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Real estate overstates itself
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Monday, 11 September 2006

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In a slowing market, with four consecutive months of sales declines, you hear a lot about the fragile psychology of the buyer.

But some of the most noteworthy market jitters are coming from Realtors themselves.

The information highway is awash with tales of closing real estate offices and agents heading down river.

Indeed, industry consolidation is ramping up and experts expect the number of agents to dwindle substantially - about one in 75 Californians is now a licensed real estate agent, according to the California Department of Real Estate.

Industry shake-out is a reality, but the widespread demise of California's crowded Realtor ranks is, for now, largely rumored.

There has been more than one account of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Long Beach shutting its doors, or possibly being purchased.

Realty Executives is not closing, just changing locations, from 6170 Bellflower Blvd. to 5822 Adenmoor Ave.

However, Keller Williams in Cerritos may indeed be closing, according to insiders with the firm, who say agents with the office are seeking employment at other Keller Williams offices.

And such closings will only foster more rumors, said Tim Rush, with Prudential California Realty, which is headquartered in Cerritos.

"When you have industry contraction, that's going to cause the rumor mill to be put into sixth gear," Rush said.

If that's so, the latest news doesn't bode well for those apt to fall into unfeeling cogs of the rumor mill.

A Wall Street Journal poll released late last week showed economists believe cooling in the housing market will extend into next year and many forecasters predict no change, or even a decline, in home prices.


Edwina Baniqued

 
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