June 2, 2023

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Real estate: networks of agents are gaining ground



The networks of real estate agents are still suffering from a lack of awareness among the general public. But they are indeed beginning to overshadow the agencies that have set up shop.

Born in the 2000s in France, they operate with a network of freelancers relying on their digital tools. And their low-cost model – which offers customers 10% to 15% lower commissions than traditional agencies – is in the process of imposing itself.

IAD market leader

In five years – between 2017 and 2021 – they have doubled their market share in the sale of old homes, increased from 11% to 22%. At the same time, that of physical agencies fell from 82% to 72% according to the first barometer published Wednesday by La Maison des mandataires, which federates the various networks. Its president, Vincent Pavanello, even affirms that “IAD, the first network of agents in France, has become number one in the market, ahead of Orpi and Century 21.” At the end of 2021, Xerfi was already talking about a “real redistribution of the cards”.

France now has 45,000 real estate agents, including 14,800 for the IAD network alone, compared to a total of 18,000 in 2017. Of the population of real estate advisers, 40% belong to a network of agents31% are salaried in an agency and 29% attached to an agency, according to this study.

Selling power

In 2021, agent networks saw their turnover jump 35%, to 1.34 million euros in a context of record transactions . They made 177,000 sales, out of a total of nearly 1.2 million, an increase of 31% compared to 2020, when market growth was +15%. For Vincent Pavanello, 2021 was also a year of “model recognition. “Investment funds have taken an interest in it, in particular Insight Partners, which participated in the raising of 300 million euros from IAD in February 2021.

According to the president of the National Federation of Real Estate Agents (Fnaim), Jean-Marc Torrollion, “traditional agencies have not been able to increase their sales force to support the exceptional growth of the real estate transaction market. They have left the field to the networks of agents who, themselves, have demonstrated their agility. He nevertheless underlines two weaknesses: the “high turnover” which continues to plague these networks and often also a lack of training.

“Model War”

In an ultra-dynamic market, this breakthrough of agent networks has not yet really affected physical agencies, which are also affected by the arrival of 100% online agencies (Liberkeys, Hosman, Proprioo, etc.). In five years, they have continued to record growth of 2.2%. But at the same time, that of agent networks was 23.6%! “With the contraction of the market that we sense, competition will be exacerbated, the war of models will start”, predicts Jean-Marc Torrollion, who anticipates a drop of 15% to 20% in the volume of transactions this year.

The spectacular breakthrough of the Stéphane Plaza Immobilier network, which relies on the attraction of clients for the agency on the corner of the street, proves that the classic model is not obsolete. The Arche group, which in a few years bought the Laforêt, Guy Hocquet, Century 21 and Nestenn networks, also strongly believes in proximity.

Capture sales between individuals

Another unknown lies in the ability of real estate professionals to capture sales that have so far been made between individuals. It is in particular to counter Leboncoin and SeLoger or PAP that they created, at the end of 2015, their own platform, bien’ici.

This market between individuals now represents 30% of transactions, compared to 37% ten years ago, according to Fnaim. For the time being, this decline has mainly benefited real estate agents. But tomorrow ? The game remains open.