Imprev arguably has come to own the real estate “Thought Leader” space with its bi-annual survey now in its third year, largely because it’s not a self-serving exercise.
What we get from their latest Thought Leader Survey is a refreshing, unfiltered view from a broad cross-section of the leadership of America’s real estate brokerage and franchise operations, large and small.
Collectively, the real estate execs surveyed represent firms and brands that generate about half of all real estate transactions each year. Individually, there’s solid representation among small and large firms: 15% of the respondents have 50 agents or fewer, 18% have 51-100 agents, 35% have 101-500 agents; 14% have 501-1,000 agents and 18% have more than 1,000 agents.
Among the most interesting findings:
- Housing market enthusiasm is cooling, almost tepid, among real estate leaders. Two years ago, 70 percent of top real estate execs saw the market improving over the next 12 months. Last year that number dropped to 58 percent. Today it is 52 percent. No more exuberance: It’s now a glass half-full, half-empty scenario among a group that is often characterized as eternal optimists, which means this new data may alarm some.
- The bigger you are, the more bullish you are. Leaders of larger brokerage firms are typically far more confident about the outlook for the U.S. economy than leaders of smaller brokerage firms. Nearly two-thirds of top execs with firms of 1,000 or more agents say the U.S. economy will “improve,” compared to 34 percent of leaders of brokerage firms with 51 to 100 agents.
- The smaller you are, the better your outlook on profitability. Leaders of smaller brokerage firm are far more confident in their ability to be more profitable than larger brokerage firms over the next year. More than half of the leaders of the smallest brokerage firms are “very confident” in profitability over the next 12 months compared to 32 percent of the leaders of the largest brokerages.
- World economy outlook has tanked. This is significant and the biggest change year-to-year among all of the data Imprev released. More than half of real estate leaders surveyed this year – 55 percent – have become less confident in the world economy over the last 12 months. That’s more than double the percentage last year, which was 24%. Expect more news headlines in the future on the struggles of the world economy.
- Real estate leaders still divided on U.S. economic outlook. Like last year, there’s a split among real estate leaders on what will happen with the national economy over the next 12 months: 47 percent believe it will improve, down from 50 percent in 2013; 44 percent say it will stay the same, versus 37 percent in 2013.
- Local versus global? Local wins every time. When it comes to confidence in the economy, real estate execs like local best. About ten times as many real estate business leaders have greater confidence in future improvement in their local economy versus the world economy.
- We’re not getting any younger. Despite a solid sampling across all firm sizes, not one real estate exec was 30 years old or younger. Two out of three execs surveyed are 51 years or older, one-in-three are 61 years old or older. NAR’s most recent member profile showed the average age going down a year, from 57 to 56 years old, but this is not having an impact on upper management – yet.
- Gender gap remains. 68 percent of the execs surveyed were male, 32 percent were female. NAR member split is 57 percent female, 43 percent male.
Renwick Congdon, CEO of Imprev, says the Thought Leader Survey was developed “to provide insight on key business challenges top executives face, encouraging an exchange of ideas and solutions.”
This survey also gives him a vehicle to get a good sense of his customers in terms of their current pain points and what is on their minds.
Perhaps even more interesting is Imprev says there is new data coming from the survey soon, which it just finished conducting in late October, and that data may have a lot more surprises.
Full Disclosure: Imprev is a client and Kevin Hawkins helps Imprev conduct its Thought Leader Surveys.