Buyers’ agency, Cohen Handler, is opening its first US branch with an office in Los Angeles. To be named Cohen Handler LA, the office will be lead by Australian expat Rowan Isaacs, who moved to the city last year to help build the Cohen Handler business on the ground.
Ben Handler and Simon Cohen first met in LA, so the expansion takes the two full circle.
Since launching Cohen Handler in 2009, the business has grown from two people working in a bedroom, to being Australia’s largest buyers’ agency, with over 60 employees across seven offices in Australia and Singapore.
Isaacs said that with Australian property prices rocketing higher, more people are looking to invest offshore.
“It’s not news to anyone that the Australian market is out of control, and more and more people are looking beyond our own shores for new places to invest in. We’re a nation of travellers and LA is a second home to many people,” he said.
Isaacs told SCHWARTZWILLIAMS that the US property market has solid investment fundamentals.
"The US has had a strong recovery post the GFC, and overall growth for Los Angeles is sitting around 3.5% to 5%, with the year on year average sitting around 7%," he said.
"The rental market is strong and growing, with investors experiencing gross rental yields of 5.8% to 7%."
“Compared to major cities in Australia, investment in LA is extremely attractive, with a strong rental yield and positive returns. We see great opportunities in LA for buyers and investors, with positive gearing generating great rental returns compared to the Australian market.”
There are no restrictions for foreign nationals investing in the US, according to Isaacs, and there are numerous ways investors can acquire and hold these investments.
Cohen Handler can work with Australian investors to obtain finance in the US.
"While there are some challenges, similar to Australia, in obtaining debt finance, Cohen Handler has put together a panel of lenders who work with foreign national investors to help," he said.
Cohen Handler LA currently offers services for Australians looking to invest in the US city, with additional buyers’ agent services to be added over the next few months.
The US property market operates differently to the Australian market, with around 90% of LA property buyers using a buyers’ agent, and most real estate agents also play the role of the buyers’ agent.
“When you’re looking after both the buyer and the seller, your time and focus will be split,” said Ben Handler, co-founder and CEO of Cohen Handler.
“Cohen Handler is solely focused on representing the buyer in the purchase process."
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