to look for houses. There are way more buyers in the ultra luxury space than there has ever been in Vegas. I mean $5 million up to $20 million. As long as the inventory opens up, we will see a better year than 2023.”

Dave Tina, the founder of Urban Nest Realty, said the luxury market is robust in terms of demand because people have the wealth to live in multiple places and have flexibility to pay in cash and not rely on interest rates. Like Ernstone, he said the problem is that there’s not enough inventory on the luxury side of the market and has multiple buyers who are desperate to find anything.

“When they do, a lot of it is off market and a lot of it is at a premium,” Tina said. “It’s a make-me-sell situation because there are so many people coming in from California and other places.”

Tina said he doesn’t consider $1 million-plus transactions to be luxury any longer in Las Vegas. In Summerlin, communities that aren’t guard-gated are $1 million. The starting point today for luxury is $2.5 million, he said.

“I never thought I would see that in 30 years,” Tina said. “All of the (luxury real estate) TV shows never considered Vegas because we didn’t have enough high-priced homes.

With The Summit, Ascaya and The Ridges you are regularly in the $10 million (bracket.”

Urban Nest is one of the few firms that recorded an increase in dollar volume, and Tina said he noticed in 2023 how competitors were down 15 percent to 20 percent. He said Urban Nest picked up market share by doing a lot of marketing when people stopped.

“We went against the current,” Tina said. “We started putting our pedal down on marketing; plus, we picked up a lot of agents from other small companies going out of business.”

Don Kuhl, the managing broker at Douglas Elliman, said he’s thrilled at his company’s high showing in its first full year. Many agents didn’t come on board until January 2023, and it’s impressive to do as well as the brokerage did. Kuhl said 2024 is already getting off to a strong start.

“I think the first quarter when everyone posts that the luxury segment of the market performed very well,” Kuhl said, in noting how luxury outperformed lower-price segments. “As interest rates slow down in the fourth quarter and first quarter of 2025, we might have enough of a boom if we get enough inventory. The demand is sitting there, but we don’t have the inventory to satisfy people.”

Kuhl said to look out this month for a home closing in The Summit Club in Summerlin that’s listed for more than $20 million. A Summit Club home closed in February for $19.7 million.

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