Tracking Global Real Estate Expansion: A Perspective on Engel & Völkers

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In the 2009 Swanepoel TRENDS Report by best-selling author Stefan Swanepoel, huge international opportunities in the real estate market were identified. One such opportunity listed included the growth of non-USA based real estate franchises expanding worldwide and in the US.

Engel & Voelkers Shop

Engel & Völkers is a strong global brand with a very strong brand in high-class properties

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Most international markets we have seen a dramatic decrease in prices and therefore a decrease in transactions, especially in Dubai, Spain and the U.S. However, there are still some markets that are very stable in Europe such as Germany and Switzerland where prices haven't increased that much over the last few years. We also see a slightly increasing demand worldwide due to inflation fear, but clients are still very unsecure about where to invest their money.

Non-U.S. based real estate franchise companies listed in the 2009 Swanepoel TRENDS Report, Trend #6 - "The Foreign Factor," (http://www.retrends.com) have also continued their growth despite the slow housing market worldwide. Harcourts is one of the companies listed that recently signed an exclusive deal with Global Franchise Consultants to bring the Harcourts name to Brazil (thereby jumping another ocean and getting closer to the U.S.). Meanwhile north of the border, Brookfields is looking for a new CEO to head up to-be-rebranded GMAC Real Estate.

Already very active in the U.S. is the German-based international real estate company, Engel & Völkers. Expansion in both the New England area and California has shown continued growth although it is the Florida master franchisor that really seems to be expanding the fastest.

According to Oliver Tonn, Co-Owner of the master franchise for Engel & Völkers in Florida (http://www.engelvoelkers.com/florida) there has been a lot of negative press about the American real estate bubble and many foreigners are still not completely comfortable with investing in the U.S. "During the past six months we have seen a slight 5-10% increase in international buyers in Florida with the majority coming from Germany and the United Kingdom," he said.

Currently there is already an Engel & Völkers shop opening every 100 hours somewhere in the world. Internationally Engel & Völkers is currently planning on adding 1,000 new shops within the next three years and 2,000 within the next five years. In Florida Engel & Völkers sold 27 franchises during the first two years with 15 offices/shops already open and 12 in the process of site selection or build out. They are in negotiations with another seven at the moment and feel confident to reach their goal of 150 Engel & Völkers shops in Florida within five years.

"Engel & Völkers is a strong global brand with a very strong brand in high-class properties," Tonn says. "Everything in the company - the brand, the system, and the tools - is tailored towards serving the luxury homes market more effectively than any other company. That includes our boutique-style property shop system, high-class marketing tools and innovative software. Many of the worlds wealthiest consider E&V as the leading brand for the luxury real estate market on a global level."

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Erika Greenberg
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