Where Commercial Real Estate Brokerages Earn Their Revenue

When the topic of commercial real estate brokerages come up, images of “for lease” and “for sale” signs come to mind. Large brokerages like CBRE, JLL, and Cushman & Wakefield (who have market capitalization of $24 billion, $6.9 billion, and $1.8 billion, respectively as of May 2023) act as the backbone of the commercial real estate industry. 

But despite being known as firms that facilitate the sale and leasing of commercial spaces, these companies perform a host of tasks. Besides representing clients in sales and leasing transactions, they help orchestrate financing for investors, manage properties for owners and occupiers, and provide a number of other consulting services. These services firms earn revenue in fees, and each one has its own diverse lineup of fee-based offerings.


CBRE did something right in the first quarter of 2023, as it was the only one of the big three to record a year-over-year increase in revenue, which totaled $7.4 billion. The firm breaks down its business into three segments. Through its Advisory Services segment, CBRE provides property leasing services, capital markets advisory, and other business offerings, including loan servicing, property management and valuation. CBRE’s Global Workplace Solutions business provides corporate real estate clients with facilities management and project management services, as well as a top-to-bottom system of solutions for improving occupancy, reducing costs, facilitating decarbonization and improving employee engagement all with the goal of creating value across a portfolio.

CBRE’s Real Estate Investments business renders the company unique among most commercial real estate services firms in that the

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