Events of the Year 2009

Services for Real Estate Pros with New York Times Bestselling Author & International Speaker

Every year as part of the new edition of the Swanepoel TRENDS Report the 160 page Report also looks back at the passing year and lists those events that transpired during the year that made headlines and captured the industry’s attention and imagination. The 2010 edition is due for release on February 8, 2010.

Here are the top events that during 2009 made headlines in the residential real estate brokerage industry.


Copyright: Shutterstock


#10 Houston Becomes #1 REALTOR® Association

In August 2009 the Houston Association of Realtors® (HAR) officially became the largest local Realtor® board in the United States following a recent rise in membership and a decline in membership at the Long Island (New York) Board of Realtors® (LIBOR). HAR, with a membership of 23,354 surpassed its long standing rival for the top slot by 118.These two have long been the largest local associations by far, with the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors® holding the third spot with nearly 10,000 fewer members. Congratulations to Bob Hale and his team.


#9 Metro Brokers Switches Franchise Brands

With 2,000 sales associates the brand switch Metro Brokers made in December 2009 from GMAC to Better Homes & Gardens recorded the largest move of one brokerage company from one franchise brand to another. The departure away from the #1 GMAC franchise in the world to become the #1 BH&G franchise in the world was a major move and strongly refutes the high value many franchises have attached to their brands. Many observe this move as the beginning of more swaps to come as franchisees increasingly look for more than just a name. They want visionary leadership, quality training, technology, Internet and social media savvy solutions and, above all, a dependable partner.


#8 RE BarCamp Sets Event Benchmark

RE BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering of people (real estate professionals from different facets of the business) that share and learn in an open environment. It is widely referred to as an “unconvention” with no pre-determined programs or invited guest speakers delivering PowerPoint presentations from a stage. Rather the structure follows a round table of open discussion concerning topics sourced from the registrants and as a result of interaction between attendees. It may only have started in August 2008 but in 2009 it exploded to over 20 major cities across the country and is currently one of “the happening” events in real estate.


#7 RVM’s & AVM’s Become Strategic

AVM (Automated Valuation Model) is the term widely used to describe providing property valuation by using a mathematical algorithm based on the data. In real estate AVMs calculate the value of a specific property by analyzing the value of comparable properties sold and registered. The newly announced RVM (Realtor® Valuation Model) follows the same mathematical analysis but hopes to aggregate the information available from 700+ MLS' (Multiple Listing Service) across the country. The NAR, the driver behind the RVM, hopes that this model will become the default valuation method for all financial institutions nationwide. If achieved, this will be a major industry game changer.


#6 Realtor® Credit Union Celebrates First Year of Operation

Exactly one year ago at the 2008 Realtors® Conference & Expo in Orlando the NAR announced that it had received regulatory approval and a charter for Realtors® Federal Credit Union (RFCU). The Rockville, Maryland-based Credit Union works in partnership with the NAR as a Realtor® Benefits Program Partner, but it operates totally separate from the NAR with its own board of directors and management team. Now, one year later, RFCU has 3,000 members, $25 million in assets, $16 million in deposits and $8 million in loans, making it larger than 60% of all credit unions today; impressive. With a stated goal of being in the top 5% of all credit unions within 5 years the RFCU is definitely a sleeping giant.


#5 Keller Williams Climbs to Third Largest Real Estate Franchise

In March Keller Williams Realty Inc. announced at its 2009 annual convention that it had moved ahead of RE/MAX International to now claim the third-largest real estate franchise in the U.S with 72,794 associates at the end of 2008. This was according to a study by Steve Murray of REAL Trends. According to Keller Williams the growth gained momentum during the last three years of the down turn where it outpaced most other real estate franchises that had lost agents. During the period from 2006 to 2008 KW increased its associate count by an astonishing 52%. Watch out Century 21 and Coldwell Banker. You have someone coming up fast in your rear view mirror.


#4 Short Sales & Foreclosures Maintain High Visibility

After increasing more than 30% per year for the last four years, some estimate that foreclosures will drop to about 1.75 million in 2010/11. The Treasury Department continues to place pressure on mortgage lenders to make trial loan modifications permanent. Furthermore in December the Treasury set long-awaited guidelines designed to simplify and speed up the short sale process through its Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program. Until now the short sale process has been cumbersome for all involved; taking as long as eight to ten months to get a transaction to close. The program goes into effect April 5, 2010.


#3 Brookfield RPS Acquires a Great Solution

Announcing their second largest acquisition in November 2009 Brookfield RPS became the owner of Real Living Network Services. Combining all the residential real estate brokerage companies Brookfield now owns in Canada and the U.S., they are one of North America’s Top 10 leading residential real estate franchises with more than $20 billion in annual home sales and an estimated 30,000 agents. The reason the Ohio-based Real Living acquisition is such a great solution for Brookfield is that the GMAC franchise they acquired last year was lacking momentum, a CEO and contractually had to replace the name. This acquisition provided them a solution for all three challenges with very little duplication.


#2 RPR Becomes the NAR Convention Buzz

Squeezing in a botched (who was invited and who wasn’t) and a confusing (intermingling a B2B and B2C initiative) talking head video press announcement a week before the NAR convention was surprising. However, the timing was great as the buzz propelled the Realtors® Property Resource (RPR) into the most discussed and debated topic at the convention. Billed as the largest single source of real estate information in the world and the “ultimate” member benefit it is also ridiculed as a threat to MLS' across the country. One thing is certain, it is the most significant project undertaken by the NAR in years.


#1 Extended Tax Credit Helps Boost Housing Market

In the hopes of sustaining the real estate market's recent momentum, President Obama signed the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 in November, extending the FTHBC until April 2010. The legislation includes language that significantly expands the popular first-time homebuyer tax credit to more than two-thirds of current homeowners and nearly all first-time buyers. This, in its own, will not save the housing market but it sparked a rush to buy homes before the extension was approved in November. This resulted in an increase of 7.4% over October for a record 545,000 housing units sold. With rising unemployment and a sluggish economic recovery, let's hope that the incentive created by the Tax Credit carries the housing market through to the summer of 2010.


To reserve you advance copy of the 2010 Swanepoel TRENDS Report at the special pre-publication price visit today. This Report is widely regarded as the leading annual Report detailing the most important business, profitability and technology trends impacting the real estate industry.


Re-Blogged 7 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sherry Kotvis -eXp Realty 12/30/2009 02:38 PM
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  4. Ronnie Margolis 12/31/2009 01:47 AM
  5. Dana Devine 12/31/2009 08:12 AM
  6. Maureen McCabe 12/31/2009 02:33 PM
  7. Frank D'Angelo 01/26/2010 12:23 PM
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Mary Lawler
Realty Executives Advantage - San Diego, CA
Your Community Connection

Great post Stefan!  It will be interesting to see what the big events will be in 2010.  Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Dec 31, 2009 10:41 AM #41
Kay Van Kampen
RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX - Springfield, MO
RealtorĀ®, Springfield Mo Real Estate

Great Information Stefan.  I would like to see a ReBar Camp come to this area.

Dec 31, 2009 12:20 PM #42
Realtor Samuel Lao

Nice Info here. Looking froward to the trend of 2010. Happy New Year!!!

Dec 31, 2009 12:28 PM #43
Jamie Parker Gwinnett
Exp Realty - Snellville, GA
Realtor, Snellville Homes

Great post. Thanks for the info.

Dec 31, 2009 12:35 PM #44
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

Fascinating perspective for a non-realtor.

Dec 31, 2009 11:05 PM #45
Emily Medvec Qualifying Broker
Hello Realty - Santa Fe, NM
Realtor | Serving Santa Fe & Northern NM

Your summary demonstrates how different real estate is today, now 2010! The REBar Camp as an unconventional movement will continue to be a catalyst of change. I look forward to your upcoming trend report. Thank you for all you do and Happy New Year!

Jan 01, 2010 12:49 AM #46
Diane Aurit
LKN Realty, LLC - Mooresville, NC
Lake Norman Real Estate

All good choices!  I can't wait to see what 2010 brings!

Jan 01, 2010 01:56 AM #47
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

Thank you for this information...especially the info on RPR...that does sound like the "game changer" one on the list!

Jan 01, 2010 04:50 AM #48
Roshan Quigley
Weichert Realtors - Manalapan/Marlboro, NJ - Manalapan, NJ

Thanks for the updates Stefan, nice summary



Jan 01, 2010 09:42 AM #49
Stefan Swanepoel
New York Times Bestselling Author & International Speaker - Ladera Ranch, CA

Thanks for the commentary everyone.

Happy New Year to all and may all your wishes and dreams for 2010 come true!



Jan 01, 2010 11:09 AM #50
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Stefan, thanks for posting this and I look forward to your full report. GMAC has always been a confusing franchise to me. There was a company here that was "GMAC/Better Homes & Garden" and then last year they dropped all franchise names and went strictly local.

Jan 01, 2010 01:33 PM #51
Duke Fyffe



Could you explain the comment about Metro Brokers switching brands?  I'm a Metro Broker company in Denver and I'm not aware of the brand switch.  Thank you in advance.

Jan 01, 2010 02:15 PM #52
Beverly Femia
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Hampstead, NC
Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are

Great overview with several items coming to my attention for the first time.  Thank you!

Jan 02, 2010 09:24 AM #53
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

Okay, I thought I stayed on top of news and information but you got me on half of this stuff Stefan. Interesting information. Make it a great New Year!

Jan 02, 2010 09:49 AM #54
John Reinhardt


Thanks for the recap list.  This is a truly interesting time in our industry.  It's getting so hard to predict these things, but your TRENDS are always so enlightening.
I look forward to being a part of the transformation of the real estate industry.  We're excited about the opportunity that lies in this environment of change.

Happy New Year!


Jan 02, 2010 09:56 AM #55
Stefan Swanepoel
New York Times Bestselling Author & International Speaker - Ladera Ranch, CA


There are many brokerages that function by the same name in different states. This switch was by Metro Brokers in Atlanta, GA and does not impact you in Denver, Colorado. They were under the GMAC umbrella now they are under the BH&G umbrella.


Jan 03, 2010 01:19 AM #56
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

This was a real interesting list.  I felt like I was in the know that I was aware of all but one of them.

Jan 03, 2010 02:22 PM #57
Dan Gooder Richard

Right on target, Stefan.  BTW, happy birthday!  As they say in Afrikaans, "Mag al jou tendense uitkom, en al jou boeke moet 'n sukses in 2010."  (Thanks to Google Translate.)   No question the tax credit extension and expansion will drive the market buzz in early 2010, hopefully into the summer.

Talking to Rainmaker real estate agents around the country, it's clear many of them are gearing up now for a new wave of FIRST-TIME SELLERS in the coming market.  In the last 4 years the percent of first-time buyers has continued relentlessly upward.  In 2006, 36% of all buyers were first-timers.  In 2007 that bumped to 39%, then in 2008 to 41% and finally in 2009 first-time buyers were 47% of all buyers, according to NAR statistics.  2009 beat the previous high of 44% first-timers set in 1991.

What's next?  We expect these buyers will become a wave of first-time sellers in the upcoming market. Many will want to move up with the instant equity they gained from buying at distressed prices in the last 4 years. Targeting this group with marketing designed to generate listings -- and more dual commissions on the buy-up side -- is a key strategy for successful agents, as I blogged this week (

Looking forward to 2010 with positive anticipation!

Jan 05, 2010 05:22 AM #58
David Zimmerman

Well done.

Jan 08, 2010 07:23 PM #59
Frank D'Angelo
EXIT REALTY NEXUS Minneapolis & St. Paul MN - Coon Rapids, MN
Helping people is my business in Real Estate

looking forward to another trends report.  Thank you Stefan.  Your reports have helped me, particularly when I launched a relatively non conventional brand in the most in opportune time.  Your forsight has allowed me to review, adjust, adapt and most importantly grow.

Thank Stefan

Jan 26, 2010 12:23 PM #60
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