REAL Trending Episode 90: What We Learned in 2020, The Advance of Real Estate Tech, and CoStar’s Entry Into Residential Real Estate

On REAL trending episode 90, we’re discussing what we learned in 2020, the advance of real estate tech, and CoStar’s entry into residential real estate.


Steve Murray:

From REAL Trends, the trusted source for real estate industry news, this is REAL Trending, episode 90. We’re analyzing the most important trends affecting brokerage companies and their agents. I’m Steve Murray, and today we’re discussing what we learned in 2020, the advance of real estate tech, and CoStar’s entry into residential real estate. What do these trends mean, and how can brokerage firms best deal with them? But first, a quick message.

Understanding how value is created in a residential real estate brokerage firm is key to knowing where to invest. Over 3,500 brokerage companies have trusted REAL Trends to perform valuations and assessments of their firms. Whether you’re looking to sell, buying out a partner, getting a divorce, or just gauging the current market, REAL Trends can help you. Go to for more information.

Steve Murray:

What do we learn in 2020? Here’s an abbreviated list of our favorites. One, as a country, we survived a pandemic, civil unrest, a wildly contentious presidential election, and somehow families persevered, and people persevered, and businesses have tried their best to make it through this. In short, the country, actually, held together through all of it.

Two, Americans treasure their homes more than we ever believed. We looked at the surge in the great migration of 2020 as people moved in and out of major urban areas to suburbs, and to second home communities, and reposition where they will live, and what kind of homes they will own, now that they can run their business out of their home, or do their work out of their home.

Steve Murray:

Home ownership rates skyrocketed this past year along with sales. Another thing we learned is those brokers that have core services like mortgage, title, escrow and property management are doing far better than those bulk brokers who don’t have core services. It’s becoming a real difference in the future performance among brokerage companies, those who have multiple sources of revenue and profit from dealing with American homeowners, and buyers, and sellers.

Another thing we learned critically is just how important the realtor association can be in times of duress. Without the efforts of the state, particularly, state and national association of realtors, we may not have been deemed essential services.

Steve Murray:

We may not have received benefits from the federal government for independent contractors without the persistent efforts, particularly, at the state and national realtor levels. We owe them a great deal for fighting that battle for real estate professionals and brokerage companies, so those are just a few of the things we learned.

The last thing is, it turns out that remote learning, and remote online communications enable us to touch far more agents more frequently with more information, with higher levels of participation than anything done before in-person at lower costs.

Steve Murray:

How will this fundamentally affect the operation of brokerage companies in the years to come? Still unknown. Last, CoStar is acquiring Homesnap, and entering the real estate tech, and real estate information segment in residential to add to their dominant position in commercial and rental businesses.

One thing we said a long, long time ago when Microsoft HomeAdvisor was contending with for domination in the online residential real estate information space, it was our view that two competitors is better than one, and three, or four are better than one or two. We rest our case.

Steve Murray:

CoStar will present new options, new services and another competitor to incumbents like Zillow and We think this makes for more abundant options for brokers, and agents, and consumers, and leads to a healthier market. Learn more about industry trends and success tactics for brokerage firms, agents, and teams, as well as listen to REAL Trending on Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and others. Visit This has been Steve Murray, until next time.