Sunday, July 13, 2008

Who's Right - Sotheby's Insiders or Their Clients?

It's very interesting reading about the dismissal of Maurice Levin as the public relations officer for Sotheby's International Realty. It seems that he released a memo to the media that quoted Lew Geffen, owner of the agency, as predicting a 40% drop in local luxury house prices, as well as advising franchisees to convince their seller clients to reduce prices by 25% to get properties sold.
It seems that Mr. Levin was not authorized to release that memo, though according to the article at the link above, Mr. Levin had not previously been required to get permission to release internal memos. It's become a bit of a media interest story because, in close proximity time-wise, Sotheby's and Architectural Digest issued a press release of the results of a survey of luxury buyers showing very much the opposite opinion. A few survey responses:
72% of respondents believe their primary home value has remained constant or increased in value over the last 12 months (46% remained constant; 26% increased).
Nearly two-thirds of respondents report that current conditions have “no effect” on their likelihood to sell their primary home (63%).
In the coming year, 79% believe the value of their primary home will continue to remain constant or increase (55% remain constant; 24% will increase).
Let's hope that the affluent respondents to this survey are much more right than Mr. Geffen.

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