Crye-Leike Realtors Breaks $1B Sales Mark in Arkansas

by George Waldon  on Monday, Apr. 22, 2013 12:00 am  

At top, Harold Crye, left, and Dick Leike founded Crye-Leike Realtors in Memphis in 1977. The regional firm entered the Arkansas market in February 1997 and has grown to become the largest residential realty firm in the state. Marcella Hagan, left inset, joined forces with George Faucette, right inset, at Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette.

After 15 years in the Arkansas market, Crye-Leike Realtors pushed deeper into uncharted territory and crossed into the land of 10-digit sales volume.

The company’s 572 agents around the state amassed a combined residential sales volume of $1.04 billion during 2012. 

Crye-Leike’s residential operations in Arkansas accounted for 22 percent of the company’s $4.5 billion in sales during 2012.

Lists

The largest independently owned real estate firm in the South began its inexorable march across Arkansas when it crossed the Mississippi River in February 1997.

The opening of the West Memphis office marked the firm’s entry in the Arkansas market. That was followed by Crye-Leike’s purchase of White Realty, which opened the door to the Jonesboro market.

The company began business in Little Rock in 2002 after earlier unsuccessful efforts to enter the market through acquisition.

That startup effort with 10 agents provided the seed that grew into the largest residential realty concern in central Arkansas.

Crye-Leike generated a market-leading sales volume of nearly $587 million last year.

The company entered the northwest Arkansas market in 2006. In the Benton-Washington County market, Crye-Leike held the third-largest market share among residential firms.

Two Fayetteville firms hold the top two spots in northwest Arkansas.

Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette ranked No. 1 with total sales volume of nearly $423.9 million. Lindsey & Associates Inc. tallied residential sales of $358.9 million.

On the heels of resurging sales during 2012, northwest Arkansas was visited by a double dose of notable consolidation moves among residential realty firms this year.

Market Pro Realty of Rogers is in the process of merging with Fayetteville’s Keller Williams Realty of Northwest Arkansas. Market Pro, led by Jan and Larry Robison, was known as Exit Pro Realty until June 2012.

“The new entity hasn’t quite been put together, but we should have it ironed out within the next 30 days,” said Jody Hendrix, principal broker at Keller Williams Realty of Northwest Arkansas.

Calls to Market Pro’s phone number already are rolling over to Keller Williams. Hendrix said the two firms reached an agreement in principle in March. 

“It doesn’t take long for like-minded firms to get something worked out,” he said. “You gain economies of scale. Both companies were profitable. This is a hypercompetitive market, and you have to make the P&L work.”

Market Pro generated a sales volume of $45.3 million in 2012. Keller Williams Realty of Northwest Arkansas produced $53.6 million for the year.

The combination would’ve ranked No. 6 in northwest Arkansas and No. 13 statewide.

Hendrix pointed out that a merger can be the easiest way to grow. His old firm, Hendrix & Associates, merged with Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney in 2007.

More possible combos are being pursued in the northwest residential market.

“We’ve reached out to several agencies,” Hendrix said. “We can always be hopeful that we can woo another company. We’re in the upper tier with 100 agents. But we’re trying to work a couple of mergers.”

In February, Century 21 Exclamation Realty of Bentonville merged with Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette.

In the aftermath, Exclamation Realty’s Bentonville office was closed, and about 20 agents and company owner Marcella Hagan joined Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney & Faucette.

George Faucette, co-CEO of the firm, said the timing of the merger co-incides nicely with a strong rebound of residential sales.

“I don’t know if we’ll have a 30 percent sales increase in 2013 like we did last year, but I feel confident we’ll have a double-digit increase,” he said. “The addition of Marcella’s team is going to be tremendous for us. She has a cadre of experienced people as well as young talent.”

Hagan started Re/Max Real Estate Results of Bentonville in 1998 and sold the business in 2006. She formed Exclamation Realty in 2007 and franchised with Century 21 in 2008.

Hagan worked as corporate trainer with Century 21 for eight months in 2009 and relishes the opportunity to teach up-and-comers.

“That’s my passion,” she said. “I love training new agents. I love the field and the market.”

Faucette said average sales price of homes handled at his firm has increased from $164,000 in the first quarter 2012 to $195,000 during the first quarter of this year.

“At least for the first 90 days of the year, sales price is up handsomely,” he said.

“The upscale market is a lot stronger than it has been, and the sub-$150,000 market has become a seller’s market. We’re seeing a lot more activity.”

This year’s list of Largest Residential Real Estate Agencies contains 35 companies. The firms are headquartered in 18 cities spread across the state. 

Little Rock was home to seven companies, followed by Fayetteville with five.

Conway and Jonesboro each had three. Bentonville, Hot Springs and Rogers each had two.

Benton, Cabot, El Dorado, Fort Smith, Harrison, Hot Springs Village, Mountain Home, North Little Rock, Russellville, Searcy and Springdale each had one firm.

Residential Mathematics

The real estate community double-counts the sale of a house in recognition that the buyer and seller are often represented by different agents and companies. The doubling reflects a system that rightfully acknowledges two sides to every transaction. However, instead of dividing the sales price of a property between the buyer’s agent/company and the seller’s agent/company to determine sales volume, both agents and companies get credit for the entire amount.

If a $100,000 house sells and one company is home to both the listing and selling agents, the company is credited with $200,000.

With this backdrop, the real world dollar total of houses sold is more like half the sales volume reported by companies and agents. Take 5 percent of that total to get a feel for what that translates into in terms of commission revenue, money that actually flows through firms and agents. The dollar volume thresholds for this year’s lists of top-selling agents remains $4 million and $8 million for team sellers.

Crye-Leike Realtors Sales Volume

2012 - $1.044 billion

2011 - $925.5 million

2010 - $897.2 million

2009 - $876.9 million

2008 - $900 million

2007 - $837.5 million

2006 - $704.9 million

2005 - $611.1 million

2004 - $451.3 million

2003 - $260 million

2002 - $110.7 million

 

 

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