EXp World Holdings founder Glenn Sanford said the tumultuous housing market was a factor in him stepping back into the role of CEO at eXp Realty, and the firm’s sluggish agent count growth.

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EXp Realty founder Glenn Sanford on Monday acknowledged that his company is experiencing a “lull” in its agent count growth and said the market downturn of 2022 was a factor in him returning to helm the brokerage as CEO.

Sanford made the comments in a newly published interview with Real Trends. During the conversation, Sanford was asked about the trends that might dominate 2023. He replied that the company is preparing for “something akin to a 25 percent to 30 percent overall sales volume reduction in the industry.” Sanford then went on to connect that dip to his company’s agent count growth.

“We still have more agents at eXp this year than we did last year,” Sanford said. “There has been a little bit of a lull in growth, but that is just because of the attrition in the industry at large.”

In an interview earlier this month with Inman, Sanford said eXp Realty currently has 86,000 agents. That number represents years of rapid growth, and is up from 78,196 agents at the end of the first quarter of 2022. However, it is also well short of Sanford’s projection from April 2022, when he estimated the company would end the year with more than 100,000 agents.

A recent report from Tom White, a managing director and senior analyst with research firm D.A. Davidson, also pointed out eXp’s recent growth lull. The report, published on Jan. 3, described the company’s agent count as “somewhat stuck” in the range of 86,000 to 87,000 agents.

Despite the slowing growth in agent headcount, however, Sanford told Real Trends Monday that he thinks his company is in a good position “to weather 2023, and potentially, we might even get some gains this year.”

Sanford also weighed in on the recent executive shakeup at his company that saw him return to the CEO position. Sanford previously served as CEO of eXp Realty, but later transitioned to CEO of parent company eXp World Holdings. In his place, Jason Gesing was serving as CEO of eXp Realty. As part of the shakeup, Gesing moved into the role of chief industry relations officer of the parent company.

Sanford told Real Trends he took the helm at eXp Realty in order to be more visible, and because he could tell the company’s story.

“Given that I am a founder, I am uniquely positioned to continue to sell that story in a very unique and interesting way that people appreciate a bit more than someone who was just hired into the role of CEO,” he said.

Asked if the market shift was a factor, Sanford also replied, “for sure.”

“I think that if the market was continuing to be really robust, things would be different,” he continued. “It is hard to understand the impact you are having on an organization when things are going really well.”

He went on to compare eXp Realty to a basketball team, saying that “I think I am the person that likes to get the ball and likes to take the final shot, and I feel the organization believes that I am the right person to get the ball to.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II

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