Based off some impressive new numbers, Keller Williams extended its lead as the world’s largest real estate franchise. The fast-growing company is riding the recovery wave to the top of its game—up 20,000 associates, for a total agent army of 133,000. Sales volume also grew 24 percent, to an impressive $228 billion.
“We’re honored to be getting into business with the best talent and excited about the innovations we’re introducing,” said Keller Williams CEO Chris Heller in a celebratory release. “In combination with our unique company culture and our focus on enhancing the customer experience, Keller Williams’ associates are strongly positioned to grow, thrive and succeed.”
For a little more color, we spoke with the company’s president, John Davis, to find out what’s behind the great numbers and what are the most interesting things happening in today’s real estate market.
Franchise Times: What are the most interesting things going on in the American real estate market these days?
John Davis: Innovation for the consumer, for the agent and for the franchise. How is the consumer finding their property? How are the agents finding their leads with technology? It’s a game-changer, and innovation is so important when you’re looking at a franchise business.
FT: In terms of health of the market, is there a big divide between urban and rural markets?
JD: The mechanics are the same between urban and rural, but the focus is different. On the coasts, we’re going to see high appreciation. In the last buildup, we saw the cities have amazing appreciation, but here’s the thing: we also saw amazing declines in value at that time, so what happens is cities behave like the coasts. We’re always going to see higher appreciation in urban markets, because they’re not making anymore land.
FT: Who is Keller Williams taking market share from?
JD: We really respect our competitors, so we’re not really targeting one competitor. We’re focused on our people. We want our franchisees to have the most sophisticated tools to gain market share.
FT: What are the most serious headwinds you’ve got your eyes on this year?
JD: We’re looking at what’s happening in China’s economy. We’ve become such a global village… Another thing we’re looking at is the presidential election. I don’t see that we’re going to see a lot of shakeup in the U.S. market due to the elections.
FT: What’s the best part about your job these days?
JD: I get to work with really talented people. Every day … there’s energy, there’s excitement, there’s smiles and laughter, even if there’s some tough stuff to deal with.
FT: Anything else to add?
JD: In 2015 our franchisees made more money than the franchisor.