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Real estate is facing a transformation in the coming years, given the nation’s economic concerns, demographic trends and shifting socio-economic landscape. As REALTORS® gather this week for NAR’s annual REALTORS® Conference and Expo, they are working to shape that future through the ReThink Initiative.

“NAR takes its role as a leader in the real estate industry very seriously,” says NAR President Moe Veissi. “As REALTORS® gather this week in Orlando, we’re focused on the road ahead, not only for real estate but also for the future of our families, communities and nation’s economy. The ReThink initiative leverages the experiences and insights of REALTORS® academia, consumers and others to plan for and adapt to dynamic changes in the industry.”

NAR launched the ReThink Initiative in August of this year during its annual Leadership Summit in Chicago. Cross-country workshops are being conducted through May 2013, including two here this week. The complete two-year process will incorporate the results of these strategic conversations into a shared vision and actionable strategy about the future REALTORS® want to create for their association, the industry and American society.

The impact of the current debt-driven recession on the housing market is a significant consideration. Although myriad surveys demonstrate that most Americans still believe in the value of homeownership, many of them believe owning a home will become more difficult in the coming years. Demographic forces like the retiring baby boomers, emerging echo boomers and increasing ethnic diversity will affect both the demand and supply side of residential real estate.

Other elements are likely to impact the future of U.S. real estate, as well. Global immigration and foreign capital flows will influence the demand for and value of housing in the U.S., and environmental concerns such as a growing scarcity of energy and raw materials relative to a burgeoning population could affect urban and suburban design and housing patterns. Technology innovations and the growing influence of big data will affect the real estate industry and society in ways that few fully understand today.

Workshop participants are asked to consider a focal question: In an ever-changing world, what is the future of the real estate industry in five to 10 years, and how will this affect consumers, real estate professionals, industry organizations and associations?

REALTORS® unable to attend a session will have an opportunity to experience it online, including providing feedback and insights just like the live ReThink events. The online experience will be available soon at www.rethinkfuture.com.

“For over 100 years, REALTORS® have always demonstrated their value to buyers, sellers and investors in the real estate transaction,” says Veissi. “Now we’re going beyond that as we develop a vision for the future for the next century and beyond.”

For more information about NAR’s ReThink Initiative, including opportunities for state and local REALTOR® associations to host a ReThink event, visit www.rethinkfuture.com.

The National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing one million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org.

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