REAL Trends Comment: Creative Destruction
Three of the top ten in the country eked out increases in their total closed sides without benefit of a major acquisition. Given the lack of real growth over the course of the year, that is saying quite a bit.
New firms and new models have a way of creeping up on these rankings list. I recall clearly that when we first started ranking firms twenty five years ago there were no RE/MAX or Keller Williams affiliates on our rankings. Now they each number in the hundreds. Ten years ago there were no "virtual" brokerage firms to speak of yet today we can see ten or more in the top ranks of the nation's leading firms.
While it has never been easy to build and grow a different (often lower cost) brokerage model, the industry ultimately rewards enterprise, entrepreneurship and steadfastness. Regardless of what model one pursues, this is a very large industry with room for many different participants. No one model is forever and the beauty of it all is that regardless of the level or kind of competition, we still find ways to cooperate to help consumers buy and sell homes.
One other trend we notice is that the numbers of firms having active mortgage and/or title joint ventures has shrunk measurably from past years. The regulatory climate has turned chilly for many of these business arrangements and we fear it will get harder in the years ahead. More on this later.