What defines power? Certainly not popularity, Stefan Swanepoel opines in his 2017 list of residential real estate industry heavyweights, released today with Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff winning the top spot.

Stefan J. M. Swanepoel

Stefan J. M. Swanepoel

The Swanepoel Power 200 (SP200) annually ranks the 200 most powerful people in real estate along with a series of influencer subsets including corporate executives, power brokers, technology executives, association/MLS executives and women leaders.

In addition to the main power list, the SP200, generated by the Swanepoel T3 Group, recognizes additional movers and shakers in four bonus categories: Trendsetters, Social Influencers and Outside Powers. Emerging Leaders, honoring leaders under 40, was a new SP200 spotlight this year.

Giants on the main list

In 2016, Zillow Group made headlines for litigation, acquisitions, new offerings and a profit-turning third quarter.

The SP200 explains Rascoff’s top placement as follows: “Seven years into his tenure as CEO, Rascoff, 41, has Zillow Group humming on all cylinders. It operates the world’s most popular real estate site in Zillow, is building a comprehensive data management platform epitomized by the acquisition of Bridge Interactive Group, and saw the company’s market cap climb to $6.5 billion.”


Source: Swanepoel Power 200

In addition to Rascoff, Zillow Group’s Amy Bohutinsky, who is often considered “the smartest of a very smart group of senior executives” at the company, took first place among the list of most influential female leaders and 10th place overall.

On the main list, Realogy CEO, president and chairman Richard A. Smith, who was ranked as the No. 1 power player for the past three years in a row, ranked second behind Rascoff, followed by Keller Williams Realty chairman, co-founder and “mastermind” Gary Keller in third place.

Under Keller’s leadership, KW “grew to 152,000 agents in 2016, making it the world’s largest real estate brand by agent count,” the SP200 noted.

Leaders from HomeServices of America, Re/Max, the National Association of Realtors, NRT, Zillow and Move rounded out the rest of the top 10. With plans to retire at the end of 2017, Dale Stinton ranked sixth as “the longest-tenured chief executive in NAR history.”

Powerful women in real estate

In total, the main SP200 list featured 45 women, two of whom were listed in conjunction with their male business partners.

Last year, Stefan Swanepoel noted that women and minorities rarely helm leading real estate firms.


Source: Swanepoel Power 200

“In the highest places of leadership diversity is lacking (only 5.5 percent) as are the number of females (only 20 percent),” Swanepoel said in a statement. “Even Generation X has not yet really stepped up to the plate.”

Bohutinsky’s company on the list of top five Women Leaders includes Helen Hanna Casey, president of Hanna Holdings; Dorothy “Dottie” Herman, president and CEO of Douglas Elliman; Jill Jacobi Wood, president of Windermere; and Pamela O’Connor; president and CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (president and CEO Sherry Chris), along with The Corcoran Group and ERA Franchise Systems all had female executive leadership that ranked in on the SP200’s top 50 overall.

New category: The 40-and-under crowd

Emerging Leaders, a fresh bonus addition to the SP200 this year, honored leaders aged 40 and under (as of December 31, 2016) who are making waves. Of the 20 mentioned, 19 are men.

Eleven people listed on the Emerging Leaders list also made the Power 200 main rankings, including:

  • Kuba Jewgieniew, Realty One Group founder and CEO (age 40; ranked No. 22)
  • Robert Reffkin, Compass co-founder and CEO (age 37; ranked No. 85)
  • Grier Allen, BoomTown founder and CEO (age 37; ranked No. 123)
  • Matthew “Matt” Barba, Placester founder and CEO (age 30; ranked No. 134)
  • Eric Wu, Opendoor co-foudner and CEO (age 34; ranked No. 139)
  • Nate Johnson, Move, Inc. CEO (age 40; ranked No. 146)
  • Ben Kinney, Ben Kinney Companies founder and CEO (age 38; ranked No. 163)
  • Austin Allison, dotloop GM (age 31; ranked No. 172);
  • Denee Evans, Council of Multiple Listing Services CEO (age 40; ranked No. 176)
  • Tyler Smith, Skyslope founder and CEO (age 33; ranked No. 184)
  • Mitchell Skinner, Larson Skinner managing partner (age 34; ranked No. 196)

Inman News earns honors

Finally, Inman publisher Brad Inman ranked at No. 34 on 2017’s SP200, while Inman editor-in-chief Amber Taufen was honored for the first time with a spot on the Trendsetters list.

Email Caroline Feeney

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