Online Extra: Buffett: Home Sweet HomeServices
Ron Peltier, CEO of HomeServices, has been on a shopping spree. Since Warren Buffett bought the brokerage, some 20 companies have been added to the stable. Here's a look at five recent acquisitions and what makes them so attractive, as well as a listing representative of each market.
Fahey Sales Agency
Acquired: Jan. 5, 2005
Founded in 1949, the agency operates mainly in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. New infrastructure and affordable housing made the western and southwestern parts of the region especially attractive. This tuck-in acquisition will be converted into Edina Realty's offices.
Recent listing: A 1,184-sq.-ft. rambler in Hutchinson, Minn., built in 1978.
Asking price: $169,900
Acquired: Sept. 22, 2004
This Palm Springs brokerage firm expands HomeServices operations in Southern California -- an especially desirable area given the strong growth of nearby Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. Home values in San Diego are up 137% over the past five years; the typical price of a Los Angeles home is up 118%. HLH joined Prudential California Realty, part of HomeServices.
Recent listing: A Spanish-style home in Palm Desert with four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. The backyard features a pool, spa, and a view of the nearby mountains.
Asking price: $877,000
Prudential Carolinas Realty
Acquired: Apr. 8, 2004
One of the leading brokerages in North Carolina, the firm had 16 offices and sales volume north of $2.3 billion when HomeServices bought it. The fifth fastest-growing state, North Carolina has transformed itself from an agriculture and manufacturing economy to a major financial center.
Recent listing: A 2,000-sq.-ft. home in the Triad area, built in 1992. It features four bedrooms, 2.5 baths, and two garages.
Asking price: $164,000
Alabama's First Realty
Acquired: Jan. 21, 2004
The brokerage outfit had a 40% share of the Auburn (Ala.) area when HomeServices made the purchase. The median home price in the state is around $120,000, up 7% to 8% in the past year. The brokerage was rebranded as RealtySouth.
Recent listing: A two-story home on a cul-de-sac in Calera, Ala. The 2,250-sq.-ft. model is adjacent to a golf course designed by Jerry Pate.
Asking price: $199,900
Acquired: July 22, 2003
One of HomeServices biggest purchases, EWM is a dominant force in South Miami. The group handles around $3 billion in transactions and specializes in high-rise condos, a skill that's been invaluable for other brokerages under the HomeServices umbrella.
Recent listing: A 1929 Mediterranean-inspired estate centered on a garden courtyard, located in Coconut Grove.
Asking price: $5.95 million