Grading Time! The 2017 Predictions

Welcome to another edition of an annual tradition, in which I go back and grade myself on my predictions made at the start of this year. (Link goes to Inman.)

For those keeping track at home, my record so far:

  • 2010 Predictions: 6 for 10 (.600)
  • 2011 Predictions: 4.5 for 7 (.642)
  • 2012 Predictions: 2 for 7 (.286)
  • 2013 Predictions: 4.5 for 7 (.642)
  • 2014 Predictions: 3 for 7 (.429)
  • 2015 Predictions: 2.5 for 7 (.357)
  • 2016 Predictions: 1 for 7 (.143)

If it looks like I’m unable to repeat my rookie season, well, I would hardly be the first person to have a breakout rookie year and then crash and burn now would I? Besides, with predictions sure to be wrong, or your money back, one could argue I’m actually improving.

However you see it, let’s go ahead and see how I did for 2017.

1. Housing prices fall, but inventory crisis ends. NO

Well, we can start off with a big strikeout. Not only did housing prices not fall, they increased by 5.6% in November and are likely on track to be up over 6% from 2016 numbers.

And tight inventory continued to be the story throughout 2017 as well, with only 3.4 months of inventory nationally as of November.

It’s my fault for trusting politicians. I know, I know, who does that?!? I imagined that with the unexpected Trump win in 2016, the markets would tank, prices would drop, and that he would push through legislation to spur new construction given his background as a developer. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Maybe 2018? Who knows. What we do know is that I got this one so completely wrong, just like legions of political experts did in the weeks and months prior to November of 2016.

2. Realogy launches low-cost brokerage and franchise operations. NO

I’m shocked and saddened that I got this one so wrong as well. I thought given all of the changes made in 2016, Realogy knew that it was in trouble and had to make some real adjustments.

I figured those adjustments would at least partially deal with the lack of cost competitiveness for Realogy’s brands and for its in-house brokerage, the NRT. Instead, NRT slashed its splits for top producing agents in order to fight off Compass, KW, and the like. So in a way, it’s kinda sorta like launching a low-cost brokerage without launching a low-cost brokerage… oh, who am I kidding?

We’ll see if Realogy, in the Age of Ryans, will do something serious. I predicted it for 2018, so I’m hopeful. But in 2017, still under Richard Smith’s watch, Realogy did nothing much but give money away to its top producers in the hopes of stanching the flow. No low cost brand or brokerage.

Got that one wrong for sure.

3. Zillow goes upstream of Upstream. YES

I’m going to be generous and say I got this one right.

With the announcement that Bridge now handles listing input, providing single point of entry in the Atlanta area, Zillow now does provide everything that brokers say they want from Upstream: single point of entry, streamlined data management, and control over data distribution. I don’t know that anybody other than FMLS has adopted the Zillow platform, but it isn’t as if FMLS and GAMLS are rinky-dink ma-n-pa MLSs in the middle of nowhere. Those are two of the largest and best run MLSs in the country, with as serious a case of “overlapping market disorder” as there is (they’re literally on top of each other, competing in the Atlanta metro area). Yet, this technology solves the data-related problems.

We’ll see if anybody else takes Zillow up on its offer to go upstream of Upstream in 2018, but I’m gonna say I got this one right.

4. Opendoor emerges as the most important company in real estate. NO

For all we know, Opendoor did become the most important company in real estate in 2017 with a series of deals and technology innovations. They just didn’t tell anybody about them.

Instead, Redfin went public (I didn’t see that one coming) and became the most important company in real estate simply by having to reveal a bunch of information about itself. I know I’ve written extensively on that topic, so you’re already bored of it, so let’s just agree that while Opendoor may be the most important company in real estate behind closed doors of secret conference rooms, it certainly did not emerge in any way in 2017.

Redfin did.

5. The youth movement begins in brokerage. YES

Let’s start with the fact that the Two Ryans of Realogy are under 50. Schneider is 48; and Ryan Gorman, new CEO of NRT, is 39 or 40 (he graduated college in 2000). Two of the biggest CEO jobs in brokerage went to people under 50 who did not start the brokerage themselves. Granted, Gorman was just named this year, but Schneider was named last year in 2017 so that counts.

John Davis of Keller Williams was named the sole CEO in 2017; I don’t know his age, but he doesn’t look over 50 to my eyes. Adam Contos was named as CEO of Re/Max and he’s 45.

Add in the fact that we discovered Redfin is a Top Five brokerage by volume, and Glenn Kelman is 45 or 46. He didn’t found Redfin either; he’s just been its CEO for a very very long time.

While they’re the founders, there is no doubt that few people are making waves more than Robert Reffkin and Ori Allon of Compass — they’re young guys who run marathons and stuff.

I’d say the youth movement has definitely begun in real estate brokerage. Expect to see more and more in the coming years.

6. NAR does something about the crappy agent problem. NO

I keep hoping, and praying, and predicting… and being wrong on this particular topic.

I predicted that NAR would actually put in enforceable professionalism requirements in 2017 to deal with what its own DANGER Report called the A-1 Problem: masses of marginal agents.

I know that there were some solid proposals floated in 2017, and that the Professional Standards Committee has considered them in November, then referred them to a subcommittee for even further study, but no actual action was taken in 2017.

Yes, I know, NAR moves slowly. I was probably too impatient, but whatever the reason, that prediction did not pan out.

7. NAR names a female successor to Dale Stinton. NO

News Flash! Bob Goldberg is not a woman.

Bob Goldberg is the successor to Dale Stinton. Ergo, by the power of mighty logic, we can safely conclude that the successor to Dale Stinton is not female.

There’s been already far too much ink spilled on that whole NAR succession story. Let’s let the fact that I was so wrong (two years running) about NAR picking a woman to be CEO of a majority-female organization be the last batch of spilled pixels.


So… 2 for 7 is a .286 batting average. Solid, respectable performance. Not first ballot Hall of Fame or anything, but I probably get to keep my job at least.

Until then, a Happy New Year to you all!


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Rob Hahn

Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, and the grand poobah of this here blog. Once called "a revolutionary in a really nice suit", people often wonder what I do for a living because I have the temerity to not talk about my clients and my work for clients. Suffice to say that I do strategy work for some of the largest organizations and companies in real estate, as well as some of the smallest startups and agent teams, but usually only on projects that interest me with big implications for reforming this wonderful, crazy, lovable yet frustrating real estate industry of ours.

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1 thought on “Grading Time! The 2017 Predictions”

  1. Oh well Rob. Despite the unpredictable nature of the “reality surrounding the prediction of new realities”, I still think you’re a pretty bright guy.

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