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REALTORS FACE BUSINESS CHALLENGES IN '90s, ECONOMIST DOWNS SAYS

 WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- An aging baby-boom generation, a growing number of singles and minorities in search of suitable housing and a shortage of affordable homes will create a series of challenges and opportunities for real estate professionals throughout the '90s, economist Anthony Downs told Realtors at a residential symposium here today.
 "A big challenge for Realtors in the coming years will be finding buyers for the homes of trade-up sellers," Downs, a senior fellow of the Brookings Institute, told attendees to a symposium during the National Association of Realtors' Midyear Conference and Trade Exposition. Nearly 7,000 Realtors and guests are attending the April 23-28 conference.
 Many potential first-time buyers will come from minority groups in this decade, and Realtors should channel their marketing efforts towards these people, he said. "You need the patronage of minority households," he advised.
 Downs also told Realtors at the session, which focused on economic issues and trends for residential real estate professionals, that singles and one-parent families are likely to represent a larger percentage of potential home buyers over the next decade.
 Additionally, Downs challenged Realtors to take initiatives in their communities to improve public schools in order to make the housing markets there more desirable.
 "We need drastic reform in our public schools if we are to attract new residents," Downs said. On the issue of affordable housing, Downs predicted that pressures for deficit reduction and slower growth in personal incomes will decrease the availability of subsidized housing.
 "To expand the number of households who can buy or rent homes in your markets, you need to make it possible for developers to build lower-cost units -- often multifamily units. This is vital to provide housing for many of the workers that your own community cannot live without," Downs said. "As Realtors, you should work with your state associations to pressure state lawmakers for actions that will force local governments to reduce the costs of developing affordable housing," Downs said.
 Although many current home owners will choose to upgrade and remodel their homes, rather than move up to bigger, more expensive ones, Downs told Realtors they could meet the challenge by keeping up with the demographic and economic trends at work in the marketplace.
 NAR Chief Economist John Tuccillo, who also addressed the symposium, said Realtors should expect mortgage interest rates to continue sliding downward over the next year. With 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage rates averaging 7.75 percent now, he said they should be about 7 percent by year-end.
 The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is the nation's largest trade association, representing nearly 750,000 members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.
 -0- 4/26/93
 /CONTACT: Liz Duncan, 202-383-1043, or Trisha Morris, 202-383-7560, both of the National Association of Realtors/


CO: National Association of Realtors ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

MH -- DC036 -- 0947 04/26/93 16:28 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 26, 1993
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