Northbound: Fortune Christie’s opens first Florida offices beyond Miami-Dade

Brokerage follows its peers on a path of expansion in Broward, Palm Beach counties

Fortune Christie’s International Real Estate's Edgardo Defortuna
Fortune Christie’s International Real Estate's Edgardo Defortuna (Fortune Christie's, Getty)

Fortune Christie’s International Real Estate is the latest South Florida residential brokerage to head north.

Miami-based Fortune Christies, led by Edgardo Defortuna, is opening three new offices in North Miami Beach, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale, according to a press release. The firm is joining the competition, as brokerages focus their expansion northward in the aftermath of South Florida’s pandemic real estate boom.

Fortune Christie’s signed leases at 17301 Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami Beach and at 101 Plaza Real South, Suite H in Boca Raton, the release says. The firm is still looking for its planned Fort Lauderdale site. 

Defortuna confirmed the new offices are for existing agents in these markets, and will be able to accommodate between 30 and 40 agents per office. They are the firm’s first Florida offices outside of Miami-Dade County. 

Defortuna is looking to grow his agent base by 200 before the end of the year, he said via email. Fortune Christie’s is also considering acquisition as a means of northward expansion, and Defortuna confirmed the brokerage is in talks with smaller companies. 

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He is particularly focused on growth in Broward County.

“No area in Broward County is off the table,” he said in an email. “Our immediate focus lies on expanding our presence in the eastern areas of Broward County.”

Fortune Christie’s isn’t the only brokerage honing in on Broward. Douglas Elliman opened two offices in Weston in February, with Elliman’s Florida CEO Jay Parker citing the area’s growing luxury market as a key draw. Compass opened new offices for existing agents in Weston and Palm Beach Gardens in April. Mauricio Umansky’s the Agency also launched an office in Palm Beach Gardens in January.  The Keyes Company acquired two brokerages in Boca Raton in the first half of the year, beefing up its agent count there by 160.  

Domestic migration has supercharged the luxury real estate market in the region, and price growth has spread to nearly every corner of the tri-county area. Even as the South Florida market is slowing down from the lightning speed that defined pandemic deals, many brokerage heads are saying now is the time to expand. 

For Fortune Christie’s, the move comes eight months after Defortuna launched a brand partnership with Christie’s International Real Estate. The firm currently has more than 600 agents and 21 offices, including 12 in Miami-Dade and nine in South America. It placed seventh on The Real Deal’s recent residential brokerage rankings, with $920.4 million in closed sales from April of last year to April of this year.