In Tough Times, Strength Shows

The real estate industry has demonstrated strength and endurance time and again.

November 1, 2010

When this real estate downturn began, I recall many colleagues talking about how it was nothing compared with the double-digit interest rates of the 1980s. The 30-year fixed rate crept above 10 percent in November 1978. It was 89 months before we saw the rate dip below 10 percent and 146 months (more than 12 years) before rates consistently stayed below that mark. In the middle of it all, commercial practitioners were hit by a new tax law that essentially shut down some lines of business.

Those were tough times for many practitioners. But if those 12 years proved anything, it was that our industry has strength and endurance.

That’s what I’ve been thinking about as I reflect on my year as president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a year marked by high unemployment, tight lending, protracted short sales, and, most recently, foreclosure freezes by several lenders.

Hard times require more energy, creativity, and commitment than boom times. This year, REALTORS® have exhibited plenty of all three, and, despite the challenges, our membership remains above 1.1 million. You’re hanging tough, and your national association is working quickly on many fronts to create opportunities for you and to break down barriers.

For example, we recently secured a one-year extension, until Sept. 30, 2011, for the National Flood Insurance Program. When Congress reconvened after the August recess, REALTORS® serving as federal political coordinators were in Washington to urge for the extension.

Meanwhile, we continue to push for comprehensive reform of the NFIP. Also in September, we were successful at extending FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac loan limits to a maximum of $729,750. And with our "Home Ownership Matters" campaign, we’re putting our stake in the ground to say that home ownership matters to us, to our communities, and to our nation.

As I write this, we don’t yet know the extent of the foreclosure freeze problem. But we’re monitoring the issue, and we’ve put together information you can use when answering owners’ and buyers’ questions.

With all this going on, we continue to bring innovation to the market. The new consumer Web site, HouseLogic, offers you free, high-quality content through its REALTOR® Content Resource. At REALTOR.com, the iPhone app released in January has been downloaded by more than 2.1 million people. And the powerful new Realtors Property Resource™ is now live in markets around the country. Beginning in November, we expect to add as many as 15 MLSs per week.

With the year drawing to a close, I want to thank my Leadership Team and our staff for the tremendous work they’ve done. And I want to thank all of you for your energy, creativity, commitment—and passion. It has been an honor to serve you.

Vicki L. Cox Golder

Vicki L. Cox Golder was 2010 president of the National Association of REALTORS®.

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