Wilmington-based residential real estate firm Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage today launched an effort to expand its luxury market share locally, in the U.S. and internationally via a corporate program called Global Luxury.
"We've been involved already with high-end homes, but we also felt like we could take this to another level by the program that's been put together by Craig and his team," said Tim Milam, president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, referring to Craig Hogan, vice president of luxury for Coldwell Banker. "We're seeing that across the country a lot of other Coldwell Banker companies... are seeing 30, 40 percent growth in their Global Luxury programs that Craig has helped them put together. We're already in that field but we decided to play in that field a little stronger, quite a bit stronger."
Forty agents from the local firm will travel to Washington, D.C. this month to take the Global Luxury certification class. Global Luxury, which celebrated the one-year anniversary of its corporate launch on Wednesday, is the new name for the overall Coldwell Banker luxury program. It traces its roots back to Coldwell Banker Previews International and the Previews program, in existence since 1933.
"I was previously a Previews agent and our company has decided to take it a step further with the new certification for Global Luxury," said Barbara Pugh, an agent with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, and one of the agents traveling to Washington, D.C. "I feel that the luxury market is a great fit for me and this new certification will just enhance my global marketing program and help me further my local marketing efforts along with lifestyle marketing to our area. We live in a wonderful place – the beaches, the historic district, the arts – we have it all. Our lifestyle is a big reason that so many people live here and we have the most beautiful waterfront homes. I am always eager to learn new ways to market my listings and to find that perfect match for my buyers."
She said as of April 11, 37 properties that were $1 million are over sold in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, 24 in New Hanover alone. Pugh recently closed on her listing at 211 Summer Rest Road, a Charleston-styled home she described as "probably one of the most photographed homes in Wilmington, for $1.5 million.
"We are all still blown away by 2017 – it was a good year. And now 2018 is showing steady volume and may surpass 2017. Waterfront luxury properties are gold! Especially with a boat slip/pier or water access. Even water view. It is a strong market but buyers are looking for good quality and fair pricing. But sometimes the location will speak volumes to a buyer. If it is a great location, they don’t mind paying the price. I have had multiple offers on some properties – just because of location," Pugh said.
Hogan, who traveled to Wilmington from his offices in Chicago to assist with the local launch, said in a news release that Global Luxury specialists are an exclusive group, making up under 10 percent of Coldwell Banker associates worldwide.
"To earn the Global Luxury Specialist designation, the agents must meet stringent, performance-based criteria and complete a certification course," he said in the release.
The only stand-alone Global Luxury offices open right now are overseas, Hogan said on Wednesday.
"We're making a very strong commitment to this and one of the things that we plan to do is at some point in time opening a Global Luxury office." in Wilmington, Milam said.
Each office is designed and upfit so that potential buyers, and agents, have a luxury experience, Hogan said. "It's meant to touch the senses, so we've worked long and hard picking out everything from the fabric, to the woods to the stones, all of it," he said.
Last year, Coldwell Banker overall sold 28,750 homes in the U.S. that represented $1 million or more transactions, Hogan said.
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, which was founded in 1988 and joined Coldwell Banker in 1993, had $1.6 billion in closed sales volume and 7,023 sales in 2017.
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