Home is Where the Heart Is—All Around the World


NAR First Vice President Steve Brown speaks to the Chinese Association of Real Estate Brokers


By Steve Brown, First Vice President, National Association of REALTORS®

I confess. All this time, I thought the passionate dream of owning your own home was somehow uniquely American. After all, this is the dream that has inspired every generation in this country to work hard and save money so as to be able to afford to buy that house, that condo, that farm, to call home. And it is that dream that has inspired REALTORS® to consistently advocate for a financial and tax system that encourages and enables Americans to be able to realize that dream—not to mention protecting the private property rights of those who already do.

Well, over the past seven days my understanding of the dream of homeownership has broadened. I have discovered it lives in the hearts of people in at least two Asian countries. And I suspect it lives in the hearts of people all over the world.
I had the opportunity, on behalf of NAR, to meet with local and national real estate professionals as well as senior governmental officials in Taiwan and the Philippines to promote home ownership in America, and the REALTOR® brand. Obviously, given their own histories, political structures and economies, many of their local issues are different from ours. But what was not different was their desire to help their countrymen have a home. And all the benefits of home ownership that we espouse here, they too see as a result of home ownership—better, safer communities, more civic involvement—increased voter participation, better performance in school, long term wealth accumulation, even better, healthier lifestyles.

And one more thing I witnessed this past week: NAR has a real role to play throughout the world in fostering home ownership. Our business model of an association of REALTORS® working together for the good of not only the consumer, but also of our industry; our model of advocacy work with our governments; our practice of transparency in our businesses; our professional, ethical business practices developed for the past 100 years; our technology that we use to better serve our customer. For all of these reasons and more, our Association needs to be increasingly global. It’s no great stretch to see how much more mobile our world is becoming and what a great pool of buyers are waiting for REALTORS® from America! Moreover, spreading the REALTOR® model, and REALTOR® brand, throughout the world could easily mean doubling our membership in the coming decades.

My eyes have been opened a little wider these past few days. What I have said so often in the past was underscored: “The work we do as REALTORS® is important.” Now, I would add three more words to that sentence: “The work we do as REALTORS® is important—around the world!”

  1. Good information in this article. Housing and economic issues have been felt around the world but we as Americans sometimes do not stop and think about the housing markets in other countries.

  2. nice article I agree with the how mobile our life has become, I own 2 homes, one on the east coast and one on the west coast (of america) and I consider both home, I am now looking into investing in homes outside of the united states. When i do i will be calling a certified REALTOR 🙂

  3. I think that the dream to own a house is in the hearts of everyone all over the world. Unfortunately not everyone gets to realize this dream in their lifetime, with money usually being the main concern. I’m sure that, given a choice, everyone would want to buy their own home, no matter what state the real estate market is in.

  4. Thomas Lawler

    The dream is to own a home where to owner has positive equity in his/her home. Sustainable homeownership is heavily dependent on a borrower having significant positive equity in his/her home. For potential buyers who don’t have much in the way of a down payment, obviously a mortgage with a shorter amortization period that a 30-year mortgage is the right option. Sure, from an outmoded and outdated “affordability” measure, that doesn’t take into account equity, that borrower can’t “afford” as large a home if the borrower takes out a sustainable mortgage. But that’s ok, as he/she shouldn’t do so.

    Historically, folks didn’t buy homes that were more than 2.5 or 3 times sustainable income. And they shouldn’t unless they have a pretty sizable down payment.

    You are so right to focus on sustainable home ownership, which is based on the homeowners equity in his/her home over time.

  5. The true Realtor must focus not on income they will receive once a client buy from them. But on how they will be a help to the buyer.

  6. Owning a house and lot is a great investment, here in the Philippines it is one of the major factors why people go and work overseas, to accomplished the dream of owning a house.

    Mostly we encounter first time buyers who are overseas workers who buys a property based on what they can seriously afford.