HomeServices of America said Tuesday it has bought the largest real estate brokerage in Atlanta, expanding its already broad national presence.
The Minneapolis-based company acquired Prudential Georgia Realty, which has nearly 1,000 associates, 20 offices and is the top-ranked Atlanta brokerage in terms of homes sold. It is the third acquisition for HomeServices this year and is part of the company’s strategy to expand its reach and proceed with plans to build a new national brand.
HomeServices CEO Ron Peltier said his firm, which also owns Edina Realty, is trying to grow at a time when the home real estate market is recovering and many real estate brokerages cost less to acquire than they would have before the recession.
“The housing market is healing and prices are going up, although they are not skyrocketing,” Peltier said. “In Minneapolis, the inventory of available homes is extremely tight, and Atlanta looks the same.”
HomeServices, owned by a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Co., has been on a buying spree. The company announced plans late last year to build a franchised brokerage called Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to capitalize on the credibility of the Berkshire Hathaway name. The new entity will be operated in conjunction with the company’s existing brands and affiliate networks, including Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate. Those two networks alone have operations in more than 1,700 locations in the U.S., while HomeServices has a presence in 21 states.
The Atlanta acquisition fits into the growth strategy two ways: it is an established player in the Atlanta market and will be among a group of realty firms that HomeServices either owns or franchises that will be renamed to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices when the name becomes available later in 2013.
Dan Forsman, CEO of Prudential Georgia Realty, will continue in his current role running the day-to-day operations along with the executive leadership team and managing brokers.
“This transaction makes Prudential Georgia Realty an even stronger organization,” Forsman said. “By joining forces with HomeServices, we will be unmatched in our ability to serve the real estate needs of new and existing clients throughout Atlanta.”
With home sales on the rise and the prospects for an enduring housing recovery, the residential brokerage industry is poised for a year of significant mergers, acquisitions and expansions. HomeServices, the second-largest real estate holding company in the nation, hopes to acquire four to six real estate brokerages this year, Peltier said. Two earlier acquisitions were in Kansas City, Mo., and Fresno, Calif.
And not all the brokerages HomeServices owns will get the Berkshire label. Some, such as Edina Realty, will simply modify their logos to include the phrase “a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.”