The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on real estate in the early days of the second quarter of 2020. Despite those headwinds, Keller Williams agents have shown, “remarkable resilience and fortitude over the past several months,” Keller Williams CEO and Co-founder Gary Keller said in a statement Friday.
“They have found opportunities to help people buy and sell homes, all while playing a critical role in their communities,” Keller said.
“They are calling up their neighbors and simply asking, ‘How are you? How can I help?’” Keller added. “That can have a profound impact.”
Real estate is all about relationships, Keller added, and through the pandemic, technology has played a more significant role in those relationships, especially with social distancing regulations. At Keller Williams, that has included agents offering virtual tours and handling specifics of the transaction through the company app.
Keller Williams was not immune to the struggles associated with the pandemic and saw significant drops in transactions and volumes like many of the other top companies in the industry. Keller Williams agents closed 272,103 transactions in the second quarter, a year-over-year decline of 15.4 percent. Sales volume was down 15 percent from the second quarter of 2019 and new market inventory fell 22.7 percent.
Still, the privately held company, in the select earnings it released, said it posted better numbers than the industry average.
“We outpaced the industry in terms of closed transactions,” Team said. “According to the National Association of Realtors the number of closed transactions in the U.S. at the end of [the second quarter] was 17.8 percent lower than the same period in 2019.”
“We responded to the demanding market challenges brought on by COVID by pivoting fast to empower our agents’ business to thrive in this unforeseen market,” Keller Williams president Josh Team said. “As a result, our agents maintained momentum. Although we did experience decreases in some of our key metrics, we maintained healthy profit levels while delivering more immediate training, coaching and technology value to support our agents.”
Nearly 2,000 agents left the company in the U.S. and Canada from the end of the first quarter to the end of the second quarter, according to the earnings results the company shared with Inman. U.S. and Canada count at the end of the second quarter was reported at 157,650 associates.
Globally, the company also saw international transactions down 18.7 percent year-over-year and sales volume down 14.9 percent year over year, as the impact of the pandemic was not limited to the United States.
In the second quarter, 122 million home searches were conducted across the company’s various platforms, which was double the previous quarter, when the company launched its new consumer-facing experience. The company’s proprietary customer relationship management tool tallied approximately 133,329 active users as of June 30, an increase of 5.1 percent from the previous quarter.
“While others in the industry might be pulling back on their investment in agent technology, we are making sure our people have what they need to grow and thrive,” Team said. “Through iterative improvements and the addition of timely new features – such as virtual tours – we’re proud to deliver technology that helps our agents win within our new normal.”
In the second quarter, the company continued its “Pivot: Shift Ahead” online training initiative. The training consisted of 258 sessions of at least 30 minutes, focused on mindset, lead generation, remote working, expense management and other subject areas and was open to all agents in the industry.
The company also re-imagined its BOLD coaching offering and saw more than 41,160 agents attend the digital version of the coaching offering in May.