Best Commercial Real Estate Firm

2021 Top Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Firms

CPE unveils the 20 leading overall brokerage firms—and the top performers for investment and leasing—in the latest edition of our annual ranking.

Rank Company 2020 Investment Sales Volume ($MM) 2020 Square Feet Leased (000s) No. of Brokers Property Types
1 CBRE $181,644.81 1,200,000 9,450 O, I, R, M, Ho, X
2 Cushman & Wakefield $88,000.00 738,000 4,036 O, I, R, M, X
3 Newmark* $72,590.89 199,925 1,941 O, I, R, M, H, Ho, St, Se, X
4 Colliers $23,548.84 403,010 2,427 O, I, R, M, Ho, X
5 Lee & Associates $10,056.00 285,307 1,092 O, I, R, M, X
6 NAI Global $17,000.00 166,000 6,000 O, I, R, M, H, Ho, St, Se
7 Marcus & Millichap $43,406.82 2,097 O, I, R, M, H, Ho, St, Se, X
8 Avison Young $9,900.00 80,300 1,937 O, I, R, M, X
9 TCN Worldwide $21,847.53 64,927 1,500 O, I, R, M, X
10 SVN International Corp. $12,500.00 29,205 1,340 O, I, R, M, X
11 Kidder Mathews $3,857.76 31,084 470 O, I, R, M, H, X
12 NorthMarq $2,085.94 41 M
13 SRS Real Estate Partners $2,047.12 7,803 168 O, I, R, M, H, X
14 Matthews Real Estate Investment Services $4,072.71 92 240 O, I, R, M, H, X
15 Transwestern Real Estate Services $3,323.62 39,145 430 O, I, R, M, H, X
16 Coldwell Banker Commercial $5,400.00 2,635 O, I, R, M, Ho, X
17 Stream Realty Partners $1,052.26 37,892 182 O, I, R, H, X
18 Berkadia $8,000.00 112 O, I, R, M, H, Ho, St, Se, X
19 James Capital Advisors $332.08 31 O, I, R, M, H, X
20 Voit Real Estate Services $831.24 14,115 125 O, I, R, M, X

Top 10 Firms in Leasing

Top 10 Firms in Sales

Rank Company Name
1 CBRE
2 Cushman & Wakefield
3 Lee & Associates
4 Colliers
5 Newmark
6 Avison Young
7 Kidder Mathews
8 NAI Global
9 Transwestern Real Estate Services
10 Stream Realty Partners
Rank Company Name
1 CBRE
2 Newmark
3 Cushman & Wakefield
4 NorthMarq
5 NAI Global
6 Colliers
7 Marcus & Millichap
8 Lee & Associates
9 SRS Real Estate Partners
10 Avison Young

* Newmark’s figures represent the brokerage firm’s North American operations only.

Key: O=Office, I=Industrial, R=Retail, M=Multifamily, H=Health Care, Ho=Hospitality, St=Student Housing, Se=Senior Housing, X=Other

To be included in upcoming surveys, email Jeff Hamann at jeffrey.hamann@cpe-mhn.com. 

Navigating a Changed Landscape

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting many aspects of the commercial real estate industry, top commercial real estate brokerage firms were able to quickly adjust and continue providing services for their clients.

Office sales volume did drop substantially in 2020 to $60 billion, a 44 percent decline from the $108 billion in 2019. Despite this drop, pricing per square foot remained relatively stable at $274, a 2 percent increase from 2019. Sales volume will likely increase in 2021 but is expected to remain below pre-pandemic levels. As the industry finds its way forward, our 2021 Most Powerful Brokerage Firms ranking highlights the top firms to watch.

CBRE retained its long-standing position at the top of this year’s overall ranking and additionally placed first in our leasing and sales rankings. Even though the firm’s investment sales volume dropped 31 percent from 2019, it reported $182 billion across asset types—the highest among our respondents. CBRE’s investment volume was spread across asset classes, with the largest volume occurring in the office and industrial sectors. The brokerage’s leasing volume was down as well, with 1.2 billion leased in 2020, a 25 percent decline from the previous year.

Rounding out the top three are Cushman & Wakefield and Newmark, with $88 billion and $73 billion in sales volume for 2020, respectively. Both firms saw a decline in sales volume in 2020, with Cushman & Wakefield’s volume declining by 22 percent and Newmark’s decreasing by 12 percent. Out of all companies surveyed, the largest percentage of investment sales volume occurred in the multifamily sector, followed closely by industrial and office.

In the leasing ranking, Cushman & Wakefield ranked second with 738 million square feet leased in 2020, and Lee & Associates was third, with 285 million square feet leased. Industrial leasing made up more than half of all activity, at 51 percent of total volume. Office leases accounted for 35 percent of the total.

Methodology

Commercial Property Executive‘s rankings of the Most Powerful Brokerage Firms are based on self-reported data from all firms. We used a weighted formula, considered various factors including a firm’s performance in 2020 and previous years, and reviewed data that reflects investment sales and leasing activity. The rankings represent what we feel is a logical balance between firm growth and market share. Ranking factors are not limited to the data that appear on this page.

10 Largest Commercial Real Estate Companies in the World

Commercial real estate differs from residential real estate in that it is limited to properties that are used for commercial purposes. Some good examples of commercial properties are office buildings, restaurants, and industrial storage facilities. Since the details figured into property values for commercial real estate are so different than residential, sellers usually enlist the help of companies who specialize in commercial properties.

As you can imagine, anything involving industrial-level properties is bound to involve some pretty big numbers! Today we’ll be learning about 10 of the largest commercial real estate companies in the world and ranking them according to their 2018 annual revenue.

  1. RE/MAX Commercial

 Revenue: $212 million
 Number of Employees: 100,000
 Headquarters Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
 Year Founded: 1973

REMAX

RE/MAX, whose name is short for “Real Estate Maximums”, is known for its red, white, and blue hot air balloon that was first featured as its logo in 1997. This extremely active commercial real estate company closed more than one million transactions in the United States in 1997 alone! RE/MAX was the first real estate company to make this accomplishment.

Did You Know?

The RE/MAX slogan is “Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX.”

  1. Coldwell Banker Commercial

 Revenue: $8.7 billion
 Number of Employees: 2,100
 Headquarters Location: Madison, New Jersey, USA
 Year Founded: 1906

Coldwell Banker Commercial

Coldwell Banker was founded in San Francisco, California, and has since expanded to the point of maintaining 3,000 offices in 49 different territories and countries! Sears acquired Coldwell Banker in 1981, and the company’s commercial unit changed hands a second time when it was sold separately to a buyout group in 1989 and renamed CBRE. The original Coldwell Banker company still deals in commercial real estate and focuses on helping consumers find the best deals on properties.

Did You Know?

Coldwell Banker is the oldest real estate company in the United States!

  1. Transwestern

 Revenue: $10.8 billion
 Number of Employees: 2,100
 Headquarters Location: Houston, Texas, USA
 Year Founded: 1978

Transwestern

Transwestern has a commercial real estate presence in over 180 offices in 37 different countries around the world. It maintains 34 offices in the United States alone! Additionally, Transwestern strives for the smoothest possible global operations by upholding partnerships with companies in other countries such as Devencore and BNP Paribas.

Did You Know?

Transwestern provides people with a number of different services through different brands such as Transwestern Investment Group and Delta Associates.

  1. SVN International

 Revenue: $11 billion
 Number of Employees: 1,600
 Headquarters Location: Bedford, New Hampshire, USA
 Year Founded: 1987

SVN International

SVN International advertises itself as one of the fastest-growing commercial real estate brands in the industry, and has a diverse array of specialty practices. The company’s areas of specialty include Golf & Resorts, Multifamily, Distressed Assets, and Single Tenant Investment. The company currently manages 200 offices in at least 7 countries worldwide, with plans to continue expanding.

Did You Know?

There has been some speculation about how future abundance might affect commercial real estate, with some worrying that changes to the supply and demand ratio will upset the industry.

  1. Lee & Associates

 Revenue: $13 billion
 Number of Employees: 800
 Headquarters Location: Orange County, California, USA
 Year Founded: 1979

Lee & Associates

Since they first opened in Southern California, Lee & Associates has expanded to serve a widespread area across the United States and Canada. The company offers an array of other services alongside commercial real estate, including property and asset management, valuation, and financing. The company strives to preserve the entrepreneurial spirit that was a key part of its founding and provides services through local markets.

Did You Know?

Lee & Associates boasts a Traction Volume Increase of 91% over a period of five years.

  1. JLL

 Revenue: $16.3 billion
 Number of Employees: 88,000
 Headquarters Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
 Year Founded: 1999

JLL

While the company we know today was formed in 1999 by a company merger, the roots of JLL can be traced all the way back to 1783 when Richard Winstanley founded it as a London auctioneer firm. The company opened its first American office in New York in 1975 and acquired a number of companies over the years, including Keystone partners, Guardian Property Asset Management, and BRG.

Did You Know?

JLL aims to be involved in its local communities and has put in around 97,957 volunteer hours.

  1. Avison Young

 Revenue: $17.4 billion
 Number of Employees: 5,000
 Headquarters Location: Toronto, Canada
 Year Founded: 1978

Avison Young

Avision Young was formed through the blending of two Canadian companies: Graeme Young & Associates and Avison & Associates. The company strove to offer comprehensive real estate services on the local level as well as internationally, and soon opened a series of other offices throughout Canada to realize that goal.

Did You Know?

Avision Young takes a collaborative approach to its business strategy and places a strong focus on long-term success when it forms plans with clients.

  1. CBRE Group, Inc.

 Revenue: $21.3 billion
 Number of Employees: 90,000
 Headquarters Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
 Year Founded: 1989

CBRE Group

Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis (CBRE), formerly the commercial unit of Coldwell Banker, has seen an extraordinary level of success as an independent commercial real estate services and investment firm. This company has shown consistent, notable growth since it gained its independence, both in terms of profits and the number of employees.

Did You Know?

In 2012, CBRE was accused of breaching Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) rules by selling a branch for less than the highest bid, but the results of the lawsuit were murky.

  1. Eastdil Secured

 Revenue: $22.7 billion
 Number of Employees: 505
 Headquarters Location: New York City, New York, USA
 Year Founded: 1967

Eastdil Secured

Eastdil Secured boasts high status as an industry leader with a reputation for being an advanced and innovative real estate banking company. This real estate firm announced plans to buy out its management from Wells Fargo, who has owned Eastdil Secured for the past two decades. The company now looks forward to even greater possibilities for expansion and less regulatory restrictions.

Did You Know?

Eastdil Secured states that it prefers to focus on long-term client relationships rather than quick, short-term solutions that might not hold up well.

  1. TCN Worldwide

 Revenue: $58.6 billion
 Number of Employees: 5,500
 Headquarters Location: Richardson, Texas, USA
 Year Founded: 1989

TCN Worldwide

TCN Worldwide is the largest commercial real estate company in the world by yearly revenue. This massive company is actually a conglomerate of multiple other independent commercial real estate firms, such as Premier Commercial Real Estate, which partially explains its astounding size. TCN Worldwide provides a highly comprehensive selection of services such as Tenant/Landlord Representation, and property Acquisition and Disposition.

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