The Commercial Narrative: A Note From the President

The REALTORS® Legislative Conference and Trade Expo is my favorite meeting. In May, we brought almost 8,500 members of NAR to our nation’s capital and that’s no small feat. I had many conversations with members in sessions, in the halls and conference rooms, and on Capitol Hill as we took our message to lawmakers. I was proud- it showed how strong our voice is and how our issues resonate in every community across our nation.

At NAR 360, we released our official Hill Visit Talking Points, with Commercial Real Estate Issues being one of our top four priorities. In particular, Like-Kind Exchanges and Leasehold Improvements are critical tax reform policies that play a pivotal role in our nation’s economy. It’s not hard to see these issues translate to the local community. They directly influence walkability and public transit, which in turn make communities more livable and have enormous impact on property values.

These livability issues are particularly popular with younger generations. That got me thinking. We talk a lot about Millennials and their home buying patterns. That’s a residential narrative we hear often in the news. But what about the commercial market? Doesn’t it have a narrative as well? And, aren’t Millennials just as essential to commercial markets as they are to residential? Their generation is one of the most entrepreneurial we’ve ever seen. They want to change the world and call their own shots at the same time. That sounds like a wave of future business owners to me.

Commercial property houses the businesses and services that power great communities. These businesses are based on the taste of consumers. And tastes change. Just because people shop, buy, or live a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. Think about how technology has changed consumer behavior. The list of goods and services that you can buy online grows longer by the minute. But, not everything will make it to that list. There will always be a need for storefronts. Commercial real estate issues evolve to keep pace with our society.

Financing is another example. We need regulators to realize that smaller lenders and banks are often the ones who suffer at the hands of new regulations. The simple act of compliance can threaten a small business’s viability. We need a balance between regulation and the opportunity to succeed.

Our communities are developed from the ground up: land, office, industrial, retail, and multi-family housing. These are all foundations upon which we build for the future. We should make a commitment to teach our younger members and consumers about the issues that greatly impact their communities. One way is for you to be a role model and mentor. I’ve had great mentors at every stage of my life, even now as NAR President.

Strengthening our community takes partners of all kinds, as well as teamwork and collaboration. Above all else, we should always remember that whatever changes along the way, the commercial narrative must always be part of the story.

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