The Real Deal New York

Elliman only made $100K in profits in Q1

Competitor Realogy Corp. reported uptick in sales $2.5M and up
By E.B. Solomont | May 05, 2017 01:15PM

Howard Lorber (Credit: Getty Images)

UPDATED, May 6, 8:55 p.m.: No, that’s not a typo: Douglas Elliman’s profits dipped to just $100,000 during the first quarter of 2017, down from $7.1 million during the same period last year, parent company Vector Group reported Friday. The paltry sum was attributed to fewer closings at new development projects, Vector executives said.

Elliman closed sales worth $5.6 billion during the first quarter, compared to last year’s $5.7 billion, the company said. That resulted in $155.5 million in first-quarter revenue, down slightly from $157.6 million last year.

“There were less new development closings. That’s a higher-margin business so that hurt us,” said Douglas Elliman CEO Howard Lorber, during an earnings call Friday.

While the firm’s net income for the quarter was $100,000, its adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was $1.8 million, compared to $9.1 million in 2016’s first quarter.

Overall, Vector’s first-quarter revenue was $415.2 million, up from $380.8 million in 2016’s first quarter. Vector reported a net loss of $4.2 million compared with net income of $19.3 million during the first quarter of last year.

Lorber told investors that New Valley, the real estate investment vehicle of Vector, would continue to take an “opportunistic” approach. “If there’s something that makes sense, that’s an opportunistic type of investment or a troubled project where we think we can add value, we’re interested,” he said.

In general, he said, the New York market has picked up — a sentiment shared by others in recent weeks.

Real estate conglomerate Realogy Holdings Corp., which reported its first-quarter results on Thursday, generated $1.2 billion in revenue for the quarter, a 6 percent improvement from the prior year, the company said. New Jersey-based Realogy had an adjusted net loss of $23 million compared to an adjusted loss of $17 million in 2016’s first quarter — both attributed to low seasonal transaction volume.

During an earnings call Thursday, Realogy CEO Richard Smith said there are “early signs of stabilization” in the luxury market, with sales in the $2.5 million-and-up segment up 10 percent from this time last year. “New product in New York City continues to be particularly strong,” he said.

NRT — the division that owns the Corcoran Group, Sotheby’s International Realty and Citi Habitats — saw revenue jump seven percent year-over-year to $897 million for the first quarter.

But Smith cautioned that there isn’t enough inventory on the low end of the market, and he described a recent bidding war for a $1 million New York City apartment as an example. Some 200 people showed up at the open house, 25 of them made bids and the apartment sold for 20 percent above the asking price, he said. “Listen, we don’t see that play out in every market,” he said. “The good news is, when something is priced right… it’s selling.”