Geoffrey Craighead: Sees decline in Samcar members 

By the time Geoffrey Craighead was 17 and a senior in high school, he and a friend bought their own house in Fort Worth, Texas. By the time Craighead was 29, he owned 64 houses in California, mostly in the Bay Area. Now, at age 63, he owns eight houses.

"If somebody has a piece of the rock they’re more involved and you have a better society," he said. Clearly, he has followed his own advice.

Craighead, the owner of Craighead Associates, has been a Realtor for 26 years, and was recently elected 2007 president of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors trade group. Craighead will serve as president of Samcar for one year.

One of the first challenges Craighead will face is the sheer number of real estate licensees in the Bay Area. In 2006, California Association of Realtors VP and chief economist Leslie Appleton-Young noted that all of the real estate work done in the previous year could have been done by 70,000 Realtors. There are 514,000 people who hold real estate licenses in the Bay Area.

According to Craighead, that is not a problem. "There is, what, a 4½-percent unemployment rate?" he asked. "That’s really low. People are still buying houses."

Still, Craighead expects to face a drop in Samcar membership. "We’ve got about 3,300 members now," he said, "but we’re anticipating about a 12 percent drop this year." Fifty percent of Samcar members haven’t sold a house in the past year; and the next 25 percent have sold four or fewer houses. To meet expenses, a Realtor needs to sell about five houses a year.

But Craighead isn’t worried. "After the dot-com bust we got a bunch of M.A.’s and Ph.D.’s that are leaving for other jobs now," he said.

There is also the older generation of Realtors, many of whom Craighead expects to retire. According to Craighead, older Realtors have been through enough near-disasters in the market not to want to push it any further. In May 1989, interest rates went up 1 percent in one month; in October 1989, there was the Loma Prieta earthquake; from 1990-1995, there was a recession. According to Craighead, a lot of the old-timers aren’t willing to go through a recession again. Craighead believes that between olderpeople retiring and the dot-comers moving on to other careers, the number of Realtors will be sufficiently reduced for everyone who stays to have work.

Also for 2007, Sue Walsh, a Realtor with Cashin Co. in Burlingame, is Samcar’s president-elect. Peter Aiello, also a Realtor with Cashin Co., in San Mateo, is the secretary/treasurer.

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