Over its 53-year history, EWM Realty International has grown into a global community and has solidified itself as the top residential brokerage firm in South Florida. EWM boasts over 900 staff members and sales associates that speak a combined 22 languages, enabling the firm to foster relationships globally through partnerships with the world’s top brokers. Its other main competitive advantage is its world-class, proactive leadership team, including president Ron Shuffield, who was a major contributor to the massive $2.45 billion in sales this past year.
Likened to a number-crunching genius, Ron Shuffield is a constant tracker of absorption rates for condos and houses—always with an eye out for the best-selling price brackets. To further differentiate the firm in this regard, he has established a new research position with the goal of analyzing data to gauge the attractiveness of markets.
Shuffield is very bullish on the long-term outlook of the market. “While the market has been disrupted by Hurricane Irma, we do not anticipate any negative, long-lasting impact.” He even notes, “Values across South Florida will continue to increase over time due to the fact that real estate buyers from across the globe have recognized (more than ever before) that South Florida’s prices are very low in comparison to those of other world cities.” For perspective: a downtown Brickell Avenue condo under sunshine and blue skies is available for $505 per square foot, while a Manhattan condo of the same quality will fetch average pricing approximately four times that number. Additionally, due to the limited amount of developable land in South Florida, Shuffield predicts an increase in multi-family housing units compared to single-family homes, especially with the growing Millennial population in the area. Further, Shuffield sees a rise in luxury inventory in the coming months, a trend that will follow the steep increase in the construction of high-end properties over the past five years, coupled with the strengthening of the U.S. dollar. “The erosion of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar over the past years, plus the financial and political instabilities within the countries of some of our larger buying partners in South America, has caused a significant decrease in the number of foreign buyers who today represent 25 to 30 percent of all Greater Miami buyers.” With Florida growing at a rate of 1,000 net new permanent residences per day—ultimately creating great demand for housing long term—Shuffield believes that “many of [their] luxury sellers are re-assessing their current pricing, which should set the stage for an upcoming active winter season of sales.” No firm is more prepared for such sales as EWM, which holds weekly sales meetings run by non-listing managers, thus assuring they are always helping agents rather than competing with them. EWM also compiles an internal report monthly on currency so agents can see through the eyes of their clients across the globe.
The firm is incessantly growing, and Shuffield notes that they, along with parent company, HomeServices of America, are in “continual conversation with not only independent brokerages, but groups within independent brokerages.” Obviously not every brokerage firm that comes along is a fit, but EWM always encourages an initial conversation. With large affiliates Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties and Houlihan Lawrence in New York, a unified Manhattan-to-Miami corridor is also growing. As Shuffield puts it, “Having such prominent sister affiliates in New York seamlessly allows our company to collaborate between markets, connecting directly with local buyers and sellers, furthering our overreach.”