H. Walter Graves

President of the National Association of REALTORS® - 1958

NAREB's 50th president, H. Walter Graves*, worked with the Eisenhower Administration and Congress in enacting legislation which expanded homeownership opportunities for millions of Americans. The new legislation included repeal of discount controls on FHA-insured and VA-guaranteed loans, liberalization and expansion of the FHA and VA programs, extension of the FHA certified agency program, a new trade-in housing program and an Emergency Housing Act which granted special assistance funds to the Federal National Mortgage Association for purchasing mortgages.

Decrying the bulldozer approach to urban renewal, Mr. Graves supported conservation through carefully planned rehabilitation. He praised the accomplishments of the award-winning Build America Committee and encouraged REALTORS® to contribute their special skills toward a unified effort of residential rehabilitation.

According to Mr. Graves, the proposed"scattered project" public housing program was a threat to private homeownership and did not serve the needs of the poor. He called for the orderly liquidation of existing units, turning them over to private taxpaying ownership. During Mr. Graves' term, NAREB realized its long-sought goal: final liquidation of federally owned wartime housing.

Noting that the time had come for bold overhauling of the federal income tax system, Mr. Graves said the government must stop using taxes to regulate the economy. Accomplishments toward tax reform in 1958 included the Small Business Investment Act and Technical Tax Amendment.

Mr. Graves urged REALTORS® to master the Association's high standards of ethical procedure. He reorganized the Professional Standards Committee, charging it to publish a book of interpretations of the Code of Ethics. In addition, Executive Vice President Eugene P. Conser wrote a series of editorials for Headlines on various articles of the Code.

Mr. Graves was vice president and part owner of Albert M. Greenfield & Co., Inc., a nationally prominent real estate firm headquartered in Philadelphia. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, he was a past chairman of the Pennsylvania Housing-Rent Industry Advisory Committee. He also managed the Philadelphia operations of the United States Housing Corporation, which built 650 homes in the area to ease the housing shortage after World War I.

Mr. Graves' contributions to organized real estate were many, including the presidency of the Philadelphia Board of REALTORS® and the Philadelphia chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management. He served as treasurer of the Urban Land Institute. Before assuming NAREB's top post, he was national treasurer for five years and was chairman of the REALTORS® Washington Committee.

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