HomeServices of America has ended NRT’s two-decade reign atop the Real Trends 500 list, beating the Realogy company in number of transactions.

HomeServices of America has ended Realogy brokerage subsidiary NRT‘s two-decade reign atop the Real Trends 500 rankings of top residential real estate brokerages in the United States, beating NRT by nearly 10,000 transactions to become the number one real estate firm by sides in 2019.

The Real Trends 500 2019 rankings were announced Wednesday, and revealed that last year HomeServices — which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway — closed 346,629 transactions, enough to put the company in first place for the industry.

Gino Blefari. (Credit: HomeServices of America)

In a statement, HomeServices executive chairman Ron Peltier called the ranking a “milestone” for his company. And new CEO Gino Blefari described it as a “culmination of years of hard work.”

“This is a turning point in our history and we congratulate our incredible employees and agents who work tirelessly to help their clients achieve the American dream of home ownership,” Blefari said.

This is the first time HomeServices has ever taken the top spot in the rankings.

For the preceding twenty years, NRT has consistently ranked atop the Real Trends 500 list, one of the few independent rankings lists widely respected and cited by the industry. But with only 337,235 transactions in 2018, the company sank to the number two spot this year.

In an email, Real Trends President Steve Murray suggested that HomeServices was able to overtake NRT thanks to a string of recent acquisitions.

Steve Murray

“HomeServices bought Long & Foster in 2017 and followed that up with Ebby Halliday in Dallas and Ambassador in Omaha, a total of around 118,000 transaction sides through all of these acquisitions,” Murray told Inman. “NRT stopped buying brokerages in 2018 and [focused] in on franchising and expanding their brands. It’s similar to Keller Williams investing in technology. It’s a shift in where people are investing.”

The annual list ranks brokerages and residential real estate companies by their number of transactions, and includes other metrics, such as volume, as well. Companies needed to close 1,992 transactions in 2018 to qualify for this year’s list.

Hanna Holdings, eXp Realty and HomeSmart rounded out the top five, respectively, by transaction sides.

Despite fewer transactions, NRT still did far and away the most sales volume at more than $176 billion. HomeServices came in second, at about $136 billion, followed by Compass in a distant third at $45.5 billion.

Compass ranked sixth by number of transactions — a huge jump from last year when the tech-enabled brokerage landed in the 45th spot.

Murray said Compass benefited from a “very glamorous and exciting story along with stock options and signing bonuses that are attracting some very good producers.”

Other tech-centric brokerages also fared well in this year’s rankings, with eXp Realty rising from seventh last year to fourth this year, and HomeSmart holding on to fifth place.

Murray said that eXp and Homesmart both benefited from low-cost models “for agents who don’t need all the services of traditional firms.”

“They found a listening audience among agents of all kinds,” he added.

Though it did not nab the top spots Wednesday, Keller Williams nevertheless celebrated the new rankings and noted in a statement that it “had 174 brokerages that appeared on the REAL Trends 500, representing 34.8 percent of the top 500 brokerages for 2018.”

Gary Keller of Keller Williams

Gary Keller of Keller Williams. Credit: Keller Williams

“Once again, according to REAL Trends, Keller Williams represents more than a third of the top-producing firms in real estate,” Gary Keller, company co-founder and CEO, said in the statement. “That’s monumental and we’re extremely proud to be in business with our incredible market center leaders that continue to set new benchmarks in a dynamically shifting industry.”

Overall, Real Trends reported that the 500 largest residential real estate brokerage companies in the U.S. closed more than 3.2 million transactions in 2018.

Here are the top 25 brokerages on Real Trends’ list this year, ranked by sides:

  1. HomeServices of America, Inc., Minneapolis, MN

    346,629 transactions


  2. NRT LLC, Madison, NJ

    337,235  transactions


  3. Hanna Holdings, Pittsburgh, PA

    83,043 transactions


  4. eXp Realty, Bellingham, WA

    73,458 transactions


  5. HomeSmart, Scottsdale, AZ

    36,064 transactions


  6. Compass, New York, NY

    34,644 transactions


  7. Keller Williams Realty, GO Management Offices, Arlington, TX

    33,134 transactions


  8. Crye-Leike Real Estate Services, Memphis, TN

    26,257 transactions


  9. RE/MAX Results, Eden Prairie, MN

    24,008 transactions


  10. Real Estate One, Southfield, MI

    23,046 transactions


  11. Douglas Elliman Real Estate, New York, NY

    22,984 transactions


  12. Keller Williams Realty Pinnacle Partners Group, Duluth, GA

    22,422 transactions


  13. William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage, and Insurance, Shelton, CT

    21,841 transactions


  14. Allen Tate Companies, Charlotte, NC

    21,190 transactions


  15. Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group, Shorewood, IL

    20,451 transactions


  16. CENTURY 21 Affiliated, Madison, WI

    20,254 transactions


  17. West USA Realty, Inc., Phoenix, AZ

    19,070 transactions


  18. @properties

    18,509 transactions


  19. Baird & Warner, Chicago, IL

    17,829 transactions


  20. RE/MAX Alliance / Equity Group, Arvada, CO

    16,097 transactions


  21. Coldwell Banker Seacoast / Advantage, Raleigh, NC

    16,007 transactions


  22. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty, Wexford, PA

    15,766 transactions


  23. Keller Williams Realty The Haggard Group , Franklin, TN

    15,558 transactions


  24. Latter & Blum Companies ERA Powered, New Orleans, LA

    15,553 transactions


  25. Coldwell Banker Schmidt Family of Companies, Traverse City, MI

    15,406 transactions


Email Jim Dalrymple II

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