Weathering the Storms: What a Recession Means for the Title Industry
While the post-pandemic period has seen its share of economic woes, the nation is not currently in a recession. Still, in this age of uncertainty, many in the title industry may wonder if another recession could be looming on the horizon —and whether title companies are strong enough to withstand an extended slump.
An economic recession is defined as significant, widespread and prolonged downturn in economic activity. A common rule of thumb is that two consecutive quarters of a generally slowing economy, or negative gross domestic product (GDP), indicate recession.
Typically occurring in short cycles, recessions in the U.S. historically have lasted anywhere from two months to several years, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. The most recent recession took place in 2020 at the outset of the pandemic, and lasted only about two months.
When Will the Next Recession Occur?
Although numerous economic changes, financial factors and even psychological factors can contribute to a recession, there’s no sure-fire way to predict when one will happen. In addition, given our current economic climate, it’s not exactly feasible to draw a direct comparison with past events.
The effects of the pandemic continue to linger, leading to ongoing inventory and supply chain disruptions. What’s more, the instability of unemployment rates and the war in Ukraine continue to raise concerns in today’s market. Since economic cycles are impossible to predict, it’s wise to be prepared for volatility.
How Does a Recession Impact Title Companies?
Recessions can have far-reaching implications on most business sectors — and the title industry is no exception. During a recession, homebuyers become reluctant to buy real estate and the number of unsold properties rises. Low demand often leads to a decrease in property values as homeowners reduce their asking prices.
The combination of rising unemployment, lower salaries, a more abundant labor pool and surging inflation during a recession means more people cannot afford to pay their mortgages and fewer people commit to buying a home. That means a drop in title insurance policies among residential buyers.
However, a recession doesn’t spell “doom and gloom” for the title industry as a whole. In an effort to stimulate growth, the Federal Reserve typically lowers interest rates in times of recession. Falling interest rates signify an increase in refinance business, as homeowners take advantage of more favorable borrowing conditions.
Plus, commercial real estate business remains somewhat steady during a recession, as this sector tends to be less reactive to economic downturns. As rents rise with inflation, commercial property owners may see an increase in income while their monthly payments remain largely fixed.
Make Your Title Company Recession Proof with Proliant
It’s true that economists can’t predict the timing of the next recession, but cycles of economic downturn are inevitable. So, how can you ensure your title company is in a position to withstand periods of recession? One way is to align your company with a turnkey title agency ownership program that’s transforming the title insurance industry.
Proliant Settlement Systems offers qualified entrepreneurs a unique franchise opportunity to own your title company, complete with all the financial and operational advantages, with a fully compliant system that eliminates the most difficult barriers to entry. We provide your back-office support and technological infrastructure to help you run a full-service title company, while you keep your focus on serving your clients.
The Proliant model gives you an advantage, even during economic downturns, because Proliant gets paid only for the work you send our way. In other words, when your volume drops, so do your costs. And, by providing our franchisees with production assistance, we reduce your need to employ and compensate a large staff.
We also provide:
- Expert Training and Coaching
- Simplified Title Research
- State-of-the-Art Software
- IT Infrastructure and Security
- Wire Fraud Protection
- Check Fraud Protection
- Escrow Accounting
- Underwriter Contract Compliance
- Trailing Policy Requirements
- Underwriter Remittance Tracking
In fact, a recession is the perfect time to start planning and preparing to launch your Proliant franchise, so you can take advantage of the inevitable boom in business once the recession has passed. With Proliant, you can rest easy during uncertain times, knowing we’ll be your first line of support through the life of our agreement.