November 12, 2021
As a true international player in the real estate industry, Realogy is fortunate to have many of the world’s top real estate thought leaders in our ranks, globally. Our depth of talent is so formidable—both domestically and globally—that it enables Realogy agents and brokers everywhere to stay ahead of the curve, and anticipate the latest trends and technology, simply because we have so many industry influencers “on our team.”
Realogy also provides numerous opportunities for our thought leaders to share their expertise, opinions, and vision for the future. A recent example happened just a few weeks ago in October, as part of our Real Estate Experts Series. For this discussion, a dynamic panel of Realogy experts answered some questions from viewers in real time on the topic, “Staying Competitive in the European Real Estate Market.” The session featured a truly all-star collection of Realogy panelists:
Stephanie Anton, Managing Director, Global Services, Realogy
Laurent Demeure, Founder and CEO, Coldwell Banker France & Monaco
Ricardo Sousa, CEO, Century 21 Portugal and Spain
What is Really Happening in the European Real Estate Market?
The first question touched on the evergreen topic of supply and demand from local European markets.
Laurent Demeure, Founder and CEO of Coldwell Banker France & Monaco, said that right now he is seeing an increased demand throughout France and Monaco. Coming out of the pandemic, interest rates continue to be low, fueling the market, and buyers are taking advantage. “Everyone wants a piece of the cake.”
Interestingly, he described an environment where the wealthiest are not looking to sell, instead they are simply buying more properties. Ricardo Sousa, CEO of Century 21 Portugal & Spain, noted some interesting consumer trends. At the beginning of 2021, 45% of Portuguese families, and 63% of Spanish families indicated they wanted a new house. This obviously had a massive impact on demand. Since so many people are looking for new houses, inventory is incredibly low. Currently in Lisbon, families are spending more than 50% of their income in property. This seems like it will be hard to sustain long-term, but compared to the rest of Europe, particularly London and Paris, Lisbon real estate is still low. Which means that a large percentage of the Lisbon real estate boom is fueled by European buyers on the continent.
Stephanie Anton, the Realogy Managing Director of Global Services, said the keys to watch going forward were affordability and inventory. Globalization of real estate is starting to grow. As the market in Lisbon illustrates, the luxury position is growing in a big way. High net worth individuals are “collecting” real estate, which is great for the overall market, but in the short term impacts inventory. She noted that Lisbon has been a hot market for the last few years for international buyers. While inventory is certainly something to watch, Stephanie says that overall, she remains bullish for the next year, as long as the pandemic stays in check.
Maintaining Growth in a Competitive Market
All this demand, especially after COVID, is making the real estate market extremely competitive. Jason’s next question was about how agents and brokers can expect to maintain this torrid growth in such a competitive market.
Laurent said “It’s more and more competitive every day.” He indicated that the key to competing rests on two pillars: brand, and technology. He elaborated, talking about how “A big brand is more than a logo. It’s also a culture. A culture of innovation, and a culture of success going forward all the time. In terms of technology, he said that in the European market, “What we are looking for is everything to be digital, so agents and brokers can do everything with a phone, not a laptop.” Ultimately, the real estate profession is about spending time with clients. He doesn’t expect technology to replace agents…instead, he sees the role of tech as a way to help facilitate new and innovative connections with clients.
When posed the same question, Ricardo stressed that the pandemic brought upon a true paradigm shift in the industry. Although in itself it didn’t bring about any new technological tools, it massively sped the adoption of those tools. In terms of gaining an edge in a competitive market, he believes that the teams that are able to pivot to a hybrid model that uses technology and digitalization to be more relevant will come out on top. Agents can now work from anywhere, and that intensifies the shift from a product focus to a service focus. Those who can do that will see the greatest success going forward.
Strategies for Networking in a Virtual Environment
A question from the audience touched on strategies for networking virtually, and ways to encourage agents to focus on that aspect of the business.
Stephanie talked about the critical importance of being professional on social media. The nature of the medium encourages people to be more casual and real with one another. However, real estate agents should not “get too comfortable” with clients, instead, they should remain professional at all times. Also, it’s important to look for cues from the client. If the client texts, the agent should not call them back—they are indicating that their preferred method of communication is text. She also talked about how the digital era means there is more ways for agents to learn from other agents and brokers—not just locally, but all over the world. “This has brought our global brokers closer together. We have global masterminds for brands, now we get them together and share every couple of months. There are tons of ways in which our brokers are sharing what they’re doing. There’s more sharing, the tangible benefits of that sharing are accelerating because it’s all online. We are getting stronger together!”
Quick Tips & Takeaways:
Always be professional on social media
Build your brand by focusing on the local
Remember that ultimately, real estate is a people business
Want to see the whole discussion? You can find it in our Webinar Archive here. Let us know what you think! Did it inspire you to connect with customers in new ways? Are you interested in participating in a future Expert Series Webinar? Let us know!
*Please note this document was published prior to Realogy’s rebrand to Anywhere Real Estate Inc. on June 9, 2022.