Luxury property sales on the rise
You could almost hear a collective sigh of relief throughout Tampa Bay and across the nation when recent headlines announced an upswing in the real estate market. While the long-awaited turn reflects mostly the activity of average homebuyers, it also includes affluent homebuyers, a segment of the real estate market that also saw its share of slowing sales and dropping prices, said Cathleen F. Smith, regional senior vice president for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Tampa Bay. "However, during March, sales of $1 million-plus properties were on the rise," Smith said. "Condo sales in this segment, compared to last year, are up 220 percent, with those under contract also up 175 percent. In addition, inventory is down 36.9 percent. Sales of single-family luxury homes were down 11.1 percent for that same month but those under contract rose 33.3 percent from the prior year, and inventory was also down 21.2 percent, clear signs that purchasing offers are in the queue. "These numbers bode well, not only for the luxury home segment, but for the entire real estate market. Combined, this upscale market is up 53.6 percent for properties under contract and 39.1 percent over the same month last year."Smith credits those steady sales to Coldwell Banker's Previews International Property program, an exclusive marketing program for buyers and sellers of multi-million dollar homes, both nationally and internationally. "Coldwell Banker Previews International is widely considered to be the world's consummate marketing program, successfully promoting luxury properties to a global marketplace. Previews was the first real estate marketing program to extend its reach beyond the local real estate market and specialize exclusively in marketing luxury residences to a worldwide audience," Smith said. The Previews program began in 1933, when Henderson Talbot started filming the beauty and style of mansions and marketing them beyond his local area. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC acquired the Previews program in 1980. Now called the Coldwell Banker Previews International program, the marketing initiative handles an average of $76.7 million in luxury home sales every day. Sales associates in the program are uniquely qualified, specially trained and certified as Previews specialists to represent luxury homebuyers and sellers. For homes to be included in the Previews International program, they must meet certain criteria, including listing price. In the Tampa Bay area, for example, homes must be priced at $1 million or more to qualify. They must also be of exceptional quality and style, reflecting the prestigious image of the Previews program. "I think if you were to ask buyers what they are looking for in luxury homes, they would say amenities, upgrades, perfect condition and excellent price," said Martha Thorn, one of Coldwell Banker's top sales associates for the Previews program. "They want what they haven't been able to get for the past few years: beautiful homes at some of the lowest prices in years." Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate (FloridaMoves.com) is the leading real estate brokerage company in Florida, serving the communities of Central Florida, Palm Beach, Southeast Florida, Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay. Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is part of NRT LLC, the nation's largest residential real estate brokerage company. NRT, a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, operates Realogy's company-owned real estate brokerage offices. The Tampa Bay area offices of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate include Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. There are 90 offices and nearly 5,000 sales associates throughout Florida who closed almost $8 billion in sales volume in 2009 for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate. Worldwide, there are more than 12,000 Coldwell Banker sales associates. For more information about Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate and the Previews International program, visit FloridaMoves.com or call 1-800-624-5292.