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Looking Ahead in 2011—Tom Bretz, CEO, Century 21 Affiliated Chicago

May 31, 2011

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Tom Bretz, CEO of Century 21 Affiliated Chicago, wants you to stay in touch and be on top of all things real estate. Read on to hear Tom’s thoughts on where he sees the real estate market heading in 2011.

This market reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in cinema, which appears towards the end of the movie Cinderella Man with Russell Crowe. In this true life story set during the Great Depression, a boxer fights his way back from terrible physical and financial issues—he literally cannot lose his next fight or he will lose his children, his marriage, his home, and all of his possessions.

He faces a boxer who is bigger, stronger, and younger. The younger boxer delivers blow after blow, and Crowe’s character looks like he is on the verge of losing. Crowe’s character falls down after a particularly brutal blow and the referee begins his count. A montage of all the difficulties that Crowe has faced and will face if he gives up at that moment flashes across the screen, clearly showing what Crowe’s indefatigable boxer is imagining as he stands at the brink.

He then does something that I’ll never forget and that gives me chills every time I see it: He smiles a small but genuine smile to himself and regroups. The smile says, “This battle, this man in front of me, his size and strength are nothing compared to what I have faced and what I stand to lose if I stop. I cannot stop and will not be defeated.”

The people I see in real estate now are those who have faced three difficult years—years that have seen dramatic changes in fortunes and financial difficulties for even the smartest, richest, and most adaptable people I know. But, the agents still selling, the deal makers who never stop, the entrepreneurs who adapt—those people are like Crowe’s character looking back at his foe.

Yes, 2011 will still be a tough market, but compared to what we just faced the last three years, we aren’t afraid. We smile to ourselves because we know how strong we are.

Here are some things I expect to see in the coming year:

  • Interest rates will continue to rise and approach 6 percent by end of year, giving consumers who are on the fence an added incentive to buy immediately.
  • The economy will be stronger than most people think; however, even though the unemployment rate fell to 9.0% in January, the lowest it has been since February 2011, lower and middle class America will still feel the strong pinch of unemployment.
  • Banks will continue to ease lending requirements, but because they continue to require more cash equity in all deals, growth will be moderated.

There is no doubt that the recovery will continue to be slow, but the good news is that the worst is behind us. We at Century 21 Affiliated Chicago look forward to the coming year and to continued growth in 2011 and beyond.

What do you think? What changes do you see in 2011? Join the conversation below.

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About century21affiliatedchicago

Century 21 Affiliated-Chicago (“C21AC”) is a full service real estate brokerage firm located in Chicago with a focus on residential and commercial properties. Our agent base and management team includes a wide range of specialties serving customer needs across the ever changing real estate landscape, with expertise in many niches, including REO transactions, investment sales, bulk purchasers and sellers, commercial product and traditional residential transactions. C21AC is part of Century 21 Affiliated (“Affiliated”), a top 5 franchisee in the Century 21 system with over 30 locations across the Midwest and over 32 years of history. C21AC entered the Chicago market in February 2011 to re-launch the Century 21 brand in the downtown area and to bring a proven operating platform to the large and fragmented Chicago real estate market. At Century 21 Affiliated, the customer comes first. Our complete commitment to delivering top-notch customer service to our clients is what distinguishes us from our competitors and makes us such a powerful force in the real estate industry. Specialties Residential Sales, Commercial Sales, Short Sales, Bulk Sales, REO's, Leasing, Business Services

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