Michael Graves is heading back to Douglas Elliman.
The classical musician-turned-broker is leaving Compass after more than four years to rejoin his former firm, where he started in 2013.
Graves attributed his return to Elliman’s national pipeline of new development projects and its international network through its ties to London-based consultancy Knight Frank.
Joining the New York City brokers who said earlier this year that international buyers offered a boost of business after skyrocketing mortgage rates slowed domestic activity, Graves said he expects international interest in the city’s market to rise. He added that about half of his clients are based in other countries and he sees New York as an “oasis for pied-a-terres.”
While at Compass, Graves headed a 10-person team and focused on both resale and new development deals. His active listings on Streeteasy include a 3,900-square-foot penthouse at 240 Park Avenue South, last asking $17 million, and a three-bedroom co-op at 10 Park Avenue, last asking $4.7 million.
Graves said his team will join him at Elliman, but did not specify how many members and whether he’ll be bringing any of his current listings.
“We made a deal very quickly and negotiated it over the weekend and had it signed by Monday,” Douglas Elliman executive chairman Howard Lorber said.
Graves’ move comes as the new development pipeline in the city is drying up. New housing construction filings in the second quarter were down 30 percent compared to the same period last year.
“New development in the city is not actually booming,” Lorber said, pointing to the sector’s activity in other markets where the firm operates, including in Texas and South Florida.
Scott Durkin, CEO of Douglas Elliman’s Real Estate arm, said that Graves will be in the mix for new development projects for the firm — which he said holds no hard feelings about Graves’ prior move.
“It’s a very small industry, and we always say that we will welcome you back,” Durkin said. “He’s seen the making of where he went at Compass, and I think he missed the culture.”
Compass declined to comment on Graves’ departure.
Before becoming a broker in 2009, Graves was a classical guitarist with plans to compose music and write film scores. He also worked for his family’s Minneapolis-based hotel development company, Graves Hospitality.
Graves, who also appeared on HGTV’s “Selling New York,” was a top agent at CORE before his first stint at Douglas Elliman. His departure from CORE in 2013 was just two months after another of the brokerage’s top producers, Vicky Barron, also went to Douglas Elliman.
When Graves joined Compass in 2019, he cited the company’s tech-centered approach and buy-in from investors.