Memphis, Tenn. - Memphis-based Crye-Leike, the largest real estate company in Tennessee and the Mid-South, announced that it has retained its No. 10 national ranking among the country's largest and most successful residential brokerage firms.

A recent research report produced by REAL Trends, Inc., the leading provider of information and analysis for the residential real estate industry, ranked Crye-Leike No. 10 among the 500 largest residential real estate brokerage firms in the United States for a second year in a row. Crye-Leike also held this same No. 10 position in 1999.

The 2004 REAL Trends 500 report further ranked Crye-Leike No. 7 in the nation among the 152 largest privately owned and independent real estate companies.

The 2004 REAL Trends 500 report is a compilation of a nationwide study of leading residential real estate companies conducted by REAL Trends (www.realtrends.com), a trends and analysis newsletter covering the residential services industry. REAL Trends requires verification of numbers from outside accounting firms.

These rankings were based on Crye-Leike achieving 24,817 closed transaction sides among its 54 branch offices in 2003. Crye-Leike ranked No. 24 in closed sales volume at $3.6 billion in REAL Trends' separate ranking by sales volume, a move up from its previous No. 25 ranking last year.

A transaction side represents either the listing side or the selling side of a closed transaction.

"The report is dominated by firms affiliated with national franchises, " said Steve Murray, editor of Denver, Colo.-based REAL Trends. "Franchised firms represent 70 percent of those listed in the REAL Trends 500 Report while 30 percent are independent firms."

NRT, Inc. led the REAL Trends 500 report as the largest residential brokerage company in the country. The firm, which owns 956 residential real estate offices across the United States, closed 488,606 transactions in 2003. Owned by Cendant, NRT acquires residential real estate brokerage firms and operates them as affiliates of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation and ERA Franchise Systems, Inc.

The real estate industry's largest and most successful local, regional and national brokerage companies collectively closed more than $740.8 billion in residential sales in 2003, representing more than 3 million in residential real estate transaction sides, according to REAL Trends.

Chief Executive Officer Harold E. Crye of Crye-Leike notes that Crye-Leike's sales growth in 2003 was due to a lot of hard work on the part of its sales team. "Yes, the interest rates of 2003 set the real estate market on fire, but still, our talented sales associates were the ones who seized the opportunities and made the sales happen."

Other factors Crye attributed to the company's successful sales record in 2003 included expanding markets and services within its Central Arkansas and Greater Chattanooga regions as well as expanding their presence through franchising within outlying areas in Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and other contiguous states.

"Extending our company's geographic reach and depth of services, making technology investments and improvements as well as offering aggressive agent training and education programs are all strategies that have positioned Crye-Leike to be among the top industry leaders," said Crye.

The study also tracked the sales of settlement services, products that are sold most frequently by leading residential real estate firms such as mortgage, title insurance, home warranty policies and homeowners insurance policies.

"This study indicated that growth in related settlement services is much higher than in residential realty transactions over the past few years for these ranked leaders," said the REAL Trends editor.

Among the Top 500 firms, Crye-Leike ranked No. 4 in selling 5,236 home warranties in 2003 through its affiliation with American Home Shield Corporation (AHS), the nation's largest and oldest home warranty company. Crye-Leike further ranked No. 9 in providing 5,888 title closings and other related services in 2003 through its real estate title and escrow company, Realty Title & Escrow Co., Inc. (www.realtytitle.com).

Tennessee real estate firms that ranked in the Top 500, along with Crye-Leike, included: Bob Parks Realty of Murfreesboro (No. 80); Realty Executives Associates, Inc. of Knoxville (No. 81); Coldwell Banker Barnes /Snow & Wall of Brentwood (No. 133); RE/MAX Elite of Brentwood (No. 176) Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace of Knoxville (No. 207); Realty Center/ GMAC of Chattanooga (No. 227); RE/MAX Preferred Properties, Inc. of Knoxville (No. 288); Shirley Zeitlin & Co. (No. 484), and, Prudential Professionals Realty of Clarksville (No. 487). All rankings are based on closed transaction sides. See Exhibit I for detailed rankings.

While Crye-Leike ranked No. 7 in the nation among the 152 largest privately owned and independent real estate companies, only two other real estate firms in Tennessee qualified within this category. Bob Parks Realty of Murfreesboro ranked No. 35 in the nation, with 6,501 closed transaction sides and 10 offices. Shirley Zeitlin & Co. of Nashville was No. 129 with 1,343 closed transaction sides and three offices.

REAL Trends is a research, publishing and communications company, located in Denver, Colorado, that serves the information needs of the residential real estate industry.

Crye-Leike (www.crye-leike.com), a full service real estate company for 27 years, has a network of over 2,800 sales associates and 71 branch and franchise offices located in 38 counties throughout a six-state southern region in Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and Florida.

As a full service real estate company, Crye-Leike offers real estate and related services, including: residential real estate services; relocation services; commercial business and investment real estate services; property leasing and management services; development and construction services; REO foreclosure services; mortgage lending facilities; insurance services; title services; home services; auction services; apartment locator services; franchise sales and builder resource services.

Click on the photo link to view a chart of Tennessee residential real estate brokerage firms that ranked in the top 500 nationwide in residential sales transactions in 2003 as released by REAL Trends Inc. in its 2004 REAL Trends 500 Report.