Welcome to the broker hunger games

Only “the strong will survive,” Coldwell Banker CEO says of agents in the future

Welcome to the broker hunger games: Only “the strong will survive.” (Photo credit: Lionsgate)
Welcome to the broker hunger games: Only “the strong will survive.” (Photo credit: Lionsgate)

A decade from now, the real estate marketplace may not be swarming with as many agents as there are today. Automation and increased consolidation of business with top agents will whittle down the ranks.

“The strong will survive,” Ryan Gorman, CEO of Coldwell Banker, said Wednesday at Inman’s conference in New York. “And others will find a new path.”

Gorman was joined on stage by Guy Gal, CEO of Side, a venture-backed residential brokerage that has raised over $60 million from investors, and Susan Daimler, the former general manager of StreetEasy who now runs Zillow Group’s Premier Agent program. The three residential executives shared their predictions for the future of brokerage, and Gal shared Gorman’s view that the numbers will thin out.

“Today you have roughly 1.4 million licensees,” Gal said, “and you have five and a half million transactions. You don’t need that many licensees to facilitate that many transactions.”

He estimated that nationwide there are about 100,000 agents at the top of their game, working as the dealmakers who bring in between a third and half of all transactions. These agents would build larger teams and swallow up even more business, a trend that would ultimately benefit the consumer.

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“One out of every two people at least is not getting the best results and the best experience,” Gal said of the state of play today. “Consumers can’t tell the agents apart. That’s why consumer confidence in the agent-led transaction is so low.”

Daimler emphasized that the consumer would be the key catalyst for change.

“The customer, the consumer, is going to drive everything,” she said. “We’re moving in that consolidation direction already.” – [Inman] — TRD Staff