Thursday, February 9, 2012

A word from the President

My Pledge: to Stand by You
Things are looking up. Still, our vigilance on behalf of the real estate industry must continue.
| By Moe Veissi
I’m a guarded optimist, but it doesn’t take an optimist to see positive signs for housing in America. Several independent surveys last year showed that, despite five difficult years in which many owners lost value, Americans still want to own a home. In December, there were reported increases in pending home sales, existing-home sales, and housing starts. My guarded optimism tells me the beginning of a bona fide recovery is underway.

To some extent, the final answer depends on how well we absorb the distressed housing that’s on the market or waiting to be sold over the next 24 to 36 months. Although I’m an optimist, I’m also a realist who sells real estate in one of the hardest-hit markets in the country, Miami. But I can tell you this: In 2007, most pundits were saying Miami would take a decade or more to right itself. Today, NAR is predicting double-digit appreciation for Miami in 2012. How about that!

Look, I know one thing about real estate: It has never been a quick answer to wealth. Patience and perseverance make real estate a long-term, but enormously able, wealth builder and portfolio staple.

With regard to distressed sales, it’s challenging to make an impact on a national level. But if you read this month’s special package on short sales and foreclosures (“A Clean Slate,” page 32), you’ll see that the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has ably represented your interests on a number of issues—from defending your right to receive your full commission to changing a lender affidavit that might have led innocent practitioners to be held liable for others’ dishonest dealings. For these efforts, I’m grateful to my predecessors in NAR leadership, today’s volunteer leaders, and our staff. They have relentlessly pursued solutions and, in recent years, helped to reduce foreclosures and make short sales move more smoothly

As your 2012 president, I pledge to continue that work, and to confront the many other challenges we face today, including threats to home ownership. Although we concluded our Home Ownership Matters bus tour, after hitting 52 cities in 2011, we’re keeping this valuable campaign alive. REALTORS®, as well as economic historians, have long held that our nation’s health depends on strong real estate markets and widespread ownership of real estate by those who choose to own and are financially able. We can’t allow this economic downturn, severe as it has been, to take us off course from those principles. Watch for campaign updates in the “NAR Weekly Report”e-mail, and join me in this effort by participating in REALTOR® Party Calls for Action. Engage your customers, too, through HouseLogic.com.

I’m happy to see 2012 starting out on an upbeat note. But I assure you that, whatever the year brings, NAR will be standing beside you all the way. Thank you for your involvement, and remember that “REALTORS® are the heart of the deal