Realogy CEO says remote work is here to stay and the firm is renovating its own HQ to prepare

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Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider told CNBC on Thursday the real estate services firm is embracing the remote work revolution that was accelerated by the Covid pandemic.

In an interview on “Power Lunch,” Schneider said the New Jersey-based company is about to overhaul its corporate headquarters to accommodate its new way of working.

“We’re charging ahead with this. … We’re knocking down walls pretty soon, and we’re making it into a much more collaborative space,” Schneider said. “Instead of having 1,000 people a day here, we want 250 a day here, but to do collaboration.”

Schneider predicted all of its headquarters employees “will be hybrid, working from home a bunch.” The executive said staff seems to prefer that model over the pre-Covid setup, where the office played a more significant role.

“It gives them more time back for themselves, but also to work on our things,” he said. “We’ll still have the power of collaboration in person, technology showcase, brand showcase. … We’re very excited about it.”

Schneider’s comments offer further insight into the varied ways corporate America is approaching the post-pandemic working landscape. It has implications not only for companies’ ability to attract and retain employees, but also for commercial and residential real estate. Some executives are pushing for a more aggressive return to the office; other corporations are giving employees the option of full-time remote work.

Realogy, which is the parent company of Coldwell Banker, Century 21 and Sotheby’s International Realty, has experienced firsthand the way in which widespread remote work has altered the housing market, Schneider said.

“We’re seeing really substantial strength in the suburbs. We’re seeing very substantial strength in the attractive tax and weather destinations like Florida, Texas, Arizona, etc.,” said Schneider, who has served as Realogy’s chief executive since late 2017.

“We think there’s a lot of permanence to some of these moves, especially at the high end of the market because it is high-end, white-collar workers who benefit the most from remote work,” he added. “We think that correlates to some of the luxury strength we’ve been seeing and using to print kind of our above-market numbers in the past few quarters.”

Realogy posted its latest quarterly results earlier Thursday, beating Wall Street’s expectations on the top and bottom lines. The company’s diluted per-share earnings of $1.25 topped estimates of $1.08, according to StreetAccount, while revenue of $2.28 billion was better than the $2 billion analysts projected.

Shares of Realogy fell nearly 1% on Thursday, giving up earlier gains to close at $18.56 apiece. The stock is up more than 41% year to date.

Despite a few recent data points suggesting the white-hot housing market has cooled, Schneider said Realogy has “not seen a slowdown in our numbers.” He added, “We continue to see real strength in the housing market, just not recently, but in the transactions that are in the pipeline for the future.”

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