A sign of the times or not, the 121 years of Whitehead Inc. Realtors in Rockford, Illinois ending is just bad news. Owners of that areas biggest real estate firm, Dee and Stan Premo (at left), have notified their agents of the firm's closing next month.
When the real estate bubble burst in 2007, not so many people truly realized what was about to happen. Certainly the 43 agents of Whitehead Realtors just figured there were some tough times ahead. Maybe they were like everyone else in America, they figured; "Obama and the government will fix it, we'll come back quickly." But, like most Americans, the soon to be displaced agents there in Illinois were probably wrong to place such confidence.
Whitehead, the most prominent agency to survive the bubble bursting, has been a leading seller of real estate there for decades. For much of the 1990's in fact, no other Realtor even came close to equaling their expertise. But come next month, all that fades into history. I quote from their "About" page, ironically you will note:
"Established in 1891, through depressions, recessions and expansion eras, Whitehead Realtors has become one of the most successful real estate firms in our market by providing unsurpassed service to its clients. The people of this firm have been major contributors to the growth and amenities of this area. Their caliber of service has established Whitehead as Rock River Valley's "most recommended real estate firm."
Still more irony exists in the fact that this year Whitehead agents have sold more properties than at any time since the 2007 crash. Regardless, it seems Whitehead's situation is not unique save the company's longstanding reputation. Looking at the worst hit markets, like California, the agent and broker population in America is logically declining. The chart below from First Tuesday Journal Online tells a bit of the story.
The logical, yet sad fact that the real estate market can no longer support as many professionals is interestingly a mirrored and domino effect of America's manufacturing situation. No jobs, equals no jobs, this is the core issuance anyone can take away from announcements like this. Illinois' housing market is not even the worst in the US. All one has to do is protract what is happening in California onto other markets in order to feel not just Dee and Stan Premo's pain, or that of their agents, but the industry's.
We wish all those agents well.