Expanding to the Sunshine State: Douglas Elliman Establishes Presence on Florida’s West Coast with New Sarasota Office

Elliman, a prominent real estate brokerage, has secured the services of top Sarasota agent Lisa Rooks Morris and her accomplished team, the LRM Group, to spearhead the launch of their new office in the area. Notably, Morris, along with colleagues Amy Drake and Julie Guirguis, has achieved over $300 million in sales since 2020. Previously associated with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty for nearly six years, Morris brings a wealth of experience to the Elliman team.

Joining them from Premier Sotheby’s International Realty is Kenneth Ipox, an agent with a career sales record exceeding $100 million. Additionally, Elliman agents Inbal August, Tal August, Maria Babaev, Laly Ballard, and James Ballard will be making the move to the Sarasota office.

The new office, located at 1350 Main Street in downtown Sarasota’s bayfront district, will be managed by Sue Wolverton, with Lena White serving as the senior regional director for the West Coast.

This venture marks Elliman’s third Gulf Coast location in four years, demonstrating its commitment to expanding in this region. Their first foray into the west coast market was in 2019 with the opening of an office in St. Petersburg, followed by one in Naples.

Elliman’s Florida CEO, Jay Parker, emphasized that Sarasota was a natural choice for their continued growth. With 27 offices and 1,300 agents across the state, Elliman’s expansion to the West Coast aligns with the broader trend of luxury real estate companies seeking new opportunities in the wake of the pandemic-induced surge in prices and demand.

Much like other luxury markets in Florida, Morris noted that the pandemic spurred an influx of buyers from the Northeast and California to Sarasota and its environs. Factors such as taxes, politics, and favorable climate played significant roles. Additionally, the average home prices in Sarasota have seen a substantial increase, reaching $535,000 in August, up from $268,900 in August 2019.

Both Morris and Parker highlighted the robustness of Sarasota’s new construction market, with luxury condo projects being particularly attractive. Morris mentioned their involvement in the fifth Ritz-Carlton branded project in the area, underlining the appeal of such ventures.

Looking ahead, Elliman is exploring further expansion possibilities in Ponte Vedra Beach, Jacksonville Beach, and Tampa, reflecting their confidence in the ongoing demand for real estate in Florida. Parker expressed interest in acquiring a position in Tampa, in addition to their existing presence in St. Petersburg.


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