Two of the shops will be located in Morganton and one in Nebo, North Carolina. License partners Steve and Polly Leadbetter will lead all three.

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Global luxury brokerage Engel & Völkers has expanded its presence in the state of North Carolina with three new shops located in the Carolina foothills, the brokerage announced last week.

Two of the shops will be located in Morganton and one in Nebo. License partners Steve and Polly Leadbetter will lead all three. Polly will also serve as the company’s managing broker. Prior to the announcement of the new shops, Engel & Völkers already had several locations across the state, including Cashiers, Asheville, Banner Elk, Charlotte and Raleigh.

Anthony Hitt

Anthony Hitt | Engel & Völkers

The duo opened Lake James Real Estate Brokerage in 2003 and has served clients in the Carolina foothills region since then with a specialization in luxury, lakefront and second homes. Now operating as Engel & Völkers Foothills, the business partners and their team will serve homebuyers and sellers throughout Morganton, Marion, Nebo, Lake James, Old Fort, Hickory, Valdese and Connelly Springs.

“Our expansion in North Carolina is a strategic response to the market right now,” Anthony Hitt, president and CEO of Engel & Völkers Americas, said in a statement.

“Home prices are up significantly across the state compared to last year. As a result, homebuyers are seeking out destinations like the Carolina foothills that can provide a slower pace of life with convenient access to larger cities like Charlotte and Asheville. We have full confidence in the Leadbetters and their team of advisers to continue Engel & Völkers’ success and expansion in North Carolina.”

Polly Leadbetter | Engel & Völkers

Morganton is a roughly 90-minute drive northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Nebo is about a 20-minute drive west of the city. It is situated alongside the Catawba River, and in addition to its scenic landscape, the town has a vibrant music scene, a performing arts center and plentiful shopping and dining options. Nearby Nebo is located on the shores of Lake James on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The region is known as a highly accessible area for outdoors enthusiasts looking to relax or for more adrenaline-inducing activities.

“Engel & Völkers is known for its global network of real estate advisers possessing rich local expertise in markets around the world,” Polly Leadbetter said in a statement.

Steve Leadbetter | Engel & Völkers

“With homes in the Carolina foothills hitting multi-million dollar price points, joining forces with Engel & Völkers will help us gain the national and global exposure we’ve always wanted to bring to this area and our luxury properties. Our communities in this region are truly special places with amiable residents, Southern charm and of course, a welcoming small-town feel throughout. We’re excited to bring our business to the next level with Engel & Völkers’ sophisticated, boutique-style approach to luxury real estate.”

As of December 2022, the median sale price of a home in Morganton was $230,000, down 8.5 percent year over year, according to Redfin. Homes spent an average of 56 days on market and the average home sold for 2.9 percent below its list price.

Update: An earlier version of this story stated that Steve and Polly Leadbetter were a couple, but the business partners were previously married and are now divorced.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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