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Realtors await jobs pickup


Washington, Sep 26 -

Paul Wyche

The Journal Gazette

Recessions come and recessions go, but the one constant economic rejuvenator has remained housing.

That is the mantra of Rick Davidson, president and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate, who was in Fort Wayne on Tuesday to attend the grand opening of Century 21 Bradley Realty Inc.’s new branch at the Dupont Place strip mall, 2928 E. Dupont Road.

“Nationally, the industry is still in a market downturn,” Davidson said. “The subprime mortgage crisis and other factors have exacerbated the situation. First, we need job creation, and we also need to eliminate all the uncertainty in Washington regarding the jobs bill. It doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. The bipartisan fighting needs to stop.”

An increase in new housing will eventually follow an infusion of jobs to the economy, Davidson said.

Based in Parsippany, N.J., Century 21 Real Estate bills itself as franchiser of the world’s largest residential real estate sales organization. The business has about 8,000 independently owned and operated franchised broker offices and 121,000 agents in 73 countries and territories worldwide.

Davidson said he is trying to stay optimistic about President Obama’s jobs bill proposal but said the commander-in-chief’s comments this week are cause for concern.

“The president talked about more taxes for Americans who make $1 million or more a year,” but that would penalize many small-business owners if their operations are counted as income.

“Most of the job creation is going to come from small business,” Davidson said. “There’s a difference between a company’s income and an individual’s income.”

Davidson said that kind of legislation would hurt business owners like Jim Bradley, who is spending up to $1 million at his new leased location that spans 8,500 square feet and includes several technology features, including virtual tours of homes for sale.

“We had been in Georgetown Square for 30 years, and I had been waiting and waiting,” said Bradley, who has more than 100 agents under his branch. “You can’t wait for a good time to act because there’s never a good time, but we feel we made the right move.”

Realtor Santosh Reddy shares those sentiments. He recently transferred from another agency to Century 21 Bradley in large part because of the resources it offers.

“They have a television channel that shows homes for sale, and the new office is fantastic,” he said. “This office will be excellent for us and our customers.”

Other features at the office are four conference rooms with flat-screen televisions with Internet capability.

Davidson expects good things from Century 21 Bradley but remains guarded about the overall real estate industry.

“We’ll see some slight improvements,” he said, “but we need jobs and for confidence to improve. Those things will help lead a recovery.”