A year ago, I gave my first address as president during the 138th Inaugural Gala. I focused on firsts, and how firsts can lead to forevers. Since then, you’ve likely seen the hashtag #firstsleadtoforevers floating around from the association and my brokerage, A.R.E. Partners. I’ve also heard from so many of you who used the hashtag to share how your firsts have led to forever, which is so inspiring! Those firsts I spoke about in my speech, both for the association and in our work as REALTORS®, are leading to forevers.
As an association, we’ve had many firsts this year, including our first-ever diversity, equity and inclusion conference, the 360° Summit, which discussed how we can build equitable solutions to shape the future of our city and how acting on DEI initiatives can directly increase your bottom line. We welcomed Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown to our offices for a town hall to address your public safety concerns directly – what a great first, hosting our city’s leadership in our space to talk about the issues that impact us and our clients intimately. We also hosted our first open house to share the association’s offerings with new members and students. This event was an amazing way to introduce everything we offer to help them grow in their careers. It was so successful that we made it a quarterly initiative.
In collaboration with the National Fair Housing Alliance, we launched a new, highly engaging fair housing course which addresses how certain practices and statements may signal bias to clients, and how you can eliminate or avoid those biases moving forward. We’ve hit it out of the park, and I couldn’t be prouder to be the president of an organization that’s leading our industry in a variety of important, positive ways.
As REALTORS®, we’ve seen an increase in first-time homebuyers. In the fall and winter, we saw low interest rates, multiple offers and a surge in home prices due to low inventory and pent-up demand. Then, just as quickly, we were hit with an increase in interest rates as well as inflation, which has definitely impacted the market, bringing us back to pre-pandemic pacing – and the first time some of you may have experienced a more measured market!
While this is my last column as president, this is not the last you’ll hear from me. I look forward to seeing many of you at future association events. Whether it’s your first, second, tenth or fiftieth time in attendance, please come say hi. And if I can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to reach out!
2022 President Antje Gehrken