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Old 05-17-2006, 10:39 PM
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Post Home sales spur record growth in Realtors in West Valley

As new home development continues to spur rapid growth in the West Valley, the number of Realtors working in this area has tended to the demand.

According to the Arizona Association of Realtors, membership in the Glendale-West Maricopa Board of Realtors has surged 271 percent in the last five years - the largest increase of any Realtor association in the state.

During this time, 2,748 Realtors joined the West Valley organization, bringing membership to about 4,160.

Roger Nelson, chief executive officer of the Glendale-West Maricopa Board of Realtors, attributes the sharp increase in membership to the steady growth in the West Valley, especially the influx of residents into new housing developments.

"If you build homes, Realtors are going to come because there's a definite demand," Nelson said.

This demand was also fueled by last year's record housing frenzy, which drove up membership at Realtor associations across the Valley.

Now that the market has leveled off, Nelson anticipates a membership reduction as some new Realtors relent to the long hours, expensive marketing and heavy competition.

Julieta Contreras, a Realtor at the Windermere West Valley office in north Peoria, switched to a real estate career during last year's rush.

Despite the challenges, Contreras said she enjoys working with clients and plans to renew her license next year.

"It was a feeding frenzy and a lot of people saw this as a way to make a quick buck," she said. "I knew it wasn't going to stay that way because most things in real estate are cyclical."

Contreras said she had a strong feeling about the west side when she joined the Glendale-West Maricopa association.

"I've watched the area grow and know it didn't used to be a good part of the Valley," she said. "It's certainly had a Cinderella makeover."

Realtors who belong to associations such as the Arizona Association of Realtors and Glendale-West Maricopa Board of Realtors abide by a professional code of ethics and complete additional training than other licensed agents.

The Realtor association presence in the West Valley will continue to strengthen later this year when the Glendale-West Maricopa Board of Realtors merges with the Lake Pleasant Board of Realtors.

"This is definitely a good thing for members," Nelson said. "We'll have an increased presence on the local political scene."

The Arizona Association of Realtors recently surpassed 50,000 members, which makes it the seventh largest Realtor association in the country behind states like California, Florida and New York.

Other Arizona associations with membership gains of more than 100 percent include those in Phoenix, the Southeast Valley, Bullhead City and Kingman.

But these increases don't come close to that of the Glendale-West Maricopa Board of Realtors.

Already, major developments planned in cities like Buckeye and Surprise have lured real estate firms to open new offices in many West Valley cities.

"The stigma here has changed, with the availability of high-end homes and amenities for residents," Nelson said. "And this is just the tip of the iceberg."

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