Preliminary results from a new survey of independent title agents show that medium-sized agencies are disappearing nationwide.

The Independent Title Agent Survey 2004 measures the perceptions, technology usages, trends and business practices and relationships of independent title agents. Based on results of the 300 telephone interviews completed so far, the report has found that about 80 percent of the independent title agents are small, or have less than $3 million in revenue and sales.

At the other end of the spectrum are large national agents. Those between small and large seem to be disappearing at a quick pace, the survey found.

“Owners of middle-size companies have less of an appetite for risk and uncertainty and therefore have been selling their companies over the past few years, primarily to underwriters,” said Ellen Jacob, director of marketing for October Research.

The survey also found that about 1,800 agents nationwide entered the market during the past two years.

October Studies, a division of October Research Corp., and The Title Report are conducting the survey. The survey is set to be completed later this quarter, and will be published in three volumes: title technology, title business relationships and large agency perspectives.

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Send tips, feedback or a letter to the editor to samantha@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 140.

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