It’s a battle of the list-makers: Real Trends, the analytics and consulting firm behind the annual Real Trends 500 ranking of residential real estate brokerages, is taking aim at T3 Sixty, the publisher of the newer Swanepoel Mega 1000, a rival ranking of the top brokerages in the United States.
In a blog post published Monday by Real Trends President Steve Murray, titled, “The 500 Top Brokerage Ranking Report: Accuracy and Relevancy in Brokerage Rankings,” Murray accuses the Swanepoel Mega 1000, named after T3 Sixty founder Stefan Swanepoel, of being “wildly wrong.”
“Their claims fail in a number of ways,” the post reads. “First, located in their footnotes, they admit that they made up the numbers for four of the top 15 firms in the country. Not only are these numbers wrong; they are wildly wrong.”
“Second, they are still missing many firms that belong on the list,” the post continues. “These are firms that REAL Trends is aware of; however, we don’t publish their data because they did not choose to have their data released. We respect that decision.”
Murray told Inman that he felt it necessary to publish the blog post, because, “it is important that leaders know that accuracy and privacy are important to somebody.”
The post never mentions T3 Sixty or the Swanepoel Mega 1000 by name, but directly quotes from the T3 Sixty press release.
Paul Hagey, the executive editor of T3 Sixty and a former Inman staff writer, told Inman that the company stands by its numbers and is glad this conversation is happening.
“Real Trends has provided the industry a valuable service for years; however, we felt it was time for a more thorough, complete analysis of the residential real estate brokerage industry’s largest companies,” Hagey said.
The Real Trends 500 for 2019 was released on March 27 with HomeServices of America leading the list as the largest brokerage by number of transaction sides, dethroning Realogy’s subsidiary NRT, which had been in the top spot for 20 years. The second-ever annual Swanepoel Mega 1000 (the list debuted last year), was released just days later on April 2, and also included HomeServices of America in the top spot for transaction sides, and NRT for sales volume in dollars (similar to Real Trends). However the lists differ in their numbers and other inclusions — Swanepoel’s list notably includes Redfin and Windermere, which do not appear on Real Trends’ list.
The footnote at the bottom of the Swanepoel Mega 1000 does not say the numbers were made up, as Real Trends suggests, rather, the footnote reads, “Company elected not to provide any, or exact, numbers. Additional research/analysis was used to calculate numbers.”
T3 Sixty said in a release that all the numbers that appear on its Swanepoel Mega 1000 are culled from deep research and analysis that encompasses hundreds of hours of research, phone calls with executives and leaders, and verification with third-party sources.
“This is why we included all of the nation’s largest companies on our Mega 1000 ranking,” Hagey added. “Company submissions are but one source of information we use to create the report. We do extensive analytics based on company submissions and publicly available information of all kinds.”
Hagey said a ranking is only insightful if it includes all major players. The Swanepoel Mega 1000 also publishes separate lists for top franchisors and top real estate holding companies.
“We also rank the nation’s largest franchisors and holding companies, as any thorough industry analysis must include these vital players,” Hagey said. “We invite readers to compare the two reports side by side and make their own conclusions.”
Hours after the Real Trends 500 was released, it was hacked and taken offline. Murray told Inman he has evidence of a “coordinated attack,” but is not ready to release further information at this time, other than saying there is no connection between the hack and any other companies that produce brokerage rankings.
Correction: This article was updated after publication to correct erroneous paraphrasing of Steve Murray regarding the connection between the hack and other brokerage rankings companies. We regret the error.