OC star agent Steve High takes team to Pacific Sotheby’s
After dissolution of Villa Real Estate and move to Coldwell Banker, he seeks boutique format
UPDATED JAN. 23 at 8 a.m.:
For the second time in seven months, agents holding the record for the priciest deal in Orange County history made a move.
Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty announced that Steve High, along with several colleagues from Villa Real Estate, have affiliated with the brokerage’s Newport Beach office. Most recently, the High | Corkett team, which holds the record for the priciest deal in Orange County, was with Coldwell Banker Realty. In May 2023, the team made waves by moving to the large brokerage after Villa Real Estate dissolved in April that year.
In 2021, Villa’s sales volume was $1.9 billion, according to Real Trends. In 2022, it had a sales volume of $1.5 billion, according to Steve High, the co-founder of High | Corkett and former president of Villa Real Estate. Villa’s successful run included closing the priciest deal in Orange County history. It was a $70 million deal for 2585 Riviera Drive in Laguna Beach in November 2021. High and business partner Evan Corkett represented the seller. Rex McKown and Jon Curci of McKown, Weinstein & Associates at Compass represented the buyer.
High said his team of about 25 agents wanted to return to a luxury brokerage firm with a high-end, boutique-like feel similar to Villa Real Estate, rather than remain at a large brokerage such as Coldwell. Also migrating to Pacific Sotheby’s were Villa agents Kim Bibb, Jon Flagg and Tim Carr.
“Pacific Sotheby’s is a better fit for us,” High noted. “We felt that at Pacific Sotheby’s we could have the best of all worlds.”
The new arrangement offers a boutique culture and also the strength of a global company, High said.
He also stressed that his team’s move was an intramural one. Sotheby’s International Realty and Coldwell Banker are both brands owned by Anywhere Real Estate.
In addition to continuing to sell properties, High will work as a consultant to other agents at Pacific Sotheby’s with his new job title of senior agent advisor. In April 2022, Toronto-based Peerage Realty Partners took a partnership interest in Pacific Sotheby’s, which is headquartered in San Diego. It currently has 523 affiliated agents.
High has worked in Orange County real estate for 38 years. He said the priciest deal in Orange County came together because the buyer, Joseph Edelman, founder of Perceptive Advisors hedge fund, was seeking an oceanfront estate exactly like 2585 Riviera Drive, which was in a gated area in Irvine Cove.
“There wasn’t a comp at that moment that would establish $70 million. But we were able to show the buyer the property’s uniqueness and get him to that price,” High said. “I don’t feel like any one of us has magic wands. It was the right buyer, seller and a spectacular piece of real estate.”
Correction: Previous story had incorrect information about Villa team’s sales volume and regarding the agents involved in $70 million sale of 2585 Rivera Drive.