Realogy’s presence in LA far outweighs competitors: report

The residential real estate giant owns Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s and NRT

Ryan M. Schneider and Los Angeles homes (Credit: Realogy, PxHere)
Ryan M. Schneider and Los Angeles homes (Credit: Realogy, PxHere)

Realogy may not be the first name that comes to mind when talking about Los Angeles real estate. But in REAL Trends’ recent ranking, it’s hard to find anything other than Realogy-owned firms leading the charts, in L.A., New York City, or any other major metropolitan market.

Madison, N.J.-based Realogy – whose subsidiaries include Coldwell Banker, Sotheby’s International Realty and NRT – dominates the L.A. market. The firm jointly brokered over 11,100 transactions in the city last year, providing the umbrella company with the top spot on REAL Trends 500 Market Leaders list published Tuesday. Together, the subsidiaries logged more than $16 billion in volume last year.

In terms of transaction sides (when a broker represents either the listing or buying side on a deal), Keller Williams Forward Management and First Team Real Estate followed Realogy last year with 6,359 and 6,324 sides, respectively. Keller Williams hit just over $6.1 billion in volume, while First Team racked up $4.8 billion.

Pacific Union International, another behemoth brokerage with a few companies under its umbrella, claimed the No.2 spot in the transaction volume list. The San Francisco-based brokerage made just under $6.2 billion last year, while closing 4,222 sides. In January, it consolidated its recent acquisitions — John Aaroe Group, Partners Trust and Gibson International.

When the market is hot brokers tend to look for opportunities to create their own boutique firms. But in an unusual shift, over the past two years the big have gotten bigger as Realogy has consolidated, said Steve Murray, president of REAL Trends. “We’ve been doing this 30 years, and generally, when the market is going up pretty well, the larger firms tend to lose share,” he said.

In New York City, the same Realogy-owned trio of brokerages, in addition to the high-earning Corcoran Group, which Realogy also owns, led the charts with 32,340 sides. That translates to roughly $32 billion in sales, and the No. 1 spot on both lists.

The Coldwell Banker and NRT duo also topped the list in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area with nearly 6,600 sides. Douglas Elliman, however, earned the most based on transaction volume in Miami, with $3.5 billion in sales.

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In Chicago, the two firms also led the pack with 28,400 in sides and $9.7 billion in volume.

REAL Trends, an independent firm, ranked the brokerages based on geographical location, closed transaction sides and closed volume. However, it only analyzes firms that choose to participate, meaning certain players that opted out are excluded.

Many of L.A.’s independent luxury brokerages, such as Westside Estate Agency, Hilton & Hyland, and the Agency, are missing from the list. Compass, which participated in the rest of Real Trends 500 report, also chose to opt out of the Market Leaders list, Murray said.

“I know some firms have chosen to opt out because they say the rankings are somewhat off,” Murray said. “It might skew it a little bit, but it’s not like that would materially affect Coldwell Banker’s numbers.”

REAL Trends also provides a ranking of individual brokers, which it published last month.

Jeff Hyland, co-founder of Hilton & Hyland, said he’ll let brokers in his office decide for themselves if they want to provide information, but won’t participate otherwise. In REAL Trends’ 2014 ranking, Hyland found a series of “blatant discrepancies,” leading him to withdraw from the competition the next year, he previously told The Real Deal. 

Other important players highlighted in the L.A. report include Rodeo Realty, RE/MAX Estate Properties, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Douglas Elliman finished last on the transaction volume list with $1.8 billion in sales.