Houston, we have a … steady market? Houston’s housing market has remained consistent post-pandemic. Other cities have seen massive upswings and downturns as rates shift and home prices skyrocket, but the Bayou City remains inoculated from both the best and worst of the recovery.
While home sales have slowed in 2023 across the nation amid rising interest rates and home prices, Houston has largely fended off the trend. Median home prices were fairly stable in 2022, staying between $300,000 and $350,000 month-over-month with an annual average of $325,000, according to Redfin. So far in 2023, prices have only increased 1.5 percent year-over-year rising to a median price of $330,000 in March. Days on market also remained consistent averaging 27 days in both 2021 and 2022. As of March, homes in the city are averaging 33 days after peaking at 49 in January.
“The capacity of Houston’s real estate market to replicate the success of the last two years will depend in large part upon whether interest rates stabilize and whether economic uncertainties are resolved,” said Seita Jongebloed, Compass managing director for Greater Houston.
Houston is growing into one of the country’s most competitive real estate destinations. In the first ranking of the top 10 performing brokerages in Houston by The Real Deal, we’ll take a closer look at the resi firms dominating the city. Our rankings cover Harris County between March 2022 and March 2023.
H-Town’s Top 10
Compass leads the pack with a $2.6 billion sales volume, about double its closest competitor, Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty. Debuting in Houston five years ago, Compass has seamlessly cemented itself as the city’s premier brokerage with 469 active agents amid mass layoffs and legal woes, which have trickled into the Houston branch.
Despite national layoffs and local setbacks, the company is still poised to continue its domination of the Houston scene in 2023, Jongebloed said. “After a seasonal lull at the start of the year, the spring market is shaping up to be extremely robust,” she said. “We are seeing multiple offers over list prices on desirable homes in neighborhoods with tight inventory, and prices remain high.”
Houston’s very own “Empress of Real Estate,” Martha Turner Sotheby’s, trails Compass in our ranking with $1.3 billion in total sales volume. The Houston-based firm closed 1,447 transactions during our ranking year. Surrounded by a sea of outsiders, Martha Turner Sotheby’s is top among the four local firms on our list. Boasting an average closing price of $916,000, Martha Turner Sotheby’s city-wide reputation for luxury persists.
Next, with a total sales volume of $1.2 billion across almost 3,580 transactions, eXp Realty ranked third. It outperforms all other brokerage firms in sales transactions by more than 200 deals. The firm made a splash in October after adding reality TV star Washington Ho to its Houston roster. Ho is a scion of the famed Ho family of Houston real estate and the breakout star of HBO Max’s House of Ho.
In fourth place, Greenwood King closed $1.1 billion in sales. With 1,078 transactions booked, the firm logged the smallest number of deals across our top 10.
“Greenwood King is small … with approximately 160 agents … we can pivot very quickly and decisively cut costs while still delivering the support and advertising our agents and clients expect,” said Elaine Ellender, vice president of new homes sales at Greenwood King. “Our staff has been with us for an average of 15 years so they are willing to do whatever it takes to get their job done efficiently,”
Don’t let its small size fool you. Greenwood King is no stranger to being on top. With an average listing price of $1 million on homes sold during the ranking year, it’s the city’s top million-dollar specialist. Caroline Billipp of Greenwood King represented the seller of Houston’s most expensive home ever listed, a $21 million Memorial Close-In estate on 120 Carnarvon.
“The first three quarters of 2022 were slightly off … however, sales fell significantly in the last quarter of 2022, so our sales did end up down 10 percent from 2021,” Ellender said.
Ellender said 2021 was the best year for the local luxury firm since its inception, with record-shattering sales totaling $1.6 billion. Although 2022 also proved to be a successful year for the firm, she expressed uncertainty about the future, stating “only Yoda knows” how things will play out.
“January and February are typically slower months for real estate companies, but 2023 has been challenging. Normally, our spring market heats up at the end of February,” she said. “This year, the spring market has started to heat up in April. We are definitely making up for lost ground in this second quarter.”
Rounding out the top five is another Houston-based firm, BBGRE Gary Greene, with $833 million in sales volume across 1,931 transactions. Focusing on the mid-market, BHGRE Gary Greene closed on houses with an average price of $333,000, right in line with the median price of homes in the Bayou City.
In the bottom half of the top 10 are Keller Williams Realty – Memorial, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams Metropolitan, REALM Real Estate Professional and HomeSmart.
The top 10 booked nearly $10 billion in sales, accounting for almost 35 percent of Houston’s total sales volume output of $28.8 billion.