Keller Williams reported a strong start to 2020 with a nearly 11 percent increase in sales volume — but a drop in new listings signals trouble ahead.
In the U.S. and Canada, Keller Williams agents closed 224,759 deals in the first quarter, 4.8 percent more than a year ago. Its sales volume rose 10.6 percent to $70.2 billion, up from $63.5 billion. The company is the largest franchise brokerage in North America.
The company’s 10,500 agents outside of the continent closed 8,249 deals totaling $1.3 billion in sales volume, up 10.8 percent year-over-year.
As of March 31, the company said, it had 169,655 agents worldwide, virtually unchanged from 169,317 at the end of last year. Keller Williams began a push early in 2019 to remove ghost agents — those who are licensed with the company but are no longer working.
The company reported a drop in the number of homes it contracted to bring to market, however.
In the U.S. and Canada, agents listed 169,890 properties, down 4 percent from the first quarter of 2019. Outside North America, new listings dropped 2.2 percent with agents bringing 22,497 properties to market.
Despite the drop in listings, the company claims that it performed better than the overall U.S. housing market, citing a National Association of Realtors report that found the number of active home listings in the U.S. had fallen 10.2 percent year-over-year by the end of March.
The Gary Keller-led company is private but voluntarily announces its performance on a quarterly basis.
A spokesperson for the company attributed the drop in new listings to the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to the crisis, Keller Williams announced in late March it would halve costs related to its agent coaching programs and a spokesperson confirmed the company was carving out an additional $20 million in support to agents.
The company has been investing heavily in technology in recent years. It launched a revamped website in January and a consumer-facing home search app in February. It reported that within about six weeks, 60 million searches were done on the app, its new website and agent sites.
Worldwide, Keller Williams’ agents wrote 285,639 contracts during the quarter that would be worth $87.5 billion in sales should the deals close in the future.
Last year, the company’s agents closed over 1.1 million deals, up 3.4 percent from 2018. Global sales volume reached $351.2 billion, a 5.6 percent increase.
Josh Team, president of Keller Willaims, said the company is forecasting a 20 to 30 percent drop in sales volume, though he noted that could change.
“It’s a challenge to predict what’s going to happen in such unprecedented times with so many variables playing into what happens next in each state and when,” he said in a statement.
Write to Erin Hudson at [email protected]