Real Estate Almanac
The overall 2020 Leadership Rankings, the Power 200, ranks the most powerful leaders in the residential real estate brokerage industry as at December 31, 2020, with adjustments made only for the major leadership announcements made after that date and before this release on January 12, 2021.
What is the SP 200?
The Swanepoel Power 200 (SP 200) ranks the 200 most powerful and influential executives and leaders in the residential real estate brokerage industry every year (given that some roles have two or three leaders, the list includes a little over 200 leaders). The 2021 list, our eighth annual, as of December 31, 2020, can be found here. Read on to learn more about the process of how we determine the rankings.
We do not establish the ranking of leaders on the SP 200 solely by company size. In fact, it is just one of several key eight components of our methodology. Any reference to size and sales volume listed are shared for framing the companies the executives on the company lead; generally, 2019 numbers are used (unless a major event disproportionately may have changed the numbers) as those are the current audited numbers available across the board for all companies. Most companies are still busy with their 2020 financials and 2020 audited numbers will only be released by T3 Sixty in April or May (known as the Mega 1000) as soon as audits have been completed.
The Power 200 takes approximately 500 hours, uses eight criteria and follows a deliberate detailed procedure to determine who is included and acknowledged every year. The methodology can be reviewed here.
Highlights or Notable Changes in 2021
For the second year in a row, Zillow Group Co-Founder and CEO Richard Barton stands as the industry’s most powerful leader on the back of his company’s continued strong financial and stock market performance during 2020, continued innovation with its new business model and resilient Covid-19 response.
Sanford makes his debut in the top 10 after phenomenal growth on all levels during 2020 while Opendoor Co-Founder and CEO Eric Wu also makes his first placement in the top 10 at No. 10 after orchestrating a merger between his firm and a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to create an $18 billion publicly-traded company in late 2020.
The 10 most powerful people in residential real estate in 2021 (along with their 2020 ranking) are:
- Richard Barton, Zillow Group co-founder and CEO (No. 1 in 2020)
- Gary Keller, Keller Williams Realty co-founder and KWx executive chairman (No. 2 in 2020)
- Ryan Schneider, Realogy Holdings Corp. president and CEO (No. 4 in 2020)
- Gino Blefari, HomeServices of America CEO and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices chairman (No. 12 in 2020)
- Glenn Sanford, eXp World Holdings founder and CEO (No. 15 in 2020)
- Glenn Kelman, Redfin president and CEO (No. 5 in 2020)
- Robert Reffkin/Ori Allen, Compass co-founders (No. 8 in 2020)
- Bob Goldberg, NAR CEO (No. 7 in 2020)
- Adam Contos, RE/MAX CEO (No. 6 in 2020)
- Eric Wu, Opendoor co-founder and CEO (No. 14 in 2020)
- Helen Hanna Casey, Hanna Holdings CEO
- Sue Yannaccone, the new Realogy Franchise Group President and CEO
- Jill Wood, one of the managing principals of Windermere Real Estate
- Sherry Chris, CEO of Realogy Expansion Brands (includes ERA Real Estate and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate)
Notable newcomers/returnees to the SP 200 this year include:
- David Doctorow, who took the helm of realtor.com operator Move Inc. in 2020 as CEO, debuts at No. 62.
- Long-term eXp Realty executive, Jason Gesing, in his newer role as CEO jumps from No. 170 to No. 43 to reflect the huge growth of eXp Realty the past two years.
- Lacey Merrick Conway, who settles into her role as president and CEO of Latter & Blum Realtors, the firm her father purchased in 1986, debuts at No. 78.
- Bess Freedman moves into the top 50 to No. 45 from No. 123 with her appointment as CEO of the new Brown Harris Stevens after the merger with sister company Halstead Properties.
- Andrew Florance, CEO and founder of CoStar Group, which acquired Homesnap, a highly trafficked consumer real estate portal and operator of the Broker Public Portal in 2020, debuts at No. 100.
- Former Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff, returns to the list in 2021 at No. 113 as chairman of Pacaso, a startup that helps homeowners invest in second homes. He reached as high as No. 2 on the list in 2018.
- New president and CEO of Ebby Halliday Realtors, Chris Kelly, debuts on the SP 200 at No. 131 as a promising executive within Berkshire Hathaway to watch.
- Clayton Collins, founder and CEO of media company HousingWire, enters the top 200 for the first time, with the acquisition of Steven Murray’s Real Trends and Gathering of Eagles publications and events.
In the world of organized real estate, which includes Realtor associations and MLS organizations – NAR CEO Bob Goldberg retains his top position for the third successive year. Houston Association of Realtors CEO Bob Hale and California Regional MLS CEO Art Carter round out the top three in that category.
Various newly elected presidents of various powerful associations, including NAR, NAREB, NAHREP and AREAA are acknowledged throughout the list. For the 20 highest ranked executives in organized real estate click here.
Each year, we hold a mirror up to the residential real estate brokerage industry and asks: Who are the most powerful and influential executives that have the most significant impact and potential impact on the industry?
To determine the 2021 list of the 200 most powerful (including some pairs and triples in a few positions resulting in 211 people being listed in 2021); we expanded the reviewing and judging process to consist of 10 people. None of the judges may be considered for the SP 200 themselves, may not work for any company represented on the SP 200 and has to agree to review all potential candidates based on information available and to do so objectively, fairly and in good faith.
Where We Start
The process starts with some 3,000 executives and involves a mix of quantitative and qualitative assessments, their role in their organization, the organization’s size and scope, their tenure at the organization and in the industry, each person’s relative power and influence in his or her own organization, family of companies, the in the industry in general as well as their community outside of real estate, recent growth and developments at their organization and the impact that has had on competitors and the industry at large.
The exact process and evaluation criteria guidelines we follow can be seen here.
This is a lot of information to digest, and, of course, some data points are not readily available or sometimes not obtainable at all. But we do attempt to verify as much data as possible through information supplied with nominations, reviewing bios, organizational org charts, annual reports and transactional and sales volume data, sales or agent/subscribers/membership counts, and so on. We send hundreds of requests for additional information, personally verifying announcements and have various interviews with executives in the industry.
What is Power?
Even though a lot of research and analyzes is undertaken, the concept of power is not easy or straightforward to define or analyze.
Some people have entrepreneurial power, some have financial strength, some hold high office, some have personal power, some have positional power, while others have political clout. Some are innovators, some executives, some doers, some dealmakers.
You can just imagine the healthy debate involved when 10 strong-minded and smart people attempt to wrap their heads around tens of thousands of data points and opinions.
It remains as much an art and it is a science.
To those who feel they know someone else could be included but was not, rest assured that there certainly are tens of thousands of other great executives and leaders throughout the industry that have all made and continue to make a difference.
The SP 200 is T3 Sixty’s sincere opinion of what we believe is the best accurate reflection of the residential real estate brokerage industry’s most powerful and influential 200 executives and leaders. This group has the most potential and power to shape the industry’s future.
To those included: We salute you. Well done and thank you! Your efforts, hard work and contributions to your own company and to our industry during the year 2020, is hereby acknowledged as impressive and worthy of recognition.
About T3 Sixty
T3 Sixty is a trusted advisor and management consultancy in the residential real estate brokerage industry. T3 Sixty also provides extensive data services and research to effect intelligent change and growth. For more, visit t360.com.
All research, analysis and rankings are compiled every year by the team at T3 Sixty. The SP 200 is the first of five monthly Real Estate Almanac annual installments – executives (SP 200, January); organized real estate organizations (ORE 200, February); technology providers (Tech 500, March); holding companies, franchise brands and public companies (Enterprise, April); and the nation’s largest brokerage companies (Mega 1000, May). All these 118 different lists and rankings are available at realestatealmanac.com at no cost as a complimentary service to the industry.