Panic, pandemic, pandemonium, doom and gloom…how is it that the FACTS we see in the title industry portray positivity when the media screams otherwise?
I’m befuddled these days when reading the news about the real estate market (and title). Is there a hidden political agenda lurking between the words? Are the news outlets grandstanding hoping to attract more readers? Is their sensationalism based on truth or conjecture? Is there no accountability? Have they no shame?
Could factors that drive the real estate market operate based on dynamics different than the overall economy?
Our firm has the benefit of unique insight with no political bias. We get to see things as they truly are.
Our M&A arm interacts with buyers and sellers all over the world including Title Underwriters, Independent Agents, Reinsurers, Private Equity and a wide range of other Investors. Our consulting arm works with independent title agencies all over the country as well as with BPO firms domestically and internationally.
What we are learning from ACTUAL data and real-life experience (not the “news”) seems very different than what the official media is reporting.
Many of our independent title agency clients are telling us that overall volume is UP. True, the mix of residential buy/sell to refi deals has mostly shifted and those in the commercial world are seeing declining order counts. Even so, many independents tell us that they are busier now than ever. Some of them are even HIRING. BPO firms had an initial setback due to abrupt and stringent stay at home mandates but have retooled and are again processing a record number of orders.
Remember, the Fed slashed interest rates yet again very recently. Sure, some banks are tightening their belt right now, but it is inevitable that there will be additional demand for refinances once the engine is firing on all cylinders.
We took a large single state independent agency to market a few weeks ago IN THE MIDDLE OF the COVID 19 crisis. The market response from our usual panel of prospective buyers (but not the Fs or other Big Title Underwriters) was astonishing. We expected the typical dozen or so overtures in reply but received 63 NDA requests and already have 5 ‘offers’ from well qualified and appropriate firms.
All this is not to say there has been no hardship in our title industry. There has. Many title agencies and directs have been forced to lay off or furlough employees. Some agencies are not doing well while others are thriving. Competency and efficiency matter more than ever in this environment and the strongest will inevitably prevail.
These are troubled times. Things have changed, but there IS work to be had and massive opportunity out there in the title world.
Clearly, we are not alone in feeling bullish about our industry.