Real Trends 500 Observations: The Numbers Tell A Story

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The newly released brokerage rankings offer insight and valuable information about the real estate industry. We break it down.

Each year, for the past 31 years, brokers, agents, analysts, and investors have highly anticipated the release of REAL Trends’ acclaimed brokerage rankings. Without fail, this report unveils a plethora of valuable information and insights into the residential real estate industry, and this year it didn’t disappoint. The 2019 REAL Trends 500 was high-lighted by a changing of the guard at the top, two major national firms exhibiting triple-digit, year-over-year growth, and a record number of qualifiers. Below are some observations as we continue to digest the data:

  • With a record 346,629 closed transaction sides in calendar 2018, HomeServices of America wrested the No. 1 spot from stalwart NRT LLC, ending NRT’s 20+ year reign as the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage firm.
  • A record 1,757 firms qualified for this year’s rankings by closing a minimum of 500 transaction sides.
  • It took 1,992 transactions to be included in the REAL Trends 500, up from 1,899 the previous year.
  • The average sales price for the firms in the 500 grew to $361,385, up from $342,702.
  • A whopping 297 firms closed over $1 billion in residential real estate in 2018, up 8.4 percent from 2017!
  • The top 500 firms closed nearly 3.3 million transactions in 2018, up 2.7 percent from the year before. With national existing home sales down by up to 4 percent last year, the REAL Trends 500 once again gained market share.
  • The cumulative transactions closed by the 500 represented approximately one-third of all new and resale transactions completed by brokerages during 2018, yet these firms represented only about .05 percent of all brokerages in the nation.
  • On the heels of its huge acquisitions of Pacific Union and Paragon, Compass jumped to No. 3 in volume and No. 6 in sides.
  • eXp Realty continued to climb the ranks, with staggering year-over-year increases in sides and volume of 198 percent and 231 percent respectively. eXp now ranks No. 4 in sides and No. 5 in volume.
  • More RE/MAX affiliates qualified for the brokerage rankings (500+ sides) than any other national franchise.
  • More Keller Williams affiliates qualified for the REAL Trends 500 (1,992+ sides) than any other national franchise.
  • In 2018, nationally franchised firms accounted for 76 percent of the REAL Trends 500, with the independents filling out the balance.
  • Independent flat/monthly fee firms made huge strides, with the top five seeing average year-over-year growth in transactions of 19 percent.
  • Given a tumultuous 2018, as expected, several firms experienced a decline in production. A whopping 830 brokerages closed fewer sides than the year before, which outnumbered those firms that grew among the returning applicants.
  • California once again led the nation in the number of firms that resided in the 500, with Texas and Florida tying for second.
  • Agent productivity declined from 8 sides per agent in 2017 to 7.4 in 2018.

Overall, 2018 was another exciting year in the residential real estate industry, and these observations are just a glimpse of what you can find in the full report. Visit today to view and download the REAL Trends 500.


This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter. It is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright © 2019. To read the rest of this issue & more, please visit our Real Trends page online.


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