Georgia Association of REALTORS® has started out 2022 with a bang, and we have a busy year ahead in both our association and within our profession.
At the end of 2021, GAR surpassed 50,000 members, which is the highest membership in our 102-year history. GAR leaders and staff have been busy planning a variety of events to engage our membership and promote the value of being a member of the REALTORS® association. In January, we held our Inaugural Conference in Amelia Island, Fla. More than 600 members from various parts of Georgia attended. Highlights included our keynote speaker from The Disney Institute, our President’s Gala, where our leadership was sworn into office, and several networking events.
In February, we held our REALTOR® Days at the Dome Legislative Conference, where we met face-to-face with elected officials to discuss pressing matters related to real estate and private property in Georgia. I cannot stress enough how important our advocacy efforts are for Georgia’s real estate industry and private property rights. In 2020, our Governmental Affairs staff and committee volunteers worked tirelessly to ensure that the real estate industry was only minimally affected by the pandemic, and their efforts resulted in REALTORS® being declared an essential service in Georgia. Each and every Georgia REALTOR® still benefits from these efforts.
Looking ahead, GAR leaders are gearing up for a tour around the state this spring for Member Connect Summits, which aim to take GAR to our members. In 2022, we’ll be traveling to Jekyll Island, Griffin, Athens and Atlanta. These events were a huge success last year, and we are hoping for even larger attendance this year. Additionally, planning is already underway for our 2022 Annual Conference and Expo, which will take place Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 in Nashville, Tenn. We will have several opportunities for continuing education as well as FUN — Nashville sets the stage like no other city when it comes to networking! Registration will open this spring for the conference, and we expect more than 1,000 attendees. Finally, we are in the early stages of planning our Broker’s Conference, as well as our Women in Real Estate (WIRE) Conference.
With regard to the housing market, we are coming off a second record-breaking year for home sales and prices. From what I have seen from economists, I expect sales to keep pace with 2021 and for prices to continue to rise, but perhaps not as sharply as in recent years. The flip side of that is historically low inventory, which also has an impact on affordable housing everywhere. Interest rates, while rising, are still at historic lows. Both buyers and sellers should be patient as they navigate this hot market with their REALTOR®, but the time and energy put into the home search is well worth it in the end. According to the GAR 2021 Annual Report on the Georgia Housing Market, in 2017, the median home price for the greater metro Atlanta area was $213,600. At the end of 2021, it was $321,000. That is 42% appreciation in just four years. All in all, homeownership is still one of the best ways for the average American to build wealth.
Joey Tucker is the 2022 GAR President.