Bill Yahn, The Corcoran Group

Bill Yahn

South Florida’s Strength

Editors’ Note

Bill Yahn’s impressive sales career led to management positions in South Florida with Merrill Lynch Realty in the 1980s and with Sotheby’s International Realty as the company’s regional Executive Vice President overseeing Florida and the Caribbean. Prior to joining Corcoran, he was the Regional Manager of several of South Florida’s largest independent brokerages, and is a sought after speaker and sales trainer.

What is it that makes Corcoran so special?

We’re creative, we’re flexible, and we have very talented and seasoned agents who are the best in the market. The spirit of Corcoran, which has been instilled by our President and CEO, Pam Liebman, is to be quick on our feet so we readily adjust and respond to market conditions, which are always changing. We also are flexible in terms of how we handle clients. We tailor our services to each individual client’s needs, as no two clients are the same. Corcoran is not a one-size-fits-all firm. This is one of many things that make Corcoran special.

We’re also very good at cross-pollinating. We have many clients from Florida with homes in New York City and vice versa, so we make sure we provide the same high level of service no matter where our clients live.

How did Corcoran get started in the Florida market and how has it evolved?

Corcoran expanded into the Florida market by acquiring the best local companies that serve the region. For instance, in Palm Beach County, Corcoran bought two of the largest and most dominant firms. We did the same thing in Delray Beach.

As a result, we had a great head start working with some of the top performing, most highly experienced agents, all of whom are still with us today. We also have the services of the strongest and most highly regarded new development marketing division available, Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is the industry leader in new development marketing and sales.

Has the market fully come back from the recession and is it sustainable this time?

The Palm Beach and Delray markets have totally rebounded from the recession and prices are where they were in 2008. Direct oceanfront, direct inter-coastal front, new condominiums, and homes that are on the water are actually priced ahead of 2008 rates.

What’s different today is that our buyer is almost always a all-cash buyer, or funds a significant amount of their down payment in cash. In 2008, investors and second home buyers were purchasing with 5 or 10 percent down in many cases.

We’re also seeing the anomaly of Baby Boomers whose parents are leaving them considerable wealth and, unlike their folks, they’re spending it – but spending it smartly. They’re buying real estate, a hard asset, and putting a lot of cash into it.

Is most of the development today taking place at the luxury end of the market?

Yes, and it’s the sweet spot of the market now. Our buyers are affluent but we still trail Manhattan to a great extent.

The challenge for our developers, as in Manhattan, is the lack of affordable land upon which they can build more affordable housing. It’s a difficult struggle.

They’re going to find some sites and develop mid-level housing, but for now, it’s the high end that is leading the pack.•