After the turbulence of the 1960s, Americans were seeking stability in their lives and lifestyles in the 1970s. The housing industry led the way.
The National Association of Real Estate Boards, under the leadership of Bill N. Brown* of Albuquerque, guided the industry through one of the most stable years in its history.
When Mr. Brown took office in January, 1971, the median price of a home was $24,090. By year's end, the median price only had climbed to $24,900. Interest rates showed little or no fluctuation through the year. Conventional loans were given at 8 percent and VA/FHA loans at 7 percent.
Both existing homes sales and new home starts increased each month of the year. The year 1971 was a good one for the housing industry and a proud one for NAREB.
All was not smooth sailing, however, and President Brown and NAREB met some significant challenges. The two main issues in 1971 were federal intervention in local zoning rights and the Department of Justice's anti-trust suits against local Boards of REALTORS®.
President Brown said the nation must be alerted to a mounting attack which threatened the loss of one of the few remaining important local rights --- that of zoning land to insure the living and working environment desired by its citizens. "In some cases," he said, "it is possible that local laws are unreasonable, but if so, local citizens and governmental units must be relied upon to make changes willingly, unintimidated by outside forces or the threat of denial of federal aid of some sort."
NAREB took a strong stand against portions of two pieces of federal legislation that would establish a National Land Use Policy. The REALTOR® position was: "No one can question the need for effective and rational land use planning for the nation's areas of critical environmental concern. However, the involvement of the federal government in financing the promulgation and enforcement of statewide land use plans for land developments of regional benefit represents a poorly disguised attempt to erode and restrict the power of local governments to zone the use of land."
President Brown encouraged the creation of the NAREB Legal Action Program to provide legal assistance to boards and state associations. This action was precipitated by the Department of Justice claiming anti-trust violations in the areas of commissions and multiple listing practices. NAREB officials also sought, through the Department of Justice, a means whereby an effective industry-wide solution to the alleged anti-trust problems could be achieved.
During Mr. Brown's presidency, the Association's national advertising program took on a new look NAREB's first four-color ad was placed in House Beautiful magazine. Following the lead of his predecessor, Rich Port, Mr. Brown continued to use television and movie star Laraine Day as the Association's spokesperson on the REALTORS® public service radio shows and national television shows.
Mr. Brown, in a partnership with his brother, Sam, operated Brown Realty Company of Albuquerque. He served in countless capacities on all levels of Association work --- local, state and national. He was a president of both the Albuquerque Board of REALTORS® and the REALTORS® Association of New Mexico and was chosen REALTOR® of the year by each group.
He served as chairman of the membership committee and was a member of numerous other committees. He also served as a regional vice president and a first vice president.
Mr. Brown was a graduate of University of New Mexico.
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).