Brokerages offer administrative, operational, marketing, technology, legal and branding and training services to real estate agents who hang their license with them. Agents typically interact directly with consumers to buy and sell homes. Consumers usually recognize brokerages as a corporate or umbrella brand on shopfronts, For Sale signs, websites and legal contracts.
A residential real estate brokerage is a company – usually an incorporated firm, a limited liability firm or a sole proprietorship – licensed to sell real estate in the U.S. For the Mega 1000’s purposes, a brokerage company’s numbers include subsidiaries in which the larger company owns a controlling stake.
For example, the nation’s third largest brokerage, HomeServices of America, owns and operates approximately two dozen regional or local brands, such as Edina Realty, Long and Foster Real Estate, Intero Real Estate and Ebby Halliday Realtors. The annual sales volumes of these brokerages, and others within the HomeServices of America stable, roll up to HomeServices of America because the umbrella company owns more than 50 percent of each of those brokerages. Realogy Brokerage Group, itself a subsidiary of the Realogy Holdings Corp. enterprise, has a similar situation; it owns numerous regional Coldwell Banker-branded companies as well as some companies under other brands such as Corcoran Group.
Some brokerages stand alone or operate under a single entity or brand such as Redfin, Compass and eXp Realty.
Brokerages may or may not be affiliated with a franchise brand. Examples of large franchise brands include RE/MAX, Keller Williams Realty and Coldwell Banker. Brokerages not affiliated with franchises are often referred to as independents.
Approximately 80 percent of the brokerages in the Mega 1000 are affiliated with a franchise brand and 20 percent are independent. This is not indicative of the overall industry since franchise brands often focus on obtaining or building larger brokerages and providing services that support further growth. Some brokerages, particularly the larger independents hold membership in, or are affiliated with, a real estate network such as The Realty Alliance, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World or Christie’s International Real Estate.
Gathering and analyzing brokerage company data in the Mega 1000 is a rigorous, multistep process. It starts by sending requests for information to the nation’s largest brokerages. T3 Sixty researches approximately 2,500 real estate brokerages, all real estate franchisors, all real estate enterprises and a selection of large real estate networks.
All told, T3 Sixty annually collects and analyzes over 12,000 data points to develop the Mega 1000. After examining the data, running algorithms to identify outliers, and testing the gathered information against T3 Sixty parameters and benchmarks, the list is built. This is a huge undertaking; T3 Sixty strives to verify data before using it to sort and rank brokerages to ensure that rankings are as comprehensive as possible, as every company not included destroys the integrity of the rankings below that entry.
It is nearly impossible to identify every brokerage that should be included; that said, T3 Sixty has worked persistently to include everyone it is aware of by diligently reaching out to franchisors, networks, organized real estate organizations, all available lists, the media and so on to find as many as possible. If T3 Sixty inadvertently missed a brokerage, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and that information will be included in the next research cycle.
The brokerage industry continues to evolve with vast amounts of capital leveraged by technology innovations that drive growth and change the way that homes are bought and sold.
While companies founded in the past 15 years have typically reported impressive gains in sales volume or market share, it should also be noted that older, established brokerages still account for a significant share of home buying and selling activity.
Compass now takes the top spot among brokerages with $254.2 billion in sales volume in 2021 surpassing Realogy Brokerage Group’s $243.9 billion. Even as a relative newcomer to the brokerage industry since its founding in 2012, Compass’s sales volume has increased by more than 5 times since 2018 with a $100 billion increase in 2021 alone. eXp Realty, at No. 4 more than doubled its sales volume between 2020 and 2021 with an increase of nearly $84 billion. Since 2018, eXp sales volume has increased by nearly eight times.
While the growth of newer entrants in the brokerages business has been impressive, that does not mean long-established firms have been standing still. Realogy Brokerage Group (No. 2) posted an increase in sales volume of nearly $60 billion in 2021, an increase larger than the total sales volume of all but the top four brokerages on the 2022 Mega 1000. Rounding out the top five, HomeServices of America (No. 3) tallied a $46.5 billion increase to slightly less than $200 billion while Redfin’s sales volume rose by 40 percent to $52.5 billion.
The Mega 1000 also clearly shows that the industry’s largest brokerages are increasingly capturing more of the US sales volume and transaction side market share. Collectively, the sales volume of the nation’s five largest brokerages increased by more than 50 percent from $600 billion in 2020 to just over $900 billion in 2021. That reflects an increase in national market share, based on total existing home sales volume, from 16 percent to 20.1 percent. Transaction sides tell a similar story. The top 5 brokerages completed 1,506,000 sides in 2021 up from 1,121,000 sides in 2020 for an increase in market share from 9.9 percent to 12.3 percent.
In 2021, the top 1,000 brokerages handled 59.3 percent of total sales volume done by all the nation’s estimated 86,000 brokerages. In addition, the top 1,000 handled more than two in five (44.3 percent) of the nation’s transaction sides