Luxury real estate network Christie’s International Real Estate has expanded into the Caribbean on the island of St. Martin/St. Maarten with the addition of affiliate brokerage firm Oceano Homes.
The affiliate brokerage, headquartered in Orient Bay, will now be called Oceano Christie’s International Real Estate.
Oceano will operate as Christie’s exclusive affiliate for the island, according to a statement. It will be led by Pablo Yahuda.
The Christie’s network entered into a master license agreement with Nick Vanassche last November to create Christie’s International Real Estate Caribbean Affiliates.
“The network within a network” aims to provide a centralized source for listings, market data and marketing tools, as well as to foster inter-island cooperation among leading luxury brokerage firms in the region.
Vanassche is now the managing partner of the group of Christie’s Caribbean affiliates.
Established by Pablo Yahuda and Christophe Cassar in 2016, Oceano Homes’ annual sales increased by almost 40% last year.
“Pablo and Christophe have built a successful, independent brokerage with a focus on innovation and a wealth of local market knowledge – which makes them a great addition to the network,” said Vanassche.
Yahuda said the affiliation will increase the brokerage’s value proposition.
“We admire Christie’s International Real Estate’s commitment to providing exceptional service and value,” Yahuda said.
The statement from Christie’s notes that the St. Martin/St. Maarten territories attract buyers thanks to its beaches, cultural and dining hubs, tax policies and banking systems “that facilitate foreign participation in the real estate market.”
The southern Dutch side of St. Maarten has no property or capital gains tax on real estate sales. Meanwhile, residents have to pay France taxation on real estate and property taxes on the French St. Martin’s side.
The brokerage network estimates that almost 60% of the island’s buyers are international, with a majority from the U.S., Canada, France and Netherlands.
“The market on island is still very strong, although the buying frenzy we saw during COVID has diminished. Buyers are being more deliberate and thorough with their decisions,” Yahuda said.
Vanassche is now eyeing new affiliates in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. He also plans to expand the Christie’s network to Belize, Anguilla, Jamaica, Aruba, St. Kitts and Nevis, among other Caribbean nations and territories, according to a statement.
Chicago-based luxury real estate veteran Anne Colvin recently joined Christie’s as its vice president of affiliate services and Morgan Trent, president of Trent Luxury and former NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals cornerback, left Compass to join AKG | Christie’s International Real Estate.
In December 2021, @properties, a Chicago-based residential brokerage firm that’s the ninth largest in the U.S. according to RealTrends 500, acquired Christie’s. Since that point, Christie’s has signed on or renewed more than 20 affiliate brokerages.
The firm’s most recent expansions were in London, Los Angeles, Miami, the Bay Area, Atlanta, Southwest Florida, Italy, Malta, and Estonia.