Real Estate Almanac

Outside Influencers

The following are powerful leaders not in the residential real estate brokerage industry but through position, holdings, investments or the elected office they have immense influence on the industry or matters pertaining to housing, finance and real estate professionals. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Executives Legend
The color legend to the right illustrates the various backgrounds for the top executives in the residential real estate industry.

Influencers Outside of Real Estate

Almodovar, who joined Fannie Mae in December 2022 as CEO, took on the additional role of president November, 2023. This move expanded her role to directly oversee the government-sponsored entity’s single-family and multifamily business units. Almodovar plays a vital role in the vibrancy of the secondary mortgage market and works to ensure equitable, affordable housing nationwide. Previously, Almodovar served as president and CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, a national organization focused on increasing access of affordable housing.
United States of America
President Biden and his administration’s efforts to expand access to homeownership were challenged in 2023 by high interest rates and a lack of homes on the market. Nevertheless, his administration’s housing policies included proposals to reduce restrictive land use and zoning barriers to building homes and commercial-to-residential conversions, expand financing for energy-efficient homes, and provide down payment assistance programs for first-generation and low wealth first-time homebuyers. The continuing U.S. Federal Trade Commission brokerage industry investigation also came at his direction.
U.S. District Court
Judge Bough presides over the class-action antitrust lawsuit known as Sitzer/Burnett. In November, after 11 days of testimony, the jury took just two hours to find NAR, HomeServices of America, and Keller Williams Realty, guilty of collusion to maintain high commission fees (RE/MAX and Anywhere Real Estate settled in advance). The full ramifications of the case are unclear as Bough has not yet filed his final judgment in the Western District of Missouri.
Chairman and CEO, 
Berkshire Hathaway
The revered investor continues to make the industry’s most powerful outside influencers list due to his oversight of Berkshire Hathaway, the parent company of HomeServices of America (HSA), one of the nation’s largest real estate holding companies. In 2023, he also made moves in housing by investing in the nation’s largest and second-largest homebuilders (D.R. Horton and Lennar, respectively) as well as NVR. Analysts hope to see the Oracle of Omaha’s bet will pay off in improved housing starts for 2024.
While the Freddie Mac board searches for his successor, DeVito remains CEO of the agency that plays a critical role in maintaining liquidity in the nation’s residential real estate mortgage market. He announced in September his retirement from the role he held for under three years. He intends to retire in the first quarter of 2024. Before coming to lead Freddie Mac, DeVito served as executive vice president of home lending at Wells Fargo and Company.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
As Secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fudge is the first woman to oversee this key federal department focused on policies related to housing. Her focus has been on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing mandate, which directs HUD to take action to promote fair housing, eliminate opportunity disparities, and foster inclusive communicates. HUD also works to use American Rescue Plan Act resources to address homelessness. Fudge is in her third year in her role.
Attorney General, 
U.S. Department of Justice
As head of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Garland oversees the federal government’s regulatory scrutiny of the residential real estate brokerage compensation structure. A circuit court panel in Washington, D.C., in December heard the DOJ’s appeal of a January court ruling denying the DOJ’s request to reopen its investigation of the NAR’s Participation Policy and Clear Cooperation Policy. Garland also sought to intervene in other NAR cases related to commission rules and broker fees.
U.S. Federal Trade Commission
As chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Khan plays a big role in the current federal regulatory review of the residential real estate brokerage industry’s compensation structure. The former professor of law at Columbia Law School is considered hawkish on what constitutes anticompetitive behavior. In fact, she began her time at the FTC reopening the antitrust review of Zillow acquisition of ShowingTime.
U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights
As the Senator tasked with overseeing federal antitrust enforcement and consumer rights, Klobuchar has led efforts to investigate predatory junk fees from rental markets and root out anti-competitive tools that support price fixing. The Democratic Minnesota senator, who has held her seat for 15 years, also worked to tackle the availability of affordable housing with 2021’s Housing Supply and Affordability Act.
U.S. Federal Reserve
As chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) since 2018, Powell oversees an organization responsible for maintaining financial stability and conducting monetary policy. Now in his second term, Powell has a direct impact on mortgage interest rates as the Fed sets the interest rates at which banks lend money to each other. Under his leadership, the Fed has not cut rates since March 2020. Although the last Fed meeting of 2023 left rates unchanged, Powell’s remarks were perceived as a positive indication of cuts to come in 2024.

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