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Houston’s Realty Associates, with seven offices and 1,700 agents, has affiliated with ERA Real Estate under the ERA Powered® program, according to an announcement from ERA Real Estate. As part of the announcement, Realty Associates has merged with Latter & Blum Inc., based in New Orleans, Louisiana, which operates residential real estate brokerages in the Gulf South under the ERA Powered program. The combined firm will now do business as Realty Associates ERA Powered.

The affiliation of Realty Associates is designed to strengthen the ERA brand’s presence in the Gulf Coast, connecting markets from Houston to New Orleans. According to the Houston Association of Realtors, Realty Associates is the No. 3 company by units in the Houston MSA, and in 2014 accounted for more than $1 billion in sales volume.

“The ERA Powered® program continues to guide ERA’s penetration and expansion in major markets,” says Charlie Young, president and CEO of ERA Real Estate. “Extending the brand’s footprint into Houston will fuel growth for ERA Real Estate and our affiliated broker community by building strong relocation corridors and creating a robust pipeline of referrals.”

Since 2010, ERA Real Estate has focused its growth on major metropolitan areas, with entry into eight top markets in the last five years, including Denver; New Orleans; San Francisco; Louisville, Kentucky; Charlotte, North Carolina; Raleigh, North Carolina; Los Angeles; Nashville, Tennessee; and now Houston. ERA entered into each of these cities with the affiliation of market-leading companies poised to grow.

Realty Associates was established in 1982 by Peter Merritt, broker/owner, who will continue to oversee the newly combined company as broker, Realty Associates ERA Powered.

Under the leadership of Bob Merrick, chairman and CEO of Latter & Blum. Inc., Latter & Blum Inc./REALTORS ERA Powered, the firm’s flagship brokerage located in New Orleans, pioneered ERA Real Estate’s unique business solution for market-leading firms looking to grow, ERA Powered, when they became the first company to affiliate as an ERA Powered company in 2011. Since then, the firm has more than doubled the size and scope of its operations.

“ERA Real Estate’s unique broker-first approach allows brokers the flexibility and support to build their business in a way best suited for their individual market,” said Bob Merrick, chairman and CEO of Latter & Blum, Inc.

“Joining with Realty Associates allows us to take advantage of the substantial population movement in and between all of our existing markets and Houston,” says Richard Haase, president of Latter & Blum, Inc. “As we diversify and grow our service area, we also lower our costs. That allows us to deliver more services and tools to our agents so they can better serve our clients.

With significant presence in New Orleans, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge Lafayette, Alexandra and Southern Mississippi, Latter & Blum’s leadership has proven experience in managing operations in multiple markets.