It's gearing-up time for real estate brokers in the United States as sales pick up significantly from coast to coast. Lowering interest rates and other factors are generating the boost long needed in the real estate industry.
Too, it's good news for people in the market for a new house.
In fact, many real estate professionals and consumers alike feel that this is a particularly good time to buy a house. Interest rates on mortgage loans are down, but at the same time it has not yet touched off another phase of zooming prices.
The primary reason is that there now exists a large supply of unsold homes in most regions of the United States. This inventory of homes must be reduced before prices can jump very high. It's simply a matter of supply and demand.
In a six-county area of southern California, for example, there are more than 32,000 unsold homes on the market - the largest unsold inventory on record in that area.
''What this all means to the consumer is that now is a good time to buy a home, while interest rates have eased and before prices have risen too much higher,'' says Lee Goldin, president of the California Building Industry Association. Other industry leaders are singing the same ''now is the time to buy'' song.
Other factors could add more fuel to this line of thought.
Many people believe that interest rates may start to climb again now that the election is over. There are, however, no hard economic facts to support that theory.
Furthermore, a variety of innovative new mortgage plans has been developed to help buyers qualify for home financing. A recent Louis Harris poll shows most consumers are actively interested in these plans, once they are given the basic information about them.
The use of such plans, coupled with generally lower interest rates, makes a home purchase a reachable goal for many more families in the current market.
These positive factors are like a breath of fresh air in a real estate market that has been depressed for the past three years. Brokers are beefing up their resources to gain maximum advantage from the increasing business.
A new spirit of optimism is also expressed by leaders of organized real estate. Realtor networks and associations are stepping up their programs and services for members in anticipation of a more active, revitalized real estate market.
State associations of Realtors are taking a fresh new approach to planning programs and special support services for their members. This covers educational , financing, and public-affairs programs, and other areas of importance to both members and consumers.
The Illinois Association of Realtors, for instance, is planning a special training course for members who want to obtain a real estate securities license. Illinois is one of four states in which the course will soon be offered.
''Many real estate businesses have determined they must diversify their services if they are to continue serving their customers' needs and meet the challenges of the future market,'' an association spokesman says.
The Illinois association is also intensifying its educational scholarship program for college and university students. More funds are being generated for the association's ''real estate educational foundation'' and more young people are being selected as recipients.
''The scholarship program is really great,'' says Woody Hayes, former football coach at Ohio State University and a speaker at a recent convention of Illinois Realtors.
''You can't pay back, but you can pay forward,'' he asserts.
The California Association of Realtors has formed a new mortgage-finance subsidiary which will allow members to provide new sources of mortgage funding for home buyers and sellers.
The association's new subsidiary will become fully operational by the end of the year, according to Seb Sterpa, association president.
''Given the record number of first-time home buyers, our association is concerned about the continued availability of affordable mortgage financing,'' Mr. Sterpa says.
Programs offered by the association's subsidiary will offer home sellers the option of converting mortgage plans they currently hold into cash, enhancing liquidity and reducing risks. Also, services will include refinancing programs that will provide funds to retire the maturing balloon-debt from previously arranged financing.
The newly planned services are not available to the public from traditional mortgage lenders, Sterpa says. It will increase the flow of capital into the real estate market when home buyers and sellers need it most.
The Colorado Association of Realtors is developing its communications program to meet the need for more comprehensive information and education for consumers.
''Our goal of becoming the recognized 'voice of real estate' in Colorado has taken a giant step forward in 1982,'' says Ted Bryant, this year's association president. ''The lines of communication are open. We are reaching for a higher level of sophistication in providing the kind of accurate market data needed to be that authoritative voice.''
State Realtor associations and local boards in all regions of the country are planning and carrying out new programs and services to meet the demands of a new and more vibrant real estate market.