by G. Sax, Head of Communications, RESO
Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards. The goal of the series is to humanize the tech side of the industry, fun included.
This week’s interview is with Clint Skutchan, SVP, Organized Real Estate at T3 Sixty. We talked about T3 Sixty’s Real Estate Almanac, associations and hat fashion. Enjoy!
Q1: T3 Sixty does a great job of tracking the industry, including brokerage sales activity and how many associations and MLSs there are.
What are a couple of key trends that you have noticed this year and what do you expect will offer intrigue when the next almanac is released?
Clint: The term “consolidation” is not necessarily what we’ve seen over the past few years. It’s absorption.
Largely, smaller entities are choosing to join much larger organizations, whether it is an MLS or an association.
The average is 3,600 subscribers for MLSs. There are now more MLSs above that number and fewer below it.
To be more specific, it went from 90% of MLSs having fewer than 3,600 subscribers and 10% of MLSs having more. Now we are looking at 80% of MLSs having fewer than 3,600 subscribers and 20% of MLSs above that mark.
Some of this change is organic, and some of it is market forces. Smaller MLSs are choosing to join established larger MLSs, not combinations with another like-sized MLS.
As far as the total number of subscribers among all MLSs, geographies that have seen growth over the last three years – like Austin, Boise and Phoenix – will return more swiftly toward pre-pandemic counts. Other markets may see slight increases and lesser decreases based on their particular housing values and job attraction.
Can agents make enough money while selling fewer homes? That’s the question. Subscriber counts are going to normalize, just as the marketplace normalizes.
Q2: You were once the CEO of an association of REALTORS® and you continue to consult for associations as part of your work in organized real estate.
Going forward, where do you see the value of associations? And do you envision a day when MLSs and associations will be fully decoupled even down to 200-member boards?
Clint: Part of my job is to help MLSs by “speaking” association. I understand the standalone value proposition of associations, and I believe in it.
“From my cold dead hands,” is a fairly rich sentiment with the majority of these organizations, meaning that they are not interested in going the way of the dodo.
Nearly 61% of associations are served by regional REALTORS®, and there are approximately 1,030 residential associations and 107 regional MLSs serving an average of six associations per regional MLS.
The smallest of the small will likely retain their association/MLS relationship because they are so far removed from the forces that create absorption. It simply doesn’t impact them. But some will join up and be a part of larger collaborations if the money dries up or rent for a building is too high or someone retires.
Some will see that it makes sense to join up with a larger nearby entity, but not all of them. Some will simply die on the vine or regress to such a low level of service that they will serve a very finite group of members.
Q3: You prefer a flat-billed baseball cap. Why do you continue to affront the ball cap-wearing community with this inferior style choice?
Clint: Because I grew up riding motorcycles and mountain bikes, and that’s what we did.
And I look good wearing them, man. It subtracts 15 years off of my age.
Plus, I’m me, and I don’t know any other way.
RESO: From your cold dead hands.