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Disruptors amongst top US brokerage firms

Real estate disruptors are gaining traction in the US, with innovative players like Redfin and Compass both named in the top 10 brokerage firms in terms of sales.

According to the recently released inaugural Swanepoel Mega 1000 list, which ranks US brokerages, Redfin came in at fourth position with $22.5 billion in sales last year, while Compass took out ninth position with $14 billion in sales.

Both are brokerages with a tech-based offering and innovative approach to finding, buying and selling property.

Redfin started life in 2004 as a service that offered listings through interactive maps, providing buyers the opportunity to seek out homes for sale in areas that appealed. It has since expanded to become a cheaper alternative to conventional brokerage firms, employing its own agents yet charging less commission. It continues to develop tech tools to assist the buying and selling process, like 3D walk-throughs.

Compass came to the game more recently, launching in 2012. It simplifies the buying and selling process in two ways: by giving buyers access to an intuitive app and by giving agents access to a suite of tech tools like property assessments, school quality and market reports.

Like Redfin, it acts as a brokerage by employing agents, with Compass Executive Chairman Ori Allon telling Bloomberg the number of agents they have will likely double from 2,000 to 4,000 over the next year.

These more tech-driven offerings sit alongside traditional US brokerages.

NRT, a subsidiary of Realogy, took out the number one position with $178.5 billion in sales, Home Services of America came in second with $125.42 billion and Douglas Elliman Real Estate was in third position with $26.1 billion.

In addition to the brokerage list, the Swanepoel Mega 1000 list also ranks brokerages across the categories of a franchisor list and the holding company List. Compiling the information involved over 1,100 hours of data gathering, research and analysis by real estate research and analytics firm T3 Sixty.

“In any business, and especially a rapidly changing and evolving one such as the residential real estate brokerage, information is the cornerstone of decision making,” Stefan Swanepoel, chairman and CEO of T3 Sixty, told Inman news.

“It is important to gauge to what degree companies being funded are gaining traction, how successful new business models are and which recent acquisitions may have changed the competitor landscape.”

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.
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