Regional Coordinator's Message: Barbara Schmerzler
Preoccupied with their own issues of economic recovery, Western European countries have been rather reticent to explore the possibilities offered by NAR in terms of International REALTOR® membership or participating in our national meetings. This is certainly the case in Belgium, the United Kingdom, Portugal (which is becoming the go-to place for many good property values), and Spain (where a vibrant association has joined the NAR family and is enthusiastically embracing some of our education courses).
The Nordic countries seem to share some of the same values and are planning to meet more often within the region. Germany is of course dealing with refugees and Austria has taken advantage of our President’s Liaison’s expertise and teaching skills. All associations are hoping to swell their membership ranks by seeking younger people to enter the profession directly from university.
The Netherlands have become very global in their thinking and, along with France, is maintaining a steady course of planning based on events in both countries. Italy and Ireland recently welcomed trade and study missions from both the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR).
Throughout the region (and in most countries around the world) NAR’s Cooperating Associations represent real estate agents who are employees, there are very, very few MLS groups in place, there is little licensing, and exclusive contracts are not approved by the governments of some countries and/or the EU Parliament.
In Israel, the president and vice president of the Jerusalem Chamber of Real Estate Professionals are working to form a national association by gathering like-minded licensed brokers and agents into groups representing the towns and cities where they are doing business.
The Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA) continues to move ahead with classes covering many diverse topics. We are also working closely with the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa (IEASA) which also happens to be NAR’s oldest partner.