10 people to watch in 2007

Real Estate Articles from Inman News

Perspective: Names to note in real estate next year

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Inman News editorial team is keeping an eye on 10 people we expect to shake up the real estate industry next year. Here are our picks for who to watch in 2007:

1. Sherry Chris, chief operating officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. An industry veteran of 20 years, Chris has a history of developing new markets, employing vertical business partnerships and technology innovation. In December, Chris was named COO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp., one of the largest and most prominent brands in the business. We’ll be watching as she leads this brokerage powerhouse to new paths.

2. John Helm, founder and CEO, MyNewPlace. This serial entrepreneur is back at it with a robust online rental company competing with eBay’s Rent.com. MyNewPlace is an online apartment market where prospective renters can search an array of properties using a robust interface. The company received $12 million in a second round of investor funding this year and no doubt will be using that to grow strong in 2007.

3. Michael Good, president and CEO, Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates. Good is charged with keeping the Sotheby’s network the quintessential luxury real estate brokerage, and the franchise is on a roll thanks to this tenacious executive.

4. Robert Shiller, chief economist, MacroMarkets LLC; Stanley B. Resor professor of economics, Yale University; author, "Irrational Exuberance." Shiller is a pioneer in developing house-price indexes and a leader in pushing the trading of housing futures forward. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange in May began trading housing futures, which enable investors to hedge against future fluctuations in home prices in 10 U.S. cities. Shiller and other advocates of these financial instruments believe they could foster stability in the housing market while allowing investors to participate without actually buying and selling homes.

5. Mark Lesswing, chief technology officer, senior vice president, National Association of Realtors. Lesswing, who also serves as director of the National Association of Realtors’ Center for Realtor Technology, plays a critical role at the CRT where he has helped spearhead important technology initiatives and educate NAR members about crucial technology issues in real estate such as data scraping, Internet security and industry technology standards. He oversees the association’s information technology initiatives and strategies, identifies Web-based services for members and evaluates existing services and programs. We expect Lesswing to continue leading the technology charge in 2007.

6. Lloyd Frink, co-founder and president, Zillow. The low-key partner in Zillow, Frink has an amazing ability not to get frazzled by an overreactive real estate industry and understand what the consumer wants.

7. Louis Cammarosano, general manager, HomeGain. An Italian New York lawyer, Cammarosano is quietly rebuilding the HomeGain consumer proposition. This year, he spearheaded the resurrection of HomeGain’s Web-based home-valuation tool, and helped the company launch a free listings option for real estate agents, among other things.

8. Gary Thomas, chairman of NAR’s Future MLS Advisory Group. Thomas, former president of the California Association of Realtors and an executive at RE/MAX Real Estate Services in Aliso Viejo, Calif., is leading the NAR advisory group that was formed to examine the future of multiple listing services across the country. The group’s mission is to consider how an MLS system would look if it were established from scratch today, and the pressure is on with more outside companies offering online databases for consumer real estate searches.

9. Glenn Kelman, CEO, Redfin. An outspoken consumer advocate, Kelman is determined to lower transaction costs for home buyers and sellers. Redfin entered a new market this year in San Francisco and launched an online purchase offer system. The company also is testing the waters with a neighborhood real estate blogging community in Seattle.

10. Chinese investors. Headstrong investors in China have been gobbling up U.S. bonds, which have helped keep mortgage rates low for U.S. home buyers. Housing consumers and industry professionals should be keeping a close eye on this economic powerhouse in 2007 and hope the appetite for bonds remains healthy.