Economics, housing policy take center stage at NAR NXT
The National Association of Realtors annual conference featured timely discussions and tips for the thousands of agents in attendance.
- The Orlando conference went on with few delays or cancellations, even as winds and rain from Nicole, a Category 1 hurricane, swept through the state.
- NAR economist Lawrence Yun offered his predictions for 2023 and 2024.
- Political analysts Karl Rove and April Ryan encouraged people of all political affiliations to work toward solutions.
The real estate market in 2022 is vastly different than it was during the Great Recession. That was the view shared by Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors, during NAR NXT over the weekend in Orlando.
"Housing inventory is about a quarter of what it was in 2008," Yun said. "Distressed property sales are almost non-existent, at just 2%, and nowhere near the 30% mark seen during the housing crash. Short sales are almost impossible because of the significant price appreciation of the last two years," Yun told attendees.
Yun was among a large slate of speakers at the three-day conference that gave thousands of attendees the opportunity to learn from experts and to network.
At an economic forum, Yun shared his predictions. He expects home sales will continue to decline slowly in 2023, dropping by about 7% before rebounding in 2024.
One thing he doesn't foresee? Big drops in prices. "For most parts of the country, home prices are holding steady since available inventory is extremely low," Yun said.
He expects the median home price to rise by 1% in 2023, then another 5% in 2024.
Political and policy action encouraged
The economics of housing wasn't the only timely topic. The intersection of politics and housing policy was the focus of a discussion with political strategists Karl Rove and April Ryan.
Rove, a longtime political observer and deputy chief of staff during the George W. Bush administration, encouraged attendees to get more engaged with the political process. "If you're not involved, who's going to be involved?" Rove asked. "If you're concerned about policies that are going to affect homeownership, who do you think is going to be standing up for you? The people you educate, the people you influence, the people you elect."
Rove was joined on stage by political analyst April Ryan, the longest-serving African American female White House correspondent. The two offered what was billed as a "candid" and "bipartisan review" of the midterms.
Ryan said that the nation as a whole is having a "tough time" with little to no agreement on solutions. "It's not about politics. It is not about policy. It's about people."
Ryan recalled working as a White House reporter covering former President Bill Clinton. "Clinton was the president who saw the highest level of Black homeownership in this country," she said, but noted that Black homeownership has since fallen to the same level it was in 1968, when the Fair Housing Act was passed to unlock doors for minorities.
Equity remains a concern
Continuing the discussion around housing policy and equity were Richard Rothstein, author and distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, and Bryan Greene, NAR vice president of policy advocacy and former HUD deputy assistant secretary for fair housing. The speakers discussed steps local community members and Realtors can take to help redress segregation.
"We have a fair housing law to prevent discrimination, so people think the problem is in the past…but it's not," said Rothstein. He spoke about his involvement in local organizing efforts around the country to propel a "'redress movement'… to create biracial local community organizations that will generate the political momentum that needs to be achieved locally to truly make changes."
For its part, NAR has joined a collaborative to encourage more homeownership among Black consumers through an initiative called the Black Homeownership Collaborative. The goal is to add 3 million new Black homeowners by 2030.