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Housing rebound created strong quarter for Realogy

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Richard Smith, Realogy Chairman, CEO, and President
Richard Smith, Realogy Chairman, CEO, and President

Realogy Holdings Corp., the Madison-based residential real estate franchisor, turned a profit in the second quarter thanks to improvements in the housing market and a reduction of debt expenses, the company announced today.

The global brokerage giant reported $84 million in earnings for the quarter, marking an improvement of $109 million from the loss it recorded during the same period last year. That also amounted to 58 cents per share for shareholders of Realogy, which was taken public last year by parent company Domus Holdings Corp.

The company, which owns brands like Century 21 and Coldwell Banker, said its franchise segment and its company-owned brokerage brands saw home sale transactions improve by 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Average sale prices improved 10 percent and 7 percent for the two segments, according to a news release.

Richard A. Smith, Realogy's chairman, CEO and president, said in a statement that the "material improvement in our second quarter financial results is largely attributable" to factors including "a housing market recovery that is showing resiliency," plus an improved balance sheet with a corresponding reduction of interest expenses. The company said in a press release that it retired $330 million in high-cost debt during the quarter and refinanced another $492 million at a lower interest rate.

Realogy, a spinoff of the company that spawned Wyndham Worldwide and Avis, has been a prominent name in New Jersey business and political circles in recent years. With the help of a $12 million incentive package from the state, the company moved from Parsippany to a new 270,000-square-foot headquarters in Madison, rather than North Carolina.

It completed the move in the spring, bringing with it about 900 employees. In total, the company has about 1,300 employees New Jersey and owns and franchises real estate brands that also include Sotheby's International, ERA, and Better Homes and Gardens. It also has business units specializing in corporate relocation and title and settlement services.

Reporter Joshua Burd is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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