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REBNY hits record 10,000 members in its 109th year.

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), New York City's oldest real estate trade organization, has reached a major milestone in 2005--we now have more than 10,000 members for the first time in our 109-year history. While membership has steadily grown over the last 100 years, the last few years have marked a major surge in membership, particularly with an influx of residential brokers.

The milestone reminds us how far we've come. As the real estate industry has changed, so has its leading trade association.

In the early 1980s we began to see a fundamental shift in our mission and our membership. REBNY expanded its role from what was an organization that allowed commercial brokers to informally network and share their available space with each other to become a major force in the industry for information sharing and policy. As a result of soaring property values at that time, REBNY expanded its base of members to include commercial owners and managers. And by the late 1980s, the changing real estate market brought a major influx of residential builders/owners, followed by residential brokers, a trend started in the mid-1990s.

Our growth continues. We constantly seek new ways to serve our members. One of our organization's primary activities is the evaluation and creation of policy for the city, state and federal government. We've been more involved in federal legislative issues in the last four years--like the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) and funding for the Downtown Rail Link to Long Island--and have hired a Washington lobbyist to represent the board in several issues that will affect New York City.

We continue to be involved in numerous initiatives that are important to New York City, from the revitalization of Lower Manhattan and the recent passage of tax incentives for the area, to the rezoning efforts on the West Side and the Brooklyn water front.

For our commercial brokerage division, we have made it easier for brokers to share available commercial space listings with the Commercial Listing Exchange (CLE), which launched in January. We now have more than 20 firms sharing listings on a weekly basis, a surge from six firms enrolled when the program started. And our similar information sharing initiatives in the residential arena, via the REBNY Residential Listing Service (RLS), has dramatically improved the ability of consumers to be served by our residential brokers. By increasing listing information, REBNY has helped to open up the market; the ease of information has helped buyers find cooperatives and condominiums and companies to find new office space. Changing the way we share information has had a positive impact for the industry and the city.

REBNY's market reports continue to provide members important information about trends in the residential and commercial markets. This year's quarterly cooperative and condominium reports have shown that the residential market remains at all time highs with strong activity levels. In addition, REBNY's spring retail report showed another robust period for the sector with asking rents improving especially in major retail corridors in Lower Manhattan.

As always, REBNY's education department is spending the summer months revamping our educational course offerings. Last season, we provided 90 hours of all new continuing education courses, and added the Salesperson's Qualifying Licensing Course. Similar improvements are planned for the coming season.

In addition, we've offered great networking opportunities throughout the year with members luncheons featuring top professionals in our industry as well as numerous committee luncheons, cocktail parties and seminars with expert panelists, all which keep REBNY members current on issues that directly affect their businesses.

The 10,000 professionals that make up REBNY's membership are at the forefront of the city's real estate industry and have made New York City what it is today. We're proud of our membership and heritage. No other industry trade group can say that its members have spent "Over 100 Years of Building and Serving New York."

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Author:Spinola, Steven
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Aug 20, 2005
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