Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased to announce that its global network achieved a record US$204 billion in 2021 global sales volume, a 36% increase in sales growth year over year, as U.S. cities saw a resurgence of interest following the pandemic and sales activity in secondary and resort markets around the world remained strong. The brand’s U.S. sales volume grew by 33.8% year over year, significantly outpacing NAR’s national increase of 20.6% from the prior year,¹ underscoring the brand’s leadership in the high-end market.
“Real estate proved to be a hot investment in 2021,” said Philip White, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty. “Once again, agents affiliated with Sotheby’s International Realty outperformed the industry average and achieved record-breaking home sales as buyers continued to depend on their trusted expertise to navigate a constrained market.”
Reinvigorated Interest in Cities and Continued Strength in Secondary Markets Fueled Sales
The Sotheby’s International Realty® brand’s existing presence in major metropolitan and resort markets around the world ensured the brand was well-prepared to meet the renewed interest in cities and the sustained boom of secondary home markets.
Interest in U.S. cities such as New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Austin returned to pre-pandemic levels and helped trigger record-breaking sales. Other U.S. cities, such as Atlanta, Houston, and Los Angeles, also saw strong performances in 2021.
With remote and hybrid work models influencing buyer behavior in 2021, secondary markets and resort areas continued to produce high demand and increased prices. In the U.S., areas such as Florida, Hawaii, and Colorado saw record performances. Globally, second-home markets in Australia, Spain, and Switzerland and resort areas in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos, and Puerto Rico achieved notable growth and record sales.
As buyers continued to prioritize properties that offered more space and land, states with no income tax such as Florida, Texas, and Wyoming offered added appeal, while the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore remained popular for their favorable tax structures and saw significant gains.
An Award-Winning Year for the Brand’s Innovative Technology and Offerings
Sotheby’s International Realty continued to lead the industry with its technology and marketing efforts. Sothebysrealty.com saw more than 46 million visitors in 2021, a 25% increase year-over-year and the most visits to the website in its history. The site was also named Best Real Estate Website in the People’s Choice Category in the 25th Annual Webby Awards, recognizing the brand’s efforts to introduce translations in 14 languages, nearly 60 currency conversions, and a mobile-first approach to emphasize the method in which today’s clients are buying and selling homes.
Property videos, which exploded in popularity during the 2020 lockdown, have continued to trend as more buyers start the initial viewing process online. Videos produced by Sotheby’s International Realty agents were played nearly 90 million times – a 50% increase year-over-year.
Sotheby’s International Realty was also awarded the honor of 2021 Top Luxury Brokerage by Inman, the industry’s leading source of real estate information. The prestigious award is a testament to the brand’s achievements in luxury marketing, record-breaking sales, and high-quality service.
“Buyers continue to rely on virtual technology to make their homebuying process more convenient,” said Chief Marketing Officer, Bradley Nelson. “As a brand, we have always sought out to establish the highest standard for marketing luxury properties and I am proud that our marketing and technology investments have been recognized as the ‘best’ in the industry in 2021.”
Fortifying a Strong Network with Global Growth
During another record year, Sotheby’s International Realty continued to strategically expand its presence around the world. In 2021, the brand opened 86 new offices, bringing the brand’s total presence to more than 1,000 offices in 79 countries and territories with more than 25,000 independent sales associates worldwide.
“Sotheby’s International Realty continued to expand internationally in key markets,” said Tammy Fahmi, senior vice president of global servicing and strategy for Sotheby’s International Realty. “In 2021, the brand opened offices in five new territories and our international sales volume grew by 56% year over year. Our global presence is a draw for our agents and clients, and we continue to evaluate markets that will support our strategic growth.”
In the EMEIA region, the brand expanded to Oman and Morocco and opened three new offices in the Swiss Alps region. In the Caribbean and Latin American region, the brand opened new offices in Jamaica and St. Kitts & Nevis during a boom of Caribbean interest.
As affluent individuals looked to purchase homes in a market with limited inventory, Sotheby’s International Realty agents acted as true global real estate advisors. Referral sales volume within the brand’s global network increased by nearly 80% year over year and the average sales price of these referrals increased by 21% year over year.
“Our ability to produce another historic year amid record demand and low inventory shows beyond a doubt that Sotheby’s International Realty agents are resourceful, committed, and informed to meet and exceed the needs of their clients,” concluded White.