The global luxury real estate brand is launching its first yachting division in the United States.

If you’re looking for a home in some of the nation’s top luxury markets, there’s a good chance that Paul Benson has an Engel & Völkers franchise there.

Benson, who owns 27 Engel & Völkers brokerages in Utah, California and Nevada, is set to open the company’s first U.S. yachting division in Newport Beach, California.

“This is a tremendous milestone for our growth in the Americas,” Anthony Hitt, president and CEO, Engel & Völkers Americas, said in a statement.

Anthony Hitt

Anthony Hitt | Photo credit: Engel & Völkers

“We’ve seen the value for our clientele by offering both luxury real estate and yachting services, which very much complement one another,” Hitt added. “This also opens exciting new referral opportunities for our global real estate network and strengthens the portfolio of offerings to our clients in the Americas and abroad.”

For more than a decade, Engel & Völkers has had a yachting division in the Mediterranean, but the Newport Beach shop marks its first expansion in the United States. Currently, there are shops in the yachting hubs of Monaco and Antibes.

The division will be operated out of Engel & Völkers’ Newport Beach real estate brokerage and feature eight advisors, with plans for growth coming soon. Benson is opening the shop in partnership with Walter Johnson and Leann Iacino of Walter Johnson Yachts.

Johnson, a sailor with three decades of experience selling yachts, will lead day-to-day operations while Iacino, who has experience in both yachting and real estate, will serve as chief operating officer. Iacino believes there’s a synergy in real estate and yachting, having worked in both businesses.

Paul Benson | Photo credit: Engel & Völkers

“There was no yachting brand in the Americas with the reputation and ability to service both new and resale boats at all levels, which presented a huge untapped market opportunity for Engel & Völkers,” Benson said in a statement. “Yachting has traditionally been an insular, niche community, on a global scale.”

Engel & Völkers has been in constant growth mode and just nine days ago announced it had entered the Northwest Arkansas market with two new shop locations in Bentonville and Springdale. The new shops were a result of local broker Michelle Dearing affiliating her indie brokerage Midtown Associates with Engel & Völkers.

Email Patrick Kearns

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