From the December issue: As the holidays approach, speculation in the real estate industry has turned to next year. While 2010 is expected to be an improvement over 2009, experts say several potential game changers are lurking ahead, with the possibility of throwing the city back into a slump or injecting unexpected strength into the market. In a series of stories this month, The Real Deal looks ahead to the changes in store for New York’s residential brokers in 2010. A new kind of online brokerage, known as a VOW, is already changing the playing field for listings in Manhattan. Many say it’s paving the way for a true Multiple Listings Service database, something many brokerages have resisted here. Meanwhile, as market activity continues to shift from flashy new construction condos back to resales, well-connected high-society brokers are re-emerging as the ruling elite of the brokerage world, replacing powerful up-and-comers who reigned as recently as last year.