What’s behind rapid growth of big brokerages? Technology, some experts say

U.S.'s largest 500 brokerages grew their business at nearly twice the rate of market overall
  • The biggest brokerages have steadily acquired more market share over the last six years.
  • The cost of technology, which can help brokerages acquire more clients and recruit agents, may be driving the growth.
  • Technology has fueled the growth of teams, which tend to work at bigger brokerages.

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The nation's biggest brokerages keep grabbing a bigger piece of the real estate pie, claiming a larger and larger share of transactions each year. The reason? Technology, some industry observers say. Real estate brokerage has historically been an industry focused squarely on "human resources," said Steve Murray, president of real estate consultancy REAL Trends, which recently released its annual rankings of the top 500 brokerages by transaction sides and sales volume. "You recruit agents, you train them well, and try to spend less money than you have coming in," he said. But the potential for technology to boost the productivity of agents or attract talent has made it an increasingly important part of a firm's value proposition. And since technology can be expensive, brokerages with deep pockets may have gained an edge over their smaller competitors in recent years. 'Capital is starting to matter' "What we’re now seeing is that capital is starting t...