Chairman and CEO, HomeServices of America
Overall Rank: 1
The calm, private and steady leader of HomeServices of America (HSA) Ron Peltier climbs two positions to the top spot this year. His jump not only comes from snatching the crown jewel of real estate acquisitions with Long & Foster Real Estate in late 2017, but from his immense access to capital. As Berkshire Hathaway’s real estate division, HSA has as much or more potential operating capital than the new venture capital-backed company.
Capital is currently an increasingly important brokerage enabler – and HSA has it in spades. While new investment-backed models grab the headlines, this steady, more traditional player keeps chugging successfully even as the ground shifts under the industry.
HSA ramped up its acquisition strategy in 2018 as major competitor Realogy announced a pull-back from mergers and acquisitions. Peltier, who has served as CEO of HSA since its July 1999 inception, executed the largest and most significant brokerage acquisition of the past decade in late 2017 with the purchase of Long & Foster Real Estate, then the nation’s third largest real estate brokerage by annual sales volume.
The addition elevated HSA to rare air, becoming only the second brokerage ever to pass $100 billion in annual sales volume. It remains the only serious brokerage contender to Realogy’s NRT, the world’s largest residential real estate brokerage. The acquisitions spree also continued in 2018, with purchases of Texas-based giant Ebby Halliday and Nebraska-based BHHS Ambassador Real Estate. It ends 2018 with 42,000 agents in 900 offices in 30 states and sales over $125 billion.
HSA is now nearly four times larger than the nation’s current next largest brokerage, whether it be Howard Hanna Real Estate or Compass (T3 Sixty will publish brokerage rankings in its Swanepoel Mega 1000 report in April 2019). While still far away based on annual sales volume, HAS is within striking distance of NRT for the annual transaction count crown (in 2017, NRT had 328,355 transactions and HSA 328,355 transactions).
The company’s 2018 results are a mixed bag, based on the public filings of parent company Berkshire Hathaway. Its operating revenue for the first nine months of 2018 was up $750 million versus the same period in 2017, implying increases in both transactions and sales volume. The company’s $3.3 billion in operating revenue through the first three quarters of 2018 is approaching NRT’s $3.6 billion. On the other hand, HomeServices saw a $6 million dip in profit over the first nine months of 2018 due to “lower margins and higher operating costs at existing businesses.” Many brokerages have experienced similar profit strain, however. The dip merely shows that even Warren Buffett is not immune to the brokerage industry’s current challenging dynamics.
For its recent moves, steady success and immense capital potential, T3 Sixty designates Ron Peltier, CEO of the second largest brokerage in North America, the Most Powerful Person in Residential Real Estate.
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