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					                                                                                           REAL ESTATE




          The State of Luxury
                  An Interview with LuxuryRealEstate.com
                   Chairman and CEO John Brian Losh

                                                 By Maria Patterson


                               elebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2005, LuxuryRealEstate.com




          C                    today hosts 765-plus brokers who collectively post in excess of
                               35,000 high-end listings on the Web site. The site receives an
                               average of 35 million hits per month (about 150,000 from

           unique visitors) and is the most viewed luxury real estate Web site in the world,

           according to the Alexa Internet ranking service. Chairman and CEO John Brian
           Losh—who has also owned Seattle-based Ewing & Clark, Inc. since 1976—

           originally created the site to get more exposure for the directory he has

           published since 1989, “Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate.” In this interview,

           we get the inside scoop from Losh on the direction the luxury market—and his

           company—are headed in.




Reprinted with permission of RISMedia, Inc., publisher of REAL ESTATE magazine   (800) 724-6000 or rismedia.com   February 2006
REAL ESTATE




                                           New hot spots in the luxury market include foreign
                                           locations such as this property in Costa Rica.
 Real Estate maga-                                                                                                            improve their posi-
 zine: I understand                                                                                                           tion. If they don’t
 you just celebrated the                                                                                                      have confidence in
 10-year anniversary of                                                                                                       the economy, they
 LuxuryRealEstate.com.                                                                                                        are more reluctant
 Did you ever anticipate                                                                                                      about making big
 the kind of growth                                                                                                           investments.
 the Web site has                                                                                                                Also, when the
 experienced?                                                                                                                 stock market is flat,
 John Brian Losh:                                                                                                             the wealthy look
 The growth of                                                                                                                for alternative
 LuxuryRealEstate.com                                                                                                         investments and
 has been phenomenal.                                                                                                         assets.
 It was one of the first
 luxury real estate Web                                                                                                       RE: How are demo-
 sites in the world and,                                                                                                      graphics playing a role
 as a result of the high-                                                                                                     in the growth of the
 quality experience we                                                                                                        luxury market?
 provide visitors, has                                                                                                        JBL: We’ve seen
 become the most                                                                                                          growth in resort
 viewed luxury real                                                                                                       areas, such as
 estate Web site in the                                                                                                   Florida, Hawaii and
 world. No one could                                                                                                      mountain and
 have predicted that                                                                                                      desert resorts, due
 kind of growth, either                                                                                                   in part to the “gray-
 for the Internet or for                                                                                                  ing of America.”
 LuxuryRealEstate.com.                                                                                                    Baby boomers are
 Today we continue to                                                                                                     reaching the age of
 make staying at the                                                                                                      retirement, and an
 forefront of technolo-                                                                                                   increasing number
 gy a priority.                                                                                                           of them are decid-
                                                                                                                          ing to buy a second
 RE: You are launching an enhanced                                                                       home. For younger adults, technolo-
 version of the Web site this month What            RE: Why has the luxury real estate                   gy has made it so they don’t have to
 are your goals with the relaunch?                  market grown so successfully in recent               stay in the same town all year long
 JBL: To make the site more user-                   years?                                               to make a living. You can operate
 friendly, and thus continue to lead                JBL: The luxury real estate mar-                     your business remotely. As a result,
 the luxury real estate industry on                 ket—typically considered to be the                   we’re seeing a lot of affluent, highly
 the Web. The new site will be more                 top 10% of an area’s listings,                       educated younger folks getting into
 interactive, with tools that allow vis-            whether that area is Manhattan or                    the luxury market.
 itors to create a membership                       rural Alabama—has done well
 account and save properties, com-                  because any time there is a prosper-                 RE: How has the definition of the luxury
 pare multiple properties within a                  ous economy, people feel more con-                   market changed over the years?
 given area, text-message property                  fident about buying an expensive                     JBL: Think about luxury cars. All
 descriptions to a mobile phone and                 home. Low interest rates have                        cars today are luxury cars compared
 more. There will also be more con-                 affected the real estate market in                   to 30 years ago. It’s the same with
 tent via a new WebZine—ranging                     general, but what really affects the                 houses. Homes are so much bigger
 from feature stores to industry news,              luxury market is consumer confi-                     than they used to be, with so many
 broker blogs to regional market                    dence. If consumers feel the econo-                  more amenities. Many of the ameni-
 reports.                                           my is strong, they step forward to                   ties that were considered “luxury”


            Reprinted with permission of RISMedia, Inc., publisher of REAL ESTATE magazine   (800) 724-6000 or rismedia.com   February 2006
                                                                                                                                    REAL ESTATE




in 1965 or 1975 are now consid-
                                                       “Many of the home                              cating and dealing with an affluent
ered average. Our whole society
has moved up the ladder a little.
                                                       amenities that were                            clientele. The properties are
                                                                                                      extraordinary, and the buyers and
                                                                                                      sellers are also extraordinary. They
RE: With such significant price appreci-            considered luxury in 1965                         expect personal, hands-on service.
ation in the past few years, how do you                                                               If you are selling a property for
quantify the luxury marketplace when
many “average” homes are selling for
                                                        or 1975 are now                               millions of dollars, you have to
                                                                                                      present that property in a way that
over a million dollars in many areas?
JBL: Half of the people who live in                   considered average.”                            truly represents its quality, as well
                                                                                                      as the quality of your services. Any
a home in the top 10 percent of                                – John Brian Losh                      printed marketing materials should
the market couldn’t afford to buy                                                                     reflect this.
that home today. If they paid $1
million for a home a few years ago,               ence boils down to a lot of hard                    RE: How will an overall slower, more
it might be worth $5 million now.                 work in what is essentially a niche                 balanced real estate market specifically
How many people can afford to                     market. The luxury market is a                      affect the luxury market?
pay $5 million for a home? That’s                 very service-oriented business, one                 JBL: I don’t believe the market will
the affect of appreciation.                       where you have to develop and                       slow down that much, and if it
                                                  hone your skills. It’s not an easy                  does slow down it makes the luxu-
RE: What are some of the up-and-com-              market to enter because so much                     ry broker that much more valu-
ing luxury markets outside of the United          of the job is about acquiring skills                able. In a hot market, people don’t
States?                                           over a period of time.                              value the broker’s expertise as
JBL: The Luxury Real Estate net-                    A luxury broker has to be confi-                  much. In a slower market, the bro-
work has a governing body of bro-                 dent and comfortable in communi-                    ker becomes more valued. RE
kers, the Board of Regents, which is
made up of many of the leaders in
our industry, both nationally and
abroad. We look to the Regents
members to keep us abreast of
industry trends. Here’s what they
say.
  China is an incredible emerging
market for luxury development.
Central America has also grown
very strong, especially Costa Rica
and Belize. You can buy a luxury
property in these areas for a lot less
than you’d spend in Hawaii or the
Caribbean, for example.
Another emerging market is
Eastern Europe, including Poland,
Romania and Czechoslovakia.
There are great opportunities in
these countries to purchase a large
estate.

RE: Generally speaking, how is being a
luxury broker different?
JBL: For the most part, the differ-



            Reprinted with permission of RISMedia, Inc., publisher of REAL ESTATE magazine   (800) 724-6000 or rismedia.com   February 2006

				
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