Douglas Elliman expands to NW Florida with Santa Rosa Beach office

Agent Brad Reese joins firm from BHHS

Douglas Elliman Expands Into Santa Rosa Beach

A photo illustration of Douglas Elliman’s Brad Reese (Getty, Douglas Elliman)

First it was Sarasota. Now it’s the Panhandle. 

Douglas Elliman, led by Executive Chairman Howard Lorber, is opening its first office in northwest Florida, according to a press release. 

Brad Reese, formerly with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Beach Properties of Florida, is joining the brokerage and will be based out of Elliman’s new Santa Rosa Beach office, at 3124 West County Highway. Reese has closed more than $200 million in sales since 2021. 

Reese is in talks to recruit other top agents in the area, he said. 

The move is Elliman’s latest foray into Florida’s West Coast, following an October expansion into Sarasota with agent Lisa Rooks Morris. The Santa Rosa Beach office marks the firm’s 28th office in the state. 

The brokerage’s leaders have been eyeing a westward expansion for a while, but Florida CEO Jay Parker couldn’t believe it when agents started telling him about the Santa Rosa Beach market.

Douglas Elliman's Jay Parker (Douglas Elliman)
Douglas Elliman’s Jay Parker (Douglas Elliman)

“The Panhandle, who goes there?” he said. “Turns out, a lot of people.”

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Reese called Lorber’s New York office five years ago to pitch him on his Panhandle market, he said. It took years of persistence and sending market reports, but eventually Reese convinced Lorber and Parker to trek down to Santa Rosa Beach.

“We had a handshake deal before they left,” Reese said. 

The market attracts wealthy second home buyers from Nashville, Atlanta and Texas, Parker said. The median sale price for homes in Santa Rosa Beach is $1.2 million, and listings ask as much as $25 million, shows. 

Parker said the city has a very active rental market, with a different seasonality than the rest of Florida. 

“It’s more of a summer destination, rather than a winter destination,” he said. 

Following the pandemic boom, Reese said he’s still seeing “healthy numbers” for his market.

“We’re not seeing any pullback as far as prices,” he said. “We are seeing a little higher days on market.”

In addition to its recent westward growth, Elliman and Knight Frank launched an affiliate branch in the Bahamas last month. The brokerage is honed in on the Sunshine State, though. 

“Overall, Florida is poised for continued growth,” Parker said. “Howard’s opinion is pretty consistent with wanting to focus our expansion in Florida.”

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