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RISMEDIA, March 8, 2011—Housing recovery may seem like a mirage in the desert of record foreclosures and steep unemployment, but history indicates that a more balanced market is in our future.

Real estate has always been and always will be cyclical. Recent numbers—namely gains in existing- and new-home sales, increasing activity among investors, upticks in housing starts and ongoing efforts to streamline short sales—offer a much-needed reminder that this downturn, too, shall pass.

The improvements we’re seeing might not be dramatic or even permanent just yet, but any step in the right direction is an important one toward restoring confidence among consumers and industry experts.

What’s Ahead
In the near term, 2011 will be better than 2010, but only slightly. In the years beyond, as new phases of the real estate cycle approach, we’ll see healthier trends rather than a return to the abnormal and artificial boom times of the early to mid-2000s.

The market ahead will be driven by hopeful buyers who are regaining their financial footing and building their savings: a generational wave of consumers just reaching their prime home-buying years; immigrants who’ve come to the United States eager to realize their American dream; and investors focusing on long-term wealth rather than short-term gains.

As the damage caused by defaults and foreclosures subsides, more and more homeowners will be managing responsible mortgage terms and affordable payments, and once again be selling homes with equity.

Start Fresh
For real estate professionals, it’s critical to be preparing and reaching out now to buyers and sellers in all situations, and positioning yourself to provide the most comprehensive and expert service you can. Don’t shy away from starting a new, better cycle in your career, with more coaching, new specialties and a renewed purpose.

If we all continue looking ahead, our businesses will be leaner and we’ll be wiser with the understanding that success doesn’t fall into our laps. It takes dedication, and sometimes sacrifices, to achieve goals in real estate—for professionals and consumers.

Margaret Kelly, CRB, is chief executive officer of RE/MAX LLC. For more information, please visit