Fredrik Eklund is number one in New York
This is Fredrik Eklund
Live: In a 240 square meter €43 million luxury apartment on Manhattan. Building two more residences in Madison Square Park and Tribeca
Family: Husband Derek Kaplan and dachshund Fritzy
Education: Stockholm School of Economics but never graduated
Job: Top broker at Douglas Elliman, TV-star in the reality show Million Dollar Listing New York
Motto in life: Be yourself – always and in every way! Find the little you as a kid, before we all grew up, and became adults and boring, and bring that real, fun you back again
Fredrik Eklund has secured over three billion dollars in closed residential sales over the past five years. Rated as the number one agent – out of 30,000 – in New York City by The Real Deal in 2014, he set record sales in 28 buildings in
Manhattan last year alone, breaking yet another record for his firm, Douglas Elliman, with more than $371 million worth of closed sales last year. Another $705 million in contracts signed pending to close put Eklund, and his business partner John Gomes, at a jaw-dropping $1 billion in combined sales in 2014 alone.
Still it was the city – not the job – that made the 37-year-old Swede move across the Atlantic by himself 13 years ago.
“I always dreamed about moving to New York and once I was here I said to myself: which job is the most ‘New Yorky’ of all jobs? Where I get to really be one with the city?”
Real estate was the answer, and through hard work, grit and force of personality, he quickly climbed to the top of his game.
Eklund’s first job in the business was as an agent with the real estate, J C DeNiro, where he had sales of $50 million in his first year and was nominated ‘rookie of the year’ by The Real Estate Board of New York.
Today he is the number one broker at Douglas Elliman, the nation’s fourth largest real estate company, which dominates the East Coast market.
As far as his A-list clients go, you’d be hard pressed to find any bigger, Eklund has sold apartments to celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Legend and Daniel Craig. Now his main focus is new developments and on changing the skyline of the city he loves.
“I came here with nothing, but today I am part of changing the market in the city of all cities. I am part of creating new developments, together with the architects and I am engaged in every detail from scratch to the interior design details”, says Eklund.
Eklund gets involved early in the process and involves himself in everything right down to choosing the bathtub. The buildings themselves are luxurious, complete with built-in dog spas, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, private parking, food elevators, and top-notch restaurants, such as the 51-story 5 Beekman, 11 Beach or 11 North Moore – all record-breaking new buildings.
Game changer on the Scandinavian real estate market
In 2009, Eklund founded his own brokerage, Eklund Stockholm New York AB, which has offices in Stockholm and Oslo, with the objective of making it Scandinavia’s first international luxury agency. Now the company has more than 60 employees, closed $1 billion in 2014 and has quickly become a real game changer on the Scandinavian real estate market.
“The goal was to become an international player with a focus on the luxury segment and new developments. And we have succeeded. We have sold apartments for an all-time-high square meter price in Stockholm and have a new building coming this summer with penthouses.”
But few people know that the real the reason Eklund started a business in Stockholm was to spend more time with his family in Sweden.
“I have lived abroad for 13 years and miss everything back home. My family and my brother’s kids have been growing up while I’ve been away. Now I come home more often.”
When asked about how the Scandinavian and American real estate markets differ, Eklund says, “They have different laws and regulations and the role of the real estate agent is different in New York compared to Sweden. But the market, the supply and demand, the pricing, and the competition are pretty much the same. I actually see more similarities than differences, like the appetite for luxury and new architecture. Stockholm is perhaps unexpectedly expensive, and almost as expensive as New York. And central Oslo is actually a more expensive per square meter than the average downtown New York apartment. We sell houses in the NKr 50–60 million price range every month there.”
Guidebook for selling
Selling is what it’s all about in Eklund’s world. So it should not be surprising that his book The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone released earlier this spring, climbed immediately to number one on the charts on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles months before the release date.
“It’s really a guidebook for anyone on how to become successful. It sums up what I have learned on my journey from small-town Sweden to the very top of the most competitive market in the world, New York. It’s a lot about having the courage to find and be yourself – it sounds easy but it is pretty damn hard.”
Along with his ‘never-say-die’ attitude Eklund has also managed to remain true to himself: his eccentricity, high kicks, colorful socks and humor certainly make sure nobody forgets him.
“It takes a big personality to stand out and be remembered among 30,000 New York based real estate agents. I don’t hold back anymore. The more I give of myself, the more open and honest I am, the better things go for me. People love to be around a fun person, and that attracts more success.”
Expecting a daughter
Once again, it was no real surprise when in 2011, Eklund also became a reality TV star. The grand finale of the fourth season of the Emmy-nominated reality show Million Dollar Listing New York is being shot the very night of our interview. It airs in over 110 countries, is watched by countless millions of people and follows Eklund in real-time doing one deal per episode.
“One thing is sure: I don’t have a nine-to-five job. I never did,” Eklund says with a laugh. “The dream of moving to New York has already been fulfilled – and then some.”
But Eklund has one big dream left, perhaps the biggest of them all: to have a daughter. This year the dream will become a reality when a surrogate mother will carry his and husband Derek’s child.
“This has been a dream of ours for years. I have always pictured myself with a little girl. It’s time for new priorities in my life. It’s time for my own family! Hopefully I can still stay number one in New York, but if I don’t, that’s okay too. Because I will be the number one dad to her.”
Text: Sofia Zetterman
Published: May 28, 2015
Last edited: February 11, 2016