Brokerage

Re/Max retains top global real estate franchisor spot

Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Keller Williams and Prudential also make list of 50 global franchisors

Re/Max, which netted $225 million in an initial public offering last week, has retained its title as the top real estate franchisor — and is also the 14th-largest U.S.-based franchise operation in any industry by worldwide sales volume, according to an annual ranking from the Franchise Times.

With an increase of about 10 percent of its global sales — a bump of $681 million — from 2011 to 2012, the Denver-based franchisor jumped two spots from last year’s ranking.

Of the 500 U.S.-based franchisors that Franchise Times ranked by 2012 sales volume, seven were residential real estate brands.

Franchise Times 2013 ranking of real estate franchisors

Franchisor Ranking, by global sales volume Worldwide sales volume, 2012* No. of franchised offices worldwide, 2012 No. of franchised offices in the U.S., 2012
Re/Max 14 $7.4 billion 6,331 3.314
Coldwell Banker Real Estate 26 $4.5 billion 4,475 2,446
Century 21 Real Estate 28 $4.0 billion 7,100 2,500
Keller Williams Realty 36 $3.2 billion 663 647
Prudential Real Estate 45 $2.7 billion 1,400 1,400
Sotheby’s International Realty 79 $1.2 billion 659 403
ERA Real Estate 113 $613 million 2,322 571

Source: Franchise Times *Estimate by Franchise Times by multiplying total sales volume by 2.5 percent.

Increased sales volume also brought all but one of the other six top real estate franchisors higher up on this year’s Franchise Times list, including four owned by real estate giant Realogy: Coldwell Banker Real Estate (No. 26), Century 21 Real Estate (No. 28), Sotheby’s International Realty (No. 79) and ERA Real Estate (No. 113).

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Austin, Texas-based Keller Williams Realty, which now claims to have more affiliated agents in North America than any other brand, jumped nine spots this year to land at No. 36 on the list.

Prudential Real Estate, the other real estate brand ranked among the top 500 global franchisors, was the only real estate franchisor to drop in the rankings — from 41 in 2012 to 45 this year — despite its sales volume growing by $83 million in 2012 from the previous year.

According to the terms of a 2011 sale of the Prudential Real Estate brand from Prudential Financial to Brookfield Asset Management, the brand is slated to fade away as a real estate brand when the final license to it expires in the 2020s.

HomeServices of America Inc., which took a majority interest in the Prudential brand last year from Brookfield, formed Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices this year, in part, to absorb the Prudential-affiliated firms who are losing, or will lose, their right to license the Prudential brand.

Sotheby’s International Realty’s sales volume growth of 37 percent from the previous year put it first in percent sales growth for the year out of all 500 franchisors ranked by Franchise Times. The international luxury brand also had the greatest percentage growth in the number of new firms that affiliated with it (31 percent) of any the other franchisors on the list.

Re/Max claims that its agents did more deals in the U.S. and Canada than any other brand in 2012.

Re/Max’s CEO Margaret Kelly told CNBC on Wednesday after its IPO that the company is focused on franchising. “We are a franchisor who happens to be in the real estate business,” she said.