Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Downturn forces industry changes

Consolidation, cost cutting keys to survival

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NEW YORK -- The financial crisis and housing downturn are proving to be a catalyst for change in real estate brokerage, title insurance and lending that could accelerate if the downturn is prolonged. For the most part, regulators and lawmakers should let the industry shake itself out rather than impose new conditions from above, a panel of experts said Thursday at the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in New York City. In real estate brokerage, "There is a tremendous amount of industry consolidation right now, which is good" for companies that were prepared for the downturn, said Alex Perriello, president and chief executive officer of Realogy Franchise Group. Realogy has been "preaching since August 2005 that you need to right-size your company," Perriello said. Now, he said, he's got brokers calling him saying they've pulled $50,000, $500,000 or $1 million out of their annual budget, and are kicking themselves because they didn't do it a yea...