Real Estate in Brief: REAL Trends reveals nation’s largest brokerages, rents spike and more

by Sergio Valdes

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REAL Trends, a real estate brokerage news source, recently released its 2017 REAL Trends 500, a ranking of the nation’s leading residential real estate brokerage firms. NRT LLC sits atop the list as the largest residential brokerage company in the country, with 346,942 closed transactions in 2017. HomeServices of America Inc. and Hanna Holdings ranked second and third, with 328,355 and 90,468 closed transactions, respectively.

In other real estate news:

  • Realty Executives International named real estate veteran Patrick van den Bossche its new president. The appointment finalizes the global real estate franchise’s leadership team, which is focused on aggressive network growth and expansion.
  • Homebuilder Lennar is partnering with mortgage technology provider Blend in an effort to power their financing division, Eagle Home Mortgage. According to HousingWire, Lennar’s primary goal with this new system is to streamline the homebuying process for its customers, and with it, mortgages will close up to 10 days faster by cutting out unnecessary manual process.
  • The Redfin Housing Demand Index fell 14.1 percent month over month to 110 this past February. Redfin reports that this is the lowest level of homebuyer demand in 11 months and the largest month-over-month decline on record, as a short supply of homes continues to affect homebuyer interest.
  • Median rent across the country increased 2.8 percent over the past year, its fastest pace in 21 months, according to a new Zillow report. The fastest-appreciating rental markets are along the West Coast in cities like Sacramento, California, where rents increased more than 8 percent in that time; meanwhile, rent in Minneapolis and Atlanta increased 4.5 percent. Over the past nine months, national home value growth has fluctuated in the range of 7.2 percent to 7.6 percent annually.
  • A study by ForestEdge and Wood Resources International predicts that softwood lumber demand will increase at an annual rate of 2.3 percent through 2030, when it will reach an all-time high, according to BuilderOnline.
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