You can’t go an hour these days without reading something about politics. That will likely become even more the case as the Texas Legislature is in session this spring. Since they only meet for 140 days every two years, that places a lot of attention on what is going on in Austin, and you can be sure that HAR and TAR are keeping up with everything and trying to make sure our members are aware of what is going on. You may read about the 2019 legislative priorities on pages 26-27. I also encourage you to reply when HAR, TAR or NAR issues a Call For Action. We limit them to really important issues such as the extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, which could have a huge impact on our business. If you see a Call For Action, you know we really need you to help make our voices heard. It’s quick and easy to respond, and you can even request to get the Call For Action by text.
The 2018 year-end sales statistics have been released, and against all odds, it was another record year. There are never guarantees that trends will continue, so we will have to keep our eyes out to see if there are signs of a more balanced market or if economic uncertainty starts to weigh on real estate. You may read all about the December 2018 and full-year stats on pages 8-13. There was some sales weakness toward the end of the year, but pricing continued to show strength. The luxury market in particular was strong, with a 20 percent increase in sales versus the same period the prior year.
Even though we are just in February, you should go ahead and book your seat on the bus to head to Austin for REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol on March 26. It’s your chance to meet with your legislators in person and there will even be a BBQ lunch hosted by TAR. You can read more about it on page 24. I’ll be there and hope to see as many of you as possible there with me.
“Using a REALTOR is the best way to determine the market price of a home. Start the process by viewing the third-party valuations and then contact a REALTOR® to determine a reasonable price for a home.” That’s what it says on the new HAR Automated Valuation Model (AVM) page on HAR.com, which is www.har.com/homesvalues/compare. When a visitor enters an address in the search field, they will be shown home valuation information from the leading valuation provider in the industry. You may read more about it on pages 30-31. This is a great way to spark the conversation with their REALTOR®.
I’m a proud graduate of the Texas REALTORS® Leadership Program (TRLP) that is administered by HAR. It is an amazing curriculum that will help you become more aware of the world around you—not just in real estate. It is one of the best investments I have made in my career and made me understand leadership in a different way. You may find out more and how to apply on page 41. Applications are due on March 22, but don’t wait until the last minute.
I also want to congratulate our own Bob Hale for being ranked as the 27th most powerful and influential person in real estate in the country on the 2019 Swanepoel Power 200 list. We are so fortunate to have had him leading our association for the last 31 years—and there’s no sign of him slowing down. It should be noted that Bob is the second highest ranking association/MLS executive on the list, behind only NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. You may see our congratulatory message on page 19.