The luxury brand’s billion-dollar growth in terms of agent business came in large part from strategic recruitment by its Sereno and Orange County affiliates, as well as the addition of star agent Aaron Kirman.

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Following a number of new partnerships, acquisitions and recruiting efforts conducted in the last year, Christie’s International Real Estate has seen substantial growth in California markets over the course of 2022, a press release from the brokerage shows.

The luxury network, which was acquired by @properties at the end of 2021, now has three multi-billion-dollar affiliates in California, including in Los Angeles, Orange County and the Bay Area. The firm pointed to its franchise model as “an antidote to the corporate consolidation trend” that has swept many independent brokerages across the state in roughly the last decade, and a means of success for affiliates that have joined the brand.

Thad Wong

Los Gatos-based Sereno, then the largest indie brokerage by sales volume in Northern California, joined Christie’s in February 2022, becoming Christie’s International Real Estate Sereno. Since joining Christie’s, the company has brought in over $1 billion in new agent business.

Some of the highlights include former Compass agent Phil Chen, who is a top 10 Bay Area real estate agent; Eric Chu, team leader of a $135-million team; and Lindsey Harn, the No. 1 agent in San Luis Obispo.

“The independent brokerage firms that ruled California 10, 20 years ago were legendary, but few of them were left standing when the industry’s big public companies finished writing checks,” Thad Wong, co-CEO of Christie’s, said in a statement. “Now, we’re finally starting to see a reaction to that. If given the choice, agents prefer local ownership. They want that home-grown culture. They want differentiation.”

Michelle Harrington

The Orange County-based Christie’s affiliate FirstTeam Real Estate closed out 2022 by bringing in more than $800 million in agent business, much of which the firm said was garnered by agents leaving Corcoran Global Living, as Corcoran Group shuttered the franchise at the end of the year and launched Corcoran Icon Properties in its wake.

“Having access to Christie’s International Real Estate’s global network, while still being part of an independent, family-operated brokerage where we can deliver personalized and attentive service to our clients, puts FirstTeam in the best position for long-term success,” Michelle Harrington, chief operating officer of FirstTeam, said in a statement.

Christie’s also scored a major win in the state with the recruitment of star-studded agent Aaron Kirman in November. Kirman left Compass to instead launch his own brokerage, AKG, under the Christie’s International Real Estate banner. Kirman has netted over $14 billion in career sales and over $1.6 billion in 2022 alone. He was one of the listing agents to represent mega mansion “The One,” which ultimately sold for $126 million at auction.

Aaron Kirman

“Affiliating with Christie’s International Real Estate undoubtedly adds a layer of prestige to our brand,” Kirman said in a statement. “It’s a name that people immediately associate with luxury, and we benefit from being part of their global network, which is a huge advantage when working with clients around the world.”

Companies that affiliate with Christie’s gain access to the luxury brand, and its network, as well as a connection to its auction house. They also gain the benefits of @properties’ proprietary technology, including its end-to-end platform, print and digital marketing programs and on-demand coaching and training.

“California has always been at the forefront of trends in our industry,” Wong added, “and what’s happened over the past year is the start of a larger trend back to the independent broker-owner.”

Get Inman’s Luxury Lens Newsletter delivered right to your inbox. A weekly deep dive into the biggest news in the world of high-end real estate delivered every Friday. Click here to subscribe.

Email Lillian Dickerson

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