Economist Lawrence Yun Offers 5 Ways to Boost Home Sales

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – The United States is experiencing a relatively unvarying housing market despite a robust economy that would suggest an upswing in sales, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research at the National Association of REALTORS®, addresses the audience during the Global Real Estate Summit NYC at the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. (Photo: Courtesy of the Staten Island Board of Realtors®/Relevant Public Relations LLC)

Yun commented upon the state of the nation’s home sales during an address at the 12th annual Global Real Estate Summit NYC, presented by the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) and Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS® (HGAR) at the New York Marriott Marquis in Manhattan on October 22nd.

According to NAR data released just three days prior to the summit, existing-home sales declined in September after a month of stagnation in August. All four major regions in the country saw no gain in sales activity last month, but Yun underscored a variety of positive economic factors that might make one expect otherwise, including: Job additions for eight consecutive years; an unemployment rate of 4 percent; record high stock market levels; high net worth among consumers, and rising wages.

“Everything is moving in the right direction,” said Yun. “… I don’t see a recession occurring in 2018 or 2019.”

While anticipating a moderate rise in interest rates, Yun predicted home sales will remain stable.

“Rising mortgage rates do not necessarily translate into a drop in home sales,” he said.

However, a number of factors have been combining to counter the growth of home sales, Yun said, such as reforms that diminish the tax incentives of buying a home; a limited inventory of homes for sale; changing demographics; rising income inequality, and rising prices.

Yun suggested ramping up new construction as a means of increasing home sales.

“Though home construction has been rising, the actual figures are not that impressive and are still well below historical averages,” Yun wrote in an article published earlier this year in ‘The Hill.’ Over the past decade, housing starts averaged 885,000 per year. For comparison, the long-term average of new home construction has been 1.6 million per year.”

Speaking before the Global Summit audience of international stakeholders from the real estate, development, investment, lending, technology, and legal industries, Yun suggested five ways of boosting home sales, including: Providing regulatory relief to community banks; removing tariffs on lumber and other building materials; not being too stringent on zoning land use; repurposing vacant malls into condominiums, and enhancing vocational training for the construction industry.


In addition to Yun,  featured speakers and panelists at the conference included an array of industry experts, such as keynote speaker and real estate strategist Stefan Swanepoel, CEO of T3 Sixty; and CEO’s and executives of industry leading companies such as CORE, Compass, Purplebricks, BH&G Rand Realty, Engel & Volkers NYC, Brown Harris Stevens, Houlihan Lawrence, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and many more from distant locations such as Belize, China and Dubai.

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