By Marissa Luck – Staff Writer, Austin Business Journal
May 4, 2018
Austin-based Keller Williams Realty is a mammoth in the residential real estate world — and it’s getting bigger. Sales volume swelled in the first quarter and total headcount hit 181,000 associates globally — that’s more than the city of Round Rock’s population, which stands at about 120,000. In fact, it's a pool of people larger than most U.S. cities.
The real estate franchise continues to develop technologies at its Austin tech hub, K-W Labs, such as the artificial intelligence virtual assistant Kelle that acts like a real estate version of Apple’s Siri; and Referrals, an agent-to-agent referral network and transaction tool.
The introduction of new technologies — plus of nearly 4,000 agents in the first quarter — continue to boost sales, according to Keller Williams' first-quarter earnings report. The company is private so it doesn't release a standard earnings report.
In the U.S., total sales volume spiked 10.7 percent year-over-year to hit $62.7 billion, the company reported.
U.S. franchisee owners took home $35.1 million in profits in the first quarter, a 3.4 percent jump from the same time last year. By the end of the first quarter, there were 159,792 agents in the U.S. alone.
Outside the U.S., Keller Williams added offices in Argentina. Now the company has more than 30 countries.
"Once again, we’re excited to report our agents are outperforming the industry, breaking production records originally set in the first quarter of 2017," said John Davis, CEO and president, Keller Williams, in a statement. "Across the globe, our agents continue to grow market share, helping them fund bigger lives and create new opportunities.
In January, T3 Sixty named Keller Williams' co-founder Gary Keller as the most influential person in residential real estate, eclipsing Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff for the No. 1 spot. Rascoff was No. 2, ahead of HomeServices of America’s Ron Peltier.
A big reason why Keller climbed the ranks: For the first time since the list was started five years ago, Keller Williams was named the largest residential real estate brand based on projections of sales volume as of the fourth quarter of 2017, beating out Re/Maxx, according to a T3 Sixty analysis. Davis, Keller Williams' CEO, was number seven on T3 Sixty's list this year, and a total of seven Austin real estate professionals made the list too.