For the first time in the 23-year history of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2018 Realtors Conference and Expo, the event was hosted in Boston, Massachusetts. Real estate industry experts, guests and more than 20,000 Realtors were asked to “Ready, Set, Boston!”
A flurry of activity kicked off this year’s annual event with one of the conference’s largest programs to date that featured more than 150 speakers, 125 conference sessions and 400 industry-leading companies, including RE/MAX, showing off their latest products, technology and industry innovations.
An economist’s market perspective
Headlining the first day of the conference was NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, who shared a positive outlook for the housing market based on current trends in the U.S. economy. According to Yun, low unemployment, record high job openings, historically low jobless claims, job additions for eight straight years and wages beginning to increase are all good signs.
“This type of activity in the economy should support the housing market, even as interest rates rise,” Yun said. “2017 was the best year for home sales in 10 years and 2018 is only down 1.5 percent year-to-date,” he said. “This is a stronger, more stable market compared to the loosely regulated market leading up to the bust.”
Yet despite most states reporting stable or strong market conditions, the low number of new housing starts in some areas continues to have a significant impact on inventory.
“If you look at population growth and job growth, it is clear that we are not producing enough houses,” Yun said. “This is often a local issue, not a national one, so NAR has created a website where local associations and Realtors® can go for information on how to advocate for increased supply in their communities.”
Critical conversations on industry issues
During one of the expo’s sessions, The Counselors of Real Estate asked attendees what they saw as the industry’s top 10 current pressing issues. Affordability, disruption and interest rates led the list. Realtors from around the country were mostly aligned on the issues they think will have the most effect on today’s housing market, including interest rates and the economy, demographic changes and e-commerce and logistics. The discussion also turned to issues that may have a more long-term effect on the industry like infrastructure, natural disasters, immigration, and energy and water.
These types of conversations help determine the future of the industry, and are why the expo is one of the most important industry events each year.
“This conference is an amazing opportunity for Realtors to make connections, grow their expertise and immerse themselves in the latest industry trends and technology,” said NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor from Columbia, Missouri, and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “The business of real estate is constantly changing as our industry evolves at a rapid pace, and these educational sessions, expert panelists and networking meetings allow our members to stay educated on the most cutting-edge developments in our industry.”
Honoring a RE/MAX Broker’s unmatched contributions
The RISMedia Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner hosted a crowd of nearly 600 top brokers and industry leaders on the first night of the conference where RE/MAX Broker/Owner Daisy Lopez-Cid of RE/MAX Premier Properties in Kissimmee, Florida, accepted the “On the Shoulders of Giants” award.
Lopez-Cid, who is currently serving as the 2018 President of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), took the stage with a standing ovation from the crowd of colleagues who had just watched an inspiring video that praised her community involvement.
“My heart is still racing,” admitted Lopez-Cid. “I do what I do because I want to do it; I didn’t have this growing up, and I just want to pay it forward. RE/MAX is my home and NAHREP is my family.”
The award honors individuals whose efforts, works, deeds and character exemplify superior achievements in and for the real estate industry, yet whose efforts often go unnoticed.
Mike Ryan, Executive Vice President of RE/MAX, said Lopez-Cid is not only a fantastic Broker/Owner, but her compassion and giving go beyond helping her agents, homebuyers and sellers. “She’s been a catalyst of growth for diversity in real estate through NAHREP and has been a ‘helping hand’ to so many in need,” said Ryan. “She is truly a giant in this industry and well-deserving of the prestigious award and more.”