With tireless zeal, Donald I. Hovde* traveled more than 200,000 miles in 1979 warning the public that the American dream of owning a home is in jeopardy. In the process, he transformed the REALTORS® organization from an internally-oriented association to an outward-looking organization whose mission is to advance the concepts of a free marketplace for real property owners.
Mr. Hovde was the first president to make effective use of the news media in an on-going campaign to alert the public about the crisis in housing affordability and availability. He conducted a media blitz to more than 15 major cities were his message about the "insatiable demand" for housing was enthusiastically received by reporters, producers and audiences.
According to Mr. Hovde, the housing demand created by the post World War II baby boom generation coming of age and by changing lifestyles has led to inflation-fueling housing shortages. Paradoxically, he added, this tremendous need is thwarted by a "pervasive anti-housing philosophy" in cities across the country. The proliferation of no-growth policies, down-zoning ordinances, excessive building codes and other regulations is aggravating a shortage of affordable housing and, in turn, is shutting the door of homeownership on millions of Americans, Mr. Hovde said. He called upon public officials and present homeowners to change their attitudes toward housing production, describing their outlooks as "selfishness paraded under the guise of environmentalism."
"If regulation extremists continue to have their way," he warned, "millions of young and elderly people will be left without homes of their own and social revolt will result." He emphasized the need for construction of all types of housing as well as central city revitalization.
Mr. Hovde brought his housing message to the Carter administration, Congress, government agencies at all levels and allied shelter industries and became widely recognized as the spokesperson of American property owners.
To firmly establish the REALTOR® image of "working for America's property owners," Mr. Hovde re-established the Association's national advertising campaign, which for the first time included prime time television network commercials as well as advertisements in leading magazines and newspapers. the campaign was launched during a five-state tour by the Association's leadership during Private Property Week. The Goodwill Tour marked the beginning of an annual Private Property Week tradition.
Mr. Hovde was heavily involved and provided outstanding leadership in restructuring and restaffing the National Association and in initiating many new concepts of operation to more effectively serve the membership. The recruitment of Dr. Jack Carlson as executive vice president and chief economist was the pinnacle of this reorganization, along with the acquisition of the new office building in Washington.
Recognizing the growing complexities of the real estate profession, Mr. Hovde initiated the Association's first state presidents' leadership conference and the first cross-country legal panel seminar program. A firm believer in equality, he strongly promoted the all-REALTOR® concept, the Affirmative Marketing Agreement, and the resolution of accord regarding real estate franchise companies, and initiated the Black and Hispanic REALTORS® Outreach Programs.
Prior to becoming one of the Association's youngest presidents, Mr. Hovde held virtually every major office at the board, state and national levels. He was REALTOR® of the Year of the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association and Greater Madison Board and served as president of both groups.
Mr. Hovde was owner and president of Hovde Realty, Inc., a commercial and investment real estate brokerage firm in Madison. The firm also develops land for residential, commercial and industrial use and is one of the largest developers in Dane County, Wisconsin. In addition, Mr. Hovde headed the 122 Building Corporation, a real estate investment holding company which has revitalized many central city commercial buildings.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin in finance, Mr. Hovde was extremely active in civic and cultural affairs in Madison. Past president of the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Hovde was a founder of the Central Madison Committee and the Greater Madison Foundation of the Arts. His many other civic activities included: director, United Bank and Trust Co. and the Methodist Hospital Foundation; and founding member, Madison Civic Center Foundation for the Arts.
Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).