40 Years in Brief
According to the U.S. Census, there were 2,498 actively engaged in the real estate business in Texas in 1900. As the 1970s began, more than 100,000 Texans held a real estate license.
In 1971, American household budgets were influenced by:
- new U.S. homes selling for an average of $23,900;
- gasoline priced at 40 cents a gallon;
- an average income of $10,600 annually; and
- 8-cent, first-class stamps.
Meanwhile, news headlines focused on Apollo 14 landing on the moon, the voting age being lowered to 18, Walt Disney World opening in Florida and cigarette ads being banned from television.
While it did not make the front page, Texas Governor Preston Smith signed Senate Bill 338 into law on May 18, 1971, creating the Texas Real Estate Research Center.
In the decades that followed, the Center has exceeded the dreams of its founders, including visionary Texas real estate broker and noted Realtor Julio Laguarta. Nearly 2,000 Center technical reports, articles, white papers, video programs, books and other media have helped Texans make better real estate decisions. Key staffers are booked for speeches nationwide as much as a year in advance.
Slow economic times heighten interest in the Center's research. The national media has discovered what Texans already knew. The Center is a valuable resource for information and data on a state that has weathered economic storms better than most.
Fees paid by Texas real estate licensees fund the Center. The staff today is about the same size it was in 1972 — around 20. Research is conducted under a broad legislative mandate to "conduct studies in all areas related directly or indirectly to real estate and/or urban or rural economics."
An advisory committee appointed by the governor provides advice and counsel and approves the annual budget and plan of work.
A 2011 history of the Center covers its first 40 years. Among the questions answered:
- Why a real estate center?
- Why is it at Texas A&M?
- What has it accomplished?
- What were the major hurdles over the years?
- Who were and are the key players in the Center's history?
- How does the Texas center differ from those in other states?
- What's ahead for the nation's largest publicly funded real estate research organization?
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