Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices brokerage acquired a franchise in the booming Hudson Valley as its northeast division seeks to lift market share.
HomeServices’ acquisition of the 400-agent, independently owned franchise, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties, closed on Sept. 1, the company said. Terms weren’t disclosed.
Buoyed by a housing market whose demand remains unabated even as prices surge, many brokerages are capitalizing by starting new business lines and expanding to new markets. The Hudson Valley firm had $1.5 billion of closed sales over the 12 months ending in June 2021, compared with its typical annual total of $850 million, according to Steven Domber, its principal broker and founder.
“I was looking for new avenues and resources that I didn’t have access to as an independent owner,” said Domber, who became a franchisee in 2014. After talks for a potential sale stalled or halted over the past seven years, Domber said he struck up the conversation again in December. “I think getting over that billion-dollar mark helped get their attention.”
HomeServices said the purchase was part of an “accelerated expansion” in the northeast, not just a reaction to the state of the market, according to Candace Adams, the firm’s CEO of properties in New England, Westchester and New York. “I would say it’s unrelated frankly,” she said. “Our commitment goes beyond the market condition.”
Adams said she’s also interested in adding strong leadership, noting recent hires of veteran New York City executives including former Halstead and Brown Harris Stevens executive Diane Ramirez in August and Elliman’s Steven James and Brad Loe in April.
“We want to make sure we have a very strong position,” she said. “We will look at any company that we believe is aligned with our values.”
In June, HomeServices acquired one of its West Coast-based franchises, which had 3,000 agents working in California, Arizona and Nevada, as well as stakes in three title and escrow companies. A spokesperson for HomeServices, which was the third-largest in the nation by closed sales volume last year, called the deals a “franchisee benefit.” HomeServices now has 46,650 agents operating in 32 states.
Berkshire Hathaway spent $6 billion in stock buybacks last quarter, a slight drop from the $6.6 billion it spent in the first quarter of the year.