One of the under-reported and underappreciated stories in real estate over the past year is the resurrection of Realogy (NYSE: RLGY) from the brink of near disaster, and Schneider, who took the helm of the company in 2018, is largely responsible. Back in March of 2020, Realogy stock after a three-year slide, hit a low of $2.25 per share and a market cap of under $1 billion for the first time in the company’s history.
Many started wondering if Realogy would be acquired in a fire sale and the many franchise brands scattered. But leadership had a different plan. Throughout 2020, and 2021, Realogy, turned around and its third quarter 2021 numbers tell the story:
- $2.2 billion in revenue, up 15 percent from the third quarter 2020.
- $114 million in net income, up 16 percent from the third quarter 2020.
- $435 million in repaid debt.
- Market share gains for the fifth consecutive quarter.
As the first nine months of 2021 shows a 13 percent increase in transaction sides for its franchise brands, and a 19 percent increase for its brokerage wing, some of Realogy’s turnaround could be attributed to the very hot housing market of late. However, it was more than just the market when comparing the company to other comparable companies. Kudos go to Ryan Schneider, the leader of the team, but also to M. Ryan Gorman, Sue Yannaccone, Philip White, Pamela Liebman and Sherry Chris. The company’s market cap popped to nearly $10 billion in February 2021, before tapering off to $4.3 billion at the time of writing this report in the fourth quarter, much higher than the lows of 2020.
Challenges remain, of course, especially since the housing market is slowing down while competitors with newer business models continue growing at disproportionate rates at the expenses of entrenched and traditional players. But despite that, Realogy keeps making money and paying down debt, and keeps cutting operating costs and even keeps recruiting agents to its brokerage division. With about $700 million in the bank the company has a strong cash position for a brokerage and franchise company. That will help future endeavors and investments, which includes the RealSure alternative financing play that is starting to take off. All in all, Realogy remains the undisputed largest and a well-run enterprise in the residential real estate brokerage industry – the granddaddy of them all.
As the CEO in charge, Schneider deserves the credit for the remarkable turnaround. Under his leadership, Realogy ended 2020 in a strong position, and then extended that throughout 2021. If Realogy is not much in the news, not much discussed at Inman or on social media, because flashier companies like eXp Realty and Opendoor get a lot of the press, we think Schneider is just fine with that as he continues to rebuild Realogy. For the exceptional turnaround, Schneider is our choice as the third most powerful person in residential real estate.