The Agency is proud to unveil The Red Paper 2021, an extensive annual market report featuring a deep dive into our markets across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe. The Red Paper showcases detailed research and analysis, regional spotlights from our 48 global markets, dramatically shifting homebuyer trends and demographics, and highlights from The Agency’s tenth year as a company. An industry-leading report, The Red Paper made its media debut in Mansion Global, where the publication reported on the paper’s notable trends and data from 2021.


“This year’s Red Paper showcases the power of the residential real estate market, proving that despite circumstances, people will always be on the move in search of the perfect place to call home,” said Mauricio Umansky, CEO and Founder of The Agency. “As The Agency celebrated its ten-year anniversary milestone, we were once again there to heed the call from buyers, sellers, and agents around the world, and the Red Paper encapsulates our thorough research and analysis of last year’s unprecedented market activity and the future of our industry.”


The Red Paper reveals continued record-level activity despite the global impact of COVID-19, and significant trends that will influence the market for years to come. Looking forward, The Red Paper revealed one theme that was shared by all of The Agency’s global offices: the future of real estate is now. As the market has shifted, so too have the needs and wants of buyers, sellers, and agents alike. The digital age of real estate is upon us, with everyone at the table wanting a more streamlined, seamless buying and selling experience. At the heart of this modernization is the real estate agent, who provides the human touch as the integral local expert and personal guide.


“There is no denying that the future of the real estate industry is here. The pandemic-induced market conditions of the last two years have swelled innovation, bringing consumer-facing technology to the forefront of the industry,” said Rainy Hake Austin, President of The Agency. ”As a brokerage, we plan to continue to serve as a preeminent leader as we leverage and invest in new technology, elevating our caliber of service and offerings to include NFT’s, cryptocurrency, PropTech, and data platforms that create ease in the transaction process while fostering the human connection and never losing sight of the immense role of our agents. As evident in our Red Paper, The Agency’s global success in 2021 is a testament to our resounding mission of balancing touch with tech—a first for our industry.”


Highlights from the report include:


Tight Inventory and High Demand: Despite the year’s tight inventory and rising prices, over six million homes sold, the highest since 2006. And new reports show that millennials accounted for more than half of all home loan applications, signaling that the dream of homeownership is alive and well. However, many would-be buyers were competing with baby boomers who had more equity, pricing them out of the market and bringing affordability to the center of the conversation.


Resort-Style Living Soared: Outdoor spaces were top of mind, with pools trending coast to coast from Washington D.C. to Victoria, while sports courts remained a hot amenity. Destination markets, including Carmel, Wine Country, Aspen, Park City, Maui, Mexico, and the Caribbean turned up the heat, as remote workers opted to enjoy resort-style living. They snapped up vacation homes they could enjoy for more of the year and rented out as income properties for the rest. The rental market across the globe was at an all-time high as demand again outpaced supply.


The Digital Age is Here: One trend that took off in 2020 was further solidified in 2021: More home shoppers are taking to social media, driving sales in every market. Leads and referrals from social media surged higher as more informed and savvy buyers took advantage of the tech platforms that made pricing and home tours more accessible. With connectivity happening in real-time, the agent’s role became even more crucial. Agents helped clients navigate the tech landscape, gain access to listings before they vanished and get the upper hand in the 2021 bidding wars.


A Great Migration: The ultra-luxury markets of Los Angeles saw the greatest movement among local buyers trading up, while international investors began to return by year’s end. Cities from San Francisco to Boston, New York City to Toronto were back in the game as buyers either returned to work or once again desired to be close to restaurants, shopping, culture and entertainment. Denver emerged as a post-pandemic favorite, seeing a rush of buyers from the coast attracted to the comparably affordable pricing, flourishing job market, and wide-open spaces. South Florida, Las Vegas and Scottsdale welcomed a rush of buyers from California, Seattle, New York and Chicago seeking sunny weather and even sunnier tax benefits.


Turn-Key is King: Supply chain constraints have curbed buyers’ appetites to take on renovations, seeing the demand for turnkey homes surge. In such a competitive market, however, buyers aren’t holding out for the one. Accustomed to shopping online and eager to invest, these tech-savvy buyers have turned to new tech and social media for up-to-the-minute updates on available inventory. More and more buyers are accepting homes as-is and deferring updates until timelines for projects stabilize.


Read The Red Report in its entirety, including our regional market spotlights, here.