Charlie Young is the president and CEO of ERA Franchise Systems.
Are you optimistic about 2015?
Yes, I am quite optimistic for the year ahead. Our team has been re-energized by the rebranding process we rolled out in 2014. I believe that momentum, coupled with positive economic forecasts, will translate to even greater success next year.
What are you worried about?
I try to not worry about things I can’t control. All current indicators point to a healthy real estate market next year, and NAR and other forecasters are projecting moderate growth for 2015. If I were to worry, it would be on macro issues related to economic growth and job creation. We need both to drive the real estate market.
How much do you fret about global events?
On a personal level, I worry about lots of issues globally. As it relates to real estate, I think the dynamics of supply and demand bode well for the market in 2015 and in the near future beyond that.
Will mortgage rates go up or down next year?
I think we’ll see mortgage rates rising slightly in 2015 as the economy improves and home sales increase, but don’t expect any drastic changes in either direction.
Will home prices appreciate next year?
According to industry forecasts, yes. Sales activity will continue to increase, though at a slower rate than in 2014, driving up the value of homes.
Will agents be more productive next year?
With more consumers in the market for a home and an economy set to experience an upswing, agents will need to be more productive in order to keep up with the competition. That said, it is, of course, at the hands of each agent to ramp up his or her efforts to increase productivity and momentum and take advantages of the tools available.
What will be the biggest source of real estate leads next year?
Mobile. Americans are constantly on the go and therefore rely on smartphone and tablet apps to make valuable information accessible at all times. Much of the traffic — 40 percent — to ERA.com is from mobile devices, and that percentage jumps to 60 percent on the weekends.
Are you making plans to expand, contract or maintain your business this year?
ERA Real Estate has experienced terrific growth in recent years. We are a completely transformed brand, having upgraded virtually every offering we provide brokers and agents, and last year we introduced a new identity for the brand. We have great momentum, and I fully expect to continue to grow in 2015.
What is the biggest challenge for the industry in the coming year?
Transforming our affiliated brokerage firms and agents to serve the needs of the new consumer.