Douglas Elliman, Knight Frank launch Bahamas affiliate

Douglas Elliman and Knight Frank launched a partnership with the Isles Group in the Bahamas.

The move positions the brokerages to capitalize on growing American demand for luxury real estate in the Bahamas, said Paddy Dring, Knight Frank’s head of global prime sales. The Isles Group, led by chairman David Dingman and managing partner James Mosko, provides luxury real estate services across the Bahamian archipelago, according to a press release.

Dingman and Mosko first teamed up in 2015 and have closed more than $100 million in sales in the past 30 days, the release shows. By affiliating with Elliman and Knight Frank, Dingman and Mosko join the brokerages’ global network of agents.

Dring said that working with the Isles Group means that Elliman and Knight Frank clients will have “access to the best properties.”

“At the end of the day, that’s what a buyer wants to see,” he said. “They want to know, how has the market performed? What other properties are available? What other properties have sold? All of that background.”

The affiliation, essentially a franchise, with the Isles Group is the first of its kind for Elliman and Knight Frank.

“The first of hopefully many,” said Scott Durkin, Elliman’s president and CEO.

Elliman and Knight Frank announced their formal alliance in 2014, but the firms started working together in 2011. Durkin noted that the terms of their affiliation divided up the brokerages’ territories: Elliman got the U.S. and Knight Frank got Europe and other global markets, while they would both operated in the Caribbean, Central and South American markets.

“That whole piece is something we agreed to share together,” Durkin said.

The Caribbean is new turf for Elliman, but not for Knight Frank.

“We’ve been doing business in the Caribbean for 25 years,” Dring said, pointing out that international demand goes back decades for properties in Barbados, St. Barts, the British Virgin Islands and Mustique, a private island favored by the British monarchy.

The accessibility of the Bahamas, just 110 miles from Miami, makes it particularly appealing for luxury buyers, he said. Elliman’s chairman, Howard Lorber, owns a home in Baker’s Bay there.

“The Bahamas is one of the most established markets from an international perspective. A lot of the interest and investment comes from America,” Dring said. “Resorts, residences with hotel services, individual villas, golf courses, there’s something for everybody.”

Durkin said the Bahamas have a “Hamptonsy feel” that appeals to American buyers.

“You don’t feel like you’ve left the U.S., in many ways,” he said. Similar to luxury markets in the U.S., the Bahamas are seeing a wave of development and demand for new construction.

“People really want the bow still on the box and they want a new home,” he said.

Durkin sees this as a trend across the Caribbean. He said Elliman and Knight Frank are considering joint franchises in St. Barts, Mexico City, Turks and Caicos, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia. Dring seemed more cautious.

First, he said, “we want to establish this. We want to see this succeed.”

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