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GLOBAL REAL ESTATE MARKETS SPELL OPPORTUNITY, EXPERTS TELL REALTORS

GLOBAL REAL ESTATE MARKETS SPELL OPPORTUNITY, EXPERTS TELL REALTORS
    WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- As Eastern European countries and the Soviet Union evolve into free-market economies, real estate investment opportunities in this part of the world increase, according to a group of international real estate experts.
    Remarks were heard from several speakers who have real estate development expertise in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union during sessions at the National Association of Realtors 1991 Annual Convention and Trade Exposition held earlier this month in Las Vegas, Nev.
    Also, during the convention, real estate practitioners discussed investment opportunities in other parts of the world, such as North and South America.
    NAR's 1991 outgoing International Operations Committee chairman, Thomas Bodden, said the market for real property and real estate finance has been and is increasingly global, and that recognition of the fundamental benefits of private property ownership continues to expand worldwide.
    Bodden said NAR has a vested interest in what happens in foreign countries, particularly in their real estate markets.  "Because housing has the potential to drive an economy, our members are very interested in the developments around the world.  In the United States alone, housing accounts for approximately one-fifth of this country's gross national product.  It is in everyone's best interest to help create real estate markets worldwide that are free and performing to their potential," he said.
    Manfred Chemek, a managing partner/broker for Manhelm International Realty, a real estate investment and consulting firm with offices in Houston and Bremen, Germany, talked to Realtors about the economic climate and investment opportunities in Germany.  He gave a recent history of the reunification of Germany.  Chemek called the coming together of East and West Germany "an annexation that turned into a business takeover."
    "The opening of the Berlin wall was a dramatic and emotional experience, and events happened very rapidly after that," he said. "The costs were high, and continue to be so in terms of getting East Germany caught up with West Germany.  Investment opportunities immediately became apparent after the opening of the wall, as they began privatizing real estate in East Germany and getting titleship. There were no private titles to real estate in East Germany," Chemek said.
    Chemek said there continue to be great investment opportunities in what was formerly East Germany.  He said an organization very similar to the U.S. government's Resolution Trust Corp. exists there, in which 8,000 properties are being put into private hands, at a rate of approximately 20 properties a day.  "The price of these government properties vary, and initially some people thought they could  up' the price and really make a killing.  The best way to determine a fair price is to compare what other properties are selling for," Chemek said.
    J. Daryl Lippincott, past chairman of NAR's 1990 International Operations Committee, and an expert on Poland's real estate markets, particularly Warsaw's, said the new governments in Poland, established in 1990, face an enormous task of rebuilding in every area in order to meet the needs of the people.
    He said there is a great demand for technical assistance in many areas of development in Poland, particularly in the area of valuation processes.  "How does a new, inexperienced government begin to place value on vacant land that appears to have economic development potential?" Lippincott said.
    "The governing bodies throughout Poland must be focused on the needs of its citizens when it comes to issues like proper land use and valuations," he said.  "This clearly is an area in Eastern Europe where American real estate practitioners can lend their expertise," he added.
    Lippincott also discussed the reasons why NAR continues to be involved in real estate in foreign countries.  "Our association believes private housing is the backbone of free societies," he said. "We learn tremendously from other countries and their housing policies, and we have found that we can even adopt some techniques from their cultures," he added.
    NAR voted during the convention to form a new international membership section, which will allow members who are interested, or who are already involved in working with foreign buyers or properties, to identify themselves as international real estate practitioners.  This new effort will provide members with a wide variety of benefits, services, information and networking opportunities.  It will also give members access to NAR international affiliated organizations, and individual members in foreign countries.
    John T. Howley, vice president of NAR's International Operations division, said the creation of the new international membership section demonstrates the association's continued commitment not only to the exchange of knowledge between countries, but to maintaining and creating free markets all over the world.  These efforts will have a global effect, benefitting not just the United States, but all countries, he said.
    NAR long has been involved in the international arena.  Since the early 1950s, the association first helped to establish the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI), and since has hosted and participated in a series of public forums on private property rights and shelter needs issues.  Additionally, NAR leadership has provided consultation to housing officials in the Soviet Union, Hungary and Poland in conjunction with the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) and the U.S. Department of Labor. These efforts laid the groundwork for NAR's more recent involvement in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
    For example, NAR is the primary organizer and sponsor of two real estate seminars being held this week in Moscow and Warsaw on the topic of housing development in market economies.  The association has been working with the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) to create curriculums focused on how the Soviet Union and Poland can meet their housing needs.  Also, last month a team of Soviet real estate managers took a tour of America and participated in a class on Western real estate principles offered in Moscow by the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute (CIREI), one of NAR's seven affiliates.
    During the convention session, CIREI's 1991 President John Stone, discussed the principles that were taught to the Soviet real estate managers.  "We taught them everything from market analysis, private property and transfer rights, to the ethics of profit making," he said.  "We explained to these people, that within certain boundaries and ethical constraints, it's not only good to make a profit, it's healthy.  Profit-making is creative, it produces a drive, and it must be encouraged in order to promote free thinking and development of talents," he added.
    The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is the nation's largest trade association, representing nearly 800,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.
    -0-                    11/21/91
    /CONTACT:  Lois Clinton, 202-383-1016, or Rose Matthews, 202-383-1135, both of the National Association of Realtors/ CO:  National Association of Realtors ST:  District of Columbia IN: SU: DC -- DC011 -- 5873 11/21/91 12:07 EST
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Date:Nov 21, 1991
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