Most of the highest producing real estate agents in the country belong to an established, national brokerage. Unless, that is, you are at the very top of the profession. RealTrends, which is owned by HW Media, on Friday released its annual list of the top 1,000 agents in the country for 2020, with separate tallies for sales volume and the number of deals done.
The data captures a historic year in which the housing market cratered at the pandemic’s start only for sales to surge in the fall to their highest level since the 2006 housing bubble.
Heading the RealTrends’ top 1,000 agents list – as he has for most years since 2013 – is Ben Caballero, of Dallas-based HomesUSA.
Caballero’s sales numbers are akin to Wilt Chamberlain’s points and rebound totals in the 1960s – figures so staggering that they are hard to comprehend.
The agent reported 6,409 transaction sides in 2020 for a deal volume of $2.2 billion. That Caballero is party to an average of 18 home sales a day, 365 days a year, is due to a system where he provides buyer references to nine different homebuilders. The agent has said that he only does deals on new homes.
The severe lack of inventory in today’s housing market has been a source of stress for home buyers and real estate agents alike. HousingWire sat down with Realtor.com CEO David Doctorow to learn how agents and brokers can alleviate some of the frustrations their clients are facing.
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Following Caballero on the list are other agents with their own shop. Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate in Palm Beach, Florida reported $739 million in sales volume last year. Ralph Harvey, an independent agent in Boynton Beach, Florida, was third on the list with $590 million.
Not until nos. 4 and 5 – Andrew Ernemann and Craig Morris, both of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty – was an agent associated with a national brokerage.
Still, agents with a recognizable brand behind them comprised the vast majority of the list, noted Steve Murray, president of RealTrends.
“Studies we have done in the past indicate that leading teams and individuals believe that having a brokerage behind them is valuable and particularly that having a well-known brand behind them is valuable,” Murray said.
No brand was as prevalent as Sotheby’s International Realty, which is part of brokerage conglomerate Realogy. Of the 1,000 agents on the sales volume list, 229 were affiliated with Sotheby’s. Next was Compass – the New York City-based brokerage placed 134 agents.
“There was a significant rush by high-net worth individuals into luxury last year throughout the country, and Sotheby’s still has a larger presence in high-end markets, especially more of them, than Compass or anyone else,” Murray said.
Some of the other interesting findings from a treasure trove of data by RealTrends:
*The list by transaction sides had a similar arc of independent agents leading the way. Caballero placed first, followed by Harvey with 1,794 sides, George Kypreos of GK Properties in Henderson, Nevada with 1,090 deals, and Jason Sapphire of Entry Only in Sharon, Massachusetts with 677 sides.
*RE/MAX franchise network was by the far the most prolific company when it came to agents with a lot of deals in 2020. The brokerage placed 274 agents in the top 1,000. The Keller Williams network is second with 105.
*Some of real estate’s highest profile names such as Kurt Rappaport, the king of Los Angeles luxury real estate, and New York-based agent/Bravo TV star Ryan Serhant, are not on the list.
Murray estimated that 12-15% of agents and agent teams “either don’t know about these rankings or choose for their own reasons not to submit to them and to our verification.”
*Despite the absence of Rappaport and a few other high-profile agents, Beverly Hills had the 2nd most agents in the top 1000 by volume with 26.
Park City, Utah, a town known for ski resorts and the Sundance film festival, had the most with 28, per RealTrends.
Other cities with more than 15 agents included San Francisco, New York, Greenwich, Connecticut, Palm Beach, Florida, and Menlo Park, California.