I’m very excited to begin my term as your 2017 C.A.R. President. First, I’d like to thank our outgoing president, Ziggy Zicarelli, for serving this organization so well over the past year. I know he put in many miles traveling around the state to meet as many of you as possible. Thank you, Ziggy, for your commitment and enthusiasm to organized real estate.
I’m a native of Twin Falls, Idaho, and have been active in organized real estate for 30 years. I’m a broker and co-owner of Main Street Realtors® in Long Beach, which has 185 agents. As C.A.R. president, one of my primary goals is to improve professionalism in the industry, so I’ll explore the possibility of working with the Bureau of Real Estate to enhance license requirements and define broker supervision. I also want to address California’s housing affordability crisis, which I believe will weigh heavily in 2017. I want to further explore how we can have a positive impact on addressing the affordability problem and determining likely solutions.
I won’t be doing it alone though. I’ll be joined by a very talented 2017 Leadership Team comprised of President-elect Steve White, Treasurer Jared Martin, and C.A.R. Chief Executive Officer Joel Singer. I plan to work with this team to ensure that C.A.R. is focused, relevant, and ready to execute. I’m looking forward to serving you with this incredible team.
Speaking of housing affordability, one of my first tasks as C.A.R. president was to open C.A.R.’s Center for California Real Estate Summit: “Housing Affordability and California’s Future.” The summit drew about 100 participants, which included economists, state and local officials, academics, and other housing experts. C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer and C.A.R. Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young set the stage with some sobering statistics: California ranks 49th in the nation in homeownership rate and last in affordability. If these trends continue, California will become a state where renters are the majority instead of homeowners.
Keynote speaker Carol Galante, faculty director at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, discussed some of the key factors causing the affordability crisis and cited possible solutions. She indicated that job growth and a housing imbalance, population growth and demographic shifts in cities, climate change challenges, and stagnant incomes in the face of rising costs of living were some of the causes. Among solutions, Galante suggested expanding the supply and lowering the cost of housing by streamlining the development approvals process and addressing regulatory barriers to housing production, expanding access by giving renters a tax credit and developing new mortgage products to increase access to homeownership.
We also held three roundtables with panelists comprised of industry leaders, who addressed policy solutions, the economics of affordability, and land use, supply and zoning in the development of residential real estate.
We’ll have a complete wrap-up report and videos in the coming weeks, so please keep your eyes open. In the meantime, watch this video news story of the day’s event.
In a related topic, voters in many California cities cast their ballots on local measures in the last election regarding matters that concern REALTORS®. Rent control was the biggest issue, which was on the ballot in eight different cities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Several of these measures proposed to enact new rent control ordinances. In some cities, the proposals tightened the restrictions or expanded the provisions of existing programs. REALTORS® were successful in defeating some of these proposals or in getting less draconian, council-sponsored measures passed instead. With skyrocketing rents, rent control will continue to be a “cure” that many cities will consider.
That’s why C.A.R. has formed a “strike team” to help local Associations of REALTORS® contend with this issue. Many cities have proposed rent control and just cause for eviction restrictions as a way to address escalating rental housing prices. The strike team consists of local advocates and REALTORS® with expertise in local rent control. Professional consultants will also be retained to assist with this effort. If your local Association is facing rent control measures and are looking for assistance with strategy, messaging, advocacy or other related aspects of this local issue, please contact C.A.R. Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to meeting many of you in the next year. Have a great Thanksgiving.
CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®