Big-brand real estate companies dominated the list of top real estate brokerage offices in the latest annual Real Trends 500 report.

Real Trends, a real estate publishing and communications company, ranked NRT Inc. of Parsippany, N.J., as the top real estate brokerage in the nation in closed sales volume and in the number of closed transactions in 2005. HomeServices of America, based in Minneapolis, Minn., was second in both categories, followed by Fairfax, Va.-based Long & Foster Cos. in third.

The rankings for the top three companies remain unchanged from last year’s survey.

NRT, a subsidiary of travel and real estate services giant Cendant Corp., oversees company-owned real estate brokerage activities. NRT represents an estimated 64,000 sales associates in about 1,000 offices, with real estate brands including Coldwell Banker, Century 21, ERA, Sotheby’s International Realty, and The Corcoran Group. NRT acquired 31 companies in 2005. Cendant also operates the largest real estate franchise business in the country.

HomeServices, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has real estate operations in 19 states. The operations do business under 19 brand names, including: Iowa Realty, Prudential California Realty, Prudential Carolinas Realty, First Realty GMAC Real Estate and Semonin Realtors, among others. HomeServices’ real estate companies have about 20,000 agents and operate about 380 branch offices.

Long & Foster, the largest real estate company in the Mid-Atlantic region, has 215 offices and 15,000 sales associates.

The Real Trends 500 survey produces two separate top-500 lists: One list ranks participating companies by closed transaction sides (there are two sides to every real estate transaction — a buy side and a sell side), and the other list ranks participating companies by total sales volume.

The Real Trends 500 report is based on voluntary submission of mostly privately owned firms’ transactions and other data, according to a statement by Steve Murray, Real Trends editor.

The lists were populated mostly by companies affiliated with the RE/MAX, Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, Prudential and Century 21 brands. Brokerages under these brands accounted for 353 of the top 500 (70.6 percent) companies ranked by closed sales volume and 382 of 500 (76.4 percent) companies ranked by closed transaction sides.

A total of 134 RE/MAX-branded companies ranked on the sales volume list and 145 RE/MAX-branded offices ranked in the closed transaction sides list. The RE/MAX franchise network includes about 6,300 independently owned offices and 118,500 sales associates.

Keller Williams had 89 affiliates ranked on the sales volume list and 79 ranked for transaction sides; the Coldwell Banker brand had 57 offices that ranked on the sales volume list and 73 ranked for transaction sides; the Prudential brand had 44 offices in the top sales volume list and 47 offices on the transaction sides list; and Century 21 had 29 offices ranked among the sales volume leaders and 38 offices ranked in transaction sides.

Columbus, Ohio-based Real Living ranked fourth in transaction sides and 16th in sales volume. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors ranked fifth on both lists; Crye-Leike of Memphis, Tenn., was sixth in transaction sides and 24th in sales volume; Howard Hanna of Pittsburgh, Pa., was seventh in transaction sides and 19th in sales volume; John L. Scott Real Estate of Bellevue, Wash., was eighth in transaction sides and seventh in sales volume; the company-owned operations of GMAC Real Estate ranked ninth in transaction sides and fourth in sales volume; and Coldwell Banker United, Realtors of Bryan, Texas, was 10th in transaction sides and 25th in sales volume.

Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate LLC of South Huntington, N.Y., ranked sixth in sales volume and 29th in transaction sides, according to the Real Trends survey. Realty Executives of Phoenix, Ariz., ranked eighth in sales volume and 11th in transaction sides; Alain Pinel Realtors of Saratoga, Calif., ranked ninth in sales volume and 83rd in transaction sides; and Coldwell Banker Bain Associates/Barbara Sue Seal of Mercer Island, Wash., ranked 10th in sales volume and 17th in closed transaction sides.

Geographically, California had the highest proportion of companies on the closed transaction sides list, at 45. Forty-one companies on this list were in Florida, 40 were in Texas, 32 in Illinois, 28 in Georgia, 22 in Colorado, 22 in Pennsylvania, 20 in Arizona, 19 in New York, 18 in Michigan, 18 in Virginia, 17 in New York and 17 in Ohio.

ZipRealty, a tech-reliant publicly traded real estate company based in Emeryville, Calif., ranked 31st in sales volume and 34th in closed transaction sides. ZipRealty ranked 39th in sales volume and 62nd in closed transaction sides in last year’s Real Trends 500 survey.

John L. Scott Real Estate improved from 11th in closed transaction sides in last year’s survey to eighth this year, and from eighth in sales volume last year to seventh this year. Coldwell Banker United improved from 12th in transaction sides in last year’s survey to 10th this year, while dropping from 21st last year to 25th this year in the sales volume rankings.

Realty Executives of Phoenix, Ariz., improved from 12th in sales volume last year to eighth in this year’s survey while falling from ninth to 11th in closed transaction sides. And Coldwell Banker Bain Associates/Barbara Sue Seal rose from 14th in sales volume last year to 10th in sales volume in the latest survey while dropping from 15th to 17th in closed transaction sides.

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