The Goal: 6 Million Sales in 2011

In his 1961 inaugural address, John F. Kennedy challenged us as Americans: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Fifty years later we are answering that question as REALTORS® and as Americans.

April 1, 2011

Over the past couple of months, we have worked to remind policy makers and Americans that jobs and housing are interwoven. You can’t have one without the other. According to an NAR calculation that looks at a real estate transaction’s contribution to gross domestic product, for every two transactions, one job is created. A single transaction can touch dozens of jobs including movers, painters, remodelers, attorneys, lenders, title professionals, and those who operate the technologies and tools we use to market properties.

Think about what this would do for our country: 1 million additional home sales this year. Taking sales from 5 million to 6 million could generate 500,000 jobs, reducing the unemployment rate by nearly half a percent. That’s doing something for our country, our industry, our clients, our families, and ourselves.

I’m talking about sustainable sales, of course. English philosopher John Locke, who inspired the founding of our republic, said a property’s value comes from the labor put into it. In his 17th century view, in fact, it was the labor that earned you the right to call a property your own. Today, although most of us aren’t tilling the soil, we labor to keep up with mortgages, taxes, utilities, insurance, and maintenance. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is committed to responsible, sustainable home ownership. We know that sustainable ownership encourages self-reliance rather than reliance on government.

But if we want to produce 6 million sustainable home sales in 2011, we need to collectively raise the bar—to be more professional and more productive. We are working hard to provide you with the best tools. Here’s what you can do:

  • Take advantage of the resources your dues afford, including the REALTORS Property ResourceTM, HouseLogic,, and this magazine.
  • Take charge of your career. Attend classes through REALTOR® University and read business books available through NAR’s virtual library.
  • Take an active interest in the REALTOR® political advocacy realm by responding to Calls for Action and contributing to our political purposes.

I ask you to think about what more you can do to protect and promote self-reliance and home ownership—like asking policy makers to help dial underwriting standards to normal, well-functioning levels and to do no harm to the recovery by toying with the mortgage interest deduction or loan limits. Share the challenge as we build a better future for our children and grandchildren. Thank you.

Ronald L. Phipps

Ronald L. Phipps was 2011 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.