How Does Howard Hanna Do It?

The title to this article may very well become the title of a book someday. The story of Howard Hanna’s ascension to the pinnacle of real estate brokerage in America is certainly one for the Library of Congress. By and large, their growth has come from two streams – market expansion in existing offices and acquisition. Oddly, not much has come from property value growth.

I remember my early days in real estate. I was at a conference somewhere and Alain Pinel was speaking about the growth of his namesake brokerage. When asked about his success, he replied along the lines of “when the doctors and lawyers are the poor people in your town, real estate is a great business.” It was a profound statement to take in. During the times of most rapid growth of Alain Pinel, Intero, and others in San Jose, property values were exploding in line with job silicon valley job expansion and income expansion.

Clearly the market place in many areas of America is driving the growth of real estate brokerage. If your market share is steady but the property value grows double digits, your brokerage will have double-digit growth. In viewing the antithesis, when your market share is flat but home values go down, so does brokerage volume. It’s a factor of the old business lore that tides float all boats.

Like all brokerages, Howard Hanna has experienced extraordinary growth coming out of the recession, but it was not the market that did it. Take a look at this graph that shows metros with the slowest Continue reading