Real estate duo Tal and Oren Alexander have catered to really rich clients and the merely wealthy.

They’ve decided really rich is better.

After a more than decade-long run at Douglas Elliman Real Estate, where the brothers began brokering megadeals in their 20s, they’ve struck out on their own.

“We’re the 0.1% of brokers that really sell to the 0.1% of clients,” Oren Alexander, 35, said in an interview from St. Tropez, France, where he’d traveled with his 36-year-old brother, Tal. 

Fixtures on the high-end real-estate scene in Manhattan and Miami, the Alexanders have spent part of the past few weeks traveling to drum up even more business. St. Tropez, Mykonos, Capri, yachts, parties: Such is life in the rarefied realms of real estate.

The Alexanders’ new venture, Official, is coming together at a time when questions loom over the state of global housing, war rages in Ukraine and recession fears are mounting. The once hyper-frenzied luxury part of the real estate market has started to slow. But the pair is betting that the upper echelon of buyers will stick around.

“What we realized is that the brokerage, not just the one that we were at but all brokerages, they’re set up to take care of too many different segments of the market,” said Oren Alexander, who counts Miami Beach as his current home. “We understand our buyer, our seller, what they want from a brokerage and ultimately where they’re looking to transact.”

The Alexander team was among Elliman’s top sellers of trophy properties and new developments. On the strength of the post-lockdown market, it notched roughly $1.7 billion in sales last year and was inducted with two other teams into the brokerage’s new “Billion Dollar Club.” The brothers have also represented clients including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and the Faena House Miami Beach, a development from Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries. 

At the same time, the brothers flaunt their lavish lifestyles on social media, garnering tens of thousands of followers and showcasing trips such as a helicopter ride to a breakfast in the Alps and a party in front of the pyramids in Egypt. Their jetsetting lifestyle has continued as they set up the new venture, which will have to now compete with other billion-dollar teams that have chosen to stay at Elliman and other brokerages that also count the wealthiest among their clients including Corcoran Group, Sotheby’s International Realty and newcomer Serhant. 

Luxury Sales
The Alexanders acknowledged this year’s broader real estate slowdown as interest rates rose and recession fears grew. Higher mortgage rates are forcing more buyers to the sidelines, a fact that’s even led Manhattan’s market to pull back from its frenzied pace of the past year. 

But the ultra-luxury market has held up slightly better, in part because of buyers’ reliance on paying cash for deals. Some of the wealthiest are still looking to take advantage of relatively robust appetites for housing, with British entrepreneur Nick Candy recently listing his Art Deco mansion in Los Angeles for $85 million and his brother Christian Candy selling a luxury estate outside of London for 125 million pounds ($152 million). Larry Ellison, the billionaire co-founder of Oracle Corp., closed on a $173 million oceanfront property in Palm Beach County earlier this year, setting a record for a residential sale in Florida.

Oren Alexander said sales are better than in average years and he is expecting transactions to continue at a steady clip.

“Some of the more commoditized products are going to get hurt,” Oren Alexander said. “For us, it was important to separate ourselves from a brokerage that focuses on such a wide spread of product.”  

While Elliman offers listings across a broader price range than Official’s target market, Elliman’s focus is on luxury homes in high-end areas. The richest buyers often deal in cash, which could help the company weather the impact from rising mortgage rates. 

A raft of Elliman veterans have joined the Alexanders at Official. Most of the agents on their team, including Miami’s Isaac Lustgarten and Sara Goldfarb in the Hamptons, were invited to join the new brokerage. Richard Jordan, who has worked as head of global markets at Elliman, is the brokerage’s new chief executive officer and Andrew Wachtfogel, who led Elliman’s research team, joined as Official’s president of new development and chief analyst. Jordan, Wachtfogel and Nicole Oge, who also previously worked at Elliman, are co-founders at Official and will focus on the brokerage’s business and growth. 

The brokerage, which is already operating in New York, Miami and the Hamptons, plans to expand to Palm Beach and Aspen by the end of the year. The team is initially seeking agents in other top US markets, but later intends to branch out with strategic partnerships in markets such as London and the Middle East.

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