RealTrending Ep. 96: brokerage valuation real estate trends, Q1 housing sales & demographics shifts

In Episode 96 of the RealTrending podcast, Steve Murray, senior advisor to HW Media, discusses real estate trends in brokerage valuations, anecdotal findings of the Q1 housing sales reports and shifts in demographics based on remote work.

Here is a small preview of today’s interview. The transcript below has been lightly edited for length and clarity:

Brokerage Valuation Trends: Many brokerages had their best years in history in 2020, both in revenues and EBITDA. Also, there’s been an increase of interested parties investing in or acquiring brokerage firms and related services like mortgage title, escrow, property management. There’s just broad base interest in real estate service firms of all kinds right now in the U.S. and Canada. Yet, the number of firms available to the market for acquisition or someone wanting to invest in brokerage is skinnier today than it ever has been. All of these factors are leading to a real estate trend of upward pressure in valuations.

Q1 Housing Sales: In an informal survey of about 18 medium- to large-sized brokerage companies, it was reported that pending written business was up substantially over last year. That’s amazing given the fact that there isn’t inventory to sell. We dug deeper into what’s going on with this real estate trend.

Demographic Shifts: Some forecasters say that as much as a quarter of the 160 million people in the U.S. labor force are expected to stay fully remote. To put that in numeric terms, if 10% were doing so before, that would be 16 million workers. If they’re right, that would be 40 million. And, some 24 million workers may no longer be attached to an office or where they have to live. If you’re a major metropolitan-area brokerage company, you may want to beef up your capabilities, not just in the suburbs, but in the exurbs and rural communities on the periphery of your current suburban service area as a strategic move. This is one real estate trend sure to have some stickiness.

RealTrending features Steve Murray, founder and partner with RTC Consulting and a senior advisor to HousingWire. He offers insight and analysis on three trending real estate issues. Steve’s 30+ years in the industry allows him to give you a deeper understanding of today’s real estate business happenings. Hosted by Steve Murray and produced by Victoria Wickham.