In 2021, there are two brokerages in real estate who drive most of the conversations and discussions, and Robert Reffkin leads one of them in Compass. In 2020, Compass (NYSE: COMP) ranked as the third largest brokerage by sales volume, with $151.7 billion, and stood within striking distance of HomeServices of America (HSA) at $152.2 billion. Compass is clearly still in growth mode and with its strong performance throughout 2021, combined with HSA’s slower growth, Compass will most likley become the second largest real estate brokerage in the industry when 2021 sales volume numbers are audited by April 2022.
The third quarter 2021 numbers also confirm a strong picture:
- $1.7 billion in revenue, up 47 percent from the third quarter 2020.
- 62,349 transactions, up 36 percent from the third quarter 2020.
- $69.1 billion in sales volume, up 45 percent from the third quarter 2020.
However, Compass is still losing money, and posted a loss of $100 million in the third quarter 2021 versus only $14 million in third quarter 2020. Although the company had a successful IPO in March 2021, its stock price has dropped from the $20 or so at IPO to below $9.50 as of time of writing in late 2021, probably due to the posted loss. In the third quarter earnings call, Reffkin specifically called out adding more ancillary businesses to its mix. That, at least in theory, should drive attach rates. In addition, Compass has the largest technology team in brokerage, with over 1,500 engineers, and some $780 million in cash in the bank, to continues to fund its tech. Many will be watching if 2022 will reveal the full extent of the tech platform it has been building. Reffkin has increasingly become the face of Compass, and, as such, he is now recognized as the sole captain at the helm (with Ori Allon operating more in the background as co-founder and executive chairman). Reffkin is making good hires but now he must show everyone that Compass can make money and achieve sustained profitability. He has the energy and the drive to do this, and as a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, he has the knowledge and the connections. Based on his success so far and the momentum he now has, Reffkin rounds out our top five for the most powerful people in residential real estate.