James M. Udall

President of the National Association of REALTORS® - 1959

During James M. Udall's* presidency, NAREB enjoyed a spirit of cooperation with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who shared REALTORS®' endorsement of budget wise housing legislation. Mr. Udall met with President Eisenhower at the White House in February to pledge REALTORS®' support for his housing program.

NAREB scored a victory when the President twice vetoed Congress' omnibus housing bill, calling the proposed programs extravagant, inflationary and discriminatory, and criticizing the substitution of federal spending for private investment. The bill finally signed by the President in September achieved several key objectives for NAREB, including the elimination of federal loans for college construction, spending cuts for urban renewal and public housing, and increased authority for the FHA.

Mr. Udall sponsored an industry salute to the Federal Housing Administration on its 25th anniversary. He praised the FHA, saying it represented an excellent example of government and private industry working together.

Mr. Udall witnessed a new determination to fight urban blight through locally sponsored rehabilitation programs. He commended REALTORS® for making increased use of an FHA program to provide housing for persons displaced by urban renewal.

Although 1959 enjoyed healthy real estate activity, Mr. Udall saw rising interest rates (averaging 6 percent) and the new development of discounts on conventional mortgages as a serious threat to homebuying opportunities, and urged restraint.

Recognizing the importance of consumer education, he initiated a REALTOR® Junior Program for high schools during REALTOR® Week and sponsored the Association's first professionally produced film, "The House Hunters." In the area of membership policy, Mr. Udall moved the Association closer to admitting salespeople as either active REALTOR® or associate members. He recommended eliminating separate membership divisions for salespeople and changing local real estate boards to boards of REALTORS®.

Known as the "busiest and fastest moving REALTOR® in the world," Mr. Udall advanced the use of aviation in the real estate industry. He was a founder and second president of the National Real Estate Fliers Association. In his native California, he has served as president of the California Real Estate Association, Los Angeles Realty Board, Los Angeles chapter-Institute of Real Estate Management, and Los Angeles County Apartment Association. National offices held by Mr. Udall include regional vice president, Institute of Real Estate Management, and vice president of NAREB.

Although Mr. Udall remained active in real estate after his Presidency, his son, James, Jr., now runs the family firm, which specializes in brokerage, property management, consulting, and development of shopping centers. A graduate of University of California at Berkeley, Mr. Udall was associated with Paramount Pictures for three years before entering the real estate field. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

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