The stock market is having a volatile but decent session today. As of 10:30 a.m. EDT, all three major benchmarks are slightly in the green. But real estate brokerage company Realogy (HOUS 5.34%) is a big standout, with shares up by more than 10%.
The U.S. real estate market has been quite strong, thanks to a combination of low mortgage rates and limited inventory of existing homes, and homes have been selling in a fraction of the time it typically takes. And this was reflected in Realogy's third-quarter earnings.
For the third quarter, Realogy grew its closed transaction volume by 28% year over year, and generated $1.9 billion in revenue -- a 20% increase over the prior-year period. The company posted a solid profit and managed to pay down some debt and strengthen its balance sheet. On a per-share basis, Realogy reported an $0.85 profit as opposed to a $0.99-per-share loss a year ago.
The million-dollar question is whether the strength in the housing market will continue into the fourth quarter and beyond. It's likely that interest rates will remain low, but fall and winter are typically the slower times of year for the housing market. So while there's no guarantee that the good times will continue, Realogy's results are certainly encouraging, especially since there are widespread fears about its traditional brokerage brands being disrupted by technology-focused real estate companies.