Real Housewives star and California power-Realtor Mauricio Umansky launched a franchise of his luxury brokerage firm in Palm Beach Gardens this week with an eye on the area’s most opulent homes and well-heeled denizens.
Umansky, who is often featured on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with his wife Kyle Richards and has a Netflix series called Buying Beverly Hills, announced Tuesday that The Agency was opening an office on PGA Boulevard.
Founded in 2011, The Agency has franchises all over the world and in some of the wealthiest communities in the country, including Aspen, Cape Cod, Maui, the Hamptons and Santa Barbera. In Florida, the company, which has a total sales volume of $41 billion, has opened shop in Naples and Bal Harbour.
Umansky, who lives in Los Angeles, said the decision to open an office in Palm Beach Gardens wasn’t solely based on the migration of people from California to Florida, but he recognizes there is an increase in transplants.
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Why Kyle Richards’ husband, Mauricio Umansky of ‘Buying Beverly Hills’, chose Palm Beach Gardens for new brokerage firm location
“We have witnessed that migration and the quality of life and financial advantages in Florida have certainly played a part,” Umansky said.
The new office is located at 2000 PGA Blvd. near the City Centre shopping mall, although a press release repeatedly refers to Palm Beach.
“We couldn’t be more excited to continue our strategic expansion throughout South Florida with the debut of our newest office in Palm Beach,” said Executive Vice President of Franchise and Sales Jim Ramsay in a press release. “The lifestyle on Palm Beach holds great synergy with The Agency’s innovative brand and philosophy.”
While sales of single-family homes saw their lowest numbers since 2013 last year, the ultra-luxury market is still humming, some Realtors said.
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In the past three months, at least 20 homes or condominiums have sold for $10 million or higher in areas from The Sanctuary in Boca Raton to Admirals Cove in Jupiter.
At the pinnacle of prices are a $51 million estate in Palm Beach that traded hands in December, a $48 million mansion in Manalapan that sold Jan. 6, a $31.5 million flip that occurred Jan. 17 on a Gulf Stream property and a $26 million oceanfront townhome in Palm Beach.
“I think it’s a smart move,” said Daniel Ekerold, executive director of luxury sales for Douglas Elliman Palm Beach, about The Agency opening an office in South Florida. “Most power brokers in areas like New York and California are looking to Florida.”
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Ekerold did question why Palm Beach Gardens was the chosen location over Palm Beach or Jupiter.
“It’s an unusual place to position yourself for luxury high end,” Ekerold said. “He could kind of break ground in that area and pioneer some things.”
The new Ritz-Carlton Residences in unincorporated Palm Beach Gardens on the site of the former Panama Hattie’s Seafood House and Rum Bar are selling for between $4 million and $8 million.
And a 7-bedroom, 13-bathroom estate on the Intracoastal Waterway in Palm Beach Gardens was recently listed for $29.2 million. Although the list price is down from $38.4 million in 2021, it was the most expensive property for sale in Palm Beach Gardens when it relisted Jan. 4, according to Talbot Sutter, president and broker of Sutter and Nugent real estate.
“We have already been getting calls on it from overseas buyers including China, Russia, and Europe that are all talking to us about flying in to see it,” Sutter said. “It’s pretty amazing to consider our little area on the map getting so much attention world wide now.”
In a Jan. 18 report by Umansky’s The Agency, the company notes people buying in South Florida are coming from around the U.S., Canada and Latin America seeking a “relaxed oceanside lifestyle” and “the state’s famously appealing lack of income tax.”
The Palm Beach Gardens office of The Agency will be run by the principals of the company, Santiago Arana and Umansky. Umansky is credited for selling the Playboy Mansion, the first home in Los Angeles to sell for more than $100 million, and homes owned by Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan and Prince.
Howard Elfman, who sold his Weichert Realtors franchise in 2016, will be managing broker of the agency. He has more than 23 years of experience in South Florida real estate Brian Fairweather will serve as managing director.
Kimberly Miller is a veteran journalist for The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA Today Network of Florida. She covers real estate and how growth affects South Florida’s environment. Subscribe to The Dirt for a weekly real estate roundup. If you have news tips, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Help support our local journalism, subscribe today.