When the ball came down on Times Sqaure to usher in the new Century we didn’t vaporize as many had thought (remember the Y2K hysteria?). Will the same be true for the second decade? Some predictions (please check back in December 2010):
1. Health Care Reform will either die completely in the conference committee or get so watered down as to be totally neutered. As a result the “‘Just Say No’ to Everything” party will change their rhetoric from” We’re just carrying out the will of the American people.” to the sing songy chant of 5 year olds: “Nyah. Nyah. We beat O-ba-ma. We. beat O-ba-ma.”
2. The National Association of Realtors will continue to be co-opted or marginalized by large corporate interests as evidenced by:
- NAR continuing to sit on the sidelines on the health care issues for its members (see Todd Carpenter comments to this post re: NAR position on member health care),
- NAR continuing to create “me, too” sites for online valuation of homes, national MLS (quasi or faux) and “educational” sites to data mine home buyer and home seller personal information,
- NAR remaining silent or working behind the scenes to eliminate individually negotiated fees for service in favor of “flat fee” or “ala carte menu” type fees for service.
3. The new RESPA rules will force a major consolidation in the lending industry forcing out the smaller players and eliminating competitive pricing.
4. RESPA rules will also cause de facto price standardization among title companies. In a race to get on lender “approved” lists so they can stay in business. Title companies will eventually all have the same pricing structure. No, there won’t be any backroom deals or cocktail lounge “price fixing” conversations. It’ll just kinda happen.
5. All of the above will have the effect of reducing the number of Realtors offering their services (not necessarily a bad thing) and marginalizing the Realtor role in the real estate transaction. All of the above will also have the effect of reducing “consumer choice” and instead of being protected, the consumer will be at the mercy of companies that will become “too big to fail” with pricing that is totally standardized (read: “fixed”) across the spectrum from Realtor to Lender to Title Service.
So, we’ll see. I’d be interested in how you thing 2010 will pan out. Do you have any predictions for 2010?