With more than 80,000 real estate brokers across the country, observers say the fragmented real estate industry is long overdue for consolidation at a faster pace than in the past. But whether 2005 will be the year the pace significantly speeds up may depend on other factors. "Some of what we will experience next year will be determined by what kind of market conditions we have," said Ron Peltier, president and CEO of HomeServices of America, which has built its business partly through acquisitions. Peltier believes the market will soften somewhat during 2005, which means the industry will have "greater desire and opportunities for consolidation." Since the market has been so robust in recent years, the consolidation scene has been fairly quiet, he said. That's likely because some brokers who have thought about merging put the idea on hold while they took advantage of the industry's continued run of record-breaking sales. "I fully believe that many companies wanted to ride t...
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