Top Brokerages

Residential real estate brokerages are an essential element in the industry: they provide the legal mechanism for home buying and selling, support agents with company structure and training and collaborate with local competitors to ensure the real estate market remains as healthy and fluid as possible.

Introduction

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 typically 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 US. For the Mega 1000’s purposes, a brokerage company’s numbers include subsidiaries in which the holding company owns a controlling stake – thus more than 50 percent of the company.

For example, the nation’s second 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 those brokerages, and others within the HomeServices of America stable, roll up to HomeServices of America because it owns more than 50 percent of each of those brokerages. Realogy Brokerage Group 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 can be affiliated with a franchise, or not affiliated. Brokerages not affiliated with a franchise are often referred to as independents. Examples of large franchisors include RE/MAX, Keller Williams Realty and Coldwell Banker. Eighty percent of the brokerages in the Mega 1000 are affiliated with a franchise and twenty percent are independent. This is not indicative of the industry as a whole but skewed as franchisors generally focus on obtaining or building larger brokerages and also provide 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.

Classification Methodology

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.

We understand it is nearly impossible to identify every brokerage that should be included; that said, we have worked persistently to include everyone we are aware of by diligently reaching out to franchisors, networks, organized real estate, any type of list, the media and so on find as many as we possible could. If we inadvertently missed a brokerage, please reach out to us at reserach@t360.com and we will add you to our next research cycle.

T3 researches approximately 2,500 real estate brokerages, all real estate franchisors, all real estate holding companies and a selection of large real estate networks.  We annually collect and analyze over 12,000 data points. T3 examines the numbers, runs algorithms to identify outliers, and tests the gathered information against T3 parameters and benchmarks. This is a huge undertaking; T3 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.

Brokerage Landscape

The brokerage landscape is undergoing a period of rapid change. The influx of vast amounts of capital combined with maturing technology is restructuring the way homes are bought and sold and how real estate brokerages operate. Many companies founded in the last 10 to 15 years have grown rapidly and are realizing disproportionate market share growth.

The 2020 Mega 1000 clearly reflects this.

Compass (No. 3), founded in 2012, and eXp Realty (No. 4), founded in 2009, both grew their annual sales volume over 5X between 2017 and 2019 – they led all Mega 1000 brokerages in growth over this period. Compass achieved this jump largely through acquisitions while eXp Realty, fueled by an attractive recruiting model and relatively low commissions, has grown organically. Realogy Brokerage Group and HomeServices of America still command a sizeable annual sales volume lead but these relative newcomers, along No. 5 Redfin, founded in 2005, are showing the industry is facing change.

The Mega 1000 also clearly shows that the industry’s largest brokerages are increasingly capturing more of the U.S. sales volume and transaction side market share. The share of existing-home sales volume and transaction sides done by the nation’s 1,000 largest brokerages have jumped from 2017 to 2019 by 8.85 percent and 8.36 percent, respectively. In 2019, the top 1,000 brokerages handled nearly half (48.92 percent) of total sales volume done by all the nation’s estimated 86,000 brokerages. In addition, the top 1000 do nearly two in five (39.31 percent) of the nation’s transaction sides.

Evaluating Brokerages

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 US. For the Mega 1000’s purposes, a brokerage company’s numbers include subsidiaries in which the holding company owns a controlling stake – thus more than 50 percent of the company.