New York Story
Through savvy acquisitions and alliances, Pamela Liebman has made The Corcoran Group nearly synonymous with luxury real estate in New York City.
By Roger Grody
As President and CEO of The Corcoran Group, one of New York’s most honored and respected real estate firms, Pamela Liebman oversees a formidable network of agents in 25 offices from the Upper East Side to the Hamptons, even Palm Beach.
After graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1984, the Staten Island native joined The Corcoran Group — then a boutique firm of just 30 people — and within a year was the top-selling agent in her office. “Corcoran has always had an innovative and entrepreneurial culture that encourages people to do their best,” says Liebman, who adds, “It’s a family that has the power of a large company and the heart of a small one.”
After ascending through the ranks, Liebman was named Corcoran’s President and CEO in 2000. During her tenure, she orchestrated the successful acquisition of Citi-Habitats and merged Corcoran Group Marketing and The Sunshine Group to create Corcoran Sunshine, a powerful marketing firm for developers that today boasts the largest pipeline of new residential properties in the country.
Despite the success of those acquisitions and mergers, Liebman considers her ability to surround herself with exceptional people her strongest skill. “I’m most proud that Corcoran has the best agents in the business who have achieved over $18.5 billion in annual sales.” she states, adding, “They are the company’s greatest asset and greatest achievement.”
When hiring people, Liebman always looks for a combination of traits. “They include integrity, intelligence and dedication to client service at the highest level,” she says, noting a positive outlook is another essential quality. Her formula apparently works because Liebman reports that Corcoran annually has more individuals ranked in The Wall Street Journal/Real Trends list of America’s 250 most successful agents than any other firm.
“Luxury real estate in New York is like the city itself, unique in its diversity and fascinating in what it has to offer,” says Liebman, who reports luxury properties are now found in practically every New York neighborhood, rather than being concentrated in just a few areas as was the case when she began her career.
Liebman portrays the city’s buyers as equally diverse. “They come from all walks of life, from college students needing a modest place to live during school to masters of the universe who want the best trophy properties Manhattan has to offer,” she says. The chief executive reports global demand has transformed the New York luxury market, stating, “International investors are very bullish on New York and have had a significant and growing presence over the last several years.”
Reporting that foreign buyers account for almost one-third of all residential sales, Liebman explains they perceive New York as an exceptionally safe place to park their money. “The demand for New York property ownership is extraordinary,” says Liebman, who adds, “Everyone wants to live here!” That was not always the case, however, but this proud New Yorker is an admirer of her city through good times and bad. “What’s authentic about New York is that it’s always evolving,” says Liebman. “Change is part of the New York urban dynamic and one of the major reasons the city is so appealing.”
In 2014, Liebman forged an alliance with Monaco-based John Taylor, giving her clients access to luxury properties in Paris, London, Madrid, Geneva, and Moscow. “Many of our clients are truly world citizens who own several homes in different locations,” she says, explaining the collaboration satisfies their growing demand for unique properties outside the United States.
The chief executive and her family frequently escape to their home in Miami Beach, a vacation destination Liebman has enjoyed since childhood. “Miami offers the best combination of urban sophistication and laid-back tropical lifestyle,” says Liebman. Away from the office, she enjoys teeing off at La Gorce Country Club and feasting at Joe’s Stone Crab.
Liebman and her husband, Dr. Michael Krouse, are the parents of two daughters, both still in school. “They haven’t expressed an interest in pursuing a career in real estate — at least not yet!” She says, however, “I would encourage them, as it’s a fascinating and dynamic business. It never gets old.”