Chicago-based @properties sold Christie’s International Real Estate’s New York City brokerage to Brown Harris Stevens and is severing ties with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ Long & Foster and Harry Norman.
The changes come about a month after @properties purchased the Christie’s International Real Estate brand and network from Christie’s. Its latest moves align with the international brand’s goal to support independent firms while growing its global affiliate network and moving away from its corporately owned structure.
When choosing where he wanted to place the New York City agents, Christie’s International co-CEO Thad Wong said he wanted to prioritize an independent brokerage instead of an existing franchise. BHS, which was an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in years past and is the largest privately owned residential brokerage in the city, seemed like the right fit.
“I’ve always had an admiration for Brown Harris Stevens, and their brand is iconic in the city of New York,” Wong said.
“We are the last woman standing for privately held. There’s nobody left, and so we are kind of special in many ways,” BHS CEO Bess Freedman said. “For us, this is just a great opportunity to work with people who are similarly aligned and want to sell real estate at the highest level.”
Wong declined to comment on the financial terms of the deal, citing an agreement between the two parties. Although @properties sold the brokerage to BHS, it still remains affiliated with the 20-agent team.
“We wanted to make sure we had agents that we had relationships with for the referrals that come in and out of Manhattan,” Wong said.
BHS is now moving the agents into some of its offices around the city. The agents will be dual-licensed while they complete transactions for listings acquired under the Christie’s brand name, though new listings moving forward will be under BHS.
Christie’s International’s goal is to figure out a way to put together an affiliation with BHS, Wong said. There’s no guarantee it will work out, but Wong said he’s hopeful it could come together by summer.
Whether that’s something BHS is interested in is too soon to say, according to its CEO.
“I’m not saying it wouldn’t happen, but I just don’t know yet,” Freedman said. “We’re just trying to piece this together right now.”
The deal with BHS is just one of the ways Christie’s International is shifting from corporate-owned brokerages to independent ones. The brokerage chose not to renew its agreement with Long & Foster’s and terminated its agreement with Harry Norman.
Wong cited Berkshire Hathaway’s ownership as the main reason why Christie’s International is cutting ties with the firms. Its relationship with them was established before they were sold to Berkshire Hathaway, Wong said.
Firms owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Realogy or others operating their own franchise are ones that would compete with Christie’s International’s existing members, Wong added, which isn’t something the brokerage is interested in.
“Our goal is that Christie’s International Real Estate will partner with the largest luxury independent in the market and strengthen the value proposition of independents through our technology and our marketing and culture,” Wong said.
Christie’s International Real Estate has identified Ansley Real Estate as its new Atlanta affiliate.