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For the third year in a row, the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) has earned the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Platinum Award for Global Achievement. The platinum award is the highest distinction presented by NAR to an association for having demonstrated through its global business council exceptional commitment to building members’ awareness of the global and multicultural business opportunities in their local markets.

SILVAR, a professional trade organization representing over 4,500 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the real estate business on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, is the only association in Northern California to achieve platinum council status since the program’s inception in 2011. NAR stated SILVAR’s global council “demonstrated the utmost commitment to helping members capture their share of the global real estate market in the United States.” SILVAR leadership received the prestigious award at a special international dinner during the Nov. 13-16 NAR REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego.

“We are honored to receive the National Association of REALTORS® prestigious platinum award for three years in a row. SILVAR is committed to continuing to provide our members with the proper tools that will help them expand and excel in their business here and abroad,” said SILVAR Executive Officer Paul Cardus.

Under the leadership of 2015 Global Business Council chair Mark Wong, a REALTOR® with Alain Pinel Realtors Saratoga, SILVAR’s global business council conducted a number of activities and education programs to raise members’ awareness of global business in their local market, including programs on China, Mexico, India and the Philippines, as part of its “Doing Business With” quarterly series. Also this year, SILVAR conducted its fourth Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute, attended by 31 REALTORS® from around the Bay Area, Southern California and Arizona. The CIPS Institute is a full-week program that includes courses analyzing the international business climate, including capital flow, currencies, government regulations and cultures and conducting real estate transactions with clients from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

SILVAR partners with other real estate associations throughout the year to promote awareness and education in global real estate, and continues its role as NAR Ambassador Association to the Philippines. The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations Inc. (CREBA), SILVAR’s cooperating real estate association in the Philippines and the largest real estate umbrella organization that country, also was honored at the event. SILVAR member Jennifer Tasto is the NAR President’s Liaison to the Philippines.

SILVAR’s commitment to international real estate goes beyond members assisting foreign nationals buying property in Silicon Valley. As a membership benefit, SILVAR REALTOR® members have free access to Proxio, the global networking platform that connects them with real estate agents domestically and abroad and enables them to share their listings, including property developments here and abroad.

Among the 110 REALTOR® global councils operating nationwide, only 17 were named platinum councils. SILVAR is one of three REALTOR® associations that has been awarded the top award for three consecutive years.

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 Proxio CEO Janet Case says knowing the languages spoken by clients helps REALTORS® better serve them.

Proxio CEO Janet Case says knowing the languages spoken by clients helps REALTORS® better serve them.

What language do you speak in your home? New information from the U.S. Census Bureau shows while most of the nation’s population speaks English at home, at least 350 other languages are spoken in U.S. households. In fact, 20 percent of U.S. families do not speak English at home.

“Multilingual is the new normal across the U.S.,” said Janet Case, CEO Proxio, an international networking platform that connects real estate agents and their listings, including real estate developments, around the world.

Speaking at the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) 4th Certified International Property Specialist Institute in October, Case said according to the latest Census Bureau data, 20 percent of U.S. families speak a language other than English at home. In California, the percentage is higher – 43 percent. Other states with the most non-English speaking households are Texas, 34.2 percent; New York, 29.8 percent; Nevada, 28.2 percent; Arizona, 27.1 percent; and Florida, 26.6 percent.

Cities with the most non-speaking households are Miami, 71.9 percent; Los Angeles, 59.7 percent; New York City, 48.7 percent; San Francisco, 45.4 percent; and Chicago, 35.3 percent.

The Census Bureau information, based on American Community Survey data collected from 2009 to 2013, tabulated the number of languages and language groups to 350. The tables provide the most comprehensive data on languages spoken less widely in the nation, such as Pennsylvania Dutch, Ukrainian, Turkish, Romanian, Amharic and many others.

“While most of the U.S. population speaks only English at home or a handful of other languages like Spanish or Vietnamese, the American Community Survey reveals the wide-ranging language diversity of the United States,” said Erik Vickstrom, a Census Bureau statistician. “For example, in the New York metro area alone, more than a third of the population speaks a language other than English at home, and close to 200 different languages are spoken. Knowing the number of languages and how many speak these languages in a particular area provides valuable information to policymakers, planners and researchers.”

In the San Francisco metro area, at least 163 languages are spoken at home, with 40 percent of the metro area population age five and over speaking a language other than English at home. One of the smaller language groups found there is Panjabi, with 19,985 speakers.

In the Los Angeles metro area, at least 185 languages are spoken at home, with 54 percent of the metro area population age five and over speaking a language other than English at home. One of the smaller language groups found there is Indonesian, with 12,750 speakers.

Case said as foreign buyers continue to look at Silicon Valley property, “global marketing matters.” Knowing the languages spoken by clients helps REALTORS® better serve them.

Proxio, which is a free benefit for members of SILVAR, translates agents’ listings in 19 languages, 55 currencies and metric measurements. In addition to activating Proxio, Case said REALTORS® seeking to break into global real estate can market “international” as their specialty by including the U.S. country code with their phone number and languages they speak in their website and business cards and partner with agents who speak other languages.

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