Sales rise as Keller Williams pours money into tech

Agent headcount is down 4.5 percent year-over-year

Nov.November 12, 2019 10:00 AM
Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller (Credit: Wikipedia, iStock)

Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller (Credit: Wikipedia, iStock)

Sales at Keller Williams rose 5.6 percent during the third quarter, even as the Austin-based franchise faced increasing competition from rivals.

The company said the dollar value of closed deals in the U.S. and Canada was $101.7 billion during the quarter, up 1.2 percent year-over-year. The value of contracts signed during the quarter rose 9.3 percent year-over-year to $105.1 billion.

But amid competition for agents from tech-focused firms, including eXp Realty, Keller Williams’ headcount has been erratic. As of September 30, the franchise had 162,289 agents in the U.S. and Canada — up 3 percent from the first quarter of 2019 but down 4.5 percent year-over-year.

Founded in 1983 by Gary Keller, Keller Williams claims to be the largest real estate brokerage franchise, with more than 185,000 agents worldwide. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, Keller Williams said third-quarter sales hit $1.2 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year. By comparison, national home sales rose 2.8 percent during the third quarter, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales volume rose 6.4 percent.

After becoming one of the largest brokerages in the world by agent headcount, Keller Williams has been betting heavily on technology. In 2018, co-founder and CEO Gary Keller said the firm would spend up to $1 billion to develop tools to help agents.

Over the past year, the firm has rolled out several new products, including Kelle, a virtual assistant; Command, a suit of apps including a CRM; SmartPlans, a workflow management app; and Designs, a real estate-centric graphic design app.

Keller Williams is also partnering with Offerpad to bring its instant home-buying program, called Keller Offers, to 12 new markets by the end of 2019.

“We’re making huge strides in our journey to deliver the end-to-end platform that our agents need to provide the personalized, data-enriched experience their clients expect,” Josh Team, Keller Williams’ president, said in a statement.

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