Two of Triangle's top real estate firms merge

Posted December 16, 2008

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— York Simpson Underwood, one of the Triangle’s top real estate firms led by former Raleigh Mayor Smedes York, has been acquired by the real estate arm of billionaire Warren Buffet’s empire.

As part of the deal, York Simpson Underwood will be merged with Prudential Carolinas Realty, which is already owned by Buffett’s HomeServices America.

The combined venture will be called Prudential York Simpson Underwood Realty and will be based in Raleigh.

York Properties, the commercial property venture operated by Smedes York, is not part of the merger, according to a spokesperson for HomeServices America.

The acquisition creates the largest real estate entity in terms of listings in the region. According to the companies, York Simpson Underwood is No. 1 among realtors in average home sales price with prudential Carolinas Realty second.

York, a legend in Triangle real estate, will serve as chairman of the combined venture.

HomeServices America, which is based in Minnesota, is part of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Company.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

York Simpson Underwood maintains six offices across the Triangle and in the Pinehurst area. Its 250 agents produced closings worth more than $700 million in 2007.

According to the companies, the merger will double the market share and number of agents for HomeServices in the Triangle.

“This merger creates the premier Triangle real estate company,” York said in a statement. “We are combining two strong firms within the Triangle into an even stronger organization. By joining forces with HomeServices, we will be unmatched in our ability to serve the real estate and corporate relocation needs of new and existing clients in the Triangle. Our commitment is to make this merger seamless for our customers, who will continue to be served by their existing agents.”


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  • dmccall Dec 16, 2008

    CaryCrazzy, you have no idea how much money Smedes York and his companies give to charity each year. Many are also unaware of how many hours he put into this city as its mayor and as a member of dozens of foundation and civic boards, including the pro-transit STAC.

  • westoflyra Dec 16, 2008

    I was hired by two guys to design a logo for a new development in town and was halfway finished. These guys were satisfied with my proposals, but they were working with/for YSU who decided to change designers midstream without so much as consulting me. The logos that YSU's PR people came up with looked like a ripoff of every other one I've seen.

  • angora2 Dec 16, 2008

    "My goodness, that sure is a long company name."

    Use the acronym (PYSUR). Pronounce it and laugh!

  • Frizz Dec 16, 2008

    At one point in time, Smedes was the Chairman of the RDU Airport Authority and the Chairman of the Noise Abatement Committee. Two groups with directly opposite goals - bring in more airplanes versus keeping the area quiet. How did he get both jobs? How could there NOT be a conflict of interest there?

  • davidgnews Dec 16, 2008

    Nice PR piece for York.

    That's what it's all about with some so-called 'civic leaders.' Manipulators would be more accurate. Some people don't arrive at a station in life by just being 'good guys,' either.

  • drjones74 Dec 16, 2008

    I too resent YSU. They single handed ran real estate prices inside the beltline, and especially around cameron village and five points, through the proverbial roof. On a typical street a house might be being offered by Remax for 175 a sq ft in say 1998. YSU would take a house a block away that some college kids were renting, convince their client to put 20k into some paint, carpet and cabinets, and then offer it for 250 a sqft. Before long, the network of YSU buddies were steamrolling into the area to buy into the cache and all listings were handled by YSU. I am mad because the working class people who kept the area alive and nice for decades, and in the 90's the artsy kids who made it trendy, were all forced out. Demolition of Whitaker Park being the most visible example of the change.

  • WRALblows Dec 16, 2008

    It seemed unfortunate there wasn't a monopoly on listings inside the beltline so they decided to build one.

  • inform Dec 16, 2008

    westoflyra, care to eleborate? I doubt there was any real financial consideration exchanged. It sounds as if the two top companies merged to save $$ just to survive in this market. Nice PR piece for York.

  • westoflyra Dec 16, 2008

    I have some deep resentment of YSU.

  • hkypky Dec 16, 2008

    Hey, at least they didn't hyphenate.