The owner/broker of a longtime Twin Cities-based flat-fee real estate brokerage was among the busiest real estate agents in the country last year, according to a voluntary survey of agents and teams across the country.

The Thousand and America’s Best list from Real Trends+Tom Ferry also included a couple dozen Twin Cities agents and real estate teams in a lineup that reflects the changing nature of the real estate brokerage business.

Greg Lawrence, the owner and founder of Home Avenue, sold nearly $82 million last year, landing him the 232nd spot on the list of the nation’s busiest agents. Lawrence was also the 24th-highest ranking agent based on the 263 “transaction sides” in which he represented either buyer, seller or both. Lawrence was followed locally by Artemisa Boston of Realty Group in West St. Paul, who had 206 transaction sides, and Rachel Huls of ReMax Results in Hutchinson, who had 158.

The self-reported list is divided into the top 250 agents based on four sets of criteria: number of transaction sides and total sales volume for both individual agents and teams.

Real Trends, a Colorado-based real estate research firm, says it verifies the data. Its editor and publisher, Steve Murray, said in an e-mail that the 2018 list was notable because it showed total sales volume increase 4% to $89 billion from the previous year with total transaction volume increasing 6%.

The average sales team did 563 transactions while the average individual agent closed 216 transactions — all up from 2017. Those increases come at a time when overall sales of existing homes fell 5%.

“When markets get tougher they get more focused,” said Murray. “They don’t like to give any ground away so they end up getting more share of a slightly smaller pie.”

Earlier this year the firm released its top 500 brokerages in the U.S., which showed Minneapolis-based HomeServices of America nabbing the No. 1 spot for the first time, beating longtime rival NRT based on the number of transaction sides. NRT was larger based on total sales volume.

HomeServices is the parent company of Twin Cities-based Edina Realty.

Lawrence said 2018 was the first year he participated in the survey, but assumes he would have ranked among the 250 busiest on previous annual surveys if he had responded. The Home Avenue model is unique in that he provides listing services for a flat fee.

“The rise of flat fee brokers is significant around the country,” Lawrence said. “The top 1000 ranking reinforces the fact that the flat fee model is growing and here to stay.”