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. Revenue at Compass beat out Realogy’s owned brokerage group for the first time.

  • EXp Realty doubled its U.S. revenue in 2021. For a business already operating at scale, this is a very impressive feat.

By the numbers: EXp Realty rocketed past industry incumbent Realogy in an accelerating growth curve, topping 400,000 transactions in 2021.

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

  • Compared to its peers, agent growth at eXp Realty has been jaw-dropping. EXp added more new agents in 2021 than Compass has in total.

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 have been propelled by generous financial incentives offered to agents.

  • Be smart: Perhaps consider Compass’ technology platform through the lens of agent recruitment and retention, and its level of investment is understandable.

A note on eXp Realty: The numbers above are estimated for the U.S. market. eXp reports global figures, but also gives the percentage of revenue generated outside of the U.S. I’ve used that to estimate U.S. agent count, transaction volume, and revenue.

Mike DelPrete is a strategic adviser and global expert in real estate tech, including Zavvie, an iBuyer offer aggregator. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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