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Growth machines: The Future of Brokerage.

Globally, the major, publicly-listed brokerages all posted impressive revenue, transaction, and agent count growth in 2021.


Why it matters: In a notoriously slow-moving industry, these are eye-catching gains. In the U.S, revenue at Compass beat out Realogy's owned brokerage group for the first time, while eXp Realty doubled its U.S revenue in 2021. For a business already operating at scale, this is a very impressive feat. In fact, it rocketed past industry incumbent Realogy in an accelerating growth curve, topping 400,000 transactions in 2021.

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Agent counts are driving this growth. Despite promises of disintermediation, disruption and technological efficiency, the agent is still central to the transaction.

The big picture: Amidst the hyperbole of disruption, the future of brokerage is still being shaped by real estate agents. Brokerages are growing by recruiting more agents. The more agents a brokerage adds, the more that transactions grow.

Agent recruitment is a key competitive advantage for brokerages; Compass and exp's growth has been propelled by generous financial incentives offered to agents.

Mike DelPrete is a Global Real Estate Tech Strategist and an Independent Director of Tall Poppy Real Estate.