Issues and Trends Under the Microscope at ARELLO Annual Conference
I recently had the opportunity to attend the annual conference of the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) in Baltimore, Maryland. ARELLO membership is comprised of real estate regulatory organizations from around the world, but mainly focused on North American jurisdictions. The purpose of ARELLO is to support those regulatory organizations in the administration and enforcement of real estate licence laws. RECA has participated in ARELLO since RECA’s inception in 1996. It is a way in which we can talk to other regulators on issues affecting the regulation of the real estate industry. Typically, Council members, administrative staff, educators and suppliers of services to regulatory organizations attend ARELLO meetings.
At its annual conference, ARELLO devotes a full day to committee meetings that advance the work of ARELLO in many areas, including training and certification programs, a legal update, standards of practice, broker supervision best practices, education, investigations etc.
Other conference sessions included an economic outlook by Anirban Basu, an economic and policy consultant from Baltimore, who indicated that in order to slow rising debt, interest rates would have to rise and, in fact, there is actually a 65 per cent chance the recession in the U.S. is going to expand. During his presentation he speculated the housing market in the U.S. will stay the same for at least another 18 months and that commercial real estate could be the next wave of problems.
This year’s “What’s New” session was particularly interesting as it focused on what new programs have been implemented by regulatory organizations that have been successful in doing more with less, which is always a good thing particularly in the current economic climate. RECA’s Voluntary Broker Resolution Process, which was just implemented in the past few months, and RECA’s industry member voluntary withdrawal pursuant to section 54 of the Real Estate Act generated a lot of discussion as tools to deal with conduct issues. Real estate in most U.S. jurisdictions is not a self-regulatory profession as we are in Alberta, so there was also extensive discussion on how self-regulation could work in the U.S.
Richard Mendenhall, past president (2001) of the National Association of REALTORS®, discussed the trends and issues that are affecting the real estate industry. He highlighted ethics, technology and education as the biggest issues moving forward and highlighted the shift in wealth that is occurring to new countries that are able to adapt. In keeping with the economic outlook provided by Anirban Basu, Mr. Mendenhall speculated that home ownership will continue to decline in the U.S. and that already, there are 6,000,000 properties in distress in the U.S.
On the education side of things, industry examination experts discussed how exam security and integrity affects testing styles and what can be done to prevent academic misconduct in examinations. Technology is helping learners become more and more creative in efforts to “cheat” during examinations and new techniques were discussed to help prevent these problems from occurring.
Another part of each annual ARELLO conference is the presentation of communication and education awards. This year, RECA was the proud recipient of the ARELLO award for Best Website. This was the second time RECA has won this award as we previously won it in 2003. RECA would also like to extend its congratulations to the Real Estate Council of Ontario, which won awards for Best Newsletter and Best Annual Report.
As this year’s conference concluded, planning was already underway for next year’s conference, which is scheduled for September 19–23, 2012 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Given the Canadian location, it’s expected that there will be a large Canadian contingent in attendance, including RECA Council members and management.
RECA Director of Education