The real-estate brokerage controlled by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought a Chicago-based agency, entering the third-largest U...
The real-estate brokerage controlled by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bought a Chicago-based agency, entering the third-largest U.S. metropolitan area amid signs of a rebounding real-estate market.
HomeServices of America acquired Koenig & Strey GMAC Real Estate from Brookfield Residential Property Services, according to a statement by HomeServices, which didn’t disclose the terms. Founded in 1961, Koenig & Strey has 21 offices and about 900 agents in the Chicago region.
New-home sales in the U.S. rose more than forecast in July and sales of existing houses rose to the highest in almost two years, prompting some analysts to suggest the worst housing market since the Great Depression may have reached bottom. Falling home prices and a government tax credit for first-time buyers are bolstering demand for U.S. houses.
“Koenig & Strey is a respected company, with an excellent reputation and long-term ties to the community,” Ron Peltier, chairman and chief executive of Minneapolis-based HomeServices, said. HomeServices said it will “continue to look for additional opportunities, both here and throughout other major markets in the United States.”
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HomeServices is the second-biggest U.S. residential brokerage after Apollo Management’s Realogy. HomeServices’ revenue fell 18 percent to $279 million in the second quarter after housing prices dropped from the same period a year earlier, according to a regulatory filing by the company’s parent, MidAmerican Energy Holdings.
MidAmerican is majority-owned by Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire, whose chairman and CEO is Buffett.
Realogy, the Parsippany, N.J.-based broker acquired by Apollo Management for $6.8 billion in 2007, reported a second-quarter loss last month of $15 million. Revenue from commissions fell 28 percent to $746 million and the average price of brokered home sale fell 15 percent to $188,489, Realogy said.
Realogy owns the Coldwell Banker and Century 21 brands.