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Tuesday, March 26 , 2019, 12:03 am | Fair 52º


Laurel Abbott: Hillary Clinton Among Highlights of National Realtors Conference

Greetings from the National Association of Realtors Conference & Expo in San Francisco! About 22,500 Realtors descended on the City by the Bay to attend business and education classes, economic updates, legal and lending forums, committee meetings, and board of directors and delegate meetings.

At his "Residential Economic Update," NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun reported that the dollar volume of home sales will rise modestly next year. Rising interest rates, tight lending practices, the strikingly low number of new homes being built and low resale inventory continue to restrict the number of sales, but that dollar volume growth will occur as a result of an increase in home values.

While we still have historically low interest rates, the rise in interest rates is going to have a dramatic effect on our affiliated business of lenders with a serious decline in the refinance market.

While there is a lot of reform coming in the lending practices and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Yun reminded us that on a larger economic scale, government-backed loans are very important because without government backing, foreign money will not stay in the United States.

The importance of the continuation of real estate recovery to our national economy was emphasized in the spectacular speech given by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday.

Addressing a packed room, Clinton spoke of her experiences at home and abroad and how special our nation is as well as the nationwide dream of homeownership. With much commentary on the importance of bipartisan collaboration to get our government and economy moving, she used one of our favorite Realtor action lines when discussing reforms and legislation with our government representatives: "Do no harm to housing."

At the board of directors meeting, the board voted to pursue negotiations with a partner to rebuild NAR's aging Chicago headquarters building and establish a high-profile destination center across from the iconic Wrigley Field. The Realtor "R" will become an even more visible icon in its own right with this exciting opportunity.

The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors was represented by NAR Director Diana Bull and volunteer attendees Toby Bradley, Bridget Murphy and Paul Suding. Thank them for their service.

Laurel Abbott is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway California Properties and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact her at [email protected] or 805.879.8050. The opinions expressed are her own.

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