The History of Realty Associates

Realty Associates is an independently owned real estate brokerage that began as a commercial and property management firm in 1984. Operated by Founder and Broker/Owner Peter Merritt, the company has grown to include over 1,600 agents in nine offices who serve the residential and commercial real estate needs of clients throughout Greater Houston as well as areas around Southeast Texas.

In 2014, Latter & Blum Inc. merged with Houston-based Realty Associates. The merger ushered Latter & Blum Inc. into the Greater Houston real estate market - the second largest metropolitan region in the United States. The Houston portion of the company continued to operate as Realty Associates under the same leadership of Broker, Peter Merritt.

This was the twelfth merger or acquisition for Latter & Blum Inc. over the previous six years. The move joins Latter & Blum agents to a network of more than 1,600 Agents in Greater Houston.

This expansion into Houston provided Latter & Blum access to the second largest market in the United States. There is a lot of synergy between Houston and Latter & Blum’s operations in Louisiana and Mississippi. This move made Latter & Blum the best-positioned company to serve the real estate needs of the oil and gas industry across the Gulf Coast.

About Latter & Blum

Latter & Blum was founded in 1916 by two young entrepreneurs, Harry Latter and Joseph E. Blum, in New Orleans. In its early days, the company specialized in commercial Real Estate, but later branched out into residential sales. Latter & Blum remained in the Latter family for 70 years, sustaining a strong foothold in the Real Estate industry.

Robert Merrick purchased Latter & Blum in 1986. A visionary and nationally-respected appraiser and broker, Merrick restructured the organization and led Latter & Blum into an incredible growth cycle. After a long and successful history in the Greater New Orleans region, the company expanded to the Mississippi Gulf Coast region in 1993. In 1995, C.J. Brown Realtors joined the Latter & Blum Family, transforming both into a regional powerhouse and making it the #1 Real Estate brokerage in the Gulf South.

In 2009, Latter & Blum acquired market-leading Noles-Frye Realty in Alexandria and later that year added ERA Stirling Properties in Greater New Orleans. In 2012, Latter & Blum acquired Acadiana’s leading real estate firm, Van Eaton & Romero. In 2014, the company entered Southwest Louisiana by joining with Lake Charles-based Moffett Realty. The same year, they entered the Houma market with the addition of Patterson Real Estate. At the end of 2014 the company nearly doubled its size when it expanded into Texas with the purchase of Realty Associates of Houston. At the end of 2017, the company welcomed the agents of Lafayette-based Coldwell Banker Pelican Real Estate. And most recently, in 2020, Latter & Blum acquired the 2nd largest real estate company in Greater New Orleans, Gardner Realtors.

In total, the company’s success has attracted more than 40 real estate companies and 3,800 agents making them who they are today. Their locally owned heritage and strong market position, combined with some of the most successful real estate agents in the business, offers clients a powerful advantage in today’s real estate market.

We Are Realty Associates

When you build you make things happen.

You create.

A life.
A place.
A business.
A legacy.
A future.

When you build you construct something that didn’t exist before. Like growing a group of regional offices into the largest real estate brokerage in the state. One that takes professionalism, values, and community seriously.

When you build for yourself, you also build for others. Creating life-changing opportunities and meaningful careers. Providing people training and education that helps them achieve personal wealth. And, all along, drawing together a family. A family of families— people who share beliefs, values, and aspirations.

When you build, you add to the things you’ve created before. Even after 100 years, we’re building upon the very things that brought us here. This is what you do when people, place, and future matter.

This is who we’ve always been and what we’ve always done.

We're Realty Associates.   We're Always Building

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