Berkshire’s HomeServices of America Inc. unit will be the majority owner of the venture to manage a U.S. residential real- estate affiliate network, according to a statement on the new company’s website. The firms plan to offer a new franchise brand, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, starting next year. Brookfield’s network has operated under the Prudential Real Estate and Real Living Real Estate brands.Berkshire’s managers have been positioning the firm to benefit as the U.S. home market recovers from its worst slump in seven decades. The Omaha, Nebraska-based company has bought a brickmaker, won the loan portfolio of bankrupt mortgage lender Residential Capital LLC at auction and built its HomeServices unit by agreeing to acquire real-estate brokerages in states including Oregon and Connecticut.
Buffett, 82, said in July that the U.S. home market was beginning to improve. Berkshire’s billionaire chairman and CEO tracks economic activity, in part, by studying the results of the company’s more than 70 operating businesses including ones that build manufactured homes, make paint and sell insulation.
“It was just a question of getting households in balance with” the supply of homes, Buffett told Bloomberg Television’s Betty Liu in a July 13 interview. “That happens in different paces in different parts of the country, but you have seen a much better balance developing here in recent months. And that’s why you’re seeing some pickup in prices in places.”
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