Perennial leaders Corcoran and Elliman hold on to top spots in annual ranking of residential firms, while Compass sees mega-gains and others stumble
(Illustration by Øivind Hovland)
UPDATED, Feb. 1, 9:30 p.m.: Few of the city’s residential brokerage were sorry to see 2017 close out. Why would they be? Looking back, the year was marked by buyer uncertainty, heavy discounting and unapologetic recruiting as top firms sought to maintain revenue in an unforgiving market.
Against that backdrop, The Real Deal brings you its annual top brokerage ranking, which unlike in the past is based on dollar volume of closed deals in Manhattan rather than listings.
To determine who closed the most deals in 2017, we pulled thousands of Manhattan listings from On-Line Residential and then cross-referenced them with closed sales in public records — a firm needed to have either publicly listed the property or acted as its new development sales agent to get credit for a deal.
Leading the pack was the Corcoran Group, which took the top spot with $6.29 billion in closed Manhattan deals for 2017. That haul — up 3 percent from $6.13 billion in May 2016 — was driven by the firm’s new development marketing wing, Corcoran Sunshine, which sold millions of dollars of properties in buildings like 56 Leonard and the Greenwich Lane.
As usual, the firm was followed by its larger rival Douglas Elliman, which logged $5.23 billion in closed sales — down 4 percent from $5.42 billion in 2016.
Related: Who s listing the most
Rounding out the top five were Stribling Associates with $1.58 billion, Compass with $1.37 billion and Sotheby’s International Realty with $1.35 billion.
Collectively, the Top 25 firms closed $21.2 billion worth of listings in 2017, according to TRD’s analysis. That was up slightly from 2016’s $20.8 billion and 27 percent more than 2015’s $16.5 billion.
But the numbers don’t tell the full story. The stats in 2017 saw an artificial boost because many of the deals struck during 2015’s condo boom finally closed. In reality, it was a tough year for Manhattan’s residential brokerages as they grappled with a glut of expensive new developments and luxury resales lingered on the market.
Pam Liebman, Andrew Heiberger and Howard Lorber
“Anyone who tells you it was great is lying,” said Shaun Osher, the CEO of boutique brokerage CORE, adding that last year’s absorption was the slowest in two years.
“It was one of the more miserable years to be a real estate agent,” said Osher, whose firm ranked No. 10 with $347.8 million in closed sales.
Amid 2017’s market turmoil, firms ramped up recruiting — while agents jockeying for sweeter commission splits happily complied.
Things came to a head in early December, when Compass — fresh off a $450 million investment from Softbank — vowed to use the funds to turbocharge its growth both nationally and in New York.
By the end of the month, the firm, which is headed by CEO Robert Reffkin, had hired 50 more agents in Manhattan to[……]