The Real Deal New York

Top second languages spoken by NYC’s bilingual brokers? Spanish, French

Overall, about 15 percent of agents in U.S. are fluent in more than one language
July 18, 2014 01:45PM

Roughly 15 percent of real estate agents in the U.S. said they speak a second language, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. Of those who do in New York City, more speak Spanish, followed by French, Russian, Mandarin and Russian.

Such language skills, brokers told the Wall Street Journal, can be indispensable in working with an influx of foreign buyers making big all-cash purchases. The ability to sort out technical details in a buyer’s native tongue, they said, can help allay purchasers’ nerves over nailing down a pricey deal.

In Chicago, Miami and Los Angeles, Spanish was also the most common second language among bilingual real estate agents, according to the Wall Street Journal. Greek and Polish were popular in Chicago, while Korean and Armenian were prevalent in Los Angeles.

“There are many American buyers who might prefer to work with an agent who speaks languages in addition to English,” Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia, told the Journal.

Martine Capdevielle of Sotheby’s International Realty on the Upper East Side said buyers who speak a language besides English feel understood when the agent is bilingual. [WSJ]Mark Maurer