Luxury real estate professionals from around the world are hobnobbing in South Florida this week, as Leading Real Estate Companies of the World brings its annual gathering to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach.
Pam O’Connor, Chicago-based Leading Real Estate’s president and CEO, told The Real Deal that her group chose Miami to accommodate its members on the U.S. East Coast, Europe and other parts of the world. She noted attendance was up 10 percent for the annual conference, which began Monday and concludes on Friday, along with the four other events.
“Miami is amazing,” O’Connor said. “It’s really incredible to think about what happened here during the recession of how prices went to 50 percent or less and how its come back up.”
Ron Shuffield, president of EWM Realty International and a Leading Real Estate co-founder, said the conference is an opportunity for Miami real estate professionals to network with colleagues from more than 30 countries who deal with ultra-wealthy global buyers.
“Everybody wants to be in Miami,” Shuffield said. “And everyone wants to know about the value Miami has to offer compared to their home countries. We have people here from London and Paris, places that are much more expensive than Miami, who are genuinely surprised when they hear our value.”
Monday’s morning session was highlighted by guest speaker David Gregory, the former host of NBC’s “Meet the Press” morning show, who shared his insights into the political rise of New York real estate celebrity mogul Donald Trump. Following his emphatic win in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, Trump is firmly in the driver’s seat to win the GOP nomination, Gregory said.
“People want to see behind the curtain,” Gregory said. “They want authenticity. Trump represents that. He is a reality TV star. He is bombastic. He is vulgar. He is a lot of things, including being ill-informed. But the reality is he has the brilliance of communication and of showmanship.”
Nevertheless, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is still his odds-on favorite to become the 45th U.S. president, Gregory said.
On Wednesday, George Blankenship — the marketing guru credited with helping Apple and Tesla revolutionize their respective brands — kicks off Leading Real Estate’s annual conference with a keynote speech on how his strategies can be applied to luxury real estate.