Foreign investment in U.S. real estate surges 49 percent; Illinois in top 10

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Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate reached a new high from March 2016 to April 2017, according to a annual survey released by the National Association of REALTORS® earlier this week.

Foreign buyers amassed $153 billion in residential property compared to the same period a year before, according to the NAR 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate. Transactions grew in each of the top five countries where buyers live (China, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and India) and almost half of all foreign sales were in Florida, California and Texas. Rounding out the top five states were New Jersey and Arizona, while Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia and New York were top destinations. Members can login in see the report or the press release.

 

 

Illinois agencies join Illinois REALTORS® in industry forum with Ghanaian delegation

Greg St. Aubin (standing) was just one of many who shared information about the real estate industry with visitors from Ghana.

Real estate industry representatives and elected members of Parliament from the Republic of Ghana visited Chicago Wednesday to learn about how Illinois REALTORS® practice and regulate real estate in Illinois. They also learned how we work to promote Illinois and expand opportunities for homeownership.

The day began at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) offices with Kreg Allison, Director of Real Estate for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) outlining the basic regulatory infrastructure. Greg St. Aubin, Illinois REALTORS® Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, explained how we interact with the IDFPR and then shared some thoughts on the potential real estate regulatory policy that the Parliamentarians are considering.

Mike Drews, Immediate Past President of the association, shared the process that REALTORS® follow to help buyers and sellers purchase and sell homes. He discussed agency and how REALTORS® protect consumers and serve their clients.

REALTOR® Vicky Sampah, Vice Chair of the Illinois REALTORS® Global Business Council, spearheaded this study visit and is committed to helping her home country become more organized and professionalized. She began by going back to Ghana and helping real estate practitioners form their own association, now known as the Ghana Real Estate Professionals Association (GREPA). Her most recent victory is helping to facilitate a bilateral agreement with the NAR so GREPA members can be international members of NAR.

The day continued with Erik Brejla from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. He shared information on Illinois infrastructure and amenities. The delegates took away some ideas on how to promote Ghana and its assets.

The day ended with a breakout session led by Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Assistant Executive Director Debra Olsen and Managing Director of Homeownership Tara Pavlik. They explained how Illinois promotes access to housing through down payment programs for first-time home buyers and helps fund the development of new affordable housing. Ghana is considering an agency similar to IHDA, so many of the members were taking notes and asking questions. Sharon Gorrell, Policy Advisor for Global Business, highlighted how Congress sets the policies, agencies like HUD develop the rules and distribute the funds and then IHDA administers the dollars.

Another breakout session focused on advocacy. Michael Scobey, Director of Local and Global Programs, facilitated that discussion and shared examples of talking points Illinois REALTORS® have used in the past. Also, he helped them understand the importance of an organized and unified voice.

Having a consistent and informed message will help Ghana’s real estate practitioners have a voice in their own regulation and facilitate the growth of the real estate profession.

Illinois REALTORS® Global Business Council to host Ghana delegation next week

Illinois REALTOR® Vicky Sampah is spearheading an effort to help a delegation from the Republic of Ghana learn about real estate industry regulation.
The delegation is scheduled to visit with Sampah and other REALTORS® in Chicago next week. Two years ago, the Illinois REALTORS® hosted a parliamentarian and real estate practitioner delegation from Ghana to share experiences and give counsel about regulating the real estate industry. The group has incorporated some of the amendments Illinois REALTORS® suggested in 2015 but the policy has not been passed in Ghana’s parliament.
Illinois REALTORS® welcomes the delegation members back and is happy to share its advocacy expertise and be part of the global community of real estate.

Illinois REALTORS® Join NAR at Global Session for Cities

(l to r) Illinois REALTOR® Vicky Sampah and Patricia de Lille, executive mayor of the city of Cape Town, South Africa

Last week, Global Policy Advisor Sharon Gorrell and Vice-Chair of the Illinois REALTORS® Global Business Council, Vicky Sampah joined Janet Branton, senior vice president of Global and Commercial Services for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Judith Hermanson of IHC Global, a non-profit housing coalition started in part by the NAR, for a three-day session put on by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

It is called the Chicago Forum on Global Cities. Each year, the forum brings together global leaders in business, education, civics and the arts for an integrated, cross-sector dialogue on the power and limitations of global cities to shape the world’s future.

This session drew public sector and private industry professionals, along with academics and non-profit groups to come together and learn from leaders and experts from different countries on a variety of subjects affecting cities. Topics such as urban planning, housing supply, data/technology, immigration and migration, diversity, energy and sustainability and a plethora of other topics affecting urban areas and world-class cities throughout the globe were all addressed.

Sampah stated, “It is important for us REALTORS® to understand the global trends since some of these issues cross over and affect our markets and what our urban areas may be contemplating in the future.”

As an example, the concept of “walkability” came up at a session on Livable Cities. The mayor of Melbourne, Australia, Robert Doyle was sharing that streetscapes need to look good in order to draw people to them rather than use their car. He stated at the session, “Cities can’t just be walkable, they have to be enjoyable to walk through.” This falls into the experience economy trend that effects everything we do from drinking coffee to buying groceries.

Chicago’s own Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave the opening comments and stressed the importance of local communities taking part in global conversations. The session ended with Chicago Council on Global Affairs President Ivo Daalder stating that cities need to start getting more involved in higher level policy discussions since nation-states make policy decisions that local communities have to implement and in many cases, pay for.

Forums like these are great opportunities to network with global decision makers and industry colleagues. They also are a great place to collect and build resources that help the members of the Illinois REALTORS® Global Business Council be better partners in global real estate transactions and trusted advisors for their international clients in both the commercial and residential sectors.

4 questions: REALTOR® Silvano to be sounding board for NAR global efforts

Vicky Silvano

During the Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., REALTOR® Vicky Silvano was presented as the 2018 NAR Global Business Alliances Liaison.

Silvano, a broker associate for Century 21 SGR in Chicago, is one of 16 NAR committee liaisons who will start their new duties after the NAR Conference & Expo in Chicago in November. Appointed by NAR President-Elect Elizabeth Mendenhall, the group is collectively known as the president’s enlarged leadership team.

Silvano began learning about her new responsibilities by shadowing the current Global Business Alliance Liaison, Mark Kitbayashi of Seattle, during the week of legislative meetings and NAR activities in the nation’s capital.

As Chair for the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) in 2016, she helped successfully lobby for the U.S. Census Bureau to gather separate information on behalf of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) instead of under the heading of “other.” She also serves on the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Global Council, and she joined the Illinois REALTORS® Consulate General Liaison Program as a consulate general for the Philippines.

“I am very excited about the new position,” she said.

Q1. What does a global business alliances liaison do?

In the global arena, I will be the eyes and ears of NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall and let her know what’s happening in several areas – the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Advisory Board, the Global Business Council Forum and with the Global Business Alliances. Using my feedback, she can look at our current programs and depending on the specific issues, evaluate if we need to do something different to better serve the general membership.

Q2. Global has long been a passion. Why do you think it’s so important for members to be aware of cross-border opportunities?

In 2016, global business transactions created 102 billion business opportunities, and to not highlight them means lost business opportunities for our members. The more our members can take advantage of these opportunities, the better off they’ll be.

Q3. Your work with AREAA resulted in the successful “No Other” campaign. What impact did that have on the industry and why was this so significant?

The “No Other” campaign resulted in the disaggregation of data by the US Census Bureau which has been much needed to understand the housing challenges and needs of the AAPI community. Prior to July 2016, the quarterly housing report lumped Asian Americans into a category with mixed races and various ethnic groups that are very different from AAPIs. With a stand-alone category, the data is much more accurate for our community.  From an industry standpoint, real estate professionals and service providers can better understand what’s going on with housing trends for AAPIs and provide better support to increase the rate of homeownership for our community. From a Policy perspective, the government can now focus on the issues and needs of the AAPI community and address them accordingly.

Q4. What’s the best thing about being in real estate?

I’ve been a top producer and achieved a lot in my career, but my legacy is what I accomplished through AREAA for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. For me, the greatest success is making sure the needs of those communities are being served, and that issues are being heard and resolved to expand the homeownership rate in the AAPI community.