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Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC has announced that it grew its office count within its global network by more than 7 percent in 2011, ending the year with more than 600 offices and nearly 12,000 sales associates located in 45 countries and territories worldwide. The Sotheby’s International Realty® network also reported a 24 percent year-over-year increase in U.S. transaction sides closed by its affiliated brokers and agents in 2011.

The Sotheby’s International Realty brand also acquired the license from the Sotheby’s Auction House last year to develop the brand in Australia, the only region where it did not previously hold the rights.

“Our growth in the last year demonstrates the value real estate professionals are placing on the services we offer and the power of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and its reputation for excellence,” said Michael R. Good, chief executive officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “One of our goals for last year was to continue to expand our network in key luxury markets worldwide, and we have achieved that with the addition of 12 new companies worldwide and the acquisition of the licensing rights for Australia, which allows us to now move forward with gaining representation in a critical international market.”

According to the company, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand added eight new residential real estate brokerage firms to its network across the United States in the following markets: Palm Springs, Calif.; Chicago; Basking Ridge, N.J.; Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.; Cannon Beach, Ore.; Raleigh, N.C.; Newport Beach, Calif.; and the United States Virgin Islands. Outside of the United States the brand expanded its network to provide its real estate services in: Costa Brava and Costa Blanca, Spain; Estonia; and Aruba.

In addition, 18 existing Sotheby’s International Realty affiliates opened new offices to better serve their current markets or expand into new markets, and many chose to further their growth through mergers and acquisitions including Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago, which acquired Prairie Shores in Evanston, Ill.; TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Washington, D.C., which acquired Houndshell in Georgetown; and Sotheby’s International Realty-Greenwich Brokerage in Connecticut, which acquired Cleveland, Duble & Arnold in Greenwich.

This trend continued into the first two months of 2012 with mergers involving Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty and Callaway Real Estate to form Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty in Princeton, N.J., and Morris & Fyrwald Sotheby’s International Realty and Chaffin Light Real Estate forming Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty in Colorado, the company reported.

“Our U.S. network also increased the total number of closed transactions by 24 percent from the prior year, which is a testament to our commitment to grow into new markets and the powerful combination of their local expertise and the support of our global brand,” added Good. “In 2012 we will work to expand our global footprint even more, with growth in Asia our first priority. To that extent, the brand has three new management positions that will be based in Asia for which it is seeking candidates. Those executives will be responsible for accelerating the Sotheby’s International Realty brand’s development throughout Asia and for supporting its network of affiliates. We are committed to creating a significant servicing hub in Hong Kong to further support our growth in the region and to continue servicing the needs of our growing network of companies there. ”

On the marketing front, the Sotheby’s International Realty brand began two new and exclusive sponsorship deals with the and The Telegraph Media Group, continued its successful relationships with The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and made its network’s property listings outside the United States now available via SIR Mobile. Most significantly, the brand launched the new to much positive feedback, as well as the official Sotheby’s International Realty YouTube channel, designed to house the network’s unique property and destination videos, redefining the standard of excellence for video in the real estate industry.

“Our goal is to provide targeted and valuable exposure for the extraordinary homes our network represents through innovative and cutting-edge marketing programs,” said Wendy Purvey, chief marketing officer, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. “We are committed to utilizing video through our YouTube channel to reach luxury real estate consumers in a way that offers them unique value in their home search. The new has seen a year-over-year increase of 27 percent in unique visitors and 28 percent in page views when comparing February 2012 to February 2011. We attribute this to our lifestyle focus and the availability of our website in 15 languages, with more to be added.”

The company also noted that last year, the brand debuted a Specialty Markets section on that featured properties by five lifestyles: Farm & Ranch, Golf, Skiing, Vineyards and Waterfront. “We look forward to enhancing this area even more this year,” added Purvey. “Our data tells us that consumers are spending twice as long on than the industry average, at nearly 12 minutes. That is a testament to the value of the information we are offering in the home-buying process.”

The brand recently was honored by Franchise Business Review with its Best in Category for Real Estate Franchisee Satisfaction award for the fifth year in a row. In addition to its real estate ranking, the brand also came in second in the Top 50 Large Franchise Systems, which is a ranking of all franchise systems with more than 200 units across all categories.

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