At mall kiosks, shoppers can buy hats, cellphone cases — and Strip condos
At kiosks crowding the walkways of Fashion Show mall, shoppers buy multicolored hair extensions, bedazzled cellphone cases and gaudy necklaces.
They also buy real estate.
Steps from the Macy’s Men’s and Disney stores, 24/7 Real Estate offers single-family houses and high-rise condos on or near the Strip. The kiosk, which has been at Fashion Show for 11 years, relocated near Macy’s this month after spending a year outside of California Pizza Kitchen.
The display is the only one of its kind at the Strip shopping mall. It cost $65,000 to build, and management pays $100,000 to $200,000 a year in rent for floor space.
“You have to do a substantial amount of business to justify the expense,” 24/7 broker George Kleanthis said.
Fashion Show, at almost 2 million square feet, is popular with both tourists and locals, giving the kiosk a large, diverse group of potential customers. It typically is staffed by one to three agents, who talk to 100 people a day and sell 20 to 30 homes per month.
24/7, based near Chicago and owned by Kleanthis’ wife, Zanetta, also runs kiosks in Arizona and Illinois. The company used to have 20 nationwide but closed most of them after the real estate crash. With the market recovering nationally, the Kleanthises plan to reopen shopping mall outposts in Denver, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., and are eyeing other locations in the valley.
Kleanthis and 24/7 broker Tony Keep spoke with VEGAS INC about the kiosk:
“This is our hottest market in the country right now,” Kleanthis said.
You display a sign that reads, "We’re #1 With Canadians." How many buyers do you get from up north?
Kleanthis: We’re getting a lot more international buyers from all over. There are a lot of people who have a currency advantage against the U.S. dollar.
Keep: Canadians get tremendous flight deals on WestJet, and that’s really been funneling them down to the Las Vegas area. In particular, we’ve been getting people from Calgary and Edmonton who are enjoying the oil boom up there, and they’ve been putting their investment dollars here. Canadians have been our No. 1 buyer for probably three years now. They comprise 50 to 60 percent of our sales. We’re also seeing an increase from Europe and Asia and a spike in interest in high-rise condos. We closed three high-rise deals just last week. That inventory is starting to get squeezed like the rest of the market.
Are there any other real estate kiosks at Fashion Show?
Kleanthis: No. There have been other people around the country who have done something like this. We’ve seen other people who go in for short periods of time at malls. It’s a pretty substantial financial commitment. Unless it’s presented properly and you have the ability to capitalize on it, it’s tough for a lot of people.
When people buy Strip condos from you, are they getting them as weekend crash pads or investments to rent out?
Kleanthis: It’s both. We have a lot of California buyers coming back to the market right now. They were here five years ago before the crash, but once that happened, they left. Now, they like high-rises to be right on top of the action. They’re not renting them out. Then you have the foreign buyers who come here certain times of year. Canadians might come several months at a time. They might rent it out six months a year, but some don’t lease it at all. The majority of high-rise buyers are using the condos as second homes and not renting them out.
Keep: I spoke with a gentleman from Kuwait today who had his wife and three children with him. He was looking for a larger high-rise unit, three bedrooms. He wasn’t particularly bothered by the asking prices. It certainly would be a second home for him.
Do people ask you about why you have a kiosk? Mall kiosks usually sell jewelry, cellphone cases, hats and other knickknacks — not houses.
Kleanthis: If you think about it, we’re working in an environment where we have constant opportunities to engage people. Real estate is about networking and talking to people. It’s like a constant open house here.
How has your sales volume changed over the past few years?
Kleanthis: At the peak, from 2005 to 2007, our business was 50 to 75 percent greater than now. At the bottom, after the market crashed, it was one-third of the high. This is a good, healthy market right now.