NAR Reaches Out to Touch International Neighbors

You may be surprised to learn that the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is actively involved in the international real estate community.

September 1, 1996

I recently served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the Second Global Conference on Human Settlements sponsored by the United Nations. And the Eastern European Real Property Foundation--jointly sponsored by NAR and the U.S. Agency for International Development--has developed 28 associations of nearly 20,000 real estate professionals in seven countries in central and eastern Europe.

Why participate internationally when our challenges at home are great?

We know that we live in a global economy in which the success of our industry will increasingly be tied to trans-border activities. We also know that a significant portion of real estate financing in the United States comes from foreign sources. We know that the growing immigrant population in this country--all potential homeowners--will have a major impact on our industry. And we know that private property rights are integral to a healthy housing market and that strong housing markets elsewhere around the globe are integral to our ability to transact business here and abroad.

At the UN conference, government officials and private organizations from around the world developed an agenda for ensuring adequate shelter for all. Now the work begins. As the world's largest association committed to protecting private property rights, NAR must be vigilant. Although many at the conference contended that housing is a human right, definitions of "human right" varied. The problem is, many countries believe that governments must provide housing for all, that developed countries should finance and even provide housing in developing countries, and that no one--developers, lenders, real estate practitioners, or homeowners--should profit from housing.

NAR played a key role in pressing the view that the most effective way to ensure access to housing for all is through public-private partnerships and financial incentives for private investment in housing.

In November, NAR will sign bilateral cooperation agreements with trade associations in five countries, bringing to 34 the professional associations around the world that have committed to working with REALTORS®. We truly live in a shrinking, interdependent world.

Art Godi was 1996 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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