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Pacific Union profiled in Pasadena Star-News

The luxury real estate firm operating in Pasadena, L.A., you’ve never heard of

Three luxury real estate firms in the Los Angeles area have joined forces to become part of San Francisco-based Pacific Union International.

The move unites more than 900 real estate professionals from the John Aaroe GroupPartners Trust, and Gibson International.  Nick Segal, former CEO and founder of Partners Trust in Beverly Hills, will lead the company’s Southern California operations as president, overseeing 20 offices across the greater Los Angeles market.

Founded in San Francisco in 1975, Pacific Union now has more than 1,700 real estate agents across 51 offices throughout Northern and Southern California. That includes two Pasadena locations — one at 42 S. Pasadena Ave. and another at 594 E. Colorado Blvd. A third office is located at 964 Foothill Blvd. in La Canada Flintridge. The newly expanded company has become the largest independent brokerage in Los Angeles with $18 billion in projected sales for 2018.

“This changes the narrative considerably,” said Gus Ruelas, who formerly served as vice president and regional manager with John Aaroe Group. He’s now executive vice president for Pacific Union’s Southern California offices. “Because of our size, we now have the ability to compete with the big national brands, and it puts us at No. 1 for market share. That’s never happened with an independent company.”

The company’s Southland service areas include the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, Beverly Hills, Malibu, downtown Los Angeles, the Westside and northeast L.A.

Ruelas, who spends part of his time at the South Pasadena Avenue office, said Southern California’s luxury home market is “hyper local,” with each area displaying its unique characteristics. Sales have slowed, he said, but the high-end market is still holding its own.

“Instead of prices rising 8 percent a year, they might go up 3 percent a year,” he said. “And any home that is priced over $3 million is sitting on the market longer. Homes in Pasadena and San Marino that used to sell in 30 to 45 days are now selling in 90 days.”

Ruelas chalks that up to buyers taking more time to make their move.

“The market was going at such a rapid rate for so many years. … I think people are just taking a break and really evaluating the prices,” he said. “And people who are going to buy a $3 million home can afford to not make a quick decision.”

John Aaroe Group merged with Pacific Union in 2016, followed in 2017 with mergers with Partners Trust and Gibson International.

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