Warren Buffett jumps into the real estate brokerage gameJeff Geoghan
The billionaire investor is revered in many business circles and his every move is scrutinized by the markets and pundits looking for a tip. It seems a fitting follow up to my column a few weeks back titled "Betting on the real estate market" that this gentleman has, in fact, done so.
Yes, Buffett's firm, Berkshire Hathaway, has jumped in the real estate brokerage game.
The move came earlier this month as Canadian real estate holdings company Brookfield Asset Management announced the sale of its Real Living and Prudential Real Estate brands to Berkshire Hathaway. Homeservices of America and Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway will combine into a new franchise called Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices. The new company will be based in Irvine, Calif., (my old hometown) and be led by a team of ex-Prudential Real Estate executives.
From what I'm reading, there is a lot of interest from the existing Prudential Real Estate franchises in North America in switching to a new brand – we'll see how that plays out locally in the coming months, I'm sure.
I think it's very interesting that Buffett would make this multimillion-dollar move right now. I think it's also interesting that he's betting on a bricks-and-sticks broker network… that says something good about our industry's future.
Everyone in real estate will be watching the new brand closely over the next year, and wishing them all success. So will Buffett's legions of investor followers.
Jeff Geoghan is vice president of marketing and communications for Coldwell Banker Select Professionals and Select Services, based in Lancaster City, with 10 offices in eight Central Pennsylvania counties. Jeff lives in East Petersburg, where he also serves as mayor. Jeff has been actively involved in local government and business and has been used as a source by local, regional and national publications.