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Broker agent magazine

  1. 1. R E A L E S T A T E BROKER’S INSIDERManagement and sales tools for the residential real estate broker March 15, 2009 Vol. 40 No. 6Industry Trends NAR’s new approach:Century 21 pulls plug on national TV ads, Accuracy, not spinRE/MAX still spending The National Association of Realtors has launched Real Century 21 was one of the first Bev Thorne, Century 21’s senior Estate Today, a weekly radioreal estate brands to advertise on vice president of marketing, calls the show designed to “give con-national TV. move a smart one at a time when sumers up-to-date real estate It hired baseball legend Cal Rip- nearly 90 percent of buyers start information, insight, and advice.”ken Jr. to appear in its spots for a their searches online. What listeners won’t hear,time, and in 2008 the well-known “We’re really moving our adver- according to NAR Presidentbrand spent more on TV ads than tising to the mediums that have the Charles McMillan, is spin.any real estate broker save RE/MAX greatest impact on buyers and sell- “The accent is on accuracy,”International. ers,” Thorne says. McMillan says. ”We recognize But in 2009, Century 21 pulled The TV ads starring Ripken that pushing people to buythe plug on its national TV ads. The aimed to build brand awareness, but houses for the wrong reasonsParsippany, NJ-based broker has that task has been accomplished, doesn’t help anybody.”redeployed its $35 million national Thorne says. That’s a stark contrast fromad budget away from the brand “We’re a brand that sits here NAR’s previous strategy. Formerbuilding of TV ads and toward more with about 97 percent brand aware- Chief Economist David Lereahtargeted lead generation online. (Continued on page 2) has been reviled for calling the market bottom too soon. And NAR’s $40 million ad campaignAgency Marketing aimed at persuading consumers to buy was panned.Broker continually pushes agents to improve “Realtors understand the importance of accurate informa-web marketing tion, regardless of whether it’s Dan Forsman, head of Prudential keting Award of Excellence. perceived as good or bad,”Georgia Realty, remembers when “Prudential Georgia Realty has McMillan says.posting five photos with an online done an exemplary job of developinglisting was considered the cutting one of the nation’s top online mar- In this issueedge of technology. keting programs for their clients,” To set prices in buyer’s market, broker Then 10 photos became the stan- says Vice President relies on wisdom of crowds. . . . . 4dard. Now, 25 photos and a video Max Pigman. In today’s market, cater to bulls andpresentation are considered the rule. Forsman says part of the online owls, not lambs and tigers . . . . . 5 “What’s required online has marketing strategy is simply per- Realogy suffers big loss, but commis-evolved,” says Forsman. suading agents to get on board. sion rates tick upward. . . . . . . . . 6 And Prudential Georgia Realty “We had a contest for 60 days tohas evolved quickly — so much so encourage agents to get all listings Broker combines residential and commercial businesses, shunsthat recently honored up to 25 photos and a virtual tour,” franchises. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7the brokerage with its Online Mar- (Continued on page 3) © 2009 Alexander Communications Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
  2. 2. ISSN 0894-7651 Century 21 pulls plug on national TV ads, REAL ESTATE BROKER’S INSIDER 712 Main Street — Suite 187B RE/MAX still spending (Continued from page 1) Boonton, NJ 07005-1450 Telephone: (973) 265-2300 ness,” she notes. “So to shift that age of the consumers who see a Fax: (973) 402-6056 needle up even higher than 98 was RE/MAX ad are preparing to buy or Email: really oversaturation.” sell a home at the moment they view Website: Century 21 is still running the spot. But, Rea says, the TV ads Editor local TV ads, Thorne says, and it are crucial in generating future list- Jeff Ostrowski — ext.117 has made a concerted push into ing appointments. Customer Service deeper online marketing. She says “It gives us a tremendous advan- Mary Pagliaroli — ext. 101 the change in focus already is pay- tage in building a rapport with ing off. From 2007 to 2008, the future clients,” he says. Reprints and Permissions volume of leads Century 21 gener- RE/MAX and Century 21 were Mary Dalessandro — ext. 103 ated online soared the only firms doing Publisher 237 percent, Different philosophies national Spanish-lan- Margaret DeWitt — ext. 106 and its cost per guage TV ads. But, qualified lead fell Century 21 ended its Thorne says, CenturyReal Estate Broker’s Insider is published twice monthly by 62 percent. national TV ad campaign, 21 has cut both itsAlexander Communications Group, Inc.This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative “We did a but RE/MAX continues. Why English and Spanishinformation in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold tremendous amount the different approaches? campaigns.with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in ren-dering legal, accounting or other professional service. If legal of testing of various • Century 21 says online “Now, it wouldadvice or other expert assistance is required, the services of acompetent professional should be sought. sites and activities,” marketing is a better way seem we basically — From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Thorne says. to generate leads. have that category to Committee of Publishers. Thorne won’t • RE/MAX says TV ads are ourselves,” Rea says. disclose numbers, an effective way to gener- Rea acknowl- Alexander Communications Group © 2009 Alexander Communications Group, Inc. but TNS Media ate listing appointments. edges that RE/MAX All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be repro- Intelligence says isn’t spending as duced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form • Greg Herder says the or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or Century 21 spent much this year as it otherwise, without the prior written permission of Alexander audience for TV ads isn’t $26 million on so- did during the boom. Communications Group. consumers — it’s brokers called measured Still, it thinks ham- Subscription Order Form: and agents. media during the mering away at con- Please start/renew my one-year first nine months of sumers’ psyches subscription to Real Estate Broker’s 2008. Of that total, Century 21 makes sense. RE/MAX’s 2009 TV Insider for $247.* spent $2.3 million online, accord- ads remind buyers that this is a great ing to TNS Media Intelligence. buyers’ market. NAME “Even when times are good, For RE/MAX TV still a brand builder people tend to put trust in brands TITLE So what about RE/MAX Inter- they know,” Rea says. “And when COMPANY national, the biggest spender on times are bad, that becomes even ADDRESS national TV ads? The Denver-based more important.” system continues its campaign. A Nielsen Media report says CITY STATE ZIP In fact, the company sees RE/MAX leads the real estate indus- PHONE FAX opportunity in Century 21’s disap- try in ad impressions, followed by pearance from the national adver- Coldwell Banker, Century 21, and EMAIL N15 tising landscape. ERA. (A Coldwell Banker spokes- MAIL: 712 Main Street — Suite 187B Boonton, NJ 07005-1450 “RE/MAX agents don’t have to woman says that company has FAX: (973) 402-6056 choose between Internet and televi- stopped running its 2008 TV ads, PHONE: (973) 265-2300 sion,” says David Rea, RE/MAX’s but she declined to offer further EMAIL: creative director. “They get both.” details about the company’s adver- * North America, $247. Elsewhere, $277 (includes airmail delivery). Of course, only a tiny percent- tising strategy.)2 MARCH 15, 2009 REAL ESTATE BROKER’S INSIDER
  3. 3. RE/MAX brokers and agents But there are no sour grapeslove the company’s advertising reach, from John Piper, owner of the 120- Who is top of mind?Rea says — and, indeed, brokers and agent Century 21 Champion in San In the first half of 2008,agents might be a more important tar- Jose, CA. He doesn’t miss seeing RE/MAX led in online adget for TV ads than consumers. his brand on TV. impressions, the number of “I think it’s great,” Piper says. times an ad is actually dis-Agents the real audience “The timing is perfect. We need to played online. Greg Herder of Hobbs/Herder go where the consumers are.” RE/MAX: 45%Advertising in Newport Beach, CA, Century 21’s brand recognition Coldwell Banker: 27%says the primary audience for already is so high that Piper sees lit- Century 21: 24%national TV ads always has been tle value in spending for more televi- ERA: 4%franchisees and their sion advertising. But he Source: Nielsen Mediaagents. “The timing is perfect. does see value in using “I don’t believe it the Internet to generate We need to go wherereally drives that leads and drive business “I’m so confident of the empiri- the consumers are.”much business to the to his agents. cal data we’ve collected that I’d beindividual offices,” Century 21’s thrilled if they’re still doing it,” sheHerder says. “What it does is drive Thorne acknowledges that she has says. “I don’t think it’s a cost-effec-agent retention and recruiting.” heard some gripes from franchisees tive method of marketing, so I’d be Even so, Herder says he was who like to see their company on TV. happy to have my competitors“very surprised” to hear Century 21 “I’m not going to kid you,” spend money on it.”was dropping TV ads. And he Thorne says. “Some brokers are Contacts: Bev Thorne, Century 21,thinks Century 21 will suffer for calling me and saying, ‘That’s terri- 973-407-5631; David Rea, RE/MAXabandoning its campaign. ble because my granddaughter can’t International, 303-770-5531; Bob “I hear it over and over again see me on TV any more.’” Ratliff, RE/MAX Central, 702-807-5528;from agents,” Herder says. “‘I love But Thorne says she’s con- Greg Herder, Hobbs/Herder Advertising,seeing my company on TV. I want vinced that RE/MAX is only wast- 949-515-5000; John Piper, Century 21to be part of something. I want to ing its money on national TV ads. Champion, 408-978-8095. REBIgo to a company I know andrespect.’” Herder says he wouldn’t be sur-prised to see Keller Williams oranother national brand step into the Broker continually pushes agents to improveopening left by Century 21. web marketing (Continued from page 1) Of course, it’s the agents them-selves who ultimately pay the bill Forsman says. “We evaluate it agents are working toward an inte-for what may be little more than a branch by branch, and we rigorous- grated technology model,” he says.recruiting tool. ly restate the advantages of doing “But they are independent contrac- “There is irony in that,” Herder that, so it gets into the culture.” tors, so you can herd them, but ifsays. It seems to be working. About you push them too hard, they’ll Bob Ratliff, an agent at 60 percent of Prudential Georgia push back.”RE/MAX Central in Las Vegas, says Realty’s listings include 25 photos,he realizes there has been a “para- Forsman says. Falling costsdigm shift” in the way consumers Not every listing lends itself to Prudential Georgia Realty alsoshop for homes. But he supports the full treatment, he acknowledges. offers plenty of training and supportRE/MAX’s heavy investment in TV For instance, there’s no point in for agents who embrace technology.advertising. posting 25 photos of an empty lot. For instance, the company has an “It certainly doesn’t hurt,” Forsman also acknowledges arrangement with a productionRatliff says. “I make a living off the that he can’t force agents to market company to professionally shoot,RE/MAX name. That’s really the their listings online. narrate, and edit audio slideshowsreason I’m with RE/MAX.” “My job is to ensure that and videos.REAL ESTATE BROKER’S INSIDER MARCH 15, 2009 3
  4. 4. Pulling out all the technological the agent’s competition is, and be wants to be,” Forsman says.stops makes sense now that videos better than them.” Other Prudential Georgia Realtyand audio slide- Floyd says it efforts include:shows are so much hasn’t been difficult • Listing distribution that syndi- Embracing online marketingcheaper to produce, to persuade agents cates properties to 115 real estatesays Tony Floyd, How Prudential Georgia Real- that times have websites.senior vice presi- ty stays ahead of the market- changed. • Listings appear as “showcase”dent at Prudential ing curve: “If you’re still or “featured” listings on major sitesGeorgia Realty. • Encourages agents to post doing real estate the including, Yahoo Real “What once 25 photos for each listing. way you did it 10 Estate,,,cost thousands if • Teaches agents how to tell years ago and it’s and many hundreds each listing’s unique story working for you, • An inventory of stock photog-of dollars, we can online. fine,” Floyd says. raphy to help agents provide 25now get for $150,” “More often than high-quality photos for each listing. • Has an arrangement with aFloyd says. not, what worked Search engine optimization and marketing company that But technology five or 10 years ago search engine marketing that move creates professionally pro-without training is isn’t working listings up in results on Google, duced photos and video.dangerous. today.” Yahoo, AOL, and MSN. For phrases “We have spent Once Prudential such as “Atlanta real estate” anda lot of time teaching our agents Georgia Realty’s online marketing “Atlanta new homes,” Prudentialhow to discover what’s unique about generates leads, agents’ work has Georgia Realty appears among thea property and to tell that story,” just begun. The company has a pro- top five organic results.Floyd says. gram it calls “rapid response real A multimedia advertising While agents often balk at the estate” that aims to quickly respond approach that includes banner ads,cost of multimedia marketing, Floyd to leads. behavior-targeted online ads, socialdoes his best to convince them that Forsman focuses on sending networking, blogging, TV ads,marketing makes sense, especially leads directly to agents rather than online videos, and print today’s market. to a call center. He says call center Prudential Georgia Realty has “Agents will tend to look at the conversion rates are too low. 23 offices and 1,200 agents.cost,” Floyd says. “So we’ll encour- “I’m not a call center junkie Contact: Dan Forsman, Tony Floyd,age our agents to figure out who the — which might not be consistent Prudential Georgia Realty, 770-992-property’s competition is and who with where the rest of the world 4100, REBIBusiness Strategies tic and complete picture of the mar- ket, Evers says. One agent might beTo set prices in buyer’s market, broker relies more familiar than the listing agent with a similar property that recentlyon wisdom of crowds sold. When sellers list with Evers & At one listing visited by a group And, Evers says, sellers loveCo. Real Estate, they can expect a of Evers & Co. agents, the price the attention.whole crowd of agents to traipse suggestions came in between “They want to hear what youthrough the house on the following $725,000 and $760,000. For the have to say,” Evers says. “TheyTuesday. most part, the suggestions are with- want to hear the reasons for the That’s because every Tuesday, in 5 percent of each other. high number and the low number.”Evers & Co. owner Donna Evers If there are strong disagree- While sellers ultimately decideleads agents on tours of three to six ments, Evers says, “We argue it the list price, having two dozenrecent listings. through. We talk about it in a agents put in their two cents lets “As many as 25 or 30 of us will group.” sellers know that the price sugges-show up to price a property,” Evers Putting multiple eyes on one tion isn’t simply a number pulledsays. property helps give a seller a realis- out of the air.4 MARCH 15, 2009 REAL ESTATE BROKER’S INSIDER
  5. 5. “We spend a lot of time with pricing is just one creative way Jumping on the green band-sellers going through their house,” Evers is tackling a difficult market. wagon, Evers has been encourag-Evers says. “Sellers really appreci- She notes the ing agents to useate that.” “huge” drop in sales in the EcoBroker “We can do better if Wise sellers understand that the past few years. designation. we all pitch in andthey’re not objective about the value “Volume is down “The younger peo-of their property. 42 percent, but we still pool our resources.” ple are very interested “They’re very involved in their have about as many in this,” Evers and they have a very per- real estate agents,” she says. “To First-time buyers are especiallysonal view of it,” Evers says. “We’re stay the same, you have to do concerned about how much theirlooking at it as we must, which is as more. The business isn’t just auto- utility bills will be. And Maryland’sa product.” matically there when you have that Montgomery County recently Evers says she has little trouble kind of drop in volume.” required sellers to disclose utilitygetting her 70 agents to participate So Evers has been training bills to the group pricing exercises. agents to contact more prospective “This really brings the con- “Everybody is very good about clients and to spend more time with sciousness to a new level,” Eversdoing their part,” she says. “When buyers and sellers on weekends.’s their turn to price a property, the “The experienced agents under- In another effort to keepother agents will pitch in for them.” stand that they have to expand,” clients happy, Evers & Co. offers The practice helps keep agents Evers says. “And we realized we sellers free staging services. Itin touch with the market. had to expand to survive.” moves accessories and furniture “It’s great for us, because we While many brokers have cut into houses to create a better firstlearn so much that way,” she says. overhead, Evers has weathered the impression.“It’s like doctors making rounds, downturn by adding it. The compa- “We’re charging a lot of moneyand the house is the patient.” ny grew from 30 agents and two to sell their home, and we want to offices in 2005 to 70 agents and offer the best services we can,”Team approach three offices now. Evers says. The group-pricing exercise also “We’ve been steadily growing Contact: Donna Evers, Eversgives sellers a feeling that they have — and consciously growing,” & Co. Real Estate, 202-364-1700,more than just one agent working Evers says. REBIfor them. “We want them to know we’reall here for them,” Evers says. Groupthink has become trendy Sellingin recent years, as evidenced by top-selling books like The Wisdom ofCrowds, Crowdsourcing, and We Are In today’s market, cater to bulls and owls,Smarter Than Me. not lambs and tigers “We can do better if we all pitchin and pool our resources,” Evers Miami condo broker Craig Studnicky, president of Internationalsays. Studnicky long has subscribed to Sales Group. “Right now, it’s all And smarter pricing is crucial in the personality profiling that divides about the deal.”today’s buyer’s market. A property buyers into four types of animals — The bulls, owls, lambs, andthat’s mispriced when it debuts on bulls, owls, lambs, and tigers. tigers, or BOLT, theory was devel-the market is marked with a stigma. During Miami’s condo boom, oped by sales consultant Charles “Nobody can risk making a big emotional lambs and tigers ruled. Clarke. Here’s how the types breakmistake these days,” Evers says. “If Now, though, deal-driven bulls and down:you come out the door with a price owls dominate the market. • Bulls are focused on the bot-that’s too high, you’re going to pay “I try to teach my salespeople tom line and getting to the point.for that mistake.” to sell everybody as if they’re sell- Used to taking charge, bulls seek to The crowdsourcing approach to ing to those two types,” says control the negotiations. They’reREAL ESTATE BROKER’S INSIDER MARCH 15, 2009 5
  6. 6. smart, brand-conscious, and status- Economic Trendsconscious. • Owls are analytical, logical, Realogy suffers big loss, but commission ratesand detail-oriented. They’re typi-cally professionals such as lawyers, tick upwardaccountants, or engineers. They For Realogy Corp., the nation’s up from 2.47 percent in to fixate on price per square largest real estate broker, 2008 Realogy also pointed to fran-foot as a measure of value. brought a flood of red ink and chise growth. In 2008, it signed • Lambs are people pleasers some glimmers of hope. deals with brokers who generatedwho avoid conflict and make deci- Realogy, owner of the Cold- $420 million in gross commissionsions slowly. Lambs are very con- well Banker, Century 21, ERA, income, Smith said.cerned about security and their Sotheby’s, and Better Homes and Meanwhile, Realogy said itsneighbors. Lambs tend to be older. Gardens brands, lost $1.9 billion in owner, buyout firm Apollo Manage- • Tigers are expressive, fun- 2008 as revenue, transactions, and ment, agreed to provide Realogyloving, and impulsive. They buy commission income slumped. with a $150 million cash infusion ifbased on lifestyle considerations. As a result of the weak hous- it’s needed.They tend to be younger, and in ing market, Realogy wrote down “This is very powerful supportStudnicky’s home market of South $1.8 billion of goodwill — but to us during these challenging timesFlorida, many tigers are Hispanics. Chief Executive Officer Richard A. and is not available to most compa- Studnicky’s firm focuses on Smith stressed that theselling new condos, and in 2004 impairment doesn’t Realogy’s average commission side, by yearthrough 2006, International Sales affect the company’s 2.70%Group’s marketing focused on health. 2.65%lambs and especially tigers. “Goodwill is sim- 2.60% “We used to throw these ply the differenceincredibly lavish parties, and we’d between the price paid 2.55%hire these sexy models,” Studnicky for a company in an 2.50% acquisition and the 2.45%says. “That type of buyer is not most current value ofbuying real estate right now.” 2.40% its assets,” Smith said It’s not just the parties that 2.35% in a conference call in 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008were axed. International Sales late February. “To beGroup has shrunk from 300 nies or our competitors,” Chief clear, these non-cash charges haveemployees in 2005 to 75 employ- Financial Officer Anthony E. Hull absolutely no impact whatsoever onees now, and it has closed a num- the company’s day-to-day opera- said in a conference call.ber of offices. tions, its cash position, liquidity, During the same conference “It’s unfortunate, but I had to credit agreements, or viability.” call, Smith said Realogy is not fil-stay alive,” Studnicky says. Amid all the red ink, Realogy ing for bankruptcy. Still, Studnicky holds out hope also reported bits of good news. In “That is completely false andthat things will get better in 2009. one example, commissions began without merit,” Smith said. “It is aWith prices dropping and mort- to bounce back after steadily self-serving notion promoted by thegage rates flirting with record falling during the boom. popular press and some of our unin-lows, he thinks buyers will come The average commission side formed competitors and is evidenceback. for Realogy’s franchised broker- of their attempt to promote their “You’ve got to sell with enthu- ages climbed to 2.52 percent in businesses through the unwarrantedsiasm, and you’ve got to sell with 2008, up from 2.49 percent in 2007 criticism of others as opposed tourgency,” he says. “Where the hell and 2.47 percent in 2006. relying on the values of their busi-was the urgency last year?” For Realogy’s corporate- ness models, many of which are fail- Contact: Craig Studnicky, Interna- owned offices, the commission ing in this market.”tional Sales Group, 305-931-6511, increase was more modest. Its Contact: Realogy Corp., REBI average was 2.48 percent in 2008, REBI6 MARCH 15, 2009 REAL ESTATE BROKER’S INSIDER
  7. 7. Business Models “In commercial, we’re just going over the edge now,” Huang says.Broker combines residential and commercial As Huang looks to expand, don’t expect to see BRC pursuebusinesses, shuns franchises franchising. He calls national fran- Los Angeles broker James California, and he plans to open chising “outdated” and “ineffective.”Huang runs a company that does a three more in 2009: one in Southern “Brokers and agents rely on lav-bit of everything. California, one in Northern Califor- ish marketing campaigns and costly His firm, BRC Advisors, has nia, and one in Chicago. franchise fees to lure clients, tactics200 residential agents who focus on Those will be that will not work inbuying and selling homes. BRC has small offices that an environment Broker Bio110 commercial agents who focus initially will focus plagued by foreclo-on office, industrial, and retail deals. on commercial The broker: James sures, high unem- Huang, BRC Advisors ployment, and a BRC’s investment arm even is business, Huangbuying foreclosed properties and says. The model: Residential, general freeze inlisting them for sale with its own He’s expan- commercial, and invest- lending,” he says.agents. sion-minded, but ment deals under one roof. “In a good economy, “Each part is helping the rest of he’s not blind to What’s next: Huang plans there may be re-the company through the down- the problems in to open offices in Northern wards for everyone.turn,” he says. the market. The California and Chicago. But in this market- Huang is founder and chief National Associa- place, this formulaexecutive officer of five-year-old tion of Realtors in February said the is a recipe for disaster.”BRC, and he’s expanding aggres- credit crunch and the recession will Contact: James Huang, BRC Advi-sively in spite of the downturn. make 2009 a difficult year for the sors, 213-226-8700, www.brcadvisors.BRC has six offices in Southern commercial real estate industry. com. REBITechnology nology continues to evolve. For instance, a significant number ofVideo, photos gain importance in search consumers are using iPhones and BlackBerry devices not just to readengine results basic listing information but to To make listings stand out As part of that intelligence, view videos and listen to, agents must post video and search engines are looking at multi- Emmendorfer sees one bigaudio as part of their online market- media information such as videos, advantage for agents who stay abreast of the changes: They’ll seting materials, says Tom Emmendor- audio, and photos. One tip: If themselves apart.fer of Showcase Technologies. agents are uploading property pho- Agents should stress to sellers “Listings are 50 times more tos to a website, they should be sure that tech-savvy professionals givelikely to show up in search results to change the name of the photo to them a big edge in marketing theirif there’s multimedia information the address of the property. That’s homes.on the page,” Emmendorfer says. because search engines now are So in your listing presentation, Showcase Technologies has looking at names of digital photos let sellers know about the widepartnered with the Exit Realty sys- when judging how to rank pages. variety of real estate sites. And lettem and with First Weber Realtors “All of that data has just been for-sale-by-owner sellers know thatof Wisconsin to help agents learn started to be mined by Google in a sign in the yard and a cut-rateto navigate the fast-changing world the last month or two,” Emmendor- listing in the MLS no longer carriesof online marketing. fer says. the marketing weight it once did. “Search engines are already so Too many agents are just now Contact: Tom Emmendorfer, Show-much more intelligent than they were catching up with technology, and case Technologies, 573-334-9452,six months ago,” Emmendorfer says. they don’t realize how quickly tech- REBIREAL ESTATE BROKER’S INSIDER MARCH 15, 2009 7
  8. 8. CLOSINGSRealogy posts listings on Affordability soars as prices A silver lining in the cloudy housing market: Housing affordability Realogy Corporation has surged in the fourth quarter of 2008 to its highest level in at least fiveentered a distribution agreement years.with that puts the list- That’s according to the National Association of Home Builders/ings of Better Homes and Gardens Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.Real Estate, Coldwell Banker, and According to the index, 62.4 percent of all new and existing homesERA on the site. sold in the final quarter of 2008 were affordable to families earning Century 21 listings already were the national median income of $61,500.on, and in December That’s up from the 56.1 percent of homes that were affordable tothat site generated 1.3 million page typical families in the third quarter. And in 2006, only 40 percent ofviews of listings and some 240,000 homes were in reach of typical families.clicks to the Century 21 site, Realo- “Falling home prices and very favorable mortgage rates both con-gy says. tributed to the housing affordability gains we saw in the fourth quarter is a division of of 2008,” says NAHB Chairman Joe Robson.Dominion Enterprises. Indianapolis, where 93 percent of homes are affordable, was the Contact: nation’s most affordable major housing market. New York, where fewer than 14 percent of homes were affordable, was the priciest market.RE/MAX LeadStreet brings Contact: National Association of Home Builders, 6 million leads RE/MAX International says Web Extras: To see a chart of housing affordability over the past 16its lead management system, years, go to and click on “Web Extras.”LeadStreet, has generated 6 mil-lion unique leads for RE/MAXagents. RE/MAX charges no referral In 2008, Sotheby’s added 19 home price for all housing typesfees for the leads. LeadStreet sends companies, and 30 firms already was $170,300 in January, downleads to agents by email, which associated with the franchise 14.8 percent from a year earliermeans they can receive a lead on opened new offices. when the median was $199,800.any mobile device. Contact: Total housing inventory at the Contact: end of January dipped 2.7 percent to 3.60 million existing homes for Home prices down 14.8%, sale.Sotheby’s adds offices, NAR says While national sales slowed,agents Home sales and prices contin- volumes rose in hard-hit states Despite — or perhaps because ued to fall in January, the National such as California and Florida. Inof — the real estate downturn, Association of Realtors says. Florida, sales spiked 24 percentSotheby’s International Realty Existing-home sales fell from January 2008 to JanuaryAffiliates says it expanded its office 5.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted 2009, the Florida Association ofcount by 10.7 percent in 2008. annual rate of 4.49 million units in Realtors said. Sotheby’s, a division of Realo- January, down from 4.74 million Contact: National Association ofgy Corp., ended the year with units in December and 4.91 million Realtors,; Florida10,750 agents in more than 500 units in January 2008. Association of Realtors, media.offices worldwide. The national median existing- REBI8 MARCH 15, 2009 REAL ESTATE BROKER’S INSIDER