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Leading Real Estate Companies of the World

It’s A Small World: LeadingRE Connects Luxury Developers with a Global Pool of Buyers 

Simon Bacon, Executive Director of Developer Services at Michael Saunders & Company, Ricardo Severini, Global Sales Director at the Mirum Group, Tasos Stavrou, Vice President, Global Business Development at LeadingRE
Simon Bacon, Executive Director of Developer Services at Michael Saunders & Company, Ricardo Severini, Global Sales Director at the Mirum Group, Tasos Stavrou, Vice President, Global Business Development at LeadingRE

People searching for that luxury second or even third home are increasingly shopping the global marketplace, from Bali and Cyprus to Greece and Florida. 

In the post-pandemic landscape, luxury home buyers are seeking destination locations as a way to add new lifestyle options or even snag a “golden visa” from a country offering citizenship to buyers. To serve this growing market and continue to stand by its commitment to innovation and excellence, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® has introduced Destinations by LeadingRE. This strategic international project marketing program for premier new developments connects developers with prospective buyers around the world and builds distribution channels with LeadingRE’s global network of 550 top notch real estate companies in more than 70 countries.

TRD reached out to Tasos Stavrou, Vice President, Global Business Development at Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), to learn how the company’s initiative is responding to this global phenomenon. We also spoke with Simon Bacon, Executive Director of Developer Services at Michael Saunders & Company, and Ricardo Severini, Global Sales Director at the Mirum Group, about how the program’s targeted features and platform has helped them reach new audiences.

Capturing A Worldwide Trend

Foreign investment and wealth diversification are nothing new among the global elite. However, in the post pandemic world, the value of having a second home in another part of the globe has become increasingly apparent to a range of buyers. 

“What we see from a global perspective is the relocation of not only wealth and foreign direct investment moving into different countries, but the mobility of people as well,” explains Stavrou. 

The luxury home buying market is insulated from some of the challenges hampering the broader housing market. “It remains very, very active, especially from American buyers,” says Severini. People are not only looking for that second home, but they are also “lifestyle buyers” who want a taste of living in another country such as Greece, he adds. Greece offers a “golden visa” program where people are eligible to be a resident if they purchase a property in that country valued at a minimum of €250,000 (or €500,000 in specific areas).

The Mirum Group is currently developing 1 Hotel & Homes Elounda Hills, a 100 percent sustainable development underway in Crete. The project will  include 5 Exclusive Waterfront Villas, interiors by Ralph Lauren Homes and it is the first branded resort in Europe for 1 Hotel & Homes. The beachfront residences also will feature the largest private marina in Crete. To date, more than half of the interested buyers are coming from the U.S.

Elounda Hills, Crete, Greece. Represented by MIRUM GROUP – Learn more

“Greece was the number one destination for Americans last year,” says Severini. “So, there is a lot of interest, and this is one of the reasons why we chose to join Destinations by LeadingRE, because the American customer is very strong for us and they know how to market it correctly to markets in North America.” In addition, golden visas are attractive to Asian buyers, and LeadingRE also has a lot of connections in the Asia market, he adds.

Destinations by LeadingRE is a program aimed at capturing that growing market by bringing developers from around the world together with buyers seeking international residences. It serves as an extension of LeadingRE that taps into the new development market. Destinations by LeadingRE combines online and offline resources to help developers expand their marketing channels through the network of LeadingRE and its member companies. 

A More Mobile Luxury Buyer

Most people would like to forget about COVID, but it did create some lingering effects on the luxury homebuyer. People tend to invest in locations where they have more options related to their lifestyle.

“Covid really sped up the visibility of the west coast of Florida, which is now very much a primary destination versus a secondary option to the east coast,” notes Bacon. Michael Saunders & Company is a veteran player in the luxury home brokerage business. The firm has sold in excess of 90 new development projects, including multiple Ritz Carltons. Its current portfolio includes the 69-residence St. Regis on Longboat Key and a $450M sell-out in a 170-room resort. 

The Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg and Sarasota area has experienced exponential growth over the past three years, which Bacon attributes in large part to a boom of luxury buyers snagging second and third homes. Projects like the St. Regis have produced transactions in the high $2,000s and even into the low $3,000 per foot, a new high price level for that area. 

“That is largely due to buyers from out of market really wanting to come down and participate in that destination living, which The St. Regis provides,” says Bacon.

Branded residences are also an important trend in luxury development, which is evident in both The St. Regis on Longboat Key and the 1 Hotel & Homes Elounda Hills. For example, Ralph Lauren will be branding the design of some of the villas at Elounda Hills, with 1 Hotel & Homes managing the entire development. 

“Ralph Lauren came to our development last year, and he fell in love with it,” says Severini. “We’re quite excited about that, and that is what our clients are looking for today.”

For the consumer, it is the certainty of the standards that come with that name, adds Bacon. “You can’t put the St. Regis name on something and build whatever you want,” he says. “You have to adhere to really strict standards for service and for design, and that gives the consumer a huge amount of confidence when they are going to be putting millions of dollars down in deposits three years before they are able to live in something.”

Strategic Marketing with Global Reach

By signing on with Destinations by LeadingRE, developers get their properties listed in a program that caters to international luxury home buyers. The program is already home to developments located in more than 15 countries, including Australia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Greece, Indonesia, the Maldives, Mauritius, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

While LeadingRE’s online platform is central to its offering, developers who choose Destinations by LeadingRE gain a host of additional benefits that help them reach the right buyers. These include everything from online marketing support via advanced SEO strategy and social media and PR opportunities to real-world exposure at LeadingRE’s exclusive conferences and private events with LeadingRE member brokers and their clients. 

“Whenever you’re marketing a significant project, the focus is always on layering different levels and channels in order to garner exposure,” says Bacon, whose firm is currently extending its already impressive marketing reach by marketing its Florida properties through Destinations by LeadingRE, including The Residences at The St Regis Longboat Key, Residences at 400 Central in St. Petersburg, and SOTA Residences & Hotel in Sarasota.

Residences at 400 Central, St. Petersburg, Florida. Represented by Michael Saunders & Company – Learn more

“Destinations by LeadingRE, for us, is another way to engage with an audience that we may not normally touch,” says Bacon. “It really helps to put us onto more of a global map for people looking to spend money and invest, particularly in the U.S.”

For example, Michael Saunders & Company participated in LeadingRE’s annual conference, which created a networking opportunity with hundreds of owners and agents from real estate brokerages around the world attending. “We were able to participate in roundtable conversations with the agents interested in learning more because they have clients who may want to invest in real estate in some locations where we represent projects,” says Bacon.

Destinations by LeadingRE is a great resource for developers looking to efficiently amplify their marketing reach. “We have a relatively small team, so Destinations by LeadingRE serves as an extension of our international marketing group,” says Severini, whose firm chose the program as part of their global marketing efforts for Elounda Hills, which includes a Ralph Lauren-branded project located on the popular island of Crete. “They market the property on their platform and send the leads to us. Then, our sales team  connects with these prospective clients.”

Carefully Curated for Luxury Buyers

One of the aspects that differentiates Destinations by LeadingRE is that it is a marketing program, not only a listing platform. Destinations is very selective in the developments it chooses to include in the program, with a focus on those projects that are considered to be premier in their respective country or region. 

Destinations by LeadingRE is careful not to include developments that oversaturate a particular region. “If we have a member company or developer partner with a range of products and price points in a specific market, we will not just keep adding more developments for the sake of having more developments,” says Stavrou. “It’s not just about offering more inventory; it’s about offering the right option for affluent buyers.” 

It’s also important to recognize that “affluent” today doesn’t necessarily mean a buyer has to be a multi-millionaire or ultra-high-worth individual. For example, $1 million may not be enough to buy into a St. Regis property, but it could be the right price to get into other luxury projects in a variety of lifestyle destinations such as Grand Cayman or Bali. 

“It’s all about getting the right option to the right audience,” says Stavrou. “The art of marketing new developments incorporates a range of strategies that expand your horizons and access a broader audience that is relevant to your product, and I believe this is what we are doing very, very well through Destinations by LeadingRE.”

To learn more about how Destinations by LeadingRE can help boost your business, contact