Earlier today, T360 released the Swanepoel Mega 1000 report, ranking the top 1,000 brokerages by volume and transaction sides. Obviously, this report is competing with the current industry standard, the Real Trends 500 report. T360 sent me the data they used to compile the list, and told me to write what I found interesting about it.
Your wish is my command, Stefan. 🙂
First, you can find the Mega 1000 on the T360 website. By all means, go check it out.
Normally, I have very little to say about a raw list of brokerages by self-reported numbers. But playing around with the data, I actually found some interesting things. I thought I’d share them with you, because… edutainment: fun and educational!
What made this list more fun to manipulate is the fact that the data contains agent count for 2018. That lets all of us do all kinds of fun and simple math. So let’s do this.
The Top 20, With More Columns
I took the data, which has Sales Volume, Transactions, and Agent Count and simply calculated the per-agent and estimated the total GCI and Company Dollar. Here it is:
The NRT and Redfin are highlighted in blue as I have their numbers from public filings so I used those instead of assuming 2.5% ABCR and 15% Company Dollar margin (average for brokerages in North America, according to my research and confirmed by Steve Murray at Real Trends).
The interesting stuff that pops out at you is the low transactions per agent at companies like Compass and Douglas Elliman. Granted, those companies are heavily concentrated in high-priced core urban metro markets (NYC, San Francisco, etc.) but it’s one of those “Huh!” things.
What About Ordering by Per Agent Productivity?
So I thought, what if we re-sorted the list by transaction sides per agent? Here’s that spreadsheet for the Top 20:
To be fair, I left out two companies whose data just didn’t make much sense. And they’re sort of specialty companies: Homes USA is Ben Caballero’s brokerage, which claims 5,790 transaction sides in 2018 with two (2) agents. Right. USRealty is a NY-based brokerage that appears to be a “list-in-the-MLS” type of a deal, with 4 agents claiming 2,270 transaction sides. I didn’t think those really counted, but you can make up your own mind when you run your own numbers.
The two interesting things here are:
- Redfin is the only brokerage to make both Top 20 lists. Most of these brokerages are in the bottom half of the Mega 1000. Other than Redfin at #5 on the main list, we have Intero SoCal at #277, John L. Scott Medford at #367, Kelly Right Real Estate at #423, and RE/Max Peak To Peak at #461. Everyone else is in the bottom half, and quite a few of these brokerages with the highest per-agent productivity are in the 900s, or the bottom 10%.
- Boy, there are a lot of RE/MAX brokerages on this per-agent list. They’re backing up their assertions about the best agents in the industry in some ways.
I sure would like to know what the secret is at Intero and Berkshire Hathaway HS Executive Realty, though. 74 and 67 transaction sides per agent respectively are kind of mind-blowing. Is it new construction? Property management feeding the brokerage? Huge teams that throw off the average number? Just unbelievable leadership and unbelievable agents?
Whatever it is, inquiring minds want to know.
Finally, Profitability Per Agent
The last metric I was curious about was computed/assumed Company Dollar per Agent. Let me repeat my assumptions here: 2.5% ABCR (Average Broker Commission Rate) and 15% Company Dollar margin. Obviously, these are private companies for the most part, so we have to just make assumptions. Redfin’s numbers are actually using their Gross Profit figures, which they reported in their financials.
Company Dollar is a rough stand-in for profitability, since that’s the amount of money left in the brokerage’s pocket after the agent split is paid. The brokerage then has to pay for all of its overhead, salaries, etc. from that. The final profitability number is a “who the hell knows” deal, but those expenses are far more controllable by the broker. The split number is far, far harder to control. So I often use the Company Dollar number as a measure of profitability.
First of all, on profitability, there are a lot more brokerages in the top half of the main Mega 1000. That implies many of these brokerages are in the high end luxury markets, like Hilton & Hylands and The Agency and various other Sotheby’s brokerages showing up.
Now, the bad assumption here may be that those luxury brokerages may be on higher splits with their agents than 85/15, since some of those agents are superstars who might demand and get more. But who knows?
Once again… note Redfin…. There’s a reason why I’ve been saying for years that Redfin is the most important brokerage in real estate today. Not the largest, not the flashiest, but the most important.
What I’d Love to See
It’d be great if brokerages would start sharing some other numbers as well, such as # of offices, ABCR, and Transactions/Volume by quartiles (that is, top 25% did X, next 25% did Y, etc.) so we can see just how concentrated the action is. But I realize nobody is sharing that information without an NDA in place, or with their accountants.
Maybe when more brokerages go public, we’ll get more for compare & contrast purposes. Here’s to hoping!