HousingWire Magazine: RealTrends 500 Supplement

tracey velt
Tracey Velt, senior director of data and content

It’s official, there’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Glenn Sanford, founder of eXp Holdings and CEO of eXp Realty. The firm moved from number three to number one by transaction sides in the 2023 RealTrends 500 rankings, based on 2022 data.

Compass, headed by CEO Robert Reffkin, took the top spot this year by sales volume. A big initiative for Compass this year is to reinforce the importance of culture and encourage agents to go into the office, which is already a requirement at headquarters in New York City. “There’s an energy when agents get together in person,” Reffkin said.

As for eXp, in a recent interview, Sanford acknowledged that his firm wasn’t immune to the challenges of the current market. However, he said that they were in a position to “weather the market.”

After more than 20 years with the Anywhere Advisors entity of Anywhere Real Estate and the HomeServices of America entity of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices consistently being number one or two in both categories on the RealTrends 500, eXp Realty and Compass rose to these positions and displaced the old guard in less than 10 years.

What this shows is that there is not one path to growth. “Their paths to such growth were very different in some ways and the same in others. Compass used its capital and a focus on high-producing agents and teams in high-end markets to achieve its results. eXp used a mixture of its own equity, revenue sharing and the virtual nature of its business to gain its position. Access to and use of capital, therefore, was key for both organizations,” said Steve Murray, partner of RTC Consulting.

It is noteworthy that eXp was the only one of the top four firms to grow both its closed transactions and its sales volume in 2022 when sales of existing homes were down significantly. Compass, for its part, declined at a slower rate than the two other giants of the industry. One thing remains true for these firms and all others in the residential brokerage business: Recruiting and retaining agents and teams remains the core driver of growth.

The full list of 2023 RealTrends 500 brokerage firms was released on March 24 and announced in The Wall Street Journal the same day.

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