President during a time of tight mortgage money and the Association's historic 50th annual convention, Kenneth S. Keyes* praised President Eisenhower's efforts to study the nation's financial structure and supported legislation lowering the ceiling of the national debt. He blamed a significant drop in real estate activity on the "abnormal tightness of the mortgage money market."
According to Keyes, the reduction in activity was not due to reduced demand for better homes, but rather to the tightness of mortgage money caused by government fiscal policies.
"We are certain that it was not the intention of our money planners to single out the vital home building industry and curb its activities at a time when other industries are advancing to new peaks of activity," Mr. Keyes said. "But such has been the net result of the policies adopted."
Mr. Keyes supported a reduction in down payments necessary to purchase homes through FHA and urged that the maximum insurable mortgage by FHA be increased.
During his term of office, the Herbert U. Nelson Memorial Fund was established, fostering real estate education and research through scholarships, fellowships, and loans. Mr. Keyes was chairman of the Fund's first board of trustees.
President Keyes, a devoutly religious man, delivered the principal address at the REALTORS®' Prayer Breakfast in Washington. During his term, he traveled with his wife Polly to every state, Canada, and six European countries. Also in 1957, the American Chapter of the International Real Estate Federation was recognized as an Association affiliate.
Active in real estate since 1925, Mr. Keyes built the Keyes Company of Miami from a single-desk operation to one of the largest in the country. He headed over 50 corporations, operating hotels, office buildings, and other realty enterprises in Florida, New York, and Canada.
During his real estate career, Mr. Keyes served as president of the National Institute of Real Estate Brokers, president of the Florida Association of Real Estate Boards, vice president of the Institute of Real Estate Management, and president of the American Chapter of the International Real Estate Federation. He also was a member of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers.
During World War I, Mr. Keyes served as infantry lieutenant in the Army, and did valuable civilian work for Washington in World War II.
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Mr. Keyes was a University of Michigan graduate and held an honorary doctorate degree from Houghton College in New York.
An elder in the Shenandoah Presbyterian Church, Mr. Keyes traveled over 300,000 miles at his own expense, imparting his message, "In partnership with God," to civic organizations and church groups. Over six million copies of the message were distributed in booklet form and translated into nine languages.
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).