Clarence Turley

President of the National Association of REALTORS® - 1956

During Clarence M. Turley's* year in office, the median price of a home was $14,700; half of all nonfarm homeowners had no outstanding mortgage debt on their homes; prevailing mortgage rates were 5 percent; and homeownership was the highest level ever at 60 percent of all American households. That year, the federal government imposed credit restrictions, resulting in severe curbing of borrowing affecting primarily the home buying market.

Urging the government to loosen credit restraints, Mr. Turley noted that the country's interest in a stable economy would best be served by "removing credit roadblocks which reduce incentives to home buying." He said that "as long as the percentage of our population owning homes increases, the danger of a trend toward communism becomes more distant."

The Omnibus Housing Act of 1956 was signed into law and with it major Association goals were accomplished. The act continued and liberalized the home repair program, extended to existing homes the same loan-to-value ratios as for new dwellings, approved construction of 35,000 new socialized housing units in each of the next two years and provided limited assistance for housing the elderly. Calling for flexible interest rates on government-backed home mortgages, Mr. Turley termed the existing frozen condition of FHA and VA interest rates "totally unrealistic."

Mr. Turley was a charter member and 1961 president of Civic Progress, Inc., an organization which played a key role in rebuilding downtown St. Louis and constructing a new municipal stadium for that city. 

During his 40-year real estate career, Mr. Turley served as president of the National Association of Building Owners and Managers, and president of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers. He was the first vice president of the Urban Land Institute and served as a member of NAR's Board of Directors and Executive Committee. He also was president of the St. Louis Real Estate Board and was the first REALTOR® to be named "REALTOR® of the Year" by the Missouri Real Estate Association.

A native of St. Louis, Mr. Turley had a law degree from Benton College of Law. He began his real estate career in 1913, working for the Isaac T. Cook Company. He opened his own firm in 1928. A member of the teaching staff of Washington University in St. Louis, Mr. Turley also served as a trustee and chairman of the Finance Committee of Carthage College, in Carthage, Ill.  Mr. Turley also was active in the St. Louis Council of Boy Scouts of America, held offices in the Chamber of Commerce, and served as a member of the Council of Reen Memorial Lutheran Church.

Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).