Big Three home sellers in Wichita increase their market share

The three top Wichita residential real estate companies are strengthening their hold on market share in the midst of economic uncertainty, according to data obtained this week by The Eagle.

J.P. Weigand, Prudential Dinning-Beard and Coldwell Banker Plaza remain the leading home sellers in a seven-county area.

That's according to market penetration statistics for Jan. 1 through July 31 from the South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service.

Weigand leads the way with 21 percent of total sales volume, followed by Dinning-Beard at 14.4 percent and Plaza at 11.6 percent.

And according to internal Weigand data, all three companies have consistently grown their market share since the economic crash of September 2008.

Weigand, which sat at 15 percent of market share in 2008, is up close to 50 percent. Prudential is up about a percentage point over that time, as is Plaza.

The why comes down to survival of the fittest, said Tessa Hultz, chief executive of the Wichita Area Association of Realtors.

"The brokerages with the most reserves, the most resources and the most manpower can pull in, tighten their belts and hunker down better," Hultz said.

"At the same time, a small two- or three-person shop that's only had a sign hanging out for a couple of years isn't going to have the repeat business, the referral business without the necessary resources to fall back on."

The market share list — which includes sales from Sedgwick, Butler, Harvey, Reno, Sumner, Cowley and Marion counties — indicates that almost $1.2 billion worth of homes have been sold in the first seven months of the year.

Of that number, the three market leaders — plus Remax Realty Pro in Wichita in fourth place — have sold half of that total, a little more than $600 million in volume.

Weigand officials say they used the downturn to gear up for growth, adding agents and divisions.

"We've undertaken a much more aggressive marketing campaign in the past four years, including TV advertising, radio, Internet and have maintained our commitment to the print media," said Gary Walker, Weigand's residential general manager.

"We have also created new divisions in the last four years, including the REO (foreclosure) division, the auction division, a referral company, the new-homes division and a career development division."

Prudential Dinning-Beard's Willie Kihle couldn't be reached for comment this week.

At Plaza, the company's move to the Coldwell Banker flag, strong relocation business and continued emphasis on upscale home sales have grown market share. And that's with only 100 agents, or about a third of Weigand's roster, president John McKenzie said.

Home sales remain strong in the area up to about $250,000, Hultz said. But the future of those sales has been clouded a bit by the continued furor over the national economy, she said.

"There are a lot of different things that factor into the consumer confidence component, and the stock market is one of the loudest ones," she said.

"We've gotten into the habit of measuring the others by how the stock market reacts to them... and it's almost falsely become the measure of our country's consumer confidence. For better or for worse, the stock market has become one of our leading economic indicators."