The dining room inside 82AB at 432 Park Avenue in New York's Manhattan neighborhood, listed for $90 million. Photo: Douglas Elliman
The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way people live. More people are spending time inside their homes, with many fleeing cities and moving to their vacation homes, even throughout the winter.
Real-estate markets around the United States are moving quickly. For example, the Hamptons experienced a rush in March and April, with many people purchasing and renting homes well above asking in a desire to get out of New York City. Secondary markets, like Aspen, Park City, Jackson Hole and Palm Beach, Florida, among others, are also booming, as people look to scoop up homes that give them more space to work and live.
Fredrik Eklund. Photo: Eklund | Gomes
Million Dollar Listing star Fredrik Eklund, who co-operates Eklund | Gomes Team at Douglas Elliman with John Gomes, has listings in six markets: Los Angeles, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Jupiter, Florida, and the newly opened Orange County office. The Eklund | Gomes Team represents more than 400 luxury properties for sale and rent ranging up to $90 million.
The Los Angeles-based Swiss real-estate agent stars in Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and Million Dollar Listing New York and routinely travels between markets to get a first-hand look at what’s happening in each area.
“We’re having our best year ever,” Eklund says. “The Hamptons, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Orange County, Palm Springs, these are sub-markets that were great before but now are double or triple in activity.”
Despite an upsetting year due to the pandemic, he says it’s an exciting time to be in the real-estate market, and he is seeing an exciting surge in secondary markets due to the pandemic.
“From a real-estate perspective, it’s been challenging, but also exciting, because there’s been a huge redistribution of wealth and energies,” Eklund says. “Perhaps because people don’t need to live right where they work anymore, especially in the tech world. You can buy or rent in places you want to live for the lifestyle and then work remotely.”
A luxury condo at 8899 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Photo: Douglas Elliman
Eklund says there’s a unique exodus from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Orange County, where the team recently opened their latest office.
“There’s a lot of money flowing down there,” he says. “It’s really beautiful and really, really exciting.”
He can’t emphasize enough how well the markets are in several areas. Speaking of New York, he said the market has seen plenty of traction in late September and October.
“It was difficult because there was really nothing for a long time,” he says. “After Labor Day, we started seeing people coming back. The [first week of October] was some of the most active, busiest days for us ever.”
Eklund says he is most excited about many larger listings, priced in the $30 million-and-up range. A recent listing from Eklund | Gomes is on 432 Park Avenue, a five-bedroom, six-bathroom home for $90 million overlooking Central Park.
“Right now, there’s a lot of deals to be had in New York and lots of inventory,” he says, adding that he’s unsure on how the ongoing election and a possible second wave of Covid-19 or flu season will impact the market.
Florida is an exceptionally exciting market for the Eklund | Gomes Team as well.
“I feel like what many people are doing is relocating for the rest of 2020 and part of 2021,” Eklund says. “We have big wealth with homes in the $40 to 100 million price point. There’s a lot of people that have wealth, but aren’t billionaires, that are also renting.”
Eklund and his team are excited about the scope of listings, like the Penthouse at the Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale for $35 million, Orange County listings for up to $38 million and more.
“I’m lucky because I have the show and so many followers and lots of engagements,” Eklund says. “So we’ve been really successful in that regard.”
However, trying to sell homes in the middle of a pandemic when it’s nearly impossible to host open houses and events, Eklund and his team enlisted Agent Image to create proprietary, digital software called Access, which allows prospective buyers or renters to get personalized and thorough information on several homes.
“Covid-19 accelerated the demand exponentially for something that was already needed,” says Jon Krabbe, CEO and founder of Agent Image. “While most tech-savvy agents were already seeking ways to create an all-immersive digital open house experience for their clients, I think it was 100% realized by the world as soon as the pandemic affected the real-estate market.”
A townhome at 8899 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Photo: Douglas Elliman
The software features 3D virtual tours, personalized video that detail each room (depending on what buyers are looking for), interactive maps, images and unlimited property data. It can be fully branded, customized and easily shared, but also is user-friendly and has a data-driven backend to help easily list new offerings.
“Nobody wants to watch a 10-minute video with classical music,” Eklund says. “What people want is passionate and educated agents, someone with personality and spark walking them through the house. Through the software, we do exactly what we do so well, but taking that into a virtual world. If the buyer has questions, they can get them answered with a human factor so it doesn’t become too digital.”
Virtual showings was something Eklund | Gomes was working on, but Covid-19 expedited the need for it.
“Buying a home is supposed to be a fun experience and you lose some of that when it’s all virtual, so this is a good hybrid,” Eklund says of Access by Agent Image.
The minimalistic, large kitchen within 432 Park Avenue's 82AB. Photo: Paperfarm Inc.