If there’s one thing required for today’s savvy consumers to enjoy a wholly satisfying shopping experience it’s convenience. That’s especially true if you’re looking to purchase a new island oasis in Muskoka or the Mediterranean, a personal Bombardier Challenger 850 Learjet or perhaps a Sunseeker Rolls-Royce Hybrid Yacht.
Engel & Völkers is one of the world’s leading service companies focused on the brokerage of premium residential property and commercial real estate around the world, along with luxury yachts and aircraft. With 960 locations in more than 30 countries worldwide, Engel & Völkers offers an international clientele a range of professionally tailored services. Broker Max Hahne brought the company’s first Canadian franchise to the area five years ago to facilitate real estate sales and purchases in the Muskoka/Blue Mountain/Bruce Peninsula area. Now that operation has merged with the Toronto office of Engel & Völkers to service buyers and sellers in such world-class locations as the Caribbean and Belize, the Pacific Northwest, Paris, Rome, and yes – even Collingwood.
“International exposure, that’s our claim to fame,” said Hahne, a former Senior Vice President at Sotheby’s. “We’re connected to all the right people in all the best places in the world. Nearly 70 per cent of our offices are in Europe, with 30 percent now in Canada and the U.S. We have a real European panache to us, just like Porsche or Mercedes or BMW.”
Founded in Hamburg in 1977, Engel & Völkers quickly became the largest luxury real estate network in Europe. Hahne says the company was so successful dealing with high-end properties and high net-worth people that it organically moved into the sale of jet aircraft and luxury yachts.
“We have yacht brokerages in places like Monaco, Antibes and Newport Beach California. We are just opening another in Florida. We also have aircraft brokerages in various airports in Europe,” said Hahne, who is relinquishing his role as owner/broker in the new merger to focus more on sales and mentoring. “If you want to buy or lease a jet, buy or lease a $700 million yacht or own a castle, you come to Engel & Völkers.”
Although Hahne’s clients have included notable international celebrities, he said Engel & Völkers also caters to a broad cross-section of customers who simply want to capitalize on the firm’s expertise in the real estate market.
“It’s not that we’re just in the high-end price range,” he said. “We do sell in Park City, Utah or Mont Tremblant or Whistler. We can sell a $15M ski chalet but we’ll also sell a $350,000 condominium in Miami or Collingwood. We’re in Collingwood because we sell $400,000 to $500,00 homes or $4 million to $5 million homes. We do luxury service in all price ranges.” It’s what we call a “Bespoke Real Estate Experience”. Custom tailored to fit the client.
While luxury is subjective and means different things to different people, Hahne says the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the value of a very specific feature in high-end properties.
“Space is the new luxury. When COVID hit we realized that having space is vital, not being in a condominium building in downtown Toronto where you have to wait an hour for an elevator because they’re only taking two people down at a time. What those people are thinking is, ‘I wish I was out in the country instead of trying to stay six feet away from someone in a hallway.’ We have a couple thousand people trying to move out of the GTA into the Collingwood area and there’s not enough inventory. Builders can’t build them fast enough.” “ I think this is a trend that will continue for years ahead even after the vaccines are in full force. The baby boom generation is migrating and coupled with younger families and couples being able to remote remotely, Collingwood is on the world map as one of the best places to live. The whole South Georgian Bay- Muskoka -Toronto connection is being highly regarded in the International Engel & Völkers Network of 14,000 Global Advisors.