As the online real estate brokerage surpassed 80,000 agents on Wednesday, Glenn Sanford also said at Inman Connect New York that Zillow is a competitor of companies like his.

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EXp Realty founder Glenn Sanford said Wednesday that his company should surpass 100,000 agents worldwide by the end of 2022, while also noting in a wide-ranging conversation that when brokerages first started syndicating listings to portals he saw it as “slitting our throats.”

Sanford weighed in on an array of topics while on the stage of Inman Connect for a session dubbed “Massive Growth Goals: What It All Means.” Early on, he noted that at the beginning of 2022 eXp Realty — which is owned by eXp World Holdings, where Sanford is CEO — had 71,000 agents. However, on Wednesday the company had hit another milestone, Sanford revealed on stage.

“We passed 80,000 agents today,” he announced.

More significantly still, Sanford said that based on how the company is growing, he expects it to hit 100,000 agents by the end of 2022. He noted that eXp is now in 21 countries and that overseas numbers will account for much of the company’s growth, while also saying that U.S. agent growth has slowed somewhat because the firm now represents between 4 and 5 percent of the U.S. agent population.

“We see international as a big place where we’re growing,” he added.

By comparison, Keller Williams, which boasted the largest agent count in the U.S. as of late last year, reported 174,155 agents in the United States and Canada and an additional 14,089 agents operating outside of those countries, for a total of 188,244 agents worldwide.

Sanford didn’t go into his long-term growth projections Wednesday, though in November he said eXp could eventually hit 500,000 agents within five years. Analysts were divided at the time on whether or not that number was actually achievable.

Brad Inman, left, and Glenn Sanford on stage at Inman Connect Wednesday. Credit: AJ Canaria & Mercedes Santiago of MoxiWorks

Sanford also weighed in on Zillow while on stage. The portal giant has been a recurring theme at this year’s connect, with President Susan Daimler arguing that her company is a partner to agents and Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider countering that it is a competitor.

When asked if he too saw Zillow as a competitor, Sanford replied, “for sure.”

Sanford went on to recall a time in the early 2000s when he was working at Keller Williams and the franchisor decided to syndicate listings to Trulia, another portal that Zillow later bought. Sanford said he opposed the syndication deal at the time because he “recognized how valuable that inventory” was, and in response called the higher ups at the company to voice concerns.

“I said, ‘you slit our throats as agents,'” Sanford said. “And pretty much they ignored it.”

Sanford went on to say that the “ship has already sailed” in terms of portals winning over consumers, but that resisting syndication in the past would have empowered brokerages and agents for a longer time.

Finally Sanford weighed in on the market Wednesday, noting that rising interest rates could lead to softening demand in the third or fourth quarter of 2022.

“I think it is softening a bit,” he said. “At 5 percent interest rates, you’ll definitely see the buyers not be able to buy as much home. I think that’s going to start playing out later on in the year.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

 

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