Silicon Valley realtors shared their thoughts and ideas on the future of real estate at a National Association of Realtors REThink Initiative Workshop earlier this spring in Santa Clara. MLSListings Inc. hosted the workshop, attended by 125 realtors who practice in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
According to realtors, industry experts realize that real estate faces a transformation. Last summer, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) launched the REThink Initiative to gather insights from realtors, academia, consumers and others nationwide to formulate a shared vision about the future realtors want to create for themselves, their association and the industry.
Participants were asked a focal question: “In an ever-changing world, what is the future of the real estate industry in five to 10 years, and how will it affect consumers, including buyers and sellers, real estate professionals, industry organizations, NAR and state and local realtor associations?”
The realtors reviewed several scenarios and issues likely to impact future housing patterns, design and the consumer’s view of homeownership. Topics included the recession, the global economy, technology, environmental concerns, population growth and demographic forces including the retiring baby boomers, emerging “echo boomers” and ethnic diversity.
They also analyzed the relationship between realtor and consumer. Surveys indicate that more buyers search for homes on the Internet, but the agent’s value hasn’t diminished. Agents are consistently rated more useful than other information sources.
“As an industry, we need to stay on top of our online competition and we need to continually address consumer needs,” said David Tonna, president-elect of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors.
Studies report that the Generation Y population drives less due to a slack economy and environmental concerns. This could mean that housing without alternate transportation options might be less attractive and that walkability scores will matter more in the future.
Despite the changing economy, 90 percent of respondents in a recent poll of likely voters still consider homeownership an integral part of the American dream, although 59 percent said they think it will be “somewhat” or “much harder” for their children to achieve the American dream.