Resi firms descend on remnants of Town

Warburg, Oxford offer incentives to "displaced" agents

TRD New York /
Apr.April 20, 2018 12:10 PM

Within hours of the demise of Town Residential‘s sales and leasing divisions on Thursday, the text messages and emails started flying.

With several hundred brokers suddenly free agents, Town’s rivals were quick to lay claim on the carcass.

One senior brokerage executive compared the phenomenon to locusts descending. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” the source said. “This has happened in the past to tiny companies. This was not a tiny. It’s a big deal.”

Town informed agents on Thursday that it would shutter its resale and leasing operation following months of rumors that the firm was facing financial difficulties, as The Real Deal first reported. And sources said Town agents are being told they can take their exclusives with them, and that in-contract sales will be reassigned to their new firm.

A representative for Town declined to comment.

Related: Town Residential shutting down sale, leasing business

At its peak, Town had more than 600 agents and 10 offices. More recently, the firm counted 442 agents, down 15 percent from 523 in 2016, according to an analysis by TRD in January. At that time, the firm had $534.1 million in listings. It closed $660 million sell-side deals in 2017. Town will still work on new development, the firm’s founder Andrew Heiberger said on Thursday.

By late Thursday, the city’s major firms were scheduling interviews with Town agents who are scrambling to find new (professional) homes. “I changed up my whole schedule tonight and tomorrow morning,” one brokerage chief said.

Meanwhile, agents and managers at Mirador Real Estate, Mdrn. Residential and Warburg Realty messaged ex-Town agents on social media.

“While we are saddened by @townresidential’s shutting down of its resale and leasing business, we welcome #agents with #international #sales experience to join us in our expanding brokerage,” read an Instagram post by One & Only Realty, a small firm headed by Gennady Perepada.

“Contact me,” Warburg agent Bill Kowalczuk posted on Facebook. “Warburg is offering a great incentive for displaced Town agents.”

Oxford Property Group also said it would offer a $1,500 signing bonus to ex-Town agents, according to founder Adam Mahfouda, who said he already has meetings set up with 10 to 15 agents over the next few days.

“We just want the opportunity to introduce our product to agents,” he said of his brokerage, which has 450 agents and paid $20 million in commissions last year. Mahfouda added that Oxford pays out commissions “within 48 hours.”

Town already lost many of its big-name brokers over the past few months, but several remain — including Steve Gold, a co-star on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing: New York,” and Tribeca specialist Danny Davis. Dana Power has several of Town’s biggest listings, including a penthouse at 129 Lafayette that’s asking $16.95 million. And Gold currently has $66 million in listings and $20.8 million in signed contracts, according to On-Line Residential. Several listings are at the Circa, Artimus’ condo project at 285 West 110th Street.

Earlier this week, the Corcoran Group hired Nicole Hechter and Asaf Bar-Lev, along with a few other agents from Town.

Adam Pincus contributed reporting.

Related Articles

157 West 57th Street (Credit: iStock)

One57 condo with reduced ask tops a slow week of luxury contracts

Clockwise from top left: 730 Fifth Avenue, Unit #PH21; 730 Fifth Avenue, Unit #18A; The Pierre, Unit #3101; and The Park Imperial, Unit #64

Priciest homes listed last week include $60M pad at Crown Building

250th Issue

The Real Deal celebrates 250 issues

From left: Publisher and founder Amir Korangy, Editor-in-chief Stuart Elliott and VP of Corporate Development Yoav Barilan

TRD’s founders share war stories from over the years

56 Leonard Street (Credit: iStock)

He invested more than $130M into 4 Manhattan condos. Now he’s taking a hit

Due to relatively high income levels and low transportation costs, New York City is the eight most affordable of 20 major cities (Credit: iStock)

NYC is the 8th most affordable big city in America*

53 West 53rd Street, 885 Park Avenue, 70 West 45th Street (Credit: StreetEasy)

Five priciest homes to hit the market last week all over $22M

118 East 76th Street and Developer Joseph Chetrit (Credit: Google Maps and Getty Images)

Manhattan luxury home market off to worst start in seven years