The final three months of 2021 looked very similar to the previous three months for Keller Williams, with the company’s number of closed transactions dipping and sales volume rising, according to a new earnings report.
The latest report also resembles the last one in another crucial way: The Texas-based franchisor is still mum on whether or not it’ll go public.
Keller Williams published its latest earnings Tuesday. Because the company is not publicly traded, it is not required to report revenue, profits or losses in its earnings reports, and indeed opts not to do so. However, the report does note that between October and December, Keller Williams agents in the U.S. and Canada closed 331,900 transactions. That’s down 5.4 percent compared to the same period one year earlier.
However, despite the dip in transactions, fourth quarter sales volume was actually up 11.5 percent year-over-year in English-speaking North America to $138.9 billion. The changes in volume and transactions likely reflect the fact that the final months of the year tend to be slower in the housing market, while at the same time home prices remain at record highs.
The numbers also look very similar to those from the previous quarter; between July and September, Keller Williams agents in the U.S. and Canada closed 371,700 transactions and did $150 billion in volume. Those numbers also represented year-over-year decreases in transactions but upticks in sales volume.
Tuesday’s report additionally shows that, as of the end of last year, Keller Williams had 188,121 agents worldwide. That’s a very slight dip from one quarter earlier, when the company had 188,244 agents. In the U.S. and Canada alone, the company closed out the year with 173,274 agents, down from 174,155 in the quarter before.
The latest earnings report also includes numbers on all of 2021. During that year-long period, Keller Williams agents closed 1.3 million deals, up 9.9 percent compared to 2020. They also did $532.2 billion in sales volume, which represents a 30.6 percent year-over-year increase.
In the report, Carl Liebert, CEO of parent company kwx, said Keller Williams is “extremely pleased to report that our agents changed 1.3 million lives in 2021.”
“We brought 1.3 million people home,” he added.
Keller Williams President Marc King was also upbeat in the report, noting that the average income of agents at his company exceeds the industry median of $43,330.
“We’re very proud to report our gross commission income per agent reached $77,800 in the fourth quarter of 2021, which is a 72 percent increase over the last decade,” King said.
Added kwx Head of Industry Jason Abrams, “We are very proud of our continuing market share gains in the U.S. and Canada, while we declined slightly in transactions and new listings – that’s more indicative of the base effect of Q4 ’20. The COVID shutdowns in early 2020 allowed for a significant influx of pent-up housing demand to hit our agents in Q4 of 2020.”
Abrams said the franchisor believes it’s best to compare Q4 2021 to Q4 2019 since the coronavirus skewed industry results in Q4 2020. “Compared to Q4 ’19, across the U.S. and Canada, our agents increased our homes sold and new listings up 21.8 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively,” he said.
Though Tuesday’s earnings report indicates Keller Williams is continuing in the same vein from earlier periods, it may disappoint close observers of the company for its lack of information on a potential initial public offering (IPO) — which is one of the most talked about issues surrounding the company.
Speculation about an IPO has swirled for years now, and Inman has repeatedly asked company executives about the topic. They have consistently not ruled out an IPO, but also never confirmed that one is coming. For the time being, then, Keller Williams observers will have to wait another day.
Tuesday’s report did come just a week after the company held its annual Family Reunion gathering. The event included more than 19,000 attendees in Orlando, Florida. It featured speakers from company leaders such as co-founder Gary Keller, who called 2021 “the greatest sales [year] in the history of the real estate industry.”
The report also comes as a long-simmering feud between Keller Williams and eXp Realty enters a new and more contentious phase thanks to recent hiring moves and their resultant legal entanglements.
Tuesday’s earnings report doesn’t weigh in on Keller Williams’ rivalries, nor does it offer details on what 2022 might hold for the company or the market. However, it does mention that technology — which has been a major focal point for Keller himself as well as for the company generally — has been a recent highlight. Specifically, Chris Cox — kwx’s chief technology and digital officer — said that in the 75 days since launching an app for the Command tech platform, the company has “seen incredible adoption from our agents.”
“We continue to aggressively innovate on behalf of our market centers, agents and consumers,” Cox said in the report. “With the release of Command App in December, we’re again seeking to further empower our agents with real-time actionable insights to drive their businesses’ growth.”