Brokerage

Growth lagged in 2014 for real estate’s top brokerages

Most top brokerages outperformed the market in 2014, but fewer deals dampened growth

In 2014, most of the largest brokerages in the country grew their businesses at a rate that outpaced the market as a whole, according to an annual analysis by Real Trends.

That report also reveals which companies grew the fastest. The Real Trends 500 report ranks the top 500 U.S. brokerages by transaction sides and sales volume, based on data supplied by brokerages to Real Trends (companies that do not provide data are excluded).

Unlike in 2013, when all of the nation’s top 20 brokerages — and the U.S. housing market overall — saw double-digit annual gains in sales volume, last year brokerages saw much lower year-over-year growth.

In general, agents at the top brokerages generated fewer “transaction sides” — each instance in which they represented either a buyer or seller in a home sale — than the year before, but rising home prices buoyed most of their sales volumes into positive growth in 2014.

According to Fannie Mae, sales of existing homes were down 2.9 percent in 2014, while the median price of an existing home was up 5.6 percent, to $208,000.

Assuming those trends were distributed evenly in all housing markets — which they were not — real estate brokerages could expect growth in home sales and home prices to translate into a roughly 2.5 percent growth in 2014 sales volume.

6 ways empowered agents embrace disruption to drive success
Using technology to generate leads and win listings READ MORE

Most of the nation’s 20 largest brokers saw bigger gains, some larger than others. Chicago-based @properties boosted sales volume by 28.9 percent; San Francisco Bay Area-based Pacific Union International kicked up sales volume by 21.8 percent; and New York City-based Douglas Elliman Real Estate raised sales volume by 21.3 percent.

Other brokerages who recorded double-digit annual gains in sales volume include the Dallas-based office of Keller Williams Realty (18.4 percent); Irvine, California-based Realty One Group (18.1 percent); Rye Brooke, New York-based Houlihan Lawrence (14.9 percent); and Shelton, Connecticut-based William Raveis Real Estate (14.1 percent).

Some of that growth propelled companies up the national rankings. @properties’ growth catapulted it from the 20th-largest firm in the nation by 2013 sales volume to the 12th-largest firm by its 2014 numbers. Pacific Union International jumped from 13th to ninth. And Keller Williams Realty (Dallas) moved from 24th to 20th.

Top 20 brokerages by sales volume, 2014

Brokerage 2014 sales volume 2013 sales volume Percentage change 2013 rank
1. NRT LLC $157.7 billion $151.1 billion 4.4% 1
2. HomeServices of America Inc. $68.3 billion $63.5 billion 7.6% 2
3. The Long & Foster Companies Inc. $25.9 billion $26.1 billion -0.8% 3
4. Douglas Elliman $18.2 billion $15.0 billion 21.3% 4
5. Alain Pinel Realtors $10.8 billion $10.5 billion 2.9% 5
6. Hanna Holdings Inc. $9.3 billion $9.1 billion 2.2% 6
7. Realty One Group $8.5 billion $7.2 billion 18.1% 7
8. William Raveis Real Estate Inc. $8.1 billion $7.1 billion 14.1% 8
9. Pacific Union International $6.7 billion $5.5 billion 21.8% 13
10. Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc. $6.6 billion $6.4 billion 3.1% 9
11. Coldwell Banker United, Realtors $5.8 billion $5.7 billion 1.8% 11
12. @properties $5.8 billion $4.5 billion 28.9% 20
13. Houlihan Lawrence $5.4 billion $4.7 billion 14.9% 18
14. First Team Real Estate $5.3 billion $5.9 billion -10.2% 10
15. John L. Scott Real Estate $5.1 billion $4.8 billion 6.3% 14
16. HomeSmart Phoenix $5.1 billion $4.8 billion 6.3% 15
17. Coldwell Banker Bain|Seal $5.0 billion $4.7 billion 6.4% 16
18. Crye-Leike Realtors $4.8 billion $4.7 billion 2.1% 17
19. Allen Tate Companies $4.5 billion $4.5 billion 0.0% 21
20. Keller Williams Realty (Dallas) $4.5 billion $3.8 billion 18.4% 24

Source: Real Trends

A majority of the nation’s 20 largest brokerages by transaction sides represented buyers and sellers on fewer deals in 2014 than they did in 2013, perhaps reflecting the inventory shortage prevalent in many housing markets.

Top 20 brokerages by transaction sides, 2014

Brokerage 2014 transactions sides 2013 transaction sides Percentage change 2013 rank
1. NRT LLC 316,970 320,026 -1.0% 1
2. HomeServices of America Inc. 199,634 205,602 -2.9% 2
3. The Long & Foster Companies Inc. 72,340 73,202 -1.2% 3
4. Hanna Holdings Inc. 47,753 48,300 -1.1% 4
5. Realty ONE Group 27,567 25,101 9.8% 6
6. Crye-Leike Realtors 27,179 27,491 -1.1% 5
7. Coldwell Banker United, Realtors (Now a part of NRT) 23,417 25,022 -6.4% 7
8. Real Estate One 22,290 24,406 -8.7% 8
9. RealtyUSA 21,873 21,524 1.6% 9
10. Allen Tate Companies 19,716 20,083 -1.8% 10
11. HomeSmart Phoenix 19,385 19,382 0.0% 12
12. Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc. 19,189 19,513 -1.7% 11
13. Keller Williams Realty (Dallas) 19,061 16,588 14.9% 15
14. Re/Max Results (Eden Prairie, Minn.) 18,140 18,470 -1.8% 13
15. West USA Realty Inc. 18,122 14,382 26.0% 18
16. William Raveis Real Estate Inc. 17,400 15,100 15.2% 16
17. Douglas Elliman Real Estate 16,702 16,923 -1.3% 14
18. John L. Scott Real Estate 14,048 14,009 0.3% 20
19. First Weber Group 13,479 13,370 0.8% 21
20. Watson Realty Corp. 13,459 14,233 -5.4% 19

Source: Real Trends

Email Paul Hagey.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that HomeSmart Phoenix, not its franchisor, HomeSmart International, is one of the largest brokerages in the nation.