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Real Estate

RE/MAX makes big Florida investment

Magnolia Properties and its 125 agents will be part of publicly-traded brokerage

RE/MAX has greatly expanded its foothold in northeast Florida, buying Jacksonville brokerage mainstay Magnolia Properties.

Magnolia Properties’ 125 agents are now part of RE/MAX Leading Edge, a franchisee based in St. Augustine, Florida, according to a RE/MAX company announcement Monday. Before the deal, RE/MAX Leading Edge had 40 agents.

The deal shakes up the distinctive real estate market of Jacksonville, the largest U.S. city by physical area. Lately, northeast and California homebuyers have migrated toward the seaside, sprawling enclave, said Molly Butler, owner of RE/MAX Leading Edge.

“Have you been seeing the news?” Butler said, with a laugh. “Florida is open for business. The market is incredible.”

But the market is also beset by a 40 percent decrease in year-over-year inventory, Butler said.

Eileen Blocker founded Magnolia Properties three decades ago, and, according to Butler, has been in conversations about cashing out for well over a year.

Magnolia Properties’ listings range from multi-million-dollar oceanside mansions to $200,000 starter homes.

“This isn’t like Aspen, where you can focus on one thing,” Butler said of the local market. “Jacksonville is just like this massive area.”

Watson Realty Corp. and Florida Home Realty & Mortgage are the top Jacksonville brokerages by sales volume, according to RealTrends 2019 data.

Like other brokerages, RE/MAX weathered a volatile 2020. It suffered a sharp revenue downturn in the spring, but regrouped with a burst of sales activity by late summer.

The company, which is publicly traded, reported $266 million in 2020 revenue, down from $282 million the year before, and $11 million in net income, a drop from $25 million in 2019. RE/MAX reported a company-wide headcount of 138,000 agents.

Like other brokerages, RE/MAX has been bolstering its tech capabilities of late. The firm acquired location data company Gadberry Group in September. It has also upped its focus on mortgage as well – the company already has a mortgage franchise, Motto Mortgage, and added wemlo, a mortgage processing startup, last year.

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