RealTrends Q32021 BrokerPulse sees brokers still optimistic about the market, wary of competition and wondering when inventory will rise.

2021 RealTrends Brokerage Compensation Report

For the study, RealTrends surveyed all the firms on the 2021 RealTrends 500 and Nation’s Best rankings, asking for annual compensation data for the 2020 calendar year.’s Sean Black on the transaction revolution

Real estate is on its third revolution, from the digital revolution of the early 2000s to the information revolution kicked off by Trulia and Zillow to today's transaction revolution.


The RealTrends BrokerSource and HousingWire OpenHouse newsletters deliver twice weekly information on trends, strategies, analysis, people, and news shaping the real estate industry.


Benchmarking the trends from the recent brokerage rankings

The acclaimed REAL Trends 500 brokerage rankings were recently announced. Once again, the nation’s top firms are making some noise. The REAL Trends 500 saw an impressive 3.3 percent increase in housing sales in 2017, far outpacing the national average of 1.1 percent according to the National Association of Realtors®. For the fourth year in a row, the country’s largest brokerage firms gained market share.

Here are some other observations:

  •  1,750+ firms closed 500 or more residential transaction sides to qualify for the REAL Trends brokerage rankings, which represents a 2.8 percent year-over-year increase.
  • To make the top 500 by sides, firms needed to close at least 1,899 residential transactions—a bump of 50+ over the previous year.
  • To make the top 500 by volume, firms had to close at least $565,781,877 in sales, a $60+ million increase over 2016.
  • In 2017, the top 500 collectively closed 3,214,188 transactions, a 3.3 percent increase over 2016.
  • These transactions by the top 500 amounted to $1.102 trillion in sales volume, a hefty 8.7 percent increase over the previous year.
  • Transactions by the top 500 accounted for approximately one-third of all agent-assisted residential transaction sides closed in the United States in 2017. To put this into perspective—one-third of the nation’s residential real estate business was done by less than one-half of one percent of all brokerage firms.
  • Madison, New Jersey-based NRT LLC was once again the nation’s largest residential brokerage company, closing 346,942 transactions for a volume of $178 billion. The lion’s share of NRT’s business is done through owned Coldwell Banker offices, with the balance coming from owned Sotheby’s International Realty offices, Corcoran, ZipRealty and Climb Real Estate.
  • Minneapolis-based HomeServices of America, Inc. remained No. 2 with 328,355 transactions for a volume of $125 billion; but made huge strides in closing the gap with NRT via a couple of a large 2017 acquisitions. Houlihan Lawrence and Gloria Nilson were nice additions, but it was mid-Atlantic bellwether Long & Foster that was its prize catch. HomeServices’ acquisition of Long & Foster was one of the largest this industry has ever seen!
  • No. 3 was Pittsburgh-based Hanna Holdings with 90,468 transactions. Family-owned Hanna ranks as the largest independent brokerage firm in the country.
  • Rounding out the top five are newcomers Keller Williams Realty GO Management Offices and HomeSmart. KW GO tallied 34,077 transactions from Market Centers located in the states of Texas, Tennessee and New Mexico. HomeSmart came in close behind with 33,601 transactions from offices located in Arizona, Colorado, and California.
  • As you can see in the chart, the nation’s leading franchises again had a strong showing in the REAL Trends 500.
  • Keller Williams once again saw the largest increase in population, adding nine firms to its tally. With 170 firms, Keller is by far that best-represented franchise in the top 500, accounting for 34 percent of the REAL Trends 500.
  • RE/MAX saw a slight uptick to 87 firms. Realogy affiliates (CENTURY 21, Coldwell Banker, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, ERA and Sotheby’s International Realty) combined for a slight downtick from 99 to 97. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices also slid a bit from 27 to 24.
  • Collectively, these major franchises accounted for 76 percent of the firms in the REAL Trends 500 by transaction sides.
  • For the first time, we’re providing the entirety of our rankings online for free. To view the top 500 by
    sides and volume, the Top Independents, the Top Movers, the Billionaires’ Club, the Up-and-Comers and more, visit our website.

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