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RE/MAX Holdings Inc (NYSE:RMAX)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
May 7, 2021, 8:30 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to RE/MAX Holdings First Quarter 2021 Earnings Conference Call and Webcast. My name is Megan, and I will be facilitating the audio portion of today's call. [Operator Instructions]

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Andy Schulz, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations, Mr. Schulz?

Andy Schulz -- Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, operator. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to RE/MAX Holdings First Quarter 2021 Earnings Conference Call. Please visit the Investor Relations page of remax.com for all earnings related materials and to access the live webcast and the replay of the call today. If you are participating through the webcast, please note that you will need to advance the slides as we move through the presentation. Turning to Slide two. Our prepared remarks and answers to your questions on today's call may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include those related to agent count, franchise sales, financial measures and outlook, brand expansion, competition, technology, housing and mortgage market conditions, including statements about recovery of those markets, capital allocation, dividends, strategic and operational plans and business models. Forward-looking statements represent management's current estimates. RE/MAX Holdings assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements in the future. Forward-looking statements address matters that are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements. These are discussed in our first quarter 2021 financial results press release and other SEC filings. Also, we will refer to certain non-GAAP measures on today's call. Please see the definitions and reconciliations of non-GAAP measures contained in our most recent quarterly financial results press release, which is available on our website. Joining me on our call today are Adam Contos, our Chief Executive Officer; Karri Callahan, our Chief Financial Officer; Nick Bailey, RE/MAX's Chief Customer Officer; and Ward Morrison, President of Motto Mortgage.

With that, I'd like to turn the call over to RE/MAX Holdings' CEO, Adam Contos. Adam?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Andy, and thanks to everyone for joining our call today. Looking at Slide 3. We continue to grow with a robust housing market and record Motto growth that helped drive strong financial results for the first quarter. Ongoing execution of our strategy and the benefits of investments we've made in recent years are having an impact. We're seeing strength in our key leading indicators. RE/MAX agent growth as well as Motto franchise sales and open offices, alongside improving financial performance. During the first quarter, we increased and enhanced our value proposition for both of our franchise networks. At our recent RE/MAX convention, we introduced innovative programs and new tools, technology and educational resources for the exclusive benefit of our affiliates. At the same time, within our mortgage business, we continue to ramp up our wemlo acquisition, offering affordable, dependable loan processing services to more of our Motto franchisees each week. Highlights of the first quarter included revenue of $72.3 million, up 3%; adjusted; EBITDA of $23.2 million, up 19%; adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.46, up 18%; and total RE/MAX agent count increased significantly, reaching a new all-time high and Motto franchise sales continued at a record pace. Turning to Slide four. April is generally when prominent industry publications announced their survey results from the prior year. For both RE/MAX and Motto, recognition of our track record of outstanding annual performance and consistent industry leadership continues. In fact, the high bar we eclipse each year remains way above the industry norms. Case in point, RE/MAX agents productivity.

Real trends have recently announced the result of its 2020 annual survey of large U.S. brokerages, one of the most widely followed reports in real estate the REAL Trends 500 ranks brokerages by total residential real estate transaction sites. This year's survey included over 1,700 brokerages. For the 11th consecutive year, RE/MAX agents in the survey on average outsold competing agents more than 2:1. RE/MAX agents averaged 16 transaction sites compared to the average for all other competitors at 7.3. That more than 2:1 gap is a clear statement on the quality and expertise of RE/MAX agents. What's more, the 16-side average was higher than last year. The productivity advantage exists at the brokerage level, too. With all qualifying firms for the REAL Trends 500 are ranked by average transaction sizes per agent, 42 of the top 50 are RE/MAX brokerages including 15 of the top 20. That says a lot about the quality of our franchisees. The quality of the agents they recruit, the quality of our tools and services and most importantly, the quality of the customer experience you can expect from RE/MAX. Globally, RE/MAX agents closed over 1.78 million transaction sides in 2020. We believe this accomplishment is unsurpassed in the entire industry. It was also our highest total since 2005 and the second most in the network's history, and even with commercial activity removed from that figure, nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX based on residential transaction sides. Similarly, Motto mortgage has numerous accolades for its franchise brand. In the annual entrepreneur franchise 500 list, Motto ranked in the overall top 150 and led the miscellaneous financial services categories in first place. Our momentum continues today. Both brands are off to a great start this year, and we look forward to sharing more good news as 2021 proceeds.

Turning to Slide 5. The U.S. housing market remained very active in March, as closings grew more than 14% from a year earlier, according to the RE/MAX National Housing Report. The drivers of the current dynamics are familiar, unusually low interest rates, the rise of millennial homebuyers and the prospect of working from anywhere are amplifying demand. Supply and affordability headwinds are the market's primary obstacles. It's clearly a seller's market right now, and homes are selling at a feverish pitch, making a tough inventory situation even more challenging. On average, homes that sold in March had been on the market just 38 days, nearly three weeks less than the March average of 59 days from the past four years. Two listings are coming out of the market, but because houses are selling so fast, the inventory total is having a difficult time keeping pace. In many markets, buyers are racing to make an offer on the house they want, often over listing price, and that competition creates an attractive environment for sellers. The good news is the incredible level of demand at a large number of transactions occurring. It's a challenge for both homebuyers and sellers, but RE/MAX agents are using their industry-leading experience to help their clients achieve the best outcome. Many of our affiliates are optimistic that they can have an even better year than they had in 2020.

With that, I'll turn it over to Nick.

Nick Bailey -- Chief Customer Officer

Thanks, Adam. Good morning, everyone. Looking at Slide six, overall agent count increased significantly, growing more than 6% year-over-year. We added over 8,000 agents worldwide since March 2020. In fact, we added more agents in the past year than we have in any 12-month period over a decade. Our agent count performance outside the U.S. and Canada accelerated, and we grew more than 16% year-over-year. We experienced widespread growth globally with countries in Europe, South America and Africa among the better performers. Canada enjoyed similar success as we extended our leading market position up North. Agent growth accelerated to almost 5% year-over-year as we added nearly 1,000 agents. It was our largest number of agent additions in four years. We saw growth across the country with the Ontario Atlantic region leading the way. In the U.S., we're encouraged that our agent count has virtually recovered from the pandemic-related losses we experienced a year ago. Moreover, we're seeing an uplift in agent counting company-owned regions in the past few weeks. Many of our affiliates enjoyed a banner year in sales last year and are expecting similar results this year. Armed with an unrivaled strength of our brand and what we believe are the industry's best collection of tools, technology and education, we continue to see impressive agent productivity as evidenced by the industry survey Adam referenced earlier. Turning to Slide seven. RE/MAX held our annual convention in Orlando, Florida in March.

For the first time ever, we hosted our conference in a hybrid format, featuring a virtual option as well as an in-person experience. We had a tremendous response with more than 6,000 attendees, both live and virtual from over 60 countries. During that event, we announced several important additions to our value proposition. And perhaps the most notable we announced an alliance that will help fill an industrywide gap in healthcare. Qualifying RE/MAX affiliates can opt-in for personal and family insurance coverage, choosing from several options with highly competitive rates. According to the National Association of Realtors, 2020 Health Insurance Survey, only 2% of agent members obtained their health insurance coverage through a real estate firm. So this is a unique new offering that is both an opportunity for our agents and a recruiting value-add for our franchisees. At the convention, we also unveiled several new training programs and educational resources, valuable marketing partnerships and even more enhancements to our technology suite.

The objective is simple, helping RE/MAX agents build their business and use the competitive advantages available to them. We're encouraged to see increasing adoption with more than 23,000 websites created on the booj platform, our growing digital presence is driving business to our agents, including a 70% year-over-year increase in leads during Q1. We also highlighted our exclusive First app at the convention and nearly doubled the number of trial users in the next month. We believe the First app is the best tool available for helping agents identify existing contacts who are most likely to sell a home soon. Its value is even more apparent and essential during times like these when the inventory of available homes is so tight. In fact, we've expanded our inside sales force and launch targeting marketing campaigns to help agents understand this powerful product and its capabilities.

Our other big announcement was the introduction of our new in-house data organization called G73, which is the marriage of our legacy data initiative and the geospatial data science of Gadberry Group, one of our 2020 acquisitions. G73 provides the information and analytics that power RE/MAX tools and technology like remax.com, the RE/MAX app, agent websites and more. By harnessing the U.S. real estate industries fragmented data and making it clean, standardized, normalized and geocoded on the back end. G73 drives a more seamless user experience on the front end and it really positions RE/MAX and its affiliates to offer even more value in a fast-moving industry. Looking ahead, we have more exciting technology developments to come. For instance, we're deploying the technology underpinning our First app in a new and exciting manner. But more to come on that later this year. We're also taking our tech global. We'll be rolling out the booj platform to Canada in the coming months, and it's an important step that we've been working on for some time. We believe that we'll open the gates to global tech expansion, making yet another important milestone in our rich history.

With that, I will turn it over to Ward.

Ward Morrison -- President

Thanks, Nick. Looking at Slide eight, we continued selling franchises at a record pace through the first quarter, setting a new annual high for the trailing 12-month period ended March 31. We've sold more than 70 franchises during the past year. Furthermore, since inception to date, we have now sold over 250 franchises, an impressive milestone for any franchise concept, let alone one under five years old. The accelerating growth of the Motto mortgage network as well as the diversification of Motto ownership across a variety of leading real estate brands is exciting and building. We're gaining market share in the broker channel right now as more real estate brokers and teams realize the value of having an ancillary mortgage business and embrace the benefits of the franchise Motto. Interest in owning a Motto office remains high, and we are currently running ahead of last year's franchise sales pace. We still anticipate selling between 60 and 80 Motto franchises for the full year 2021. The equally as exciting is a growing number of Motto offices that are open and operating. We now have over 150 open Motto stores in almost 40 states, and we're aiming to have 200 offices opened by the end of 2021. At Motto, we set our goals high, and we challenge ourselves. It's part of our culture. And one of the many reasons we've achieved so much success so quickly.

We're coming off a record 2020, during which time, the Motto network closed nearly $2.5 billion in loan volume more than doubling our 2019 total. Our goal in 2021 is to double loan volume again. Although many industry pundits are forecasting a slower 2021 as a refi boom phase, we believe we have a good chance to achieve our goal of doubling last year's volume, in part because of Motto's unique position in the purchase market. Simply put, Motto's loan originators are often tied directly to a purchase pipeline driven by real estate agents. Additionally, Motto LOs tend to come on board with a lot of local experience in connections to the respective communities, attributions that are critical to building a successful purchase pipeline. We are proud that Motto has almost twice a percentage of purchase volume as the industry average. If you take 2019 as an example, as a network, Mottos volume split roughly 80% purchase and 20% refinance when the industry average was basically 50-50. In 2020, we picked up more refi volume like everybody else, but Motto's balance shifted to 60% purchase and 40% refi compared to a 35% to 65% average split for the industry. We believe the strength of our existing pipeline will mean that as other lenders pivot back to purchase, Motto should be already a step ahead and prepare to grow further.

Another area of organizational focus for us is the successful integration of wemlo. We acquired wemlo low last year in order to solve one of our franchisees primary pain points, finding steady, dependable and economic loan processing services. We are currently ramping up resources to handle processing for our anticipated Motto loan volume. The housing market remains hot, so competition for talent is intense, our ability to hire as many quality loan processors as quickly as we'd like is our primary challenge alongside onboarding Motto franchisees. Nevertheless, we're processing an increasing number of loans for a growing portion of the Motto network and the volume is expanding week by week. The best-in-class wemlo technology provides the only enterprise solution of its kind in the mortgage brokerage space, while purchased primarily to support Motto franchisees, wemlo will continue to serve clients and market its products throughout the mortgage brokerage industry, serving as an additional channel of growth for RE/MAX Holdings.

With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Karri.

Karri R. Callahan -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Ward. Good morning, everyone. Moving to Slide nine, a healthy housing market and ongoing motto expansion helped drive strong financial performance during the first quarter. Our key leading indicators are trending well, and we generated revenue, earnings and margin growth during Q1 while converting more than 70% of adjusted EBITDA into free cash flow during the past 12 months. Total revenue was $72.3 million, an increase of approximately $2 million or 2.9%, compared to the first quarter of 2020. Acquisitions increased overall revenue by 2.3%, and FX impact was negligible. Organic revenue was virtually flat for the quarter, but we believe that metric does not capture the improving performance in our core businesses. Further to that point, recurring revenue streams, which consist of continuing franchise fees and annual dues, grew 3% compared to the first quarter of 2020. Broker fees also were up over 26% due to the strong housing market. In contrast, franchise sales and other revenue was down more than expected, primarily due to lower revenue from our annual agent conference, a function of COVID-19 and declining booj legacy revenue. Excluding these two items and the marketing funds, organic revenue growth from our core businesses was approximately 4%, in line with our mid- single-digit organic growth expectations for the full year 2021

. Our organic growth expectations exclude any anticipated benefits from lapping the COVID-related fee waivers we extended to our affiliates during the second quarter of last year. Looking ahead to the remainder of 2021, we expect our organic growth to benefit from multiple drivers, more revenue from broker fees due to the healthy housing market, increasing agent count, pricing, Motto expansion and growth from acquisitions once Gadberry and wemlo lap their one year anniversaries and fall into the organic bucket. Looking at Slide 10. Selling, operating and administrative expenses were $43.7 million in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of $9 million or 26% compared to the first quarter of 2020 and excluding the marketing funds, represented 80.7% of revenue compared to 65.7% in the prior year period. Selling, operating and administrative expenses increased primarily due to higher equity-based compensation expense from recent acquisitions, higher bonus expense due to the elimination of the corporate bonus in the prior year and increased personnel costs, largely from acquisitions, partially offset by a reduction in travel and events expenses and lower bad debt expense due to strong collections. Regarding the higher stock-based compensation expense, we recorded a onetime charge of $5.5 million as a result of accelerating the related expense of certain acquisition grants that was initially expected to be recognized over the original term of the award agreement. Turning to Slide 11.

The company's second quarter and full year 2021 outlook assumes no further currency movements, acquisitions or divestitures. For the second quarter of 2021, we expect agent count to increase 7% to 8% over second quarter 2020, revenue in a range of $74 million to $78 million, including revenue from the marketing funds in the range of $17.5 to $18.5 million and adjusted EBITDA in the range of $25.5 million to $28.5 million. For the full year 2021, we are increasing our agent count guidance on the strength of global agent count growth, and we expect RE/MAX agent count to increase 5% to 6% over full year 2020, up from 4% to 5%; revenue in a range of $300 million to $310 million including revenue from the marketing funds in the range of $71 million to $74 million and adjusted EBITDA in a range of $103 million to $107 million.

Now I'll turn it back to Adam.

Thanks, Karri.

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Moving to Slide 12. We began the year in a strong position and look forward to continued growth as the year unfolds. We're focused on expanding our value proposition to our networks and helping our affiliates succeed in the marketplace. We believe we have a winning strategy, winning brands and winning networks and look forward to seeing our recent investments continue to make a positive impact on our future results.

With that, operator, let's open it up for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Your first question is from Ryan McKeveny with Zelman & Associates. your line is open

Ryan McKeveny -- Zelman & Associates -- Analyst

Yes good morning and thank you two questions for me. So first question, I'm curious if you can just share some thoughts around the adoption of some of the tech products, services, booj, First, et cetera and maybe how that's been trending relative to your expectations? And second question will be -- so you mentioned, Adam, 70%. I think you said a 70% year-over-year increase in leads or maybe this was Nick, sorry, leads to agents. And I guess the question is, are you -- or is there opportunity to more directly monetize that lead flow? Or is that embedded within kind of the RE/MAX value proposition? And I guess what I'm thinking about is some brokerages generate a more favorable split to the company, on company-driven leads versus, let's say, agent-driven business. So I guess I'm just curious on your approach for the leads being generated and thinking about kind of the economic benefit to RE/MAX, is that more around just the general value proposition, the agent count dynamics? Or is there opportunity to further kind of directly monetize those leads that you're generating? thank you so much.

Nick Bailey -- Chief Customer Officer

Yes. Great. Ryan, it's Nick. Thanks for the questions. First off, on tech adoption, that continues to grow between booj and First. And mentioned First that we've had an uptick there. We're nearing 10% of our membership on a paid product. I'm very pleased there. And statistically, we've released that the average user of the First platform is 50% more productive than a nonuser. So we're seeing very strong results. As far as booj, we mentioned the number of websites published, that continues to increase month-over-month as do active users that we're tracking as new leads. So the platform is continuing not only with adoption, but we've had a lot of that driven by the feature releases and the expansion of the product. It's been around just over a year since we launched and so those will continue. In terms of lead monetization, historically, when you rewind back to the mid-2000s, when we launched the new dot-com and LeadStreet, one of our competitive advantages has been that we send referral fee-free leads to the agents. And so that has just been part of our culture. Now in terms of the opportunity to monetize what that -- those leads look like, I think that there is some opportunity for that. We have had discussions around that because the idea of leads going into an environment to be incubated to be warmed to a level that they're more purchased ready, we're seeing a tolerance from agents to say they're willing to pay for that incubation type of service versus just monetize off of a cold lead. But for the time being right now, the leads are referral fee-free and increasing two agents.

Ryan McKeveny -- Zelman & Associates -- Analyst

That makes sense very helpful thank you.

Operator

Our next question is from Vikram Malhotra with Morgan Stanley. your line is open

Vikram Malhotra -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Thanks for taking the question good morning everyone just maybe given the strength of the housing market, I'm wondering if you can give us update specifically on the U.S. and your expectations for agent count in the balance of the year. One would think in a very strong market. You have new folks coming into the brokerage business, just trying it out on their own. I'm just wondering if you can give us an update on the potential share gains, what you may be doing in the second half to kind of maybe ramp the agents up even more?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Good morning Vikram, It's Adam. So I'll start, and then I'll kind of hand it off here for a deeper dive into it. But when you look at agent count and the dynamics in this marketplace, it's -- first of all, it's a very high velocity marketplace, a lot of activity going on. But really, what we're finding is the agents who are best prepared to deal with that activity with the best backing in the brokerage and the tools and technology available to them are performing at the highest level, take the first half, for instance, that somebody walks into RE/MAX and they have access to that in the U.S. So our goal internally here is to continue to build the excitement and the reliance upon the tools to give you the most time with the customers in order to do the best job possible. The marketplace, though, is obviously challenging from a perspective of the fact that it's very noisy. There are just so many new agents doing very little business out there, and it's not doing a substantial benefit to the consumer as a result. So that's why we continue to lean on our average agent productivity. But we see some good excitement in the recruitment occurring in our industry. We see a lot of focus by the brokers and growing their business, and we also continue to see great interest in the franchise Motto and the purchase and expansion of our franchise footprint as a result. So that's a positive tailwind for the recruitment. I'll pass it over to Nick to put a bow on anything else here that I might have missed?

Nick Bailey -- Chief Customer Officer

Sure. Yes, I think just in general, that a strong market and an increase in total agent count increases the overall TAM of the industry, and that's going to help us in any form or fashion with growth. However, we always continue to say, though, it's known that RE/MAX is not home of the brand-new agents. Now it doesn't mean that we have had new agents that have joined us. I know we have new agents that are joining us now, and we have some of our brokerages that have very strong training programs as do we, and they can take advantage of it. But based on the average production of a RE/MAX agent, they generally have twice as much experience in the business and do twice as many transactions, and therefore, when we see the velocity of just licensees in general in the industry increase at the rate that it has, we're not going to be directly tied to that since we're going after more of a seasoned top producer.

Vikram Malhotra -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

That makes sense. Two more quick ones. Just first on the margins, maybe just give us an update as you -- for the balance of the year with Motto increasing and contribution from the newer businesses. How should we think about the margin ramp for the balance of the year?

Karri R. Callahan -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes good morning Vikram Great question. So I think we're really trending -- we're really happy with the performance that we're seeing across the key leading indicators. So obviously, ex some of the nonrecurring stuff that hit in the first quarter, organic revenue kind of in that 4% and really trending toward that mid-single-digit organic revenue growth. Assuming we continue to see the ramp in the top line, that -- just given the strength of the business model, the franchise characteristics should see the margin pick up in the back half of the year. So with regards to some of the investments, still looking at about a $2.5 to $3.5 million of kind of headwinds to adjusted EBITDA from those this year, but looking to kind of scale and improve on the margin performance in the back half. So really kind of targeting the midpoint of the ranges and some margin improvement in the back half of the year.

Vikram Malhotra -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Okay. That makes sense. And then just last one. You mentioned in your prepared remarks, as prospects for work from anywhere, you've seen a clear demand increase. I'm just wondering, off the top of your head, are there a couple of markets that you can cite where you're just seeing demand relatively just be very strong, specifically because of this phenomenon. I'm just wondering if there's a real pickup in certain markets where this migration has occurred.

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

I don't think there's any market -- and when you talk about migration, are you talking agent count or just home sales in general?

Vikram Malhotra -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

No, home sales [Indecipherable], as you mentioned, buyers are now looking at work from anywhere. So you're seeing this translate into demand for homes. I'm just wondering are there any markets that stand out?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

I don't think there's any that stand out specifically. Last year, I think we saw high-density population areas, specifically the Bay Area, a New York city that you saw individuals moving to suburbs. You saw Florida population increase. And overall, now we're starting to see some of those high-density areas as they open up in general. People are coming back. So I don't think there's one specific area to point too.

Vikram Malhotra -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Ok great thank you so much.

Operator

Your next question is from Stephen Sheldon with William Blair. your line is open.

Stephen Hardy Sheldon -- William Blair & Company -- Analyst

Good Morning thanks for taking my question First, the health insurance offering sounds really interesting. I guess, can you just give some more detail on when that will be rolling out and the kind of the structure of the operating?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes.Hi Stephen, very excited about the healthcare offering. We just announced that at our R4 conference a few weeks ago, and it was welcomed with open arms. It's obviously been a challenge for 1099 independent contractors to secure healthcare, if they don't have spouse or partner within the household. And so we found a company that structures this on an individual basis. And what that means is the entire brokerage doesn't have to be part of the healthcare program. It is up to each individual agent to have the opportunity to opt-in for coverage, which is somewhat unique. So that's advantage number one. The second part of it is the way in which it's structured it is with -- it is backed by one of the big four, but it also is outlined in a manner of which family or individual plus spouse plus family coverage, very similar to the way a corporate type of healthcare offering would be given to employees. And so the structure marries that of employees, which is what makes it so attractive. So the rates are extremely competitive. The options are competitive. It includes dental and vision and all the goodies that most employees get. And so that's why we believe it's been welcomed with open arms. So we believe not only is it going to help on the retention side, but it is a great recruiting tool for those that need it.

Stephen Hardy Sheldon -- William Blair & Company -- Analyst

Got it. That's good to hear. And then really great to see the pickup in agent growth, especially in Canada. Can you talk some about the divergent agent trends between owned and independent operations in the U.S. and Canada? It seems like a lot of the sequential growth over the last few quarters has come from the independent region. So is there anything the independent regional owners are doing differently, I guess?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I'll start with Canada. I mean, there's not one button that we push when it comes to growth. I think it comes down to three things overall. One, recruiting programs that are available to everyone. And the engagement is strong -- was strong last year and continues to strength. And the second part is, like we mentioned in the scripted remarks, with the value proposition, the new offerings that we have, the announcement of taking technology to Canada has created a nice excitement that it helps with brokers going to the market. But let me give you a Canadian specifically, and then we'll talk about operated regions versus independent. Canada's market in the U.S.A. couple of years ago, was not as strong as the U.S., Canada overall, especially on the western side, Ontario or Toronto specifically has been strong economically for the past couple of years. But overall, the market in Canada was bumping along. The pandemic, unfortunately, was very gracious to the Canadian real estate market, and it's very strong.

And so they've seen great confidence come back, brokers are confident about the market, which that confidence leads to an increase in recruiting. So not all just one button. In terms of looking at operating regions versus independent, of course, we have to look at geographies, total counts, et cetera, and we are working together with the independent regions collectively on recruiting programs and systems. And so we are seeing pockets of growth even in the owned regions tracking by state by market. And so there are a lot of bright spots in both operated and independent. We had the opportunity to go through some cleansing of some underperformers in the operated regions last year, which impacted some of our terminations, which office count termination was up because of the cleanse of the nonperformers, which we believe in turn, and we show that it directly impacts our ability to regrow in a market when we remove an underperformer. So I believe in the operated regions, we were more aggressive with cleansing the underperformers in general than the independents.

Stephen Hardy Sheldon -- William Blair & Company -- Analyst

Very helpful thank you.

Operator

Your next question is from Tommy McJoynt with KBW. your line is open

Thomas Patrick McJoynt-Griffith -- Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc -- Analyst

Good morning guys thanks for taking my question So as we think over the next couple of quarters in terms of looking at broker fees, the line on the income statement, obviously, you're growing up against some pretty easy comps in 2020, so perhaps better to look against 2019. Do you have an outlook for kind of how strong this housing market might translate to an increase in growth of fees relative to 2019?

Karri R. Callahan -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes good morning Thomas So great question. Definitely, strength in overall housing is obviously a tailwind to broker fee. Obviously, still only a relatively small portion of our revenue. And so obviously, RE/MAX tends to be a proxy for the overall U.S. housing market, both in terms of average home price and then just our participation within the market in general. And so I think if you just look at whatever your estimates are for just housing transactions as well as volume growth, we should track pretty closely with the market because we tend to really be a proxy for just medium home price and overall transactions.

Thomas Patrick McJoynt-Griffith -- Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc -- Analyst

Okay. Great. That's helpful. And then switching over to Motto. Obviously, there's been a lot of kind of headlines about competition in the broker channel, a lot of interest as we shift to a purchase market. Would expect the demand there to remain strong. Have you noticed any of those kind of headline competition kind of spilling over to even stronger kind of interest in Motto?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean, I think as the broker channel just gets its due, we're seeing more and more interest in it, for sure. And particularly our Mottos, we typically do sell to real estate companies. That's our large majority right now. And they have that purchase money transaction. So we continue to see great interest from real estate companies who want to monetize that particular portion of their referral base. And the broker channel continues to be one that not only our wholesalers are pushing, we're pushing, everybody is pushing to try and grow that channel because we think it offers consumers great choice, transparency, and we're excited about it.

Thomas Patrick McJoynt-Griffith -- Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc -- Analyst

And has any -- have there been any new competitors to Motto? Or do you kind of still think of it as standing in its own class is really the only kind of national mortgage franchise?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. There's no real national mortgage franchise out there. Obviously, there are some larger brokerages out there that would consider somewhat our competition. But we continue to just emphasize sort of our pathway and all the tools and services that we provide to our people. So we're just focusing on Motto. We really don't see a competitor on the horizon currently.

Thomas Patrick McJoynt-Griffith -- Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc -- Analyst

Great thank you.

Operator

Your next question is from Matt Gaudioso with Compass Point your line is open.

Matthew Ward Gaudioso -- Compass Point Research & Trading -- Analyst

Good morning Maybe just following up on Canada and the announcement to roll out booj there this year. Just wondering if you can share what the kind of technology environment looks like up there? Are a lot of the same vendors in the U.S., do they also have platforms up there? Or do you see booj as maybe being an even bigger differentiator for agents and brokerages in Canada?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes, good question. There are a number of providers that do offer services both in Canada and the U.S. I think in terms of overall, the systems are disparate in Canada. And so what we'll be bringing with the booj platform is that one ecosystem the idea of utilizing G73 to pull all of the fragmented data across the country together on the front end is very advantageous. And once we go live with a similar set of products with CRM website, things of that nature, it will be a competitive advantage to have kind of one system. But similar to the U.S., I think Canada experiences the same thing that the average agent is using multiple systems to conduct their business. Those of which do not speak to one another. And so to bring a solution that's all encompassed in a single ecosystem, we believe is going to be a competitive advantage.

Matthew Ward Gaudioso -- Compass Point Research & Trading -- Analyst

That's helpful. And then looking at international, another strong quarter there on agent growth. Wondering if you have any latest thoughts on monetization efforts on the international piece and what the I guess, ramp looks like to get a technology offering in place for international agents?

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Good morning It's Adam. So we're taking a hard look at really the holistic monetization of the homeownership life cycle, both in the U.S., North America and an outward from there. So we don't have anything to announce at this point. With respect to that, however, it is a key strategic focus of the organization to determine how the implementation of technology, data infrastructure, given, obviously, just a myriad of different data and privacy laws that you encounter by doing so. But ultimately that is one of our long-term goals is how do we roll out our technology data platforms and the home ownership life cycle throughout the global infrastructure that RE/MAX has built.

Matthew Ward Gaudioso -- Compass Point Research & Trading -- Analyst

Great thanks so much.

Operator

Your final question is from John Campbell with Stephens. your line is open

James Holly -- [Phonetic] -- Analyst

Good morning This is James Holly stepping in for John Campbell. I just had a few specific questions around the regions. Are there any that you would call out as kind of the specifics around the resurgency you've seen?

Nick Bailey -- Chief Customer Officer

Regions specifically. I don't think there's a specific region. The market as a whole, generally has been you can point to the coast lines, at least in the U.S. have always been where the vast majority of the market lies. The Midwest and the center of the country is generally kind of steady, Eddie, but they're experiencing very similar things for the rest of the country with extremely low inventory. And bidding wars and double-digit price appreciation in some of those markets. So it's fairly consistent, but I think it's just a matter of -- lot of people want to live in warm climates around the coastal areas. And that's something that's always been part of the industry, and we're not seeing anything different.

James Holly -- [Phonetic] -- Analyst

Okay. And then just a separate question here. So -- and then could you provide a bit of an update on maybe some of the recent acquisitions and integrations going on, like such as Gadberry?

Karri R. Callahan -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. So with regards to the recent acquisitions, a huge focus of ours this year has been around the successful integration. And I think the teams have done a really nice job really on all fronts. So really integrating from a technology perspective, Gadberry in with our legacy data platform, combining that and launching that externally to our customer base at our recent agent convention, and then also really harmonizing technology between First and booj on the platform there. And then on the mortgage side, obviously, the integration of wemlo into the Motto network and really expanding there and that's really kind of from a front-end customer service perspective and a technology perspective. And then I think from just a shared services and back office perspective, all of those integrations are substantially complete. So definitely a focus this year as we look to invest in those and really then propel ourselves into 2022 for outsized profit contributions coming from those acquisitions.

James Holly -- [Phonetic] -- Analyst

Great thank you appreciated.

Operator

We have no further questions at this time. I turn the call back to presenters for closing remarks.

Andy Schulz -- Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, operator, and thank you to everyone for joining our call today. Have a great weekend.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 42 minutes

Call participants:

Andy Schulz -- Senior Vice President, Investor Relations

Adam Contos -- Chief Executive Officer

Nick Bailey -- Chief Customer Officer

Ward Morrison -- President

Karri R. Callahan -- Chief Financial Officer

Ryan McKeveny -- Zelman & Associates -- Analyst

Vikram Malhotra -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Stephen Hardy Sheldon -- William Blair & Company -- Analyst

Thomas Patrick McJoynt-Griffith -- Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods, Inc -- Analyst

Matthew Ward Gaudioso -- Compass Point Research & Trading -- Analyst

James Holly -- [Phonetic] -- Analyst

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