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The California Association of REALTORS® REimagine Real Estate Virtual Conference & Expo was held this week with many sessions that included notable speakers and topics. A bittersweet session at the conference was when C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer bade goodbye to the membership. After 43 years with C.A.R., Singer has announced he is retiring.

Singer summed up his over four decades with C.A.R. as “an incredible experience.” First serving as chief economist and heading C.A.R.’s Public Affairs department before assuming the role of CEO, Singer recalled the changes and challenges in real estate and in the housing market. He noted what has remained constant through the years is the “power of home.” Home creates bonds within a family, a neighborhood, and a community, said Singer. This became even more evident during the pandemic, and it is what gives him tremendous confidence in the industry.

“The incredible ability of individual REALTORS® to meet the needs and create real value for their clients. That’s not going to change,” said Singer.

Singer then shared characteristics successful REALTORS® and other people have in common that he has observed. “They listen deeply, and they listen to everyone. Listen to people you don’t normally hang around with, listen to people who don’t look like you. Bringing new people into the room and listening to them creates opportunity and is one of the reasons this industry has been so adaptable. They also pro-act; they don’t just react.

“Try to be the first mover. If you’ve got a good idea, try it. Take the calculated risk and you’re going to fail. You’re going to fail perhaps more often than you’re going to be successful. Just fail fast and go on to the next new thing. And always ask for help because people do want to help you … and certainly say thank you. Embrace change. Embrace uncertainty. It’s an opportunity and an opportunity that successful people use to their advantage. … Walk the talk, own your own decisions, own the things you do well, recognize the things you don’t do well, but always be consistent in walking the talk,” Singer told members.

What has moved Singer and what has made a difference even in his own personal life is what REALTORS® do. “What you do is really important. You change lives. You make a difference, a deep, deep difference in people’s lives.”

Other sessions included top economists who analyzed the economy, DRE Commissioner Doug McCauley who talked about stepping up enforcement against unlicensed agents, REALTORS® who examined fair housing in transactions, and much more. On the last day, C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Jordan Levine delivered the 2022 California Housing Market Forecast.

Levine expects California’s housing market to remain solid, with the top of the market being the main driver. California is expected to do better than the rest of the nation. Hypercompetition in the marketplace is expected to subside, low interest rates will be offset by increasing prices, but the normally chronic undersupply and the lack of affordability will continue to characterize the market. Read more about the 2022 housing market outlook HERE.

The first-ever virtual California Association of REALTORS® Legislative Day kicked off on April 27 with welcome remarks from 2021 President Dave Walsh, 2021 President-elect Otto Catrina and other C.A.R. officials who underlined the urgency of increasing the state’s housing supply and addressing barriers to homeownership.

“Closing the homeownership gap is essential to closing the generational wealth gap in our country,” said Walsh.

California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed REALTORS® and lamented that the twin crises of housing affordability and homelessness have dominated state’s political conversations for decades, even before the pandemic. While the state has made great strides with Projects Roomkey and Homekey, Newsom said there is still a lot more to do.

“At the end of the day, the fundamental truth is we need to simply build more housing at all income levels,” said Newsom.

Newsom indicated this can only be done by a combination of subsidies, political will, and a dose of accountability across the spectrum. “I consider the REALTORS® key partners in this work.”

The Governor thanked REALTORS® for their partnership and said he looked forward to pushing the pandemic behind so the state could reset its key priorities to solve the housing and homeless crises.

There were also greetings from California’s Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (CA Senate District 39), Assemblywoman Blanca E. Rubio (CA Assembly District 48) and California State Senate minority leader Scott Wilk (CA Senate District 21), who pledged their commitment to housing for all.

“The pandemic has now intensified the need for housing affordability, access and opportunity,” said Atkins.

Rubio related her personal story as an immigrant and said it has given her a genuine understanding of the daily struggles and barriers immigrants and working families face. She pledged support for immigrant families, small businesses and their workers.

Wilk underlined the need to make California a safe and affordable place to call home for generations to come. He said he worries his own children cannot afford to live in California. “This is a very real problem that affects every single California family… REALTORS® can make a difference in meeting the housing challenge.”

Legislative Day gave members an opportunity to meet virtually with their legislators and discussed C.A.R. hot issues (see article in Government Affairs). Later C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer interviewed political columnist Dan Walters. Walters analyzed Governor Newsom’s handling of the pandemic and shared his own views on state politics and the future of California’s housing situation and economy.

READ MORE HERE

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