Austin, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bailout. Credit crunch. Foreclosure. Despite these words permeating the headlines and airwaves, there are companies out there moving forward – even in real estate. Keller Williams® Realty Inc., the fourth largest real estate company in North America, announced today that it outpaced the market in 2008, while remaining free of debt, and gave back more than $30 million in profits to its agents.
"Our strategy is no secret. We faithfully follow the sound financial model of leading with revenue – the same model our market centers follow," said Mark Willis, CEO of Keller Williams Realty Inc. "As we watch companies throughout the country take on billions of dollars of debt, we are proud to say that our company has not one dollar of financing debt and we remain strong and financially sound. It is our joy to be able to give back to our agents during these times."
Despite pervasive downward trends in the real estate industry, Keller Williams Realty continues to outperform the industry. For the first 11 months of 2008, existing home sales for the United States fell 17 percent when compared to the same period the year before. By comparison, Keller Williams Realty is poised to outdo those numbers by 10 percentage points, and in addition, the company experienced a much smaller contraction in its agent base compared to the National Association of REALTORS®, who saw a 10 percent decline in membership.
"Keller Williams was founded 25 years ago during one of the toughest markets on record – when interest rates were higher than 18 percent. We continue to urge our agents to zero in on lead generation and reducing expenses so they can thrive during this market," said Mary Tennant, president and COO of Keller Williams Realty Inc. "We admire our agents' spirit, tenacity, and dedication to their businesses. They just keep powering forward."
Throughout 2008 Keller Williams Realty launched new products and services specifically to boost its agents' businesses, including two new books: Your First Home: The Proven Path to Home Ownership for first-time home buyers, and SHIFT: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times. Both books are written by Gary Keller, co-founder and chairman of the board of Keller Williams Realty, who also authored national best sellers The Millionaire Real Estate Agent and The Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
Founded in 1983, Keller Williams Realty Inc. is the fourth-largest real estate franchise operation in North America, with more than 690 offices and 70,000 associates in the United States and Canada. The company, which began franchising in 1990, has an agent-centric culture that emphasizes access to leading-edge education and promotes an economic model that rewards associates as stakeholders and partners.