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A Message from Engel & Völkers Global CEO



For most of us, 2020 was probably the most out-of-the-ordinary year we have ever experienced. The COVID-19 pandemic literally turned our whole world upside down. It was not just the economy that sometimes felt the severe impact. Each and every one of us has also been affected in our own individual ways. And even now, day-to-day life in many countries is still very different to what we are used to. At this point in time it is impossible to predict how the pandemic will proceed from here and what the economic impact will be. That said, the development of the vaccine gives us cause for hope and a reason to look ahead with greater optimism in 2021. Our performance figures for the past twelve months are also cause for enormous optimism. Engel & Völkers is more successful than ever: despite the coronavirus, we have once again succeeded in breaking last year’s annual production record. We generated a total of 937 million euros ($1.139 billion USD) in Group commission revenues and 910 million euros ($1.115 billion USD) in net commission revenues. This marks a 14% increase in reference to the brand commission production, which is simply incredible. On behalf of the entire Management Board, the Supervisory Board and shareholders, I would like to thank you for your unwavering commitment and hard work under these completely new circumstances. Without you, the 13,500+ people that make up the E&V network, Engel & Völkers would not have been able to master this unexpected situation with such a resounding outcome. So thank you very much for your outstanding achievements and loyalty. Development of the Property Market After an initial period of shock back in the spring when some submarkets came to a standstill, and viewings and notary appointments were made virtually impossible for many of our shops and offices, the property market as a whole recovered relatively quickly. In fact, compared to the same period in 2019, we brokered 60% more properties in the price bracket ranging from two to five million euros. Stability was also especially evident in the top segment upwards of five million euros, where we even managed to double our revenues over the previous year! In response to the pandemic, those who can afford it are choosing to invest in even larger homes, preferably surrounded by nature or the countryside, and well equipped for a wider range of needs. The home is increasingly becoming the focus of everyday life. It is where family time, leisure time, home schooling and remote working all converge and take place. Prospective buyers are more likely now to compromise on location provided it means they get more space and comfort in return. We have seen an overall rise in the quality of client enquiries too. Any owner taking the decision to open their home up to real estate advisors and prospective buyers during the pandemic really does have a serious interest in selling. And anyone viewing a property as a prospective buyer has a genuine interest in renting or buying. We have found that clients often do their own extensive research online before deciding to view a particular property in person. This client behavior has played in our favor. Independently of the coronavirus crisis, Engel & Völkers has been investing heavily in the development of digital tools and IT products for many years already. Our locations around the world have now reaped the benefits from this strategy. With the help of virtual viewings, for example, our advisors have been able to push deals further towards closure by digital means. The process of digitalization has played a significant role in making us even stronger. A high level of activity and increased productivity among real estate advisors and consultants has also contributed to our renewed growth. All of this has meant we have been able to continue positioning the Engel & Völkers brand effectively and pursuing a path of strong expansion. Planning went ahead in 2020 for 85 new shops and commercial offices, some of which have already been opened. This marks an even greater number than in any previous year. Engel & Völkers Around the Globe There seems to be no stopping Engel & Völkers Americas, and the United States and Canada in particular. 2020 was another record year in this market. Major cities like Atlanta are booming. More and more people are flocking to regions like Vancouver Island, as well as to well-known ski destinations and rural areas. Even in New York City, a market that has sadly been hit very hard by the pandemic, our business operations have remained steady. Demand in surrounding regions has risen so sharply that there are not nearly enough homes on the market to meet the level of interest. With $443 million (USD) in commission revenues and more than 32,000 closings in 2020, E&V Americas is one of the biggest contributors to the overall financial result of the Engel & Völkers Group. It now counts over 250 shops and more than 4,500 advisors among its ranks, and has achieved an incredible 38% year-over-year growth. Engel & Völkers is the only European real estate company that has managed to successfully establish itself in the North American market and become one of the major players there. This is thanks to Anthony Hitt, CEO of E&V Americas, his exceptional team, and most importantly to all the dedicated and outstanding real estate advisors on the ground. As in previous years, the DACH region was once again an enormous driver of growth in 2020. In the Residential division, commission revenues increased by more than 16% to approximately 276 million euros ($338 million USD). Germany remains one of the most attractive real estate markets for private buyers and investors, due to its stability and resilience. Austria and Switzerland saw a steady demand for both first and second homes. Like Germany, both countries can attest to a very good healthcare system, which is becoming an increasingly important factor in people’s decisions to buy. In the Commercial DACH & International division, commission revenues remained stable at approx. 113 million euros ($138 million USD). The Residential Investment segment here saw particularly strong growth. In the “Broker Ranking 2020” published by the trade magazine “Immobilienmanager”, Engel & Völkers was once again the frontrunner in Germany in the category “Revenues from Apartment Building Sales”. In the Mediterranean region, the number of property transactions dropped slightly, particularly in holiday and second home markets, as people were not able to view or use holiday properties in person. The property markets in Spain, Portugal and Italy were temporarily “frozen” as a result. In the majority of places this did not result in significant price declines in the markets.This was particularly evident in Athens and on the Greek islands. The Balearic island of Majorca saw a total transaction volume of 63.3 million euros, from brokerage deals that continued to be closed even during the weeks of the hard lockdown. Here too, prices remained stable. The country group Spain, Portugal and Andorra generated 82 million euros ($100 million USD) in total commission revenues in 2020. In Italy, this figure was 43 million euros ($53 million USD). The country group France, Netherlands and Belgium contributed 19 million euros ($23 million USD) to the total production number. Even under adverse circumstances, the Market Center in Paris was able to increase its revenues in 2020 compared to the previous year. Despite the challenges faced by Southern Europe, we can record some 63,000 transactions in 2020, accounting for a total transaction volume of approximately 27 billion euros ($33 billion USD). Looking Ahead Residential living is a fundamental need and a huge trend of the times we are living in. A sense of the importance of having a pleasant place to live has grown further during the coronavirus pandemic. With rising national debt in most countries as a result of financial aid packages, any increase in interest rates does not seem likely, meaning that real estate investments will remain a safe haven in the future too. As in the previous years, we are well positioned for 2021. Despite the potential for some challenges ahead that are not yet foreseeable, we expect a slight increase in total Group commission revenues. Our forecast indicates steady growth in North America and the DACH region in particular. We aim to gain an even greater market share in our core countries of focus and to drive expansion. And we plan to grow not just by recruiting new real estate advisors and opening new shops but through acquisitions as well. On the one hand, we plan to continue our own operations as Engel & Völkers AG in certain new submarkets. And at the same time we envisage acquiring competitors and companies with the potential to bring positive new assets for us and our brand. We intend to invest even more in our positioning in the USA, as well as to intensify our expansion efforts in France. After a temporary standstill, we are convinced that the French market will see a swift recovery. In the USA, 90% of license partners feel optimistic as they look to the coming year. We also want to bolster our operations in Spain, Portugal and Italy with investments. We will be closely monitoring how the markets in Southern Europe develop. We are confident that 2021 will be a positive year in this region too. In Germany, we are also anticipating a very good year ahead on the real estate market, and aim to expand further here as well. We also expect to gain further market share as a result of the new legislation on brokerage fee splitting, as it means we will be able to hold our own more effectively as a large company, compared to our smaller competitors. The law, which came into effect across Germany in December, stipulates that the buyer and seller of a property now split the brokerage fee equally between them. Moreover, we are very focused on the development of our E&V shops in Denmark. In addition to our core business in the Residential and Commercial divisions, we also see potential for growth in the Yachting division, as it aids and facilitates the trend towards greater privacy. A private yacht is a means to an ideal retreat, especially for our clients in the premium segment. New Business Segments For quite some time now we have been working intensively on the launch of new business segments under the Engel & Völkers brand, and we will continue to drive these efforts forward, albeit only in Germany and Europe to begin with. We want to prepare our company even better for the challenges of the future, as well as to offer bespoke solutions to our clients for all their real estate needs. The crowd investing platform Engel & Völkers Digital Invest has been successfully financing projects for several years now. Engel & Völkers Development Spain has established itself on the Spanish market, and its partnership with Engel & Völkers Digital Invest in particular is bearing fruit. A third joint project is currently in the planning phase. Engel & Völkers Finance has been operating since 2019 and has already long since proven its worth. The business segment offers individual advice to residential property buyers in Germany, along with concepts for private property financing and support in making transactions easier to complete. Engel & Völkers Smart Money, akin to a bank, and Engel & Völkers Asset Management, a service aimed at institutional investors, are currently close to a launch date. We will also soon be unveiling our latest business segment at the former headquarters of Engel & Völkers AG in Hamburg. Here, in the heart of the city, the first Engel & Völkers Work Edition co-working space will be opening in the near future. An exclusive environment where companies, consultants and self-employed people can come together to work in a comfortable, convenient and flexible way. We believe that there is still a demand for attractive workspaces in central city centre locations. We find ourselves in times of unprecedented change, and look to the future with optimism. Recent months have shown that we, the Engel & Völkers family, are capable of top performances during times of crisis. This is something we are incredibly proud of. Together, we have also managed to provide our real estate services effectively worldwide throughout 2020 and to further strengthen our position. We plan to continue doing the same in the future! Best wishes,

Sven Odia CEO

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