Last October, Dr. Anthony Downs provided the keynote address at the first annual Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame induction ceremony. His address, Why real estate has become a drag on the US economy was a realistic, unvarnished assessment of the issues that our country was facing at the time. He noted that in previous recessions, real estate had often led the way to recovery. Today, however, real estate is a serious drag on our economy’s ability to return to prosperity.
Dr. Downs will return to the University of St. Thomas on October 26 to present the keynote address, “2012 Real Estate Market Update” for the second annual Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame induction ceremony. In preparation for this event, I looked back at his presentation from last fall and was surprised by how relevant his address remains today. I thought it would be interesting to revisit his remarks to see how they compare to actual events in the last year.
Most of the key issues that Dr. Downs mentioned last year are still with us today and many of his predictions have come to pass in the ensuing year. Here are several examples:
Unemployment. Dr. Downs observed “high rates of employment are likely to continue for several more years”. He mentioned consumers will not have the cash to increase spending and small businesses will have little reason to hire more. Related to employment he foresaw “no sudden change in conditions is likely to radically increase the demand for new workers and for new production”. Looking at the national employment rate that has been hovering at just over 9% and the Minnesota rate that has been over 7% since last fall with little prospect of near term improvement, his observations seem to be right on. Continue Reading
We are currently working to finalize the 2011 Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame Inductee list. This information will be available soon.
Tony Downs, Keynote Speaker 2011 Real Estate Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
In the meantime, mark your calendar for the 2011 Minnesota Real Estate Induction Ceremony featuring keynote speaker Tony Downs. Downs is an economist, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institute in Washington D.C. and author of 24 books and more than 500 articles. His presentation from the 2010 Real Estate Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony can be found in this blog post.
Minnesota Real Estate Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Wednesday, October 26 2011, 5:30 PM University of St. Thomas
Jim Ryan (1942-2009) Mr. James R. Ryan helped transform his family’s Minnesota-based construction business into one of the nation’s leading real estate design-build development firms. His first job was in the eighth grade working in his grandfather’s lumberyard, and he never worked anywhere other than Ryan Companies. He became a project manager for the company in 1965 and, nearly 25 years later, he took over as CEO in 1989. Continue Reading
Gerald Rauenhorst Mr. Gerald Rauenhorst’s high standards of business ethics are exemplified by his guidance of Opus, the company that he founded in 1953. Opus revolutionized the building industry by being one of the first firms to unite the disparate worlds of architecture and construction into a team. Mr. Rauenhorst has had a significant impact on the construction and real estate development industry in the United States – Opus has constructed more than 2,000 buildings around the country.
Mr. Rauenhorst has joked that in 1953, he started the ecumenical movement in Minnesota as a 25-year-old Catholic by winning a job to build a Lutheran church in his hometown of Olivia, Minnesota. While some members of the building committee were reluctant to hire him because there was a Lutheran bidder, too, the committee decided that it would be fairer to honor Mr. Rauenhorst’s lower bid. From there, Rauenhorst Construction (which later became Opus) built its new headquarters, a building designed by Mr. Rauenhorst himself. Continue Reading